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Doc@DrIrene.com

Comments for Blaming vs Defensive Victim

Comments for Blaming vs Defensive Victim

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: 32.102.64.163
HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.61 [en] (WinNT; I)
Date: Friday, June 16, 2000

S1

I don't understand. Assuming I'm a victim (I'm pretty sure I am). I know that right now, I fight with every ounce of my being to *not* accept 100% of the guilt. Good. That's exactly what you should be doing now. This stuff is about advanced stages of victim recovery. I know I wasn't perfect but I also know that I was on the defense rather than the offense. (may not make any difference in actions but the intent is really different or does the abuser actually do what he does as a defense?). 

So, as I advance in therapy (assuming/hoping I am capable of making progress), I will come to a completely defensive posture where in I will emulate my abuser by accepting no culpability for my actions and I will be unwilling and unmoving in in evaluating a situation where I might carry some or all of the blame. No! Emulating the abuser is the exception rather than the rule. Don't worry about this stuff now... I will become what I fear the most (I don't really have enough of my anger or joy back yet to be what I'm most angry at ).

In order to return to where I was before I met my abuser (I wasn't great but at least I kinda liked myself), I have to go full circle and allow myself to be wrong? I've gone through the stages of recovery on your website and I don't feel as if I have the information I want. You are early in your recovery process. All you need to worry about is recognizing abuse, not taking responsibility or blame for his stuff, figuring out where your boundaries are and how to set them. Nothing else!

When I was pregnant I bought a book that gave the stages week by week. I'm one of those people that wants to know the process. It takes the fear out for me. Don't worry so much!

I guess I just don't understand the process of recovery from this and I wish I did,

Thanks,

Save

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Remote Name: 206.29.164.50
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Date: Friday, June 16, 2000

S1

Hmmm. For those like myself who are not yet in the Advanced Recovery stages, are you saying that all or most victims who progress in recovery go through such a stage, ie. a stage where they blame Everything on the A? No! Please reread... Is this a necessary step, something to strive for... or is it something to avoid if I can? I write about this stuff so you can keep an eye out, that's all. I guess I ask mostly because I don't think I am going in that direction. You are probably not. But I do very much want to "overcome" my codependency, and avoid being in or at least avoid staying in abusive relationship. Thank you for making this an interactive topic. -S

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Remote Name: 32.102.64.230
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Date: Friday, June 16, 2000

S1

Oops. I successfully made myself...errr...confusing to others. I'm not even close to beginning recovery from this. I think I feel like I need to know what's next so I know what to strive toward.....I'm not saying what has to be but what I'm understanding at this point will be if I am to recover....and to that I say, shoot!

I think what I'm reading from this is that there are some really ugly stages to go through, including some that will turn me into a carbon copy of my abuser in some aspects. I think I'm just shaking my head and saying "Doc Irene, say it ain't so!!" Right. It ain't so for most. I think I'm going to have to put a warning label on the article!

I've been away from him for about six months now and I'm just beginning to feel again. All these emotions are scary as heck to me because I've ignored them for a long time. I feel like if I had a map to recovery, I could at least know to turn right at the corner because there is an unfinished bridge ahead if I go straight. I guarantee you, even with a map, I'll take a wrong turn in a couple of spots <G>. Good! FEEL! Feel your anger too. To the extent you can, calm down before you express it. 

I doubt there is a person on this planet that hasn't run into the over-boundaried:

ie: George: Hey Joe, Haven't seen you for a long time! Joe: What do you mean by that? I've been working right where I was supposed to be. My location is not your concern. I like your word "over-boundaried!" Cute.

Bad example but you know the folks. Yeah. They are angry. Then there are the boundaryless. I'm sure there is a happy medium and if I'm really lucky, I'll find that spot. I have a daughter to protect and teach to not make the mistakes her old mom made. I have a vested interest in my own recovery, unfortunately, I doubt I'd have any passion about it if I was just doing it for me. I can only teach her by showing her. I can only show her if I know my way around and I don't. I couldn't protect myself from him, I don't know why I would have expected myself to have the ability to protect her. You're in a good direction.

I don't want to foretell the future but I want to know if I must become like an abuser to heal from an abusers influence. NO NO NO NO! But, you are likely to go through an angry phase. That's OK. Normal, even. People learning how to be assertive are angry at first...

Save

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Remote Name: 24.4.255.161
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Date: Friday, June 16, 2000

S1

o.k. but what about a person who was once a victim and abuses someone indirectly? Right. They are likely to abuse someone they somehow perceive as weaker than they are; they feel a measure of contempt. they are the victim and the abuser. Right. By the way, this is pretty common. how does one deal with that, that is where i feel i am. i was verbally abused as a kid did the same to my kids and now have several issues to deal with. do i deal with them from the stand point of a victim which i am or an abuser which i am? confused You sound like an angry victim. Now I'll confuse everyone further, I think just about everybody is an angry victim, even most run of the mill abusers. Stop worrying about which one you are. Deal with your codependency issues, learn about your boundaries, learn how to say "no" and to calmly express stuff that gets you angry.

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Remote Name: 32.102.64.73
HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.61 [en] (WinNT; I)
Date: Friday, June 16, 2000

S1

Hi Confused,

I don't know. If you put things in their logical order, dealing with the kids being abused should come first because if they aren't grown yet, you can stop hurting them. Good advice!

I think what I'm afraid of is that this is like the old Werewolf legends where if you survive the bite, you become a werewolf. This is a wonderful analogy! I know from what I've read that I can pass both the abuse and the victim "illness?" onto my daughter if I don't take care of myself. I know that my mother was verbally abused by my father and she either went through menopause after they split up or she became an abuser. Now, she's just a needy codependent (by her own admission).

I think I am/was perfectly capable of being an abuser to my daughter. I did make a conscious choice, not to not abuse but to never make her feel bad about herself. That insulated her from my wrath, my evil, my abusing side that developed when I couldn't find a way to escape the pain of her father . Her father however is a really sick puppy and has molded her mind to the point of her believing that he couldn't be sick if she wasn't. He convinced her they were the same people.

She's seen me verbally battered and as such probably thinks this is normal. That's why I have to learn how to have boundaries, all those things. Yeah. You are definitely on the right track. Lots of good insight...

Which does come first, the chicken or the egg. The abuse or the victim. I don't know. Is it the same "illness" that manifests itself with different properties depending on the host or the environment? In my experience, abuser-victim stuff begins in childhood: when the child is abused... I honestly, before meeting my abuser, feel I was completely incapable of being abusive. Eight years later, I react and then I think. I defend myself before I get hurt. There is no anger involved in this defense, only fear. I have responsibility in this because I was too weak to put a stop to it. Toward the end, before he threatened to kill us, I had become more of a feral animal reacting to my keeper with fear and outrage. I felt nothing, not even joy. How horrible! The years with him certainly triggered something. But, take a look back to childhood; the abuse seeds had to be there. It is unlikely you would have married him had they not been.

Confused, to me staying away from relationships till you can heal from the abuse and keeping away from anyone weaker than you are till you can fix the abusive side would be the ticket. Yeah.

Then again, I had my first good chuckle last week after at least two years without even laughing....Look who you are asking<G>.

I just wish I knew what the road to recovery looked like. I wish I could know who I will be when I'm cooked. I know I won't be the person I was before I met my abuser. I also know I won't be who I am now (as if I know who that is <G>).

Save  Save, not everybody's recovery is the same. You will write your own book. Take a look at this victim's eloquent recovery experience if you haven't already. By the way, if anybody in more advanced stages has a recovery story to tell, please, SEND IT IN!

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Remote Name: 207.115.63.23
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Date: Saturday, June 17, 2000

S1

"Nobody ever, ever, ever, EVER causes another person's problems! Nobody has that much power." Dr. Irene says this. But I don't see how this can be true. What about the person who was perfectly healthy till they got raped by a person with an std. Now they have an incurable std.. that's a problem caused by someone else. What about a person who gets badly hurt in a car accident because they were hit by a drunk driver and suffered brain damage. They have a problem that was caused by someone else...and now live with brain damage. Yes. You are absolutely correct. My words do not refer to that level of causality; my references are in relation to boundaries.

What about that poor little girl, Lisa Steinberg....she is dead because her adopted father killed her. He did have the power to take her life...and did take it. And he caused her many problems by abusing her before he killed her.

What about the horror stories you read of the doctor amputating the wrong leg. Now that's a problem caused by someone else.

This why I do believe there are times when someone can and does make a problem for you...because they do have the power and they abused it. Hurt me once, shame on you; hurt me twice, shame on me. You gave them the power to abuse; take it back. Now we're back on my territory. (But, I'll anticipate you: if your estranged abuser rapes you and gives your AIDS, we're in your camp.)

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Remote Name: 205.188.192.29
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Date: Saturday, June 17, 2000

S1

Hi:

I am struggling with your analogies because you are referring to physical events in which the recipient has absolutely no control over what transpires. In which case, the only thing these victims of arbitrary crime, inept doctors, etc. would have control over is how they elect to deal with what has happened to them after the fact.

However, when it comes to how a person talks to you and behaves toward you and how it affects you emotionally - you do have control over it. Amen. You have the opportunity to say, "Stop It!" You can remove yourself from the person/situation in many instances. You can read about and learn techniques to empower yourself, you can decide that you will not allow their words to hurt you (which is hard, but it can be done). There are so many options.

Even if you cannot precisely control how others act and the words they use (which I would not want to do anyway) you still have control over how you respond and what you allow to affect you.

The bottom line is if you tell a person, "You make me feel this way!" You are giving them all of your power. You are choosing to be helpless on some emotional level, and that is so different from being unconscious and losing the wrong limb, or someone breaking into your house and raping you and giving you a STD. I cannot even equate them. IMHO

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Remote Name: 24.4.255.160
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Date: Saturday, June 17, 2000

S1

TO SAVE: this is Jennie responding to your question about abuse. the reason i said abuse indirectly is because i meant like verbal and emotional abuse. i am now 39 and my kids are grown but my oldest my son got the very worst of life a person can get, (in my opinion) cause i am his mother and i hurt him emotionally, some physically, and mentally as well. now he has to suffer with very low self-esteem, no sense of what he wants and or needs, denial, alcoholism, though i never drank, he does to deal with his pain and very bad choices in relationships. this is how i grew up though and inflicted on my son. i was only 17 when i had him (no excuse) then i had a daughter at 18 and another daughter at 25. i learned my lessons from my son on how to treat someone. this was so sad tho, cause by the time i had my daughter at 25 i knew what i had been doing and stopped for the most part, but with him it was like we established our rules and the verbal abuse continued, i shamed him to death. my youngest daughter is great, fun secure and happy. my middle daughter was raised by her dad. my son is thinking about counseling, but i think he is afraid, i hope to god he goes, he needs it and i will help him in any way i can. i would never hit or verbally abuse another child for the rest of my life. the shame i have to live with is my punishment. thanks for listening. jennie  Jennie: You cannot correct something you do not know about. You did to your son what was done to you; that is all you knew. When you saw there was a different way, you changed your ways. Your parents did not set out to hurt you either; they just did the best they could: what they knew... Good for you for recognizing the abuse and changing it. Your son will have to work his recovery; that is his task in life, as it was in your life.  

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Remote Name: 32.102.64.21
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Date: Saturday, June 17, 2000

S1

Jennie,

I think the important part of your history is that you did face what you had become and stopped it in time to save your daughter. Your son has to make his own choices now the same as you have made yours. It's not OK to hurt a child, it's also not OK to spend your life trying to make it up to the child you've hurt...you'll end up hurting them more. CORRECT! If he's an alcoholic, he'll have to hit a bottom and make it back up the hard way, mama rescuing him won't help. Therapy for him is a great idea but it has to be his decision, not yours. Yes.

I can't say that the pain he feels is not your doing, I can say that his actions today are his own. Some of us are born with the proverbial silver spoon, great loving parents and wonderful experiences that grow and nurture our self image....then there's those of us that spend our lives fighting and clawing to maintain a reasonable self-image. Some make it, some don't but all of us deserve a chance to try to become the best we can become on our own.

Onto my own stuff, it sounds like you became what I fear most and then grew out of it. Is it impossible to skip the becoming an abuser part? Yes. That in part is why I wrote this; awareness is so important. We make choices. It's easier to make those choices if we are aware of the options - and pitfalls.

Save

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Remote Name: 24.4.255.160
HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; Win98; ATHMWWW1.1; MSOCD;)
Date: Saturday, June 17, 2000

S1

to save: thank you for the support, it really helps to hear good things, things you need to hear to know you've done the right thing. as for you, i think with your conscience awareness that you too will make the right choices, heck knowing what the battle is, is half the battle. your not blinded any more by not knowing, you have the insight to change and not become what you are so afraid of becoming. that fear should keep you in check anyway, but don't live in fear of becoming what your afraid, just live your life with the awareness of what you know. you'll do fine, i can tell by your words and wisdom that you'll do what ever it takes. your already in the right direction, just keep moving forward. take care.....jennie  I agree with everything you said Jennie. Plus, I think you're on track too.

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Remote Name: 64.42.130.131
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Date: Saturday, June 17, 2000

S1

I think this letter addresses some major roadblocks that come with therapy with this kind of situation. I TOTALLY agree with the inability of normal couples counseling to address the issues of verbal abuse. I watched my H manipulate our counselor and be so charming in the session and blast me when we got home twisting what the therapist said to "justify" why he was right and I was wrong. If anything, I think a therapist unfamiliar or unaware with the nature of abuse can actually cause it to escalate. You are absolutely correct. For me, I believe the escalation of the abuse was pushed by that and by me setting boundaries and refusing to accept the blame. While my H and I see separate counselors now, the abuse has continued and when I call him on it, he says I am trying to control him. When he continues blaming and judging me and I leave the room, I am told I am being controlling and abusive to HIM. Isn't that something! As I have read here, I truly believe you have to want to change yourself to have therapy work. I also know I can't help him, he must do it on his own. Perhaps when I have left him and filed divorce, he may look at himself or he may not and I accept that his choice and what I want to do for me and how I wanted to be treated is MY choice. Sounds like you know exactly what's going on. Good for you. I  hope he gets it before it's too late.

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Remote Name: 206.29.164.52
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Date: Saturday, June 17, 2000

S1

I was just rereading this article, continuing to wonder about "violating the abuser's boundaries" ?? and this is what I came up with: Dr. I might mean that (in the case where the victim stays and allows the abuse to continue) no, if the victims asks the abuser- 2 or 3 times (?) to stop the abuse, and the abuser doesn't really try to stop, maybe doesn't even acknowledge what they are doing, then at that point the victim is "violating the abuser's boundaries" no because the abuser has given the (probably unspoken) message "this is who I am and what I'm doing and I'm not interested in changing." Well, actually, that part, yes - believe it or not. The victim is then ignoring or not believing the message when she/he stays. Even if the abuser says "Don't leave me!" his/her actions are sending the true message ie. "I don't want you to leave, AND I will continue treating you this way". Ignoring /not believing what someone is telling you is a "boundary violation". Is that even close??? I'm keeping my fingers crossed for further enlightenment! -S

You bring up some interesting points, even though I didn't have that type of stuff in mind when I wrote the piece. Certainly food for thought. I was thinking specifically of a few of my couples in therapy, and one in particular. The woman, a recovering victim, was so fed up with her husband's passive-aggressive stuff, that even after he recognized and took care of most of it, she refused to acknowledge that she might be wrong during a specific incident. It was clear to me she was out of line, telling him what he was doing and what was going on in his mind - and she insisted he admit it. There was no other answer he could give, yet, he wasn't doing what she accused him of! The topic area was hitting one of her buttons. When I pointed that out, even though I had never "backed" him before, she became outraged that I would ever suggest that her abuser could possibly a) not be playing games and b) that her perceptions could possibly be tainted by her own stuff. I think she secretly liked the power her recovering victim stance brought her - and I think she liked punishing him for all the junk he had done to her over the years.  She had him in a position where he was a repentant little puppy dog on a short leash... Ouchhh!

 

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Remote Name: 205.188.197.159
HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; CS 2000; Windows 98; DigExt)
Date: Sunday, June 18, 2000

S1

Dear Dr. Irene:

I think a lot of the problems come from (and believe me I was there and remember) that inside a victim's mind the only thing they want is for someone to validate that the abuser is "to blame". For some reason these words are very healing and take that feeling a way that you are crazy (the way they make you feel). When I first came to your sight I read parts where you said the "victim's part in the relationship...etc.", I thought I would cry. I thought.. she is supposed to be a therapist and not even she knows THAT HE IS TO BLAME! It isn't until you come to a point of taking power back that you realize your part in "the dance" and enabling the abuse. I do know what some of these woman are feeling at the point they are at and the thought of them having any part of the abuse is very devastating. Only when they have come to point where they take their power, will they truly realize what you are trying to say here. I just wanted to add this because I once was very there and know exactly how frustrating reading stuff like this can be!  Dear Poster, Yes, you are so on target. That's why I try to make distinctions between early recovery where blame is where its at...and the only place it can be at. But, I think it is selling abused victims short not to paint a picture of where they need to eventually get to live a full, healthy life... Thank you for your comments. Dr. Irene

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Date: Sunday, June 18, 2000

S1

P.S. Also, the years of reaction to the insanity of trying to survive the chaos seems so normal for survival. We try so hard to change them the best way we know how and when someone says it's not the correct way then we throw our hands up in disgust. After all, we have tried everything to this point and now someone is telling us that we are "doing it all wrong!" (Very frustrating!!) Again, when you recover and realize that not trying to change them, guilt them, fighting with them etc. was the wrong response.. it is only then that you realize that you have enabled. I wish it were so much easier for the victims to be able to relearn in one day how to get there power back. Then they would not need to hear that validation of blaming on either part. You have taught me this through your site and it has stopped many years of abuse! Thanks again. The methods I use work in my practice. I think where it falls short on line is that I am not there to support the newly awakening victim and to let them know they are exactly where they are supposed to be, as I encourage their growth.

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Remote Name: 32.102.64.2
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Date: Sunday, June 18, 2000

S1

Whew! Thanks for commenting, Doc Irene. As to worrying too much, errrr....is there too much <G>. I think through much of my life, I've had so little true power and I've found that through process (knowing the steps) I can at least pretend to have control over my destiny. So, while I might become an abuser, awareness and hard work could allow me to miss that phase. You won't become an abuser. You may behave abusively, but you won't become an abuser. Anger is toxic when it's sooooo BIG. It's a matter of feeling it and using it as the signal that it is.

I never married my abuser, nor did I let him move in with me. He did his work through daily visits to my house and keeping me on the phone half the night. I swear his method of brain washing entails sleep deprivation. I have never become involved with anyone in my life that was capable of making a commitment such as marriage. Somehow, I though I was protected from what I saw my mom suffer by never allowing anyone close enough. This didn't work because I formed long term, empty relationships that really caused me as much pain as the real thing would have. When I became pregnant, my abuser took it upon himself to "punish" me for not aborting our daughter. Ugh... He ran a four year campaign getting more and more verbally abusive and kept me aware that he was a hair away from physical abuse, I just went numb. As opposed to going to the police... but, I know, you couldn't have then... I was good at being numb because I was not allowed negative emotion as a child. It's funny but he was abusive before I became pregnant but I never realized it and it wasn't a huge problem because I had the power to leave. Once pregnant, while I wasn't financially dependent on him, I felt it my responsibility to give my daughter her father. I gave him the power and lost all of mine. I tip toed through his minefield of "If you don't I'll leave" for years and never set off a mine. Then he bonded with our daughter and I had a brief period of relief. She had her daddy! Then he became obsessed with her and started hurting her, too. I was too numb to see it so it went on. Oh the guilt!

Thanks so much for you kind words, Doc Irene.

I'm just gonna keep on pluggin away. Keep plugging away, one step in front of the other. One day you look around and see that you've come home. I promise!

Save

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Remote Name: 206.29.164.61
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Date: Sunday, June 18, 2000

S1

Dr. Irene, Thank you for the further enlightenment. I was surprised at what a "victim violating an abuser's boundaries" turned out to be, at least in that case. It sounds like an atypical problem to me - is it very common? Not to the extent that couple went. Usually, victim's anger isn't as bad, though it is a normal and healthy part of victim recovery. My goal is to help victims not get stuck in blame and anger. I was searching and searching for something from my own experience, that would also be common to other relationships, which could be called boundary violation. I guess it wasn't? Good end note on the article. "Advanced Recovery is about trusting yourself enough to know that there are times your perceptions may be wrong - and that all of this is OK. " - S It's true! That's when you really really trust yourself. You know you're fallible. It doesn't mean your abuser is "right." You see things clearly. And no one can convince you otherwise, though you are not there because you are being defensive. You just know...

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Remote Name: 152.163.213.203
HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.01; AOL 5.0; Windows 98)
Date: Monday, June 19, 2000

S1

DR Irene wrote: "I think she secretly liked the power her recovering victim stance brought her - and I think she liked punishing him for all the junk he had done to her over the years. She had him in a position where he was a repentant little puppy dog on a short leash... Ouchhh!"

This really hit me. I never had the opportunity to do that really, but it made me think back to when I was trying to "fix" him - that was definitely part of my goal. I wanted him to kowtow to me in a sense so I could feel like the powerful one for a change. I did not understand that true power is what one has over their own self, not others. Who can blame a victim for wanting to feel some power? That's expected... I just try to help my victims beyond that point as quickly as they'll let me.

I have a friend whose abuser did get therapy and he has changed a great deal. She will say this to me but she refuses to acknowledge it to him because she is afraid she will lose her hard won "power" over him. She will also never admit to doing anything wrong because as she put it, "I would have to go back, rethink and question everything I said and did - if I was right or wrong - and I don't want to do that because I doubted myself long enough. I refuse to doubt myself ever again." Yes, that's exactly what I'm talking about. When she's comfortable with her own power, she will not fear "losing" it. You can't lose something that is yours...

So, in essence it is "safer" for her or some others to always be right, I guess. I don't know. I am currently working on finding a balance because I know in my heart that no person can always be right and no person can always be wrong. Thanks for this thread, it's great!

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 193.128.102.3
HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.61 [en] (Win95; I)
Date: Monday, June 19, 2000

S1

As a 'victim' in an abusive relationship, and one who was not used to such relationships, I was very well aware that I was not behaving in a way I liked. I got angry once or twice, but was able immediately to recognize that I had behaved badly. But even when I calmed down and tried reasoning, I think I was still unhappy with myself. When my boyfriend asked how could he possibly know everything that might hurt me, my response was that I was NOT going to give him a list. I did not feel good telling him how he ought to behave. And I think if most victims are honest with themselves they will agree. I'd known him for 10 months before he started behaving badly. The relationship did not start quickly. He is not very aggressive, really. In fact in time it became clear to me that his continuing bad behavior was all related to his initial insults. We've stopped this vicious circle. In fact he used to say he just could not argue with me. We seem to have got back to that situation. He understands, I think, that he probably has issues. The last time we discussed this, however, he did raise his voice, but corrected himself - and pointed it out to me. He even told me the following day how pleased he was. I think, therefore, he has some anger issues, but is not very angry. My codependency - I suspect this stems from the fact that I am an identical twin. There are lots of boundary issues there. My brother used to steal from me and I made excuses, until one day I had just had enough. It was beginning to interfere with MY life. I saw his dependence on me in many ways and since then have tried to avoid signs of dependence. Well we all make mistakes. We all have life lessons we need to learn...

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 193.128.102.3
HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.61 [en] (Win95; I)
Date: Monday, June 19, 2000

S1

CORRECTION TO ABOVE - I meant to write I was NOT going to give him a list. I fixed it so it makes sense reading your paragraph.

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Remote Name: 147.140.144.157
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Date: Monday, June 19, 2000

S1

Hello Everyone - it's LHW.

A huge thanks to Dr. Irene for clearing-up many of my frustrating questions. You have made much sense and have actually "validated" a lot of feelings for me, in a world where I guess I felt no validation from my partner. What I realize now, and my biggest challenge will be not worrying about validation from him or anyone else, but getting validation from myself! Yippeee! The good news is that this is YOUR show; you run it. Once you get it, you NEVER have to depend on ANYONE for validation again, EVER! I know that is where we as victims/codependents play a part in the abusive cycle. Even long after I've left the relationship, I will continue to do EVERYTHING I can to get to that point where I trust MY perceptions 100%. One of the last things he said to me with his raging monster face was "YOU ARE MY PROBLEM". So I left and I took one of his "problems" away. :) I also took away his "problem" that he slept in my apartment all the time, ate my food, used my toiletries and never contributed anything, then raged out and blamed me if I tried to talk to him about anything. I wonder if he feels like he has won this time? Who cares? You won. One thing is for sure, he has lost me and I'm out of this twisted scenario and helping myself, so I'VE WON! :) This site has helped me learn so much about myself and other people. I still have a way to go, but all of your comments have helped me tremendously. I'm also glad I could bring-up some issues that were confusing for other victims. Best of luck to everyone, and once again thanks to Dr. Irene and Patricia Evans (where I first started learning about about verbal abuse) for recognizing it as a very serious issue that needs to be addressed. We need you! Anything else you could tell us to help in our recovery process is always appreciated, as the depth of insight you have into this subject is incredible.

Love and luck to everyone, LHW  Thank you to all of you; your comments - and growth - mean so much to me.

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Date: Tuesday, June 20, 2000

S1

LHW, I have to say your post was hysterical about taking all of his "problems" away. Gee, you have learned, grown and retained your sense of humor! Kudos to you :)

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Date: Wednesday, June 21, 2000

S1

i am so tired of the struggles with trying to change to be the person i should be, trusting, accepting, not controlling, fun, spontaneous, laughing and happy. believe me i want to become all these things, but the struggle just at times don't seem worth it. i have a great boyfriend who i know loves me to death or he wouldn't put up with me, and i love him with all my heart. but i wonder if i took away all the attention he gives me and the beautiful things he says to me, if there would be anything left. he don't give me reason to be jealous, not directly, but if i look hard enough i could pin alot on him, real or imagined i can't even tell. it hurts none the less. at times i want to be free so i don't have to deal with these feelings. they wont go away until i work to death on them, but at least i wouldn't be inconstant pain. the pain i'm talking about is the working on me. the learning that so much of our problems is my fault, that each time i discover something new about myself, i have to change it or keep doing it and risk pushing people away. the pain is also that he brings out the jealousy and lack of trust, it may be so totally innocent and i know it, yet it hurts like a direct insult. if i leave this relationship and go back home i would be running away and i would be a quitter as i have been told by a counselor plus i would be bringing "me" with me, unfortunately. sooner or later i'd meet someone else and have the same ole problems. at one time years ago i was in counseling for grief from my mom, sister and aunt dying all within six months, i tried to apply alot of that to relationships but it was hard to do when not in one. so i was single for almost two years and thought i had myself under control until i got involved and found out i hadn't changed at all and i'm probably better off single that way idon't cause people problems and i don't have to hurt. any comments? please! jamie

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Date: Wednesday, June 21, 2000

S1

i am so tired of the struggles with trying to change to be the person i should be, trusting, accepting, not controlling, fun, spontaneous, laughing and happy. believe me i want to become all these things, but the struggle just at times don't seem worth it. i have a great boyfriend who i know loves me to death or he wouldn't put up with me, and i love him with all my heart. but i wonder if i took away all the attention he gives me and the beautiful things he says to me, if there would be anything left. he don't give me reason to be jealous, not directly, but if i look hard enough i could pin alot on him, real or imagined i can't even tell. it hurts none the less. at times i want to be free so i don't have to deal with these feelings. they wont go away until i work to death on them, but at least i wouldn't be inconstant pain. the pain i'm talking about is the working on me. the learning that so much of our problems is my fault, that each time i discover something new about myself, i have to change it or keep doing it and risk pushing people away. the pain is also that he brings out the jealousy and lack of trust, it may be so totally innocent and i know it, yet it hurts like a direct insult. if i leave this relationship and go back home i would be running away and i would be a quitter as i have been told by a counselor plus i would be bringing "me" with me, unfortunately. sooner or later i'd meet someone else and have the same ole problems. at one time years ago i was in counseling for grief from my mom, sister and aunt dying all within six months, i tried to apply alot of that to relationships but it was hard to do when not in one. so i was single for almost two years and thought i had myself under control until i got involved and found out i hadn't changed at all and i'm probably better off single that way idon't cause people problems and i don't have to hurt. any comments? please! jamie

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

S1

I have a verbally abusive boyfriend who continually tells me that *I* am abusive for suggesting that he is abusive. He swears at me and yells at me but then tells me that this was in "self-defense" to my verbal abuse. My "verbal abuse" consists of making suggestions or talking about my needs. He perceives everything as a personal attack and criticism. On the one hand, I want to call this victim-blaming and see it as part of his abuse. On the other hand, I'm afraid to do just that because wouldn't that make me just like him? He is abusing me and denying it. So if I reject his analysis then I am the one in denial. Yet I don't think I verbally abuse him, though I have become angry at his abuse in the early stages (though never swore back at him). How do I know when he's victim-blaming vs. when he's actually right?

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Date: Wednesday, June 21, 2000

S1

I have a verbally abusive boyfriend who continually tells me that *I* am abusive for suggesting that he is abusive. He swears at me and yells at me but then tells me that this was in "self-defense" to my verbal abuse. My "verbal abuse" consists of making suggestions or talking about my needs. He perceives everything as a personal attack and criticism. On the one hand, I want to call this victim-blaming and see it as part of his abuse. On the other hand, I'm afraid to do just that because wouldn't that make me just like him? He is abusing me and denying it. So if I reject his analysis then I am the one in denial. Yet I don't think I verbally abuse him, though I have become angry at his abuse in the early stages (though never swore back at him). How do I know when he's victim-blaming vs. when he's actually right?

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Remote Name: 64.40.72.10
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Date: Wednesday, June 21, 2000

S1

First, to Jamie: making changes in yourself is very painful work! You have to face certain things about yourself that you'd rather not; you have to forgive yourself when you mess up, and somehow find the strength to try again--over and over! It has helped me to remind myself that it took many years for me to develop a co-dependent life-style. I won't change that in just a few weeks or months; in fact, I have been actively working on it for years! I have made slow and steady progress. I understand how tired you are of the whole process! But if you just give up, what will you gain? I guess you could just live totally alone; that way you won't risk hurting anyone, or getting hurt yourself. But is that really living? You have been through so much--be patient with yourself! It's okay to be discouraged, even okay to feel like giving up. Don't give into those feelings for very long, though. Find someone you trust to share with, and go to them for support and encouragement. Doing that has helped me a lot!

To the above poster: in my opinion, calling what your boyfriend does "victim blaming" is not abuse. You are telling it like it is! I am having somewhat the same experience. It is very discouraging to have your partner pick apart something you hoped would be enlightening for him! I am trying very hard to not get sucked into arguments about the validity of the book. I feel that if all he is going to do is try to invalidate Evans and the book, then he is not sincerely interested in learning anything. I would make your boyfriend do his own work--if he doesn't like Evans, tell him to find another book on the subject that he's willing to read and share with you. I am learning the hard way that constantly presenting my H with material to read is useless. I spend time and energy finding things for him to read, only to have him reject them by not finding time to read them or by picking them apart. If he really wants to work with you to achieve a better relationship, he has to put forth some effort. As far him calling you abusive, I've dealt with that too. I feel very confident in my knowledge of what abuse consists of. Sharing my opinions and needs in a reasonable way is not abuse! Asking to be treated with respect is not abuse! Establishing boundaries and enforcing them is not abuse! Remember that we are dealing with people who feel attacked and threatened by us when we are "different" or won't be controlled. Just because they feel attacked, doesn't mean that they are being attacked. I guess that I would advise you to learn all you can about abuse and controlling personalities, talk to people who have knowledge in this area, and seek the input of those who truly care for you. That will help you be sure that your perceptions are on track, and that your own thinking is healthy. After awhile, you won't question yourself so much (don't stop altogether, though :) ), and you'll have an inner core of strength that feels so good!

Stay strong,

Becky

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Remote Name: 24.4.255.160
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Date: Thursday, June 22, 2000

S1

becky, thank you for your post: it gave me some good feelings and motivation, i really needed that! however, if i did "quit" i'd only quit my boyfriend to stop the pain, i'd still work on myself tho in counseling, on here, in books and with whatever resource i could find, kinda like i do now, only i wouldn't have to hurt every time i screw up or everytime it hurts want to pack up and run away. of course i'd hurt for such a long time from missing him. i'd probably regret it as well. so i will remember to go easy on myself when i do mess up, that will help and that is very good advice. thank you so much! i thinking being a perfectionist and screwing up is doubly hard on me. i want to do it right and perfect and not fall on my face so many times, feeling like a failure each time, feeling like i have accomplished nothing or have to start all over again because i screwed up "again" i will forge ahead tho and try to be more forgiving of myself. thanks again for the great advice...............jamie

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Remote Name: 152.163.194.209
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Date: Thursday, June 22, 2000

S1

Becky wrote: "I am learning the hard way that constantly presenting my H with material to read is useless. I spend time and energy finding things for him to read, only to have him reject them by not finding time to read them or by picking them apart." And "Just because they feel attacked, doesn't mean that they are being attacked."

I was wondering if you wouldn't mind elaborating as to how he picks certain material apart? What does he actually say about it?

I was a victim myself but could not use Evans' book other than to define abuse. That was extremely invaluable. Yet, I could not partake of the Reality 1 VS Reality 2 because I do not feel things are black and white in any situation.

However, I am not here to debate her material either really, I just wanted more info. I thought she said in essence that what you feel "is" - that if you feel attacked you are being attacked, so would this not apply to others as well? I know some abusers feel they are victims, too, that is their reality whether we agree with it or not.

I know in my Codependency I went through a phase where I presented my abuser with a lot of material and he rejected it, too. I think a lot of the problem (for me anyway) was in the presentation; the constant, "Here, see, this is you. Look, this is how you are. Oh, this sounds exactly like you." Etc. He eventually just closed himself off because in his mind it did come across like I was always pointing out a flaw of his which, in essence, I was.

This is why I am currently of the mind that you can tell a person a few times how you feel, or what you think of their behavior, or what your wants/needs are. But if you transcend beyond that and repeatedly bring it up, to them if can feel as if you are trying to control them, fix them, always looking for something wrong in them. How do you feel?

Terri

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Remote Name: 147.140.144.157
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Date: Friday, June 23, 2000

S1

To Terri and any other victims going through the frustrating abusive dance:

Just sympathizing on how difficult it is to be involved with the abusive personalities you are dealing with. Here's some insight from me now that I've grown quite a bit. Looking back, I think the hardest part for we as victims to accept is that the abuser's perception of reality is completely different than ours. We are always waiting for them to "see the light", but the truth is that they don't think like we do. Because they are often defensive, it makes trying to work with them almost impossible. We as victims are always reading the self-help books, trying to figure it all out. They don't want anything to do with those books because it is too frightenening for them to finally "look at themselves". This is what they always try to avoid and where blaming is effective for them, as they get themselves off the hook! I intentionally left a book out on the table once with a page marked to "signs that your mate is a rageaholic". Every description fit him perfectly. What do you think he did when he saw it? I was in the shower and he came storming in with the book EXTREMELY angry and defensive and blaming me for other things not even relevant to the current situation. So, the bottom line, I'm sorry to say, is that you can try many things and set boundaries that may never work if you are dealing with someone like this. Just take a look at the big picture: Does he recognize that "HE" has a problem, or does he just continue to blame you when you try to talk to him? Does he talk to you and say he doesn't want to lose you and he'll do whatever he can to salvage the relationship? Does he agree to read books, go to counseling in an effort to work on the relationship? Finally, if he ever gets to that point, does he IMPLEMENT what he's learned? Keep this in mind as well: an abuser can still go to counseling and leave with a slanted view that will always protect himself in an effort to avoid taking responsibility. If you can answer no to any of these questions, it is time for you to look at yourself and learn why you are staying in a relationship with someone who will not work with you. Do you know why many of these people will never change? BECAUSE THEY DON'T WANT TO. First look at his values, the way he was raised, where he is in life, how many times he's changed residences, how many jobs he's had over the past few years and finally, how many relationships he has recently had. Is there instability there? If so, I'll bet that you will have an unstable time with him as well.

Just food for thought and as always, best of luck, LHW

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Date: Friday, June 23, 2000

S1

Hi LHW:

That is precisely why I finally left mine. It was interesting that you wrote in essence some abusers will never change because "they don't want to." Well, a friend asked me why if I knew my SO was abusive and unwilling to change did I not leave? I had a lot of excuses - I still loved him, I still had hope, I had no car, no job, nowhere to go, etc. To which she replied, "The real reason is, you just don't want to (leave)."

I honestly cannot lump abusers together, they are all individual people. Some would be willing to change but see abusive behavior in the victim, too, and resent being told that THEY need help (as to them it's like the pot calling the kettle black). Just as some victims who act out resent being told they have a problem, too, and blind themselves to it. In general, however, I find that most people are turned off by someone who has the attitude, "My reality is always right, therefore I am always right."

I have to say in all honesty I could not really find myself in Evans' book because I fell somewhere in between. I was a victim who acted out, was controlling in my efforts to fix my abuser, and was in denial initially about it. I cannot justify my behavior by saying he brought it out of me, because that was the same excuse he used.

I have too many times seen victims in groups tell stories about calling their abusers names, yelling at them, swearing, throwing things, telling them what to do, pointing out that they are always wrong, etc. and they turn right around and ask, "I show him material on how abusive he/she is, how come he/she doesn't get it?"

Of course NOT all victims are like that at all, so it was not in reference to anyone here specifically, but the reason I bring it up is because in these incidents the "victim's" reality seems as amiss as the abuser's.

I find the more I advance in my own recovery, the more I trust my own instincts and perceptions, the more I take responsibility for my own behavior and life overall as opposed to trying to fix or change anyone else. I can now see that my reality was not perfect either, nor was it always right by any means, and I am more than OK with that revelation. I never realized at the time that trying to mend his issues was a great way to avoid my own.

More important than how I could get him well, was what on earth was I doing with someone who treated me so poorly and made it relatively clear he would never really change? Ooh, that was scary. It was harder to ask what was up with my own reality and what I was doing with my life, than it was to focus on his problems.

Terri

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Date: Friday, June 23, 2000

S1

Hi Terri!

My husband tends to try to invalidate the materials I ask him to read by invalidating ME, as in "You think you know everything because you've read all the books." My thought is that if I thought I "knew everything," I wouldn't bother reading any books! He also said of Evans' book that "She says everything is abuse." He also says that everyone does these behaviors. I guess meaning that since everyone does it, it must be normal, and therefore not abusive. He has also thrown the terminology at me, calling me verbally abusive, and accusing me of oneupmanship when I honestly was not engaging in those behaviors. His attitude was combative; I could tell that he was just trying to shut me down by shifting the focus onto me.

I agree that Evans' book is invaluable as far as helping to identify and define verbal abuse, and I also find her techniques for dealing with it helpful, albeit difficult at times to stick to, due to my desire to defend myself. But I'm working on that!

As far as feelings are concerned, I don't necessarily think that they reflect reality. I know they don't always in my case. As LHW says, we are in two different realities; we don't think alike. That's why, when we try to "explain," we think an understanding will be reached, but they think they are being attacked. Doesn't make sense! Yes, their reality is real to them, but it doesn't necessarily reflect the truth. And our reality (that we are in a relationship based upon mutuality and good will) is real to us, but doesn't reflect the truth.

I find that as I progress in therapy, which now includes studying this site, my focus is more on me and why I am the way I am, and less on getting him to change. Sure, I hope that we will be able to work together toward a healthier marriage, but I understand that to achieve that we need to be healthier, and that includes me! I have no control over whether or not he does his part--darn! :) Becky

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Date: Sunday, June 25, 2000

S1

Hi Becky:

Lol, yeah, darn! Thanks for the feedback. I see what you are saying. Sounds like a good avoidance maneuver on his part. I guess we all have to do what we feel is best for us. I tend to take information from several sources and combine them a bit. I sure don't have all the answers myself either. Nothing worked with my ex SO. Although I am sure I would approach it differently now, I have no idea if that would have changed anything anyway.

I don't know what to say about yours suggesting Evans refers to almost everything as abuse, as I understand why some people can interpret her material that way. As 99% victim myself, I had to be cautious to not think I was always right about everything.

So, what I did with a relative who was verbally abusive is after showing him the book, I asked him, "Well, tell me then, how do you personally define abuse? Is it someone calling you names, ignoring you, getting angry a lot? What words/actions do you dislike when they come from another and are directed toward you?"

I was surprised, it seemed like when I asked him questions as opposed to finger pointing, he was a lot more receptive. Then when he would say, "Hey, this sounds like you! You are always trying to control me!" I (with much painful restraint!) did not defend myself, but just acknowledged him, "I see, I can understand if you feel I am controlling."

Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather, it never occurred to me that HE wanted to be validated, too. I cannot say our relationship is hunk-dory, but there is a lot more mutual respect and constructive feedback being exchanged now.

Yet, I do have a friend who acknowledged her wrong doing, and her abusive husband has completely latched onto that. Throws it in her face repeatedly, so she has to remind him not to deflect his own behavior by focusing on hers when she is addressing something about him that she finds abusive. She will say, "We are talking about you right now. We can discuss me later." It's so much work, isn't it? Good luck to you :)

Terri

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

S1

Dr. Irene, I really enjoyed this article, it made a lot of sense to me right now. Being with a recovering abuser, I'm learning that I do have to deal with my own stuff. This doesn't make me responsible for abuse, and I am SO against blaming the victim, and I agree with all of Evans' stuff, but in my case, I do need to learn to deal with my own boundry issues, addiction to a person, ect. The problem for victims is that many abusers will promise and plead that they will shape up and change, and then find ways to abuse that are totally different. They are always working to throw the victim off balance. This makes for a real paranoid victim, at least in my case! Slippery is a good word to describe them. But what I'm starting to realize is that trying to get them to see how they're "doing it again" and psychoanalyzing my abuser, as I've been known to do (all the time!) is innappropriate. I have to focus on myself, control myself, set my own boundaries, and stick to them. It's really hard! I don't want my abuser to fail in his recovery so I feel like it's my responsibility and duty to prevent him from abusing somehow. Of course I know this is wrong and I'm working on it. Btw, a great book that teaches women to take control of their own actions (without blaming in the least- in fact it's writen by a feminist) is Dr. Harriet Lerner's 'The Dance of Anger'. I just finished it and I'm going to read it again. It's brilliant and applies to almost any woman, abused or not. -SatokoGirl

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Date: Monday, June 26, 2000

S1

A little side note to add- I'm at this stage right now where I'm begining to understand about the victim taking responsibility and all, and my boyfriend is an 'abuser in recovery' (which means he admits to his abuse, is very sorry for it, and continues to do it, albiet in less inflammatory ways than he used to..) and after a heated fight, I admitted to some wrongdoing, apologized, and said that I was going to try to control my behavior better because although I have a lot of anger as a victim, it's not right to behave inappropriately. I asked him to please let me know if I did or said anything that hurt his feelings, and that I'd try to listen and respond. So what did he do? Turn it into a power play... gone back to raising his voice, yelling, speaking in that contemptous tone...he hasn't done these things for months. I guess I just overestimated how far in recovery HE was. He's obviously still trying to gain control, and is thrilled that he no longer has to take all the blame (which I can understand) but is unable to do so maturely. He's found a new outlet for his anger and feels justified in expressing it abusively. Any suggestions as to what a trying-to-take-responsibilty victim can do here to avoid falling back into the "it's my fault!" trap all over again? -SatokoGirl

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Remote Name: 12.46.84.45
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Date: Monday, June 26, 2000

S1

There are sure a lot of very different victims out there. I read Terri's post - she said " As 99% victim myself, I had to be cautious to not think I was always right about everything." Interesting. I could have written the exact opposite: As 99% victim myself I had to be cautious not to think I was wrong about everything....S

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Date: Tuesday, June 27, 2000

S1

Hi S:

What I meant was, initially I thought everything was my fault, but once I grabbed a hold of certain reading material I started to swing to the opposite end of the spectrum and I then thought that I was ALWAYS right, that EVERYTHING he did was abusive, and I told him so over and over.

I refused to listen to his input at all for fear that he would throw me off balance, so even when he said something that was valid I dismissed it. As long as I felt he was abusive then he was, there was no middle ground.

The problem was that I had been abused for so long that I read horrible things into everything he said and did even when it was NOT there. I was being unfair because no one is always right, but by that point I thought I was. Then I acted out and justified it as, "I am not abusive, I am just reacting." Which was a poor excuse for assaulting another person with food and nasty words. That was the 1%incident I was referring to.

I am seeking balance. I feel confident enough to where I can assess when abuse is occurring and handle it appropriately, but I can also acknowledge that I am not always right either. More importantly, however, blame and fault are not in my vocabulary anymore. I tend to focus more on responsibility. I am responsible for my words/actions, he is responsible for his.

You are right, there are many different kinds of victims, but I no longer feel I am a victim of anything really (I am here for reinforcement, to learn, to grow, I do volunteer work at a shelter so I can apply what I learn here to help others, etc.) so on some level my attitude works for me. Thanks for the input :)

Terri

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Remote Name: 24.4.255.160
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Date: Wednesday, June 28, 2000

S1

hey guys, i have a problem maybe you could shed some light on for me: i have a b/f and he is pretty good to me for the most part. sometimes he can really be a jerk tho. like today i said i think that them ginko's are what's giving me gas. his response was "oh brother!" i said "what? do you have a problem with my saying that?" he said, "why is it that everything new you take gives you gas?" i said, "cause i have a very sensitive systems" he rolled his eyes. i left the room feeling almost ashamed of how i felt about the ginko. i was so angry at him! this is what it is like to live with this guy. he is totally unsympathetic about things i tell him, so for the most part i don't tell him anything anymore. i know alot of guys are just like this, they don't know how to handle confrontations and the such. am i being too hard on him? i feel like leaving him, but i love him and would miss him so much. i know how codependent that sounds but i am working so hard on myself and my issues, and i feel it is easier for me to be in a relationship and work on myself then it is to be alone and work on myself. if i'm alone i don't really do the work cause i don't feel the stress and anxiety. so i can acomplish more when i'm with someone, but i love him too, other wise that would be like using him. any sugguestions? great site too!

thank you all, april

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Remote Name: 12.46.84.56
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Date: Wednesday, June 28, 2000

S1

To Terri about above post - about different kinds of victims. Didn't intend to single you out for input. Just to clarify - I do believe your previous statement , your experience is just different than mine. Thats great that you can recognize what is happening for you with blaming now. -S

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Remote Name: 193.128.102.3
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Date: Monday, July 03, 2000

S1

Blaming achieves nothing. It perpetuates the vicious circle. From what I have read and from paying careful attention to my boyfriend abusers are aware that they are behaving badly AND aware of the impact it has on thier victims. Setting limits, stopping blaming - though by all means make your point that you are being abused, but not over and over - focussing on the self and getting on with your own life all help break this vicious circle. On the last three occasions when my boyfriend was abusive he apologised himself twice, and once I asked him if he was perfect. No, he said. So, I said, I could just as well find things in him to criticise. Anyway this was over two weeks ago. But above all I have been getting on with what I wanted to do with my life. Detaching, not obsessing about your abuser's behaviours will help him feel better about himself. As a victim you have perpetuated the unacceptable behaviours - but only because you assumed you were dealing with an adult, when in fact you were dealing with a kid. How were you to know? Oh, and I think most abusers really do want to be good little children - and you are the authority figure whose condemnation they fear. As victim you have a lot of power, if you learn to use it and use it properly - simply to re-establish the correct boundaries.

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Date: Thursday, July 06, 2000

S1

I believe that it is too easy for outside people to label one spouce "Abuser" and the other "victim". It is never that black and white. Usually the couple swap roles back and forth. One form of bad anger management is not any better or worse that another form of bad anger management. The key to true mental health usually involves changing how we think. In doing so we, roles or victim and abuser disappear. AJ

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Date: Friday, July 07, 2000

S1

Hi AJ:

I agree with you but I think this also applies to the people inside of the relationship, not just outside of it. I swapped roles with my abuser at times but was really caught up in the Abuser VS Victim & Reality I VS Reality II concepts because I was confused and it simplified things for me to separate us that way.

It also was a means of avoidance, I did not have to take responsibility for my own words/actions since HE was the "bad" guy. Boy, have I learned a lot since then, mainly though this site. I rarely even use labels anymore, I know no one is always right or always wrong, nothing is black and white. I just feel a lot more balanced, fair and confident in my perceptions now.

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Date: Monday, July 10, 2000

S1

Ah, I have experienced the same. ALthough I even use strong counter statements, such as "STOP IT", even "CUT the CRAP" (for some reason this works well, go figure); I allow myself to slip and think I owe it to this person to be "fair" and explain....well, I am working on this, one day at a time. I also found that when I see that my husband twists the blame to me, projects, I tell him he is seeing his own reflection..that works too.

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Date: Monday, July 10, 2000

S1

Ah, I have experienced the same. ALthough I even use strong counter statements, such as "STOP IT", even "CUT the CRAP" (for some reason this works well, go figure); I allow myself to slip and think I owe it to this person to be "fair" and explain....well, I am working on this, one day at a time. I also found that when I see that my husband twists the blame to me, projects, I tell him he is seeing his own reflection..that works too.

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Date: Thursday, July 13, 2000

S1

Thanks so much for this series of letters. I am a victim and have behaved poorly defending myself against verbal/emotional abuse for the last 5 years. I am in the process of cleaning up my act and I am encouraging my spouse to do the same. I would like to let the blame go, both ways. I am so tired of trying to justify my human rights at the top of my lungs. I am tired of running around in a panic trying to gather up my immediate personal belongings before I am thrown out of the house we jointly own. I am finally obtaining my own residence, hopefully it will only need to be used as a safety zone while we clean house. I love my husband very much, I want to concentrate on forgiveness and move forward to establish ourselves as individual's and then as the loving couple we are capable of being, if my memory is real. Thanks, L.

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Date: Monday, July 24, 2000

S1

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Date: Saturday, August 12, 2000

S1

Ok. I just found this web page and I am in the midst of deciding whether to end a relationship that I know is not good for me. Or at least I think I know. There's always a possibility of misperception. My husband of just over a year goes into rages at comments that I think are harmless. At dinner one night in a restaurant we were discussing a future trip to New York with friends and I said it would be nice to have a map to point out where they are and also to know where I am in the city. Since I was not a native New Yorker I thought it would be nice to know. My Husband "R" exploded and spat out "maybe you should show them around New York since you know so much!" He is a New Yorker. In a rage he left the restaurant and me with the bill. He did not talk to me for 5 days and did not even acknowledge my presence in the house. This is not the first time he has done this. He goes into rages every 3 -4 weeks or so and verballing abuses me, threatens to end the relationship and only when I am crying and begging does he relent. He seem to have no real appreciation of me as an individual and I accept responsibility that since I don't assert myself I perpetuate the rages. I should have known this because even before we got married he took my car that I liked and had bought before I knew him and was proud of and traded it for a fancy truck (that he ended up driving) while I was away at a conference in Canada. I got to drive his old Honda because although he said the truck was for me he told me that I probably couldn't handle it and it was not good for my 3 dogs. I was shocked but since the deed had already been done I meekly said nothing to him about it and even paid $600 in taxes which he never paid me back Prior to going away he had told about his idea to trade in my car and I had said I had not wanted to and that I liked my car. He did it anyway. There are many other stories of rages and being left etc. I was very low in self-esteem when I met him (I was recovering from my first marriage breaking up only 3 months before). He wined and dined me and convinced me to get a divorce and then the yelling started. I am at the angry stage now. I have been through the cryng, begging stage and the throwing abuse back stage in fights and now I am rationale and reasonable when I speak to him, but angry. I am reading the books Dr. Irene recommended for this stage. At the moment he and I are living in the same house but I have chosen to be reasonable in my exchanges, but I cannot imagine living as a wife with him again. He has begged me to go a counselor (it had been my idea long ago... and now he's seems desparate) and I have agreed. I guess its to give me time....... He cries now and says he loves me and misses me. I am kind and calm but I feel nothing. I have talked with me friends and have been in therapy for a year building my self-esteem so that I could get to this point. I knew this marriage was wrong (it came 2 months after my divorce), but I tried to make a bad decision right. He has advanced degrees in psycology and is extremely smart and most people think his so nice and rationale. But he changes behind closed doors and becomes abusive and hostile. He has not hit me, but has grabbed me and has not allowed me to close the bathroom soor in an attempt to get away from him. I think that he will fool the counselor into thinking that I am crazy. He has said I am the problem and that he was going to get rid of the problem. That's before I called his bluff and refused to continue the cycle. Dr. Irene, you give sound advice. I know in my gut that I need to end this and move on with my life Why do I not have the courage to tell him. He deserves to know. Actually I have said that I have no confidence in the relationship and I want peace and I don't want the relationship, but he refuses to believe it and goes on making arrangements as though we will be together. He told me he will not give up. Help!!! I

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Date: Wednesday, August 30, 2000

S1

Dr. Irene,

I have just started reading your site, and I love it! My problem here is that I am a relative of the victim. But because I have helped my brother who now has custody, I am also blamed by the ex-wife, and her family. She takes no responsibility for anything. She has been fired from two jobs, lost her children, her name was taken off the church books, she took her daughter out of the hospital AMA (against medical advice), lied to the preacher during therapy about her affair (there was a PI to prove her wrong), yet her family is all mad at our family for my brother standing up to her. I have never been through anything like this. She constantly makes up stories about our family to the 4 children, they think we are to blame for the divorce. I would do anything for my neices and nephew. I only helped my brother because he was thrown out of his house, so her lover could move in. She had wiped out the bank account, and hid things of his that were important to him. He had nothing, lost his children, his wife, his house, only had the clothes on his back. Our family steped in. We gave him money for the PI, (she denied he was living there, and even asked the kids to lie), loaned him clothes, helped him find an apartment, gave him furniture we didn't need, because she would give him nothing saying she needed it for the kids, and tried to find a good counselor (she has fooled two), and a good attorney. He was in a state of shock, and we were sick to our stomachs. We missed her terribly, and missed the way she use to be, or the way we thought she was. It was like when we discovered the real her, and we were the bad guys.

We are all trying find a way to recover from this. Her actions have ruined many lives. Her new husband has abused 2 of the children, one cannot walk now because of him (the one she took out of the hospital). The state is working with my brother on this. Her family is in denial. Right now I'm just helping the children, by taking them to therapy, (emotional and physical), taking them shopping, to movies, whatever I can do to get their mind off things. It is more like just taking this day by day.

Thank you

DN

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Date: Friday, September 08, 2000

S1

Dr. Irene--after a marriage filled with verbal abuse and then a 3 year relationship that I just ended, also filled with verbal abuse, I continue to doubt my perceptions and abilities. I read your site daily to reaffirm that I have done the right thing, that I am getting stronger and that I am basically okay. I know that there are many things I need to work on in me--thus reading this advance recovery page is wonderful. This is good stuff! bonnie

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Date: Friday, September 22, 2000

S1

Thank you so much for your article.It had really helped me, I am at the stage that he is trying to apologize, and i have some "power", and for one that has felt so powerless for so long, it does feel better. it is still not what i am looking for though. I still desire his validation, and know that is not right, and it angers me that i still am feeling like that, still unable to set that boundary. I am still talking to him, although i know i will never, ever go back to him, and i allow him to apologize and not go on himself. which he is "claiming" he isnt, but he has at times moved on to other women, i have proof that i don't even care about telling him about, i'll pretend i am unaware, so i can keep him giving me what i want. which, is mainly just an avoidance of conflict in our divorce and the satisfaction of seeing him be in my shoes for once. I don't care if he does really move on or not. i may be selfish, but i am only interested in getting what i want now - unconcerned about his feelings and maybe even wanting him to be "taken advantage" of. the way I was. i know that is not right. i know i have to stop our contact in order to actually "win" and just by letting it happen, i am only hurting myself, just the same as i have since i met him, and because of that , no matter what he fells, i will never feel validated to my self. i get frustrated that i am still repeating mistakes, and i become insecure in my ability, if after all this, i am still in the same position i was, only in a different way. i have plans with him tomorrow, i promised i would not break, but i don't want to go, but i know i should keep my word and still give me the little powersurge i get from it, but i want to stop it so bad i don't care about my breaking my word to him, he has done it to me, but two wrongs dont make a right, what should i do. i know that if i just decide to forget it , he will use it as reasons that he is right and i am a bad person who does deo what i say, but i really don't care, i don't want to doubt myself because, it is true, i did tell i would and didn't. i know that may be another one if is ways to keep me where i am, is it? am i allowing myself to fall into it by going, and just don't want to go b/c i am angry but still should do what i know is right about keeping my word, if i forget it and don't go i feel as though, because i haven't concernedmyself more with his feelings, that i am recovering, but by breaking my promise, am i no doing exactly what he did to me, and becoming a person that for the past months have tried to get away from. i need some advice bad!!! please someone e-maill me---JaxMo3@aol.com

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Date: Friday, September 22, 2000

S1

I need to understand more about boundaries and boundary violations. Until my ex accused me of it (when I stood up for myself), I hadn't heard of it. My therapist gave me a sheet describing what boundaries were, but it was very academic and philosophical and I am having a hard time translating it to real incidents.

LHW said (with Dr Irene's remarks interspersed): "....many abusive/controlling people never take the RESPONSIBILITY for their behavior that you have! Many of them are looking for a scapegoat, a way out, someone to blame. (Correct. That is exactly what abusive people do! The victim's error is in their willingness to accept blame.)

But what if you *didn't* accept the blame? What if you refused to take delivery of it, and gave it back to him and called him on his behavior, but still stayed in the relationship for the good bits, believing the lies and the "you are the best thing that ever happened to me" tales, believing that this person actually wanted to stop abusing? But then the abuse got more disrespectful, more discourteous, and the lies and condescension increased....

I realize now, that the more independent and assertive about my boundaries I got, the more abusive he got (and this was AFTER he went into cognitive therapy).

Is taking someone's kids away for a weekend with out asking her or talking to her about it a boundary violation? Was I acting abusively in expressing my anger and hurt over that action/behavior?

LWH said: "It was horribly frustrating. Everything I tried to discuss with him, he threw back on me (projection). (And, with projection, the therapist initially doesn't know who to believe!) If I said I felt like I was walking on eggshells, HE was, etc.! "

Oh can I relate to that one! My ex was and is *still* doing the same thing to me. After we had broken up, and he was still living in MY house and I was horribly uncomfortable (physically ill at the prospect of coming home), I asked him to please stay somewhere else until his apartment was ready (in 1.5 weeks) and he refused. He said, "This is a boundary issue and you are always pushing my boundaries!" It was the first I had heard of the term, and yet, since I have been in therapy, I have been told that the lies, the disrespect, the rudeness he used to hurt me, was all about violating *my* boundaries....

I have heard from mutual friends that he is going around saying that I was "controlling" and emotionally abusive to him. And then he moves into the same neighborhood I live in. He earns 6 figures. He has no other expenses but himself and one adult son who is living elsewhere. He can afford to live anywhere he wants, but he cried poor, told people it was the ONLY place he could find and afford on such short notice, etc. etc.... What *victim* willingly moves anywhere near his/her abuser? And then jokes to a mutual friend, "I guess N will be pretty upset if I start dating Donna next door, huh?"

I don't want to think of myself as a victim, but this is the first time in my life that after a relationship breakup I have suffered from anxiety attacks, unhealthy weight loss, nausea every morning, sleep disturbances, appetite loss, etc... My chest gets so tight when he is around that I almost can't breathe. My skin hurts. It's terrifying. And he never did anything physically abusive. Never threatened to. But I'm really frightened of him. I'm in therapy trying to find out why and how to get past this. I feel like I'm being stalked but the terror is being inflicted in such a covert way.

Is moving into the same neighborhood I live in, when he knows I am scared of him, a boundary violation?

"Also note that in the typical relationship where the victim allows the abuse to continue hoping that in time the abuser will realize they are loved, etc. - the victim is trying to control the abuser - and is violating the abuser's boundaries! The abuser plays the same control and violation games, albeit in a different form. I believe that control and boundary violation are not OK in any form."

I don't understand what boundaries are violated. Perhaps you could explain? Why/how is hoping that someone will realize they are loved and stop hating him/herself "controlling"? Are we not encouraged to love and be supportive of people who are trying to heal themselves?

Is it because she wants him to change for her and this is as bad as him expecting her to change for him?

If the abused partner calls the abuser on his behavior, stands up to herself, and asserts her right to respect and proper treatment, but stays because she loves the caring loving side of the abuser, believes there IS a good, kind person inside of him, and wants to be supportive of the abuser's attempts to heal his self-hate issues, is this violating boundaries?

Is wanting him to love and accept you as you are, and not *want* to hurt you violating his boundaries? How are you controlling someone by doing that? How does the control manifesting itself? Is wanting things like respect, love and consideration a boundary violation? He didn't express what he wanted, what he needed, and instead punished me with disrespect and lies out of resentment for me not reading his mind. This is a boundary violation? I tell him what I want and what I need - honesty, courtesy, love, respect, and compassion. Is this violating his boundaries? I really need to know. I feel like I am getting so many mixed messages.

Is believing and expecting someone to fulfil their promises a boundary violation??

Was I controlling because I still wanted the relationship even though he had so clearly violated my trust so many times?

Perhaps I was controlling because I refused to break up with him (I accepted him breaking up with me), because I wanted HIM to take responsibility for his own unhappiness, and I didn't want him claiming that I didn't love him and that I abandoned him just when he was in therapy and actually trying to work on things... If he didn't want the relationship, I didn't want to be manipulated into breaking up with him - I wanted him to just tell me outright. Was that controlling or just stupidly stubborn?

Would it have been better to "interpret" his actions, even though they contradicted his words, and just break it off with him myself? Was my stubbornness still a response to him – and thereby giving him control regardless, instead of just doing what felt right to me? (Of course this is a moot point – I was so confused I know longer knew what felt “right”…)

"A former victim who takes personal responsibility and who has mastered assertion skills would not waste their time and energy getting upset that the abuser may be "doing it again." Nor would they waste time and energy fretting over the correctness of their perceptions ("reality"). An individual who takes personal responsibility trusts themselves, but also knows they are not infallible. All this is taken in stride, for none of it seems terribly important anymore. "

Sure, after I can stop caring about him, I will get to that stage. But IN the relationship where you love someone?

But, but... but... I feel like you are suggesting that it is not healthy to have emotions when someone violates your boundaries?

If I get to a point where someone's verbal or emotionally abusive behavior doesn't matter to me, I don't CARE about them. I don't love them. How can THEY matter to me if their actions and behavior don't? I can't seem to open my heart to love and connectedness and caring not feel pain when someone I love does something that hurts. They seem to be two sides of the same coin. I know I choose to feel what I feel, but I just can't seem to turn my caring on and off, depending on the person's behavior. Am I totally screwed up that I can't love someone without feeling pain if they deliberately hurt or ignore or verbally abuse me?

-N

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Date: Sunday, October 22, 2000

S1

This whole issue of blame is very sensitive to me. When I had finally had enough pain in my life I basically retreated and isolated myself from all people. I felt totally "out of control", a city without a wall and everyone I knew was taking over my life bit by bit. Of course I was to blame. But did I want to hear it from the self serving people that had invaded me. No absolutely no. I needed time alone to find me and to hear myself. I didn't have a clue where I began and ended. How could I form a boundary when I had no clue what I believed in. I had a lot of anger towards so many people that tried to help me and eventually walked all over me controlling every aspect of my life because I wasn't doing it. So do I blame myself and continue to be my own worst enemy. No, I don't . I accept I was abused from day one and didn't know how to protect myself. I finally became aware of it by having so much pain that the words blurted out of my own mouth, I am so out of control" I had no control. Simple. I had so many people trying to exert their control on me. I am now taking life very slow. Reading, learning, and changing. I want to be in control and not unwittingly fall into a trap by manipulative people. My trust level is very low. I move very slow today. I am so cautious of any smooth talker. I listen a lot and offer very little about myself until I trust. Teri

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Date: Saturday, November 04, 2000

S1

Oh where to start? First let me say, this article has been one of the most personally liberating articles I've read. It validated feelings I felt during family therapy. I too was specifically asked to keep the house cleaner, monitor the childrens chores and involve myself more willingly with his hobbies. These "suggestions" terrified me. I felt like the councelor had no idea what he was dealing with. I knew that it did not matter how clean the house was, how well behaved the children might be nor how far up my ex-s behind I crawled, the abuse would NOT be stopped by those behaviors. For an abuser, good enough never is. An abuser will always find something to become enraged and explode over. As my daughter still says, "You just never knew what kind of mood he was going to be in". When the therapist focused on my deficiencies, it felt like a slap in the face and I also began a decent into self-doubt again. "Maybe all this really is my fault". Only another abuse-ee will understand this particuliar madness. I didn't all at once just decide that his abusive behavior was not my fault. It took a long time for that reality to become a "fact" and not just a theory or "desperate" belief.

During the 6 months or so of family therapy my husband treated it like a game and I felt like I was going to the circus, my husband was the ring master, Mike our therapist, didn't act like he had a clue. Rick loved to manipulate Mike and my husband did not mind admitting to me after our sessions that Mike was a "moron". The last session I attended I felt like Rick was playing the prosecuting attorney and Mike was the judge and jury. I walked out. If it had not been for my 12-step program I would have blown my brains out. I was simply that depressed, confused and angry.

AFter reading this article I realize my perceptions of what was going on in therapy were mainly based on the lingering fear that his behavior really was my fault and that something was wrong with me because I couldn't keep the house clean enough, or the kids well behaved enough to stop the abuse. I could not verbalize these feelings. I had no concrete understanding of what I felt, only a formless sense of helplessness where he was concerned.

Before I read this article I was still furious with Mike, even after all these years. I am not furious with him any more, but it still hurts. I really needed this man to help me because I was not capable at that time of enough clarity or self esteen to help myself. But I believe now that Mike did the best he could with what he had to go on. I can see today that self worth and self dicipline are empowering and perhaps those were the tools he was trying to foster in me with some of his suggestions.

Rick's behavior was sugar coated in terms of "anger managment issues" and "inappropriate behavior". The word "abuse" was like a dirty word, not to be used. It was shied away from by both Mike and Rick. I'm still angry about that.

Once again, thanks for this article, it really helped me look at those months of therapy differently and validated my experience of "blame the victim" which I had never hear of prior to this article.

Paula B

kid, etc) that every thing would be ok. MY experience told me otherwise.

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Date: Sunday, November 05, 2000

S1

My problem is that my abuser is my mother, who has been behaving this way to me my whole life. I've been in therapy, and I know all the things I should know, but I can't divorce her, and now she's getting old and infirm. She is not likely to take responsibility for her behavior at this stage of the game, and I want to be able to handle her abuse without being hurt or enraged by it, but I don't have the coping skills I need.

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Date: Sunday, December 10, 2000

S1

Advanced Recovery, with the emphasis on "Advanced", would imply that one is further along in the recovery process than they were at square one; that there has been progress from a beginning or even intermediate stage to an "advanced" level of recovery, if you will. Given this, it would lead one to wonder how a person got to this level. It is doubtful that many who enter therapy are entering at this level of recovery, so it would only follow that the conditioned response would be defensiveness and lack of trust, to protect that small shred of themself which they have been reduced to and are barely clinging to by a thread.

Now, let's add to this the strong possibility that the abuser may not be sincere about entering therapy for a multitude of reasons(last ditch effort at damage control, another manipulative tactic "to get the victim "fixed"", another forum for them to make themself right and the victim wrong, another feather in their cap to show outsiders that they are the "good guy", an empty promise made during the "honeymoon phase"...and the list goes on), which would validate much skepticism on the part of the victim.

Also now, let's add to this, that the victim may very well have been traumatized by a counselor, of some sort, previously. (by way of many possibilities...a lack of knowledge or a lack of empathy, the latter of which may very well go hand in hand with the unresolved, unrecognized control issues that many people who are drawn to this profession quite often have, unfortunately,... (along with nurses, doctors, lawyers, clergypersons, and police officers...to name a few) (by the way, I am a nurse myself, have suffered under the hand of the ones I describe and try to be/aspire to be, think I am naturally, too, the more empathetic/therapeutic sort that I think there should be alot more of) ...but, likely this realization has come only after the fact, through bitter experience, to sincere persons who sought help out of good motive and placed implicit trust in the "professional". (...very possibly in spite of "red flags" about something here, too... but, of course, they are probably already coming from a place of not trusting their own perceptions anyway...ripe for victimization, however you slice it) Hence, potential major trust issues with the therapist as well.

Anyway, my point(s) would be...

I do not think that "advanced recovery" is as appropriate a "label" as something like "potential recovery side effects" or "what can happen in recovery, the how, the why, but, it's o.k., and it's normal, it's expected, it's understandable, but still, be brave, do the work for yourself, first of all, because it will nourish that shred in you,...but at the same time trust your intuitive feelings, even when it comes to "red flags" about authority figures, that's o.k. too, and more than likely valid,... and remember to TRY TO (sometimes an effort) value yourself enough to be selective about who you endow with that sacred trust of being your gentle guide", or something like that.

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Date: Sunday, December 10, 2000

S1

footnote to last entry:

the abuser who may have resorted to tears and claims that "I know it was all my fault" and "I don't know why I did it" and "I'll do anything" and "I don't want to lose you" and "just please give me another chance" and "I promise it will never happen again" and so on and so on and so on...yada,yada,yada...blah,blah,blah...(o.k. so I know you perceive the anger there...so?...whatever)will typically change his tune in short order, especially if it does not achieve his purpose and suck you right back in(give you a clue about his sincerity?), will most likely resort to PLAN B...that would be B for BULLYING...(which this is a "micro-pattern" of it's own, worthy of contemplation, examination, definition, etc.), but this is a likely point, too, at which the abuser is finally willing to agree to or making some sort of pretense of wanting to go to therapy... (could be my anger or could be justifiably attributed to the HARD-CORE abuser...which, sorry to those I may offend, but I think most probably are).....then,... funny thing,... the sobbing, contrite one (who initially was blaming...then sobbing and contrite...then once again blaming with even more vengeance, often accompanied by ultimatums,etc.) is talking about how "It takes two"...

funny thing

that's all

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Date: Sunday, December 10, 2000

S1

one more sidebar

Dr. I., I really am inclined to believe that you are one of the rare, few exceptions to the rule...I am so thankful that there are people like you, and wish there were more.

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Remote Name: 152.163.197.67
HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; AOL 6.0; Windows 98)
Date: Sunday, December 10, 2000

S1

to Jamie who wrote on June 22...

If I'm not mistaken...I believe that Persian rugs are woven with an intentional flaw, at least one, somewhere within the piece...which, in their culture I am pretty sure has religious significance, something to the effect that man cannot create something perfect, as the supreme being only is capable of that, and to do so would be sacreligious...but, I'm guessing there could be some sort of deep thought and/or life lesson/or at least food for thought here, for you, specifically relating to the perfectionism issue, and all the rest of us

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Remote Name: 63.34.197.24
HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; Windows 98; DigExt)
Date: Thursday, December 14, 2000

S1

I was verbally abused for 20 years by my husband.I sought individual therapy which has been a lifesaver for me.We also went together to a cousellor and it was a joke .I tried for 4 sessions to express how I felt and he didn't want to know.Just talked about hope and disappointment. I became ill.I had all the signs of anxiety.I kept refering to the P Evans book and this site.It all came together for me .I asked my husband to leave.I told him not to attempt to discuss a return to home for 6 months and during that time to get himself therapy.Otherwise forget the marriage He has been gone for 4 weeks.I am on top of the world.I am so happy I can't believe it.I am never going to be abused emotionally or verbally by anybody esp, him,ever again.I feel totally detached, even when he attempts to push my buttons.I just dont care about him.But I really care about me and it feels so right."I'd rather live on my feet than die on my knees"Thank You All for the help I have received through this site.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 64.12.104.183
HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; AOL 5.0; Windows 98; DigExt)
Date: Tuesday, January 30, 2001

S1

Learning about perceptual difficulties can be quite frightening. Living life as a victim allows for us to live in a world of illusion of what we think reality to be. For instance things aren't so bad, he really loves me, he can't make it without me. And the famous he might hurt me but not my children. We live in a illusion state of happy family, flowers and all goodness can be atained if I try more. When you first realize this to be a fantasy, your whole world around you changes. When faced with new situations you become wary, and it is hard to even attempt to make any decisions at all. Taking the pressure off and letting a victim know they can make a decision and if it ends up being the wrong one , they won't be condemned for it. It makes them go forward and try again.We have a certain knack for picking up on unearned blame. I call it guilt sucking! If there was any guilt to be given out, I was sure quick to grab it and apoligize. I am learning the difference of resposibility and guilt. Guilt makes me apoligize unjustly. Responsibility gives us the choice to examine if it is mine to take.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 24.186.93.252
HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows 98; Win 9x 4.90)
Date: Monday, June 18, 2001

S1

I believe the victim should never be blamed.That just gives the abuser more power to control.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 24.186.93.252
HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows 98; Win 9x 4.90)
Date: Monday, June 18, 2001

S1

I believe the victim should never be blamed.That just gives the abuser more power to control.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 24.186.93.252
HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows 98; Win 9x 4.90)
Date: Monday, June 18, 2001

S1

I believe the victim should never be blamed.That just gives the abuser more power to control.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 24.186.93.252
HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows 98; Win 9x 4.90)
Date: Monday, June 18, 2001

S1

I believe the victim should never be blamed.That just gives the abuser more power to control.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 24.186.93.252
HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows 98; Win 9x 4.90)
Date: Monday, June 18, 2001

S1

I believe the victim should never be blamed.That just gives the abuser more power to control.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 24.186.93.252
HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows 98; Win 9x 4.90)
Date: Monday, June 18, 2001

S1

I believe the victim should never be blamed.That just gives the abuser more power to control.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 24.186.93.252
HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows 98; Win 9x 4.90)
Date: Monday, June 18, 2001

S1

I believe the victim should never be blamed.That just gives the abuser more power to control.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 24.186.93.252
HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows 98; Win 9x 4.90)
Date: Monday, June 18, 2001

S1

I believe the victim should never be blamed.That just gives the abuser more power to control.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 24.186.93.252
HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows 98; Win 9x 4.90)
Date: Monday, June 18, 2001

S1

I believe the victim should never be blamed.That just gives the abuser more power to control.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 24.186.93.252
HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows 98; Win 9x 4.90)
Date: Monday, June 18, 2001

S1

I believe the victim should never be blamed.That just gives the abuser more power to control.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 209.96.185.54
HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.7 [en] (Win98; U)
Date: Sunday, October 07, 2001

S1

I am trusting that i am in advanced recovery--butmaybe not. I have identified my co-dependent behaviors and am pretty good at stopping them. I don't engage most of the time now when he tries to get me going (once and a while I do, but so rarely). Our therapist is really good, he basically doesn't want o see me, mostly help myhusbnd work on his anger. My husband has stopped most of his angry outbursts and he he is acting prety decent right now (well 10 days). My problemis this, I don't care! He has not admitted his cupability on anything. He says he's sorry for angry outbursts, and one time said, "I rebelled against you" and thinks he's taken repsoibility. when I mention that things are not settled forme, that I don't want to continue to "prentend" its ok just becasue he's wants things to be nice awhile--I am accused of "statrting things" or "clinging to the past" to feel bad. I know in my head that the truth is, he starts things, he is absive, I defend and try to get him to udnerstand, when he gets over it, then I am expected to shape up too. In the past, I've fooled myself into thinking he was getting better, he was getting more udnerstanding, and if I just kept quiet and didn't "start" things, all would be well. Now, I don't want to play thins game any lnonger waiting for him to get angry at me and starting the cycle again. I want to deal with it now, not when he starts it again. Yet Ifeel guilty for "starting it." In addition, even if he didn't begin the pattern again, I am so upset that he won't admit he's done anything--he thinks I cause dhimto be angry (now he's controlling it so why am I still upset?) He caleld me names, threatendivorce, ect..bust since I really caused it, he doesn't find it necessary to "rehash" it again. I don't know why I'm feeling like this. We've wroked through NOTHING. He's been nice 10 days and if I continue asking for us to work on things, I'm the bad guy. Him not taking responsiblity for anything (when in fact he started most of our ocnflicts) is driving me nuts--I used to stuff it, but I don't want to any longer. Advice? shelly at daybyday@widomaker.com

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Remote Name: 172.157.50.117
HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; AOL 7.0; Windows 95)
Date: Tuesday, October 30, 2001

S1

Dr. Irene Your wisdom on advanced recovery touches the place where I am right now in recovery. I also feel at times very defensive when my therapist chanllenges me by pressing my blame buttons. It is of course my perception of blame.... because of past abuse of others blaming me and me not having the skills or confidence to not accept blame that is not mine. So for me developing the skills to stay grounded and believe in myself is so critical. I am still married to the abuser only because he is in therapy and showing personal responsibility to go through the painful process of change. I am worth it..I have to say that and say that over and over again until it is cemented into my psyce....So thanks for the site it is my lifeline when things get rough...Sue

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 198.103.223.3
HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.78 [en] (Windows NT 5.0; U)
Date: Wednesday, May 22, 2002

S1

Help please - My spouse is abusive no doublt there he has and does still withold information vital to a realtionship, he lies more than tells the truth, he is always into this % of blame mine vestes his , he is horrible and yet Ifind myself DRAWN into this confusion when I try to talk to him. I need to know how not to get sucked up in the crazy making of this. Help me please it makes me feel like I am an abuser when I get so frustrated and yell at him for changing his stories and then putting it on me all the time. HELP me fix this crazy making. I know there are times when I am abusive I have physically hit this man who is 350 pounds I am 125 pounds I get so angry he makes me crazy and I just lost it this one time. I was standing there with proof in my hands that he lied and cheated and stole and he looked at me and said I had it all up and I created this whole mess. I lost it totally and I hit him. Now he is always on this I physically abused him. So, we start out trying to talk then it gets into this huge verbal sparing match, and I loose because i just give up trying to explain thigs to him. HELP!!! He said that it was time to sell the house and for me to move out in one breatth then not 5 minutes later he said no he is not selling the house and he is not moving and then he added it was all my idea in the first place???? Not usre how he got thatbut . I need you to help me please.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 152.163.207.201
HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Win98; en-US; rv:0.9.4.2) Gecko/20020502 CS 2000 7.0/7.0
Date: Thursday, July 04, 2002

S1

Thank you I found your info helpful. It took me ten years to realize what an abusive relationship that I was in I even understand what you are talking about when you say abused people manipulate the abuser, It's because you still love them but you want the abuse to stop! I tried to get help from my mother but she doesent believe that he could be so terrible. He killed our dog threw a phone at me and instead it busted my son's head. He would walk by my in the house and try to either bump into me or try to make me think he was going to beat up on me. He has hit me in the head before and knocked me out. I have been kicked punched choked and sexually abused, called all types of names including nigger, whore, bitch,some of every name you could think of. He has lied to police to try to have me arrested, attempted to ruin my small business, hides his money and has even harrassed my friends and employees. His family doesent like me because they feel like im non conforming to their rules and regulations. he lies and told his attorney that I was the abusive person. Our divorce papers are a joke. natasha

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 152.163.207.201
HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Win98; en-US; rv:0.9.4.2) Gecko/20020502 CS 2000 7.0/7.0
Date: Thursday, July 04, 2002

S1

Thank you I found your info helpful. It took me ten years to realize what an abusive relationship that I was in I even understand what you are talking about when you say abused people manipulate the abuser, It's because you still love them but you want the abuse to stop! I tried to get help from my mother but she doesent believe that he could be so terrible. He killed our dog threw a phone at me and instead it busted my son's head. He would walk by my in the house and try to either bump into me or try to make me think he was going to beat up on me. He has hit me in the head before and knocked me out. I have been kicked punched choked and sexually abused, called all types of names including nigger, whore, bitch,some of every name you could think of. He has lied to police to try to have me arrested, attempted to ruin my small business, hides his money and has even harrassed my friends and employees. His family doesent like me because they feel like im non conforming to their rules and regulations. he lies and told his attorney that I was the abusive person. Our divorce papers are a joke. natasha

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 205.157.110.5
HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.01; Windows NT 5.0)
Date: Tuesday, July 09, 2002

S1

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 66.30.140.7
HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.01; Windows NT 5.0)
Date: Tuesday, August 06, 2002

S1

Very well put. I didn't buy that I was the problem from day one. That's how I was able to walk away (with a restraining order) after only two years. But it cost me all my friends because he had been poisening them the whole time about what a control freak I was (projecting) and what a witch I was and I never told anyone anything I was so embarrased and humiliated. By the time I told them I had no credibility. How could I put a poor five year old child out on the streets? My answer is how could he abuse me day after day in front of a five year old child? (his son) Now I know that only other victims, or your really true friends can understand and empathize.

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 64.66.5.78
HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.0)
Date: Tuesday, August 20, 2002

S1

I just wanted to say that your website contains incredible information! I have a friend who has been in an abusive relationship for three years. The actions, patterns, blaming--all of it are contained here for her to read. It is important that she read it here, as I have been telling her for those years that the guy was a control freak, a mind tweaker and blamer. Now he has escalated to verbal abuser and even more of a control freak. Three years of therapy where she jumped through hoops and fixed herself, only to have him find more hoops and more problems with herself. Even in therapy, he is the blamer...if only you would do this, I would ... Thank you for this website. I am encouraging her to read each section. The only problem is that she has to delete her e-mails on her business computer (she works from home and he reads them when she is out, go figure!)

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 200.135.70.195
HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; Windows 95; DigExt)
Date: Thursday, August 22, 2002

S1

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 213.224.83.150
HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows 98; TUCOWS Network)
Date: Monday, September 02, 2002

S1

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 213.224.83.150
HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows 98; TUCOWS Network)
Date: Monday, September 02, 2002

S1

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 216.128.232.56
HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.75 [en] (Win98; U)
Date: Monday, September 16, 2002

S1

In my marriage, I got blamed for every bad feeling my husband had. He would do anything to justify his blame of me, even inventing actions for me that never happened. He is an army chaplain, so he works very hard at putting on a perfect appearance. I know that I am codependent and have been working on recovering from that for years. I was surprised that I still had so much progress left to make, but it came out in this marriage. Still, I find that getting help for my husband is hard because he puts on such a perfect appearance and to protect himself from responsibility, he has invented an alternante persona for me so that those who do not know me believe him. He even told people that I had been diagnosed as mentally ill when I had not been even seeing any sort of mental health professional. Now, when I try to get him to provide support and have to talk to his superiors, they interpret my call for help as being a sign that I'm crazy. He is a master at appearing as a victim, so when his counselor tells him not to assume that anything I say about him is true, it gives him permission to keep ignoring any perception I have. I think it would be better to tell him to consider what I say as potentially true and even if he doesn't think it is true, then it is important to consider why I think what I do and even, SHOCK, ask me respectfully about it rather than becoming abusive. In this situation, I have concluded with the help of several wise souls independently telling me the same thing, that I cannot change him (DOUBLE SHOCK) and that I must change myself so that I do not just keep standing there taking the abuse and the blame too. When I read the list of symptoms of codependency, I see myself in most of them, STILL. I try to convince him to pay attention to what God wants, to treat me like Jesus treated the church as it says in the Bible to do, to tell the truth about things when he talks to others about us, to listen to my feelings and validate them because my; feelings are actually important in our marriage (TRIPLE SHOCK). I try to intervene on behalf of my step-daughter. He isolated her for months, keeping her from talking about things he did while he cleaned up his act in front of her and pampered her as much as possible, treating her like his girlfriend before he would allow her to talk to his counselor. Now, she's singing his song and he's shoving it in my face as proof that he's okay. But, she has always sung whatever song would keep her safe in her abusive family. I am just thankful that I had a wonderful counselor and others who kept telling me to stop listening to him, to not think about him, to live my own life after he abandoned my child and I, to get settled and secure without him, to not answer his calls and e-mails. My point is that by interacting with people he'd slandered me to (even by his admission at one point), I exposed myself to unnecessary pain by having things I said and did twisted to fit the perception they'd gotten from him before they met me. It didn't help me at all, so now I stay away from them and am beginning to build my own life. I have slipped and gone back to trying to change him and gotten back into the cycle of being sincere and getting abuse back and having things I say and do twisted and misrepresented. But, I recognize this as a temporary setback and am moving on again. I do think it's an addiction, though I NEVER realized it until now. I never have had problems with substance or process addictions per se, but I think that codependency is hard to stop because it's a learned pattern that is complex and powerful and takes many stages of greater understanding and practice over time plus healing to recover from. I'm determined to whip this with God's help so that my child does not continue the cycle. But, I think it is easy for some abusers like my husband to "snow" those who want to be snowed, like my husband's superiors and buddies in the chaplaincy. Some are not fooled, but those who interact only with him are. I don't care what they think, but I care how my husband represents me because it's very violent to fabricate bad things about someone you've vowed to love and honor AND he's taken things that are true (sad things that happened to me) and turned them around to be things that are not true. I was abused by my first husband who left me so my husband says I abandoned that husband too. In fact, I have not abandoned anyone ever, much to my detriment actually. I do think a specialist in abuse would be helpful here.

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Remote Name: 203.29.131.4
HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.01; Windows NT 5.0)
Date: Wednesday, January 15, 2003

S1

A reasonable amount of these comments are valid. As a recovering victim ,who was really starting to take a lot more responsability found that no-one ,unless they have been in this can understand what it was like.I got blamed for having been there & doubted when I got out as prior to that I'd sucumbed to giving it another shot. But the last shot had me prepared that no matter how good he was appearing it was dubious if he wouldn't turn on me again. I'd assumed he might actually try as he'd seen I was refusing to put up with more bad behaviors & could leave him.Well he did it again, physical as well as the rest.I've got to put up with the hints I'd return plus how stupid I'd been from otherwise well meaning supporters. In addition they find it hard to understand he could be so charming as well as so bad. Actually they believe he was very bad, but are afraid of what he may do in vengance to them too. Plus he gets away with it & simply moves on to some easy sluts (no apology there as they do exist).HE just continues to lie about me & gets no immediate reprecussions aside from having to be himself. He suffers nothing as he has no feelings for anyone but himself.I can give him a couple of bits of retribution, but have the wrong temperment to really get into it. Unfortunately what will work takes time. My getting my life back & on track will in the long run be the real victory, for myself & as the contrast of him going nowhere in his temporary acts,escapes etc..They do show. As overall he has been left with no real friends but the odd slut. If he acts well for awhile he may get a more regular slut using him as well as using her.Women with parallel education levels to his (niave social worker by training was me with him an ex teacher) in our country region aren't available to him anymore & its the ruthelessly uneducated any and many males (even at once)type are the ones for financial gain available now.I'm starting to forget him quite well, but annoyed that there are no reprecussions for even the physical abuse without me paying as big a price if I wasted the energy in charging him.Anyway I've never had illusions about justice being something to expect. Its a matter of learn from this & forget about it while filling my life with better things. Its annoying that while my head is recovering its taking my nervous system a bit longer. Well thats reality. The good part is I never before believed I had as much strenghth to actually cope & the drive to recover if life was too rough.

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Remote Name: 64.12.97.10
HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; AOL 7.0; Windows 95; YComp 5.0.2.5)
Date: Saturday, April 19, 2003

S1

you are doing harm...in this society, it is very very hard for a victim to get to the point of recovery....you are doing harm and you know it....recovery from victimization is a long long road.....trusting one's own opinions is very difficult for a victim....you know these things, and i wonder where you stand on this issue, personally.....i am a person who is no longer a victim, and in forgiving the abuser, i have not gone into a love of what happened....i have, rather, accepted that it happened, decided not to live in the past, but i DO hold people accountable to NOT ABUSE ME NOW.....you are doing harm......the path of recovery is a long, hard fought one......

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Remote Name: 152.163.189.170
HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; AOL 8.0; Windows 98; Win 9x 4.90)
Date: Sunday, May 04, 2003

S1

Dr Irene This is so true on your quote of how people take the blame and not the responsibility. Also, I am a victium of a Domestic Violence and I see now by reading your article that a person (ex-wife) wanted complete control of me. I also realize that she has blamed everyone else in her past life (Family too) that if she did not have control, she would destroy personal items of her children's and mine also. This is her way of taking control. We are divorced now. Do you have other articles on why people destroy personal items of others Thank You Fred

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 152.163.189.170
HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; AOL 8.0; Windows 98; Win 9x 4.90)
Date: Sunday, May 04, 2003

S1

Dr Irene This is so true on your quote of how people take the blame and not the responsibility. Also, I am a victium of a Domestic Violence and I see now by reading your article that a person (ex-wife) wanted complete control of me. I also realize that she has blamed everyone else in her past life (Family too) that if she did not have control, she would destroy personal items of her children's and mine also. This is her way of taking control. We are divorced now. Do you have other articles on why people destroy personal items of others Thank You Fred

B1: Submit
Remote Name: 152.163.189.170
HTTP User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; AOL 8.0; Windows 98; Win 9x 4.90)
Date: Sunday, May 04, 2003

S1

Dr Irene This is so true on your quote of how people take the blame and not the responsibility. Also, I am a victium of a Domestic Violence and I see now by reading your article that a person (ex-wife) wanted complete control of me. I also realize that she has blamed everyone else in her past life (Family too) that if she did not have control, she would destroy personal items of her children's and mine also. This is her way of taking control. We are divorced now. Do you have other articles on why people destroy personal items of others Thank You Fred