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4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

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

3/1 Interactive Board: D/s Lifestyle

1/14 Interactive Board: My Purrrfect Husband

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

10/23 Interactive Board: Quandary Revisited

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

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

6/12 Interactive Board: Unintentional Abuse

11/7 Interactive Board: Is This Abusive?

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

11/4 Interactive Board: A New Me!

10/8 Interactive Board: Seeming Impossibility

9/8 Interactive Board: My Ex MisTreats Our Son

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

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

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

4/7 Interactive Board: Too Guilty!

Doc@DrIrene.com

Comments for Is He An Abuser?

Comments for Is He An Abuser?

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
Date: Monday, May 29, 2000

S1

Tiffany,

Take the job if they offer it to you. Don't worry about not being good enough, after all, the people who are hiring you have a job to do.. and that job is...to find the best suited person for the job. So it's not solely your decision on whether they hire you or not.

And don't worry about your boyfriend either. If it's meant to be, you will find a way to stay in touch. This is how friendships span many years and great distances. Life is not all neat and perfect. If someone is important to you, somehow you make time for them. And not all friendships or relationships are meant to last a lifetime.

The relationships and friendships that do last a lifetime is because the people involved where able to grow with each other and they knew how to give and take. They knew in their heart of hearts that they really liked and admired each other. They could truly be happy for each other in the good times and be there with a helping in the bad times. These types of relationships are rare, because both people need to really understand themselves and feel very secure in themselves and each other. And few people are emotionally mature enough to accomplish that. and

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, May 29, 2000

S1

 

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, May 29, 2000

S1

Hi it's me Tiffany, Well I thought since my Ex and I got on so much better these past few weeks, I would tell him a bit about the things I am trying to do. Such as trying to defining my boundaries and stuff like that. He said to me that because I ever only try and not just do is why I always fail. And that when I ask for a bit of understanding and empathy, I really only want pity and again validation. I told him: "I often I feel belittled when you talk to me in this impatient and slightly annoyed manner. Like some idiot child you need to be extra patient with." He answered: " Well, quit being a sniveling little girl and quit letting people treat you like dirt, and all your problems are solved at that very moment. You don't want help, you want to whine." I guess he is right? Yes. Stop it! (He may not like it - or he may... Who cares? You'll like it.)

I so want to stop being this frightened bullied kid I used to be a school. And I am trying but then again trying doesn't seem to be good enough. How can I get there, NOW? I am desperate and very, very miserable. Maybe I should just act as if my self-esteem was as it should be for the moment and then let it grow underneath while I still pretend? Sounds like a good strategy to me... Maybe I should just formulate EVERY possible situation beforehand and react how I would want my best girl friend or a sister to react to abuse? Excellent. Even when I have to force myself? Absolutely. You will have to force yourself. You are imposing new learning. If only I weren't so scared of losing the ppl I love… Look at it this way, if they love you, you won't lose them...

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, May 29, 2000

S1

PS: The books you recommend are almost impossible to get here in Europe. None of them seem to be in the public library in my area. So I have to order them from America, which I am going to do. But for example the Anne Katharine book is going to take at least 4 weeks to get here urgh... Ugh is right. See if you can find any other boundary books. Look on the Book Shelf, or browse amazon.com, or any other site, or go to your local bookstore. There are many, many good resources for you. I'm sure  your local library has something on boundaries to get you started. Also, look at the codependency books. Again, I've listed some excellent ones on the Book Shelf. Maybe you'll even discover a wonderful book and write to let me know about it!

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, May 29, 2000

S1

Tiffany - Your description of your boyfriend is very familiar to me. My husband seems to say all the right things - SEEMS very supportive, etc. SAYS he doesn't like how he treats me and that he knows it is abusive. SAYS he wants to control his behavior. But the reality is, this is not something you can control, it is something you have to change. I have watched my husband try to "be good" just to see the rubber band snap at the smallest stress. There has to be a deeper change. One piece of advice I would give you with a person like this - observe his actions rather than his words. He can say everything right, but if he still tries to "one-up" you in conversations, tries to belittle you or criticize you, he hasn't changed. I've seen my husband morph his behavior as we have gone through this process. For example, now he may criticize but he says it with such concern that it doesn't seem abusive, except it still makes me feel so bad! Pay attention to your inner reactions, your instincts. Read up on abusive behaviors so you can recognize them even when they are being disguised by tone of voice, laughter, etc. The point is that you deserve to be loved by someone who wants to share himself and wants to see you happy AND NOTHING LESS. Good luck to you - LDC

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, May 29, 2000

S1

OMG this is i,t he pushed me too far this time. He said something extremely hurtful. He asked if I had got mad at my EX EX too when he didnt give me any pity. And how he now was sorry to ever having been angry at him. He knows what my EX ex had done to me (i.e. rape when on drugs and in the end he hit me badly- once. Only once cause that was when I fianlly left him, after having hit him back). So this was the last straw and I said "F*** YOU never talk to me again till you apologise you cruel bastard"! And this time it really is the last straw I dont know if I can forgive him for this or if I should even try... well I guess I do have SOME boundaries after all... Wish me strength and a little bit more of a vengeful heart than I have now. :o/ Tiffany

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, May 30, 2000

S1

Tiffany,

Good job on getting fed-up! Do it and STICK to it. This man is truly abusive, no need to question yourself. I know it is hard because I'm co-dependent in recovery, but you are right when you say you should act like you would advise your best friend to. You have been stuck in the good old "blame" game. Can't you see it? EVERY time you have an issue with his behavior (which by the way, your issues ARE valid), he BLAMES you for it - he tells you that YOU whine, etc. He dodges responsibility through you who will take the blame! It's BULL, BULL, BULL! He is SMALL, and he cannot look at himself. He is never wrong, it is always YOUR perception. Get away, he will make you even more crazy. My ex-abusive boyfriend used to tell me that it was my PERCEPTION of the way he acted, not really the way it was. If he snapped at me, it was the way I interpreted it!! Can you believe the extent that small people will go through to avoid responsibility? I think I had the most difficult time realizing that every time he upset me, instead of being sorry for his behavior (ne never was unless it was VERY long after the fact and too late), he would say "You are never happy, I can never make you happy" and then HE would be unhappy! He always took center stage! I didn't get why he said this..now I realize that .he was avoiding the responsibility for his behavior. However, I had to go through therapy to accept and realize that he actually was right - I WASN'T HAPPY! I, ME, not him and what he wanted. I WAS NOT HAPPY with HIS BEHAVIOR. He did come up short for me. He didn't do nearly as much for me as I did for him. He did ignore and neglect me. He did ignore my birthday. He did put his family and dog before me. Sometimes it is difficult for co-dependents to accept that we DESERVE to be happy. If someone loves you, don't they try to make you happy? If your mate was unhappy, and you loved him, wouldn't you try to talk and make changes? Think about this!

Accept and move on...now!! Listen to Dr. Irene. These personalities need someone just like you or me so that they can have problems and BLAME them on you! You fit right into his issues and he fits into yours. You can brake the cycle. I know it's hard because you care about him and there are good things, etc. But unfortunately, Tiffany, there can be 100 good things but one or two FATAL defects that he has ruin the whole deal. They make it impossible to live with these people, day in and day out. You will never grow with this person. I'm just trying to help. And believe it or not, it helps me too. Best of luck, if you want converse with me, address your note to LHW...remember, you'll probably have to be the one to be strong as they tend to linger on unless you get really firm with them.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, May 30, 2000

S1

Wow, LHW, great feedback! My ex used to say the same to me-- "He is never wrong, it is always YOUR perception. My ex-abusive boyfriend used to tell me that it was my PERCEPTION of the way he acted, not really the way it was. If he snapped at me, it was the way I interpreted it!!" I have been struggling with the guilt and self-doubt since I left him... I was amazed that you experienced the same situation. I have been so convinced that it was me and my fault and my faulty interpretations, that I was/am considered going back. You've given me something else to think about. Thank you.

btw, Tiffany, good for you for standing up for your boundaries!!

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, May 30, 2000

S1

Go Tiffany! Go for the job, if the man is meant to be part of your life, he will find his nitch in your world. If not, he will leave. J.R.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, May 30, 2000

S1

All day today I walked around with a tight knot in my tummy and feeling guilty for having used such foul language to him. I always prided myself in being civil even in a fight. I never really swear cause I think it's demeaning not only to whom you say it but mostly to yourself. I always thought that any point you make should be able to carry conviction through its context and not through the usage of bad words. Yet I don't want to apologise to him about it. I keep thinking he didn't deserve any better. But then isn't that what he thinks of me too when he swears at me? If I apologise to him expecting to be forgiven for those words, then doesn't that mean that in all fairness I would have to forgive him too for calling me names? Where is the line between losing it and letting bad words slip out and actually being down right abusive? Is there a line? Tiffany

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, May 31, 2000

S1

Tiffany, Don't worry so much about the bad language incident. Maybe I am going out on a limb here as I am a "victim" type myself, but I doubt he is at all worried about it. If it helps you feel better, apologize for the words you used. By e-mail or postcaard - something where you can disengage. Then, consider yourself through with the incident and move on. When I read your post about his mean comment about your ex ex, it seems like he was trying to punish you - for what, who knows. About the post by LHW - excellent description; this exactly describes my own experience too. Tiffany, from what I read your ex has Zero humility and no empathy either. Whether you get the new job or not, maybe you can think of this as a new beginning where he and his patronizing attitude do not get top priority. You do!

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, June 02, 2000

S1

Tiffany,

Lose the guilt over using the "F" word. This man knows everything about you, including the fact that you don't use bad language. Curse words are much more effective if not used cavalierly.

Sit with your feelings of righteous outrage, enjoy them, revel in them. You did nothing wrong.

Remember this man knows everything, including how to hurt you by bringing up your Ex Ex. Stay away from him--he's desperately mean and sick.

Meditate on the excellent advice you have received from LHW and Dr. Irene.

The way he tells you to quit behaving like a sniveling child is abuse disguised as "being helpful". Like Dr. Irene said, he WANTS you to think that you are incapable of behaving otherwise (I quote "He would like you to be free and strong as long as you are not free and strong"). And you won't get strong as long as he tells you that you aren't strong and criticizes your behavior. This man is a master.

Keep it up, Tiffany. You're doing great! Remember, the more you protect your boundaries by standing up for yourself, the more likely the abuse will escalate. What you saw was an escalation.

Love, from another Co-Dependent

LF

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, June 02, 2000

S1

Tiffany, I would recommend the book "Boundaries" by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. One key piece of advice in this book that has helped me get over feeling guilt and fear of loss of connection is finding a safe place to build connection with friends, first, then beginning to set boundaries, small at first, then larger. Sincerely, janey

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, June 02, 2000

S1

Thank you all for your really wonderful advice. It has helped me a great deal. I have actually given myself a push and have put my chin out and said to myself "I CAN do it!" And I will! So thank you all again for your great support :o).

I had a talk with "him" since the other day. Although he saw I was online at the same time as he was I made no attempt to talk to him. So in the end he talked to me first. Yet another novelty after a fight. We had a long talk and at first fought again. But this time I was firm and did not budge from the "real issue" although maybe he did try to confuse me like so often before. Don't know for sure cause I kept a level head. I certainly noticed that he was quite intrigued by how differently I suddenly reacted. There were no tears of frustration, no "breaking down" and no "I am sorrys". It made me feel so elated and so strong and maybe for the first time like his equal. I did apologise for the bad words I had used. Simply 'cause I don't want to get into the groove where I suddenly should accept swear words cause I use them too without much thought. I did however say quite clearly that I was apologising only for the CHOICE of words, not the underlying meaning. Maybe this is yet another piece of my co-dependent thinking but I don't like being enemies with anyone. So I am happier now that we have made peace again.

I had my second interview today and it went AWESOMELY well! They really liked me! Next Tuesday I am going to meet the rest of the ppl at the company to see if I fit into their team. This is considered round 3 and the final stage of the interviews. The two ppl I have met (the human resource person with whom I had the 1st interview and today the boss of the company) are such relaxed, friendly and fun ppl, that I think, if the others are anything like them, we would get along perfectly :o). They said they were impressed and excited about the possibility of having me on their team. YAAAAYYYY! So if they offer me the job this next Tuesday I am sooo going to take it!! I have the hope that as soon as I start there and do a good job (on which I am determined) I will get stronger and more confident every day. So as for "him", we shall see. But one thing I am sure off is that I will not let this go on as it has up until the other day. Enough is enough. So if he says I am selfish well then yeah so what. I will feel guilty about it but I am not, NOT going to apologise or let him see that in any way. Let's hope it won't slip out. I just have to tell myself over and over again that even though it might hurt to NEVER talk to him again, I can and would survive just as well (yeah, if not even better, I know…). The trap I am most scared of is, that I would try to explain again and again why something I care about is still valid even though he bashes it and calls it crap. I don't want to do this anymore either cause basically it's just asking for his approval, which I know I shouldn't really seek. Cause so what if he thinks, "that's total crap", right? I want to start to only say "to me it's valid" and nothing more. Hopefully in time I can convince myself too that it doesn't matter if he thinks it's "crap". But to start with I will convince him and all who would react like him towards a passion of mine. I am hopeful I will get there. I just have to stick by it very conscientiously at first cause I am not used to thinking like that. I just hope it won't make me inflexible and stuck up in my views… Gosh I so want to make this work! Wish me luck, all you dear wonderful supporters out there and thank you so much again. I will keep you updated on the job thing and on my progress in emotional matters. :o) Tiffany !

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, June 03, 2000

S1

is anyone there?

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, June 03, 2000

S1

I am

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, June 06, 2000

S1

To all who still visit here, I GOT THE JOB YAAAAAAAYYYY!! I am so happy!! Ty all again for your help and input. :o) Tiffany

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, June 07, 2000

S1

Way to go Tiffany! Next step: watch out for codependent behaviors. Feeling guilty, worrying about keeping in touch with him because of your new time schedule, etc. The struggle isn't over. Take time to wallow in these good feelings, too!

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, June 07, 2000

S1

You are right, the struggle is far from over. I fell in the trap of explaining myself again and being left with feeling like an idiot or as he called me, a spoiled brat. I had been doing so well too, actually shrugging off his belittling comments and his sneers and not defending myself for a while. But now I seem back to square one where everything I do or say is further proof that I am the mean selfish and demanding b**** and he the poor victim. The thought that he could look back on our relationship and think of me as an evil manipulator who never would let him be, is really hard to bear. When I tell him about something that is bugging me he calls me selfish and inconsiderate. It's so crazy! He is the same guy who complained that I never said anything about what bugged me and who said that I should stand up for myself more. I guess what he really meant was that nothing he wants or does I should even make me FEEL bad to begin with. Not even when he "forgets" to do something very small but really important to me for which he had a whole week and of which I reminded him 3 times. He got angry at me for feeling let down and telling him so. He managed to make me feel guilty for even having asked him to do it when I knew so well that he was under such stress! I suppose it really is selfish of me to think that he could spare the time to read a short report just cause he does have the time to flirt with another woman over the net… Of course it is also totally, outrageously selfish and demanding of me too to not like this. He doesn't understand how I could resent a woman who had already told him how much she wants him when I was actually visiting him back in January. I know this woman and I know she knew that I was his g/f back then. He says it should be enough for me to know that he isn't interested in her… He thinks I am stupid for not liking her and calling her dishonourable cause of her behaviour… This is making me angry and I am starting to rant, I guess I had to let off a bit of steam. I just still feel so helpless. I don't know how to logically defend my feelings and since I often cannot he makes me think that they don't count. Maybe all of this is MY problem and I should not ever expect anyone to "cater" to them as they are so irrational and subjective, not to mention demanding? I don't know anymore…

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, June 07, 2000

S1

You are right, the struggle is far from over. I fell in the trap of explaining myself again and being left with feeling like an idiot or as he called me, a spoiled brat. I had been doing so well too, actually shrugging off his belittling comments and his sneers and not defending myself for a while. But now I seem back to square one where everything I do or say is further proof that I am the mean selfish and demanding b**** and he the poor victim. The thought that he could look back on our relationship and think of me as an evil manipulator who never would let him be, is really hard to bear. When I tell him about something that is bugging me he calls me selfish and inconsiderate. It's so crazy! He is the same guy who complained that I never said anything about what bugged me and who said that I should stand up for myself more. I guess what he really meant was that nothing he wants or does I should even make me FEEL bad to begin with. Not even when he "forgets" to do something very small but really important to me for which he had a whole week and of which I reminded him 3 times. He got angry at me for feeling let down and telling him so. He managed to make me feel guilty for even having asked him to do it when I knew so well that he was under such stress! I suppose it really is selfish of me to think that he could spare the time to read a short report just cause he does have the time to flirt with another woman over the net… Of course it is also totally, outrageously selfish and demanding of me too to not like this. He doesn't understand how I could resent a woman who had already told him how much she wants him when I was actually visiting him back in January. I know this woman and I know she knew that I was his g/f back then. He says it should be enough for me to know that he isn't interested in her… He thinks I am stupid for not liking her and calling her dishonourable cause of her behaviour… This is making me angry and I am starting to rant, I guess I had to let off a bit of steam. I just still feel so helpless. I don't know how to logically defend my feelings and since I often cannot he makes me think that they don't count. Maybe all of this is MY problem and I should not ever expect anyone to "cater" to them as they are so irrational and subjective, not to mention demanding? I don't know anymore… Tiffany

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, June 07, 2000

S1

PS: Ooops sorry for double posting

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, June 09, 2000

S1

Dear Tiffany your good news brought a smile to my face. Hooray for you!!! Keep taking care of yourself; you deserve it. Remember you are a precious soul to God; and to the world.

I saw myself mirrored in your email and could feel your confusion and that familiar knot in the stomach. My very best wishes to you.

Deb

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, June 15, 2000

S1

Dr. Irene,

I am a 32 yr old woman, married to the only man I ever loved or (did anything else with). I have been emotionally and verbally degraded and defiled for 11 years by this man. He is at times loving and kind but progressively more and more vicious and less loving and kind. I often excuse his outbursts because he is ADHD and LD. I know that is no excuse for this behavior, but I find myself becoming more and more angry and that doesn't help the situation either. I have a hard time forgiving his hateful words after the fight is all over. Am I to blame in the matter for instigating and prolonging the fights or is he responsible for his own hateful words? I get so disgusted when people tell me that I need to change my outlook and let it go when he insults me. Why do I need to let it go? Why is it ok for him to insult me? Why am I less worthy of respect than he is.

Please tell me if I am sane.

Sincerely,

Barbara P. in NJ

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, June 17, 2000

S1

Barbara,

If you want Dr.Irene t respond to your letter you will have to write to her from here: http://www.drirene.com/e-mail.htm. This board here is a replie board top a letter I have written to her. You might also find wonderful help and support from ppl in similar situations to you on one of the message yak boards. To find them go here:http://www.drirene.com/message.htm

Best of luck

Trinity

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, June 27, 2000

S1

i am so much more lost then tiff............god help me

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, September 13, 2000

S1

Tiffany, Congratulations on you job!! I also wonder about boundries, and at what point do you say WWoooo, "you keep crossing those boundries. I could see the confusion, when he was supportive in certain area's. But Then at times he would change his position. (crazy thinking). Good luck to you and let me know what you learn about boundries.

Therese