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Doc@DrIrene.com

Comments for My Difficult Wife

Comments for My Difficult Wife

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: Saturday, June 10, 2000

S1

Steve,

First of all checkout this list: scfn-list@scfn.org It is a group of Single Dads, who use the list for support, suggestions, and sometimes a lifeline. It's a good group and you will find out after one glance, that you are not alone, by any means!

Next, Do go top your Doc and checkout the anti-depressants (excuse my spelling!). My marriage lasted for 16 (awful) years. during our "family counseling" (which failed) I went on to Prozac. Guess what? After 4 weeks it was like: HELLO WORLD I'M BACK!!

When the depression lifted, I could see clearly and I had more strength physically and emotionally (I would bet you wake up at around 3 am every night, don't you???).

I've been divorced now for 2 years, I have custody of my son, I remained in counseling, I've cut my meds down by 50% and life is 1,000,000 times better than before.

Traditionally guys don't talk about these things, that is what is so great about the single dads list, it is very open because we are all in the same boat! Guys can be abused too!

Whatever you do, don't go through this alone, please, please feel free to email me at eab300@aol.com

Ed

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, June 10, 2000

S1

Steve, It sounds like you are a great Dad, devoted to your kids. That is terrific, and it is a good thing your kids have you on their side! As for the troubles between you and your wife...is it really as one sided as it sounds? Only you know - Maybe you are even giving her the benefit of the doubt, beyond reason. I'm just trying to say, please really ask yourself this. Here's where I'm coming from: A man I knew had a "bad marriage", he said his wife was cold, she was harsh and angry, she made him feel unacceptable. He only stayed because of the kids, who he loved so much. Of course he had to have affairs because of the lack of love in his marriage. We were friends, eventually more. After his divorce became final, and we had a serious commitment to each other, I found out how one sided his story was. He became mean and abusive. He liked the idea of his children but did not actually treat them well. Our relationship is over now; I won't be so naive again. I think he believed everything he told me. In the end he only fooled himself.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, June 10, 2000

S1

Steven,

I read your post and I saw a few red flags. Then I read the responses, at the time there were only 2. The second responder picked up and articulated my impressions. She was suspicious of you. And so am I.

You claim to be so devoted to your children and love them so much. However, your actions say something else. You say you had a big fight with your wife and left in a huff and immediately got an apartment. Wow.....I never knew finding and renting an apartment could be done immediately. Where I live you need a rental agent, a credit check, an employment check and 2 months security deposit. This does not get accomplished over night.

I find it hard to believe that a father who is so concerned about the welfare of his children would just leave them because he ran off in a huff after a fight with the wifey. You leave in the middle of the night with the clothes on your back to set up house somewhere else. The average working man with a home, wife and kids, can't afford to do that a moments notice.

I think you planned it all out before hand, either that or your wife threw you out. And a truly devoted father doesn't just up and leave his home and kids. The other red flag for me, was when you mentioned that your friends and family are sick and tired of hearing your tale of woes. I think, they think, this whole mess is of your own doing, that's why they are sick and tired of hearing about it. You want to appear as the victim....but I don't buy it. What I'm hearing from your post, is that YOU are the abuser.

I'm not saying this from sexist point of view. I'd be thinking the same thing if a wife/mother did the same thing you did. How is leaving your children with someone whom you think is abusing them, being a devoted father? Devoted parents don't do that, instead they fight like hell for them, and endure many unpleasantries to protect and care for them. They don't run away from them, when they are worried about them. Therefore, I come to my conclusion that you are full of it, because your behavior seems illogical for that of a devoted father.

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, June 11, 2000

S1

To the above post:

I did want to mention that I do not consider a red flag to be that friends and family are "sick of hearing it". I found the same in my own situation. At first friends and family are very sympathetic. They witness the abuse day in and day out. They advise, listen, lend a shoulder etc....even offer you their home if you wish to leave. But most abused people stay and want to use their family and friends as a spring board just to listen every day about the same garbage that never ends. My sisters have come out and said to me straight out that they are sick of watching the abuse all these years but they do not want to hear about it ever again. It is too frustrating for them to hear it, be upset and sick over it and not be able to do anything about it. They know I can only be the one to leave and if I don't...then why the heck am I upsetting them everyday when their hands are tied. So this is not a red flag...believe me. On the other hand.. I also have trouble with any person, father or mother who runs to save their hide and safety and leaves innocent children with a person who is abusing them. I, myself would fight for them or stay and spend my days and nights protecting them from the abuser. I would not be able to sleep a wink at night knowing that I was safe but my kids were being victimized. I have heard that many people were too "mentally unstable after abuse" to be able to take the kids and I feel even an animal has a natural instinct to fight for blood when it comes to the safety of their own offspring, so I would like to think that I am one step above an animal. Just a thought. You are being a bit hard, I think. That's great that you would do what you did; not everybody can... To Steve, I do sympathize with you with your situation and have no doubt that you are suffering. My advise, find some power from deep inside of you, stop letting this woman control you, fight for those kids no matter what is costs and start taking control of your life. Only you can do this and your friends and family know that. So, give a pep talk to Steve and say no more of this....what can she really do to you? She only does WHAT YOU ALLOW. Stand up to her once and for all and if you can't do it for yourself then do it for the kids. What gives me the right to say this? I was in your shoes for many years and did just that and found that deep down inside they are just insecure, whiny bullies. You blow on them with a little strength and power and they fall down. Try it. Not mean, not nasty....but be strong!

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, June 12, 2000

S1

To the about post:

I understand why you don't consider it a red flag, but that doesn't change what it is. When friends and family are sick and tired of hearing about it, it means you don't want to fix the problem, you just want to complain about it. And that is a red flag in and of itself.

I give your sisters a lot of credit for setting boundaries with you . It must be very painful to see someone you love get abused and refuse to do anything about it. For your own sake and that of your children I hope you wise up real soon about allowing yourself to be abused.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, June 12, 2000

S1

To the about post:

I understand why you don't consider it a red flag, but that doesn't change what it is. When friends and family are sick and tired of hearing about it, it means you don't want to fix the problem, you just want to complain about it. And that is a red flag in and of itself.

OK gang, HOLD IT! When friends and family are sick and tired of hearing about it, my first thought is major depression... This is known stuff. And it fits with the rest of the story.

 

 

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, June 12, 2000

S1

What is CODA? Codependent's Anonymous, a 12-step program in the tradition of AA. Steven, hang in there. You are doing all the right things to recover. Document and journal and show yourself and the court what is really happening.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, June 12, 2000

S1

i can relate and i am the woman in this situation like he is dealing with this. have him write to me! bearsilu@aol.com

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, June 12, 2000

S1

Some people seem to have little understanding, Steven, of how long it can take for a person to realize they're being abused, try to work on the relationship, fail, and slowly struggle to the difficult decision to give up on a marriage with children. Some people have been stuck for twenty years or more. Obviously the support of friends is invaluable, even if they are "sick of hearing it."

It is unfortunate that you left the kids behind, but here again, some people may fail not only to understand your state of mind, but to appreciate that when you're the only wage earner and there are small children to be looked after during the daytime, either you have to give up work, which is hardly practical, or make other paid arrangements for their care, which can be difficult especially at short notice. And as Dr. Irene has said, "When's the last time you heard of a men's shelter?"

It sounds as if you should take a much firmer line. I'm not clear whether these court dates mean you're going ahead with a divorce, but if so, I hope you go all out for custody of the kids. It may be just as well you kept those journals. Guard them carefully, whatever you do; they could be useful in court. Good luck. Let us know how it goes. Yes to all...

- Gordon

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, June 12, 2000

S1

This is Steven ....

Thanks all for your comments and thanks to the Doc for her input into my situation. It is rough going and it is going to be a battle. I would like to clear a few things ... I hope.

One comment mentioned about me planning on leaving and they are right. But it appears there is a double standard. A woman caught in an abusive relationship is TOLD to prepare for her departure and is commended on a plan well executed. I do not feel this is much different. My wife, who has repeated woken me from sleep with accusations and for six months been wanting to purchase a gun had me on edge. On several occasions she would make "remarks" when the news stories were of the "Loreena Bobbit" theme or of stepchildren going off on their step parents - she would always entice trouble between myself and her son. So YES, I did have a plan on leaving and have had some support in doing so (mainly friends as I have no family in the area). Good!

Another comment suggested that I was the abuser in the relationship. Unfortunately, this is somewhat true but I feel it is also what became of me as a result of living as I was. Sounds like both of you could behave abusively. But, this is not about the good guy and the bad guy. It is about recovery. Each of you has a side that makes sense; each of you has obvious problems. That's all. I'm siding with the healthy part of each of you. It has often been said that the "abuser" and "victim" will switch roles and frequently there is much confusion as to who is who. How true! But I believe the turning point was in that as I would make these comments to my wife I would feel convicted ... there would be no "rush of power" or the feeling of being "one up" ... just a lowly feeling of the level I found myself stooping to. A sick feeling not believing the words coming out of my mouth. So in part this comment is true ... I believe it is true of all living in emotional turmoil. 

The court dates I mentioned involve false assault charges I am facing and custody hearings. The most recent was this past Friday where we went before the judge and she stated how she feared me and wanted the protection order extended until after the custody hearing three months from now. This order covers her and her son ... I had "visitation" with my kids this weekend and remember six hours prior she stated that is FEARING me, she wants to know if she could join me and the kids for diner. She also wanted to plan a "family vacation" to the beach and is daily in my face wanting to chat. It is all a game to her and showmanship for the judge.

She is in the house we bought but never wanted her name on the mortgage. Now I am under orders to pay her $$$ (no problem - I accept the responsibility) but she refuses to pay the mortgage and I'll probably be facing a foreclosure in the near future. Again, I feel this is a tactic ... she is too broke to afford it and HAS to move the children further away so she can afford it. Moving the children has been a threat for the past three years. She is unemployed and plans on staying that way. She has proved herself difficult (good choice of words Doc!) and is "unhirable" in this area ... she has made a reputation for herself - her last job she got fired from twice. And the two years prior she went through seven employers who all were too difficult for her to work for. Ooops...

At any rate I would like thank you all again for your comments and THANKS for the recommended reading material - I'm burning through them pretty quick! 

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, June 13, 2000

S1

To all of you who are criticizing Steven, let's remember one thing. While we can analyze all of the information he has told us and realize that this is only "one side" of the story, ANYONE who comes to this site and posts their feelings has made one big step - they CARE enough to reach out and get some help. This man is obviously in pain. Thank you. Remember, it is Steven who is asking for support here, not his wife! I love what Dr. Irene said about how victims tend to do all the work in looking at themselves while abusers continue to blame... Indeed it appears that they both have problems, but I think it is fair to say that abusers come in all shapes, sizes, colors and GENDERS. It is quite possible that his wife is more responsible for the craziness in the family. I've seen this happen many times. He deserves a fair chance to be heard, as he has certainly done a lot more already than most abusive men I know. Good luck, Steven. You must be strong and try to take control of this situation if you want your children to respect you. Continue the good work on yourself. The more you become the good guy, your wife will eventually break as she will not be able to keep up. But you will live with a healthy conscious as you've done your best to be a decent human being for you and your children. Best of luck. :)

LHW (female victim of abusive man)

B1: Submit
 B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, June 13, 2000

S1

Steven, I'm glad to hear you can admit to sharing the roles as victim & abuser with your wife. Just a couple things you might want to keep in mind if you go for divorce. You really need to make custody an issue for you or no one will take you seriously when it's finally addressed and that's the first time you mention you want the kids. The longer they stay with your wife, the more it will look to the courts that you are fine with them there and they won't disrupt the children if they don't have to. I know this advice is premature, but make a mental note for future use. Don't get involved with another like your wife. It's highly possible that you will find another. Heal and fix yourself before you find another relationship so that you stand a chance at having a healthy and happy one next time. My ex-husband said I treated him so badly, but he ignored me and the kids, groped and molested me (even while I slept), called me names, put his mother before me always, degraded me and called me worthless, he took money, checkbook, keys and hid them from me or messed with my car so I couldn't drive it while he was at work.....but I was the abuser because I yelled the loudest and refused sex and had an affair with a man who made me feel good about myself. He called me an unfit mother and tried for custody, but didn't get it. He moved out (pre-arranged plans with an internet g/friend) and never came back for the kids who were supposedly in danger of living with me...so he told the courts...but yet he left them with me and his true colors have come out in the past 4 years...he doesn't keep up with the kids except maybe 4 times PER YEAR! I also met abuser number 2 after this and he is the one that made me search for answers and find this site. I'm currently single and making sure I'm okay from all of this before I bring another man into my life. Thank goodness my kids are happy and healthy and not total wrecks from all of this nonsense. They used to miss their dad, but as they get older, they don't miss him as much...in fact, when he blames me for them not calling or returning messages, my oldest stops him in his tracks and informs him I'm not the guilt party....they are so stop blaming mom all the time. I love it!!!! His true colors came out! Keep your kids in your life, they need a dad even if you don't live with them and always do your best to get along with their mom, the kids do see this stuff. Good advice.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, June 14, 2000

S1

I am stunned by some of the comments and questions directed toward Steven - is he being one sided? Elements of his post were suspicious, set off warning flags? Where does this come from?

Did you read what his wife DID? How can he stay in this type of environment and "protect" his kids when he is being accused/arrested for everything from having an affair to being physically violent?

It seems to me that he is taking the best approach he can by doing things in steps: admitting there is a problem, getting physically away from this sick woman, getting therapy for himself, working on getting custody of the children, etc. I don't want to get into a gender debate here but I rarely see this kind of response otherwise.

It seems to me that if he stayed not only would he be risking his life since she stated she wants to purchase a weapon, but he would have even less of a chance to protect his children if she came up with yet another false charge against him.

I commend you Steven, it's not often a victim will admit to acting out or doing a sort of role reversal with the abuser. In the groups I have been in, it's not uncommon for that to occur, but it is indeed uncommon for it to be admitted to.

I really hope things work out for you, it must feel utterly overwhelming right now. My heart goes out to you. Thank you Terri

Terri

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, June 14, 2000

S1

Dear Steven.

My abusive brother, with whom I live, also makes comments similar to wife's comments. When I tell him not to threaten me, that I don't threaten his life, he responds with, "you better be glad that all I do is threaten." Or, he'll say in a joking voice, "Why don't you do the world a favor and die?" Then there are the comments like, "I never forget," or "I always get even with people who screw me over, even if it takes years." He isn't yelling when he says things like this, and he doesn't directly state he is talking about me, but the comments are intended as a threat. His tone of voice says it all. When your wife talks about a wanting a gun she is indirectly telling you she is thinking of harming you---that's how I see it. These kinds of comments create a lot of anxiety because you're never sure what the person is up to, has planned, etc. My brother's comments don't cause me to become as anxious, but to lead a peaceful life I have to get away from him. That's what I'm working on now. Keep us posted. Be kind to yourself. Sis You too.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, June 15, 2000

S1

I am the poster who talked about seeing red flags in Steven's post. Which he admitted where correct. When I read his post...I didn't look at gender...nor look at victim or abuser. I looked for inconsistencies in his post. I looked to see if his words and thoughts matched his actions. The ones that didn't where red flags to me. This is my way of reading between the lines so to speak. I always place much more weight on the actions. I think sometimes, it's a very good thing to remove yourself emotionally from the situation to get a clearer view of it. Thinking about a situation just from the analytical points instead of how you feel about them personally can be very advantageous. I don't think you removed yourself emotionally. Your content was fine, but the tone was angry. Check it out...

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, June 15, 2000

S1

Well, I guess at first sight I thought it was harsh, in particular the inference that a caring father would not behave a certain way.

To me it is irrelevant if it was pre planned or on a moment's notice. As far his friends and family being sick of hearing it, the bottom line is we are all responsible for our lives and, yes, people can get burnt out on hearing tales of woe for years whether the person contributes to the abuse or not.

He also admitted in his original post that he has been the abuser at times. I guess I was perplexed as to why the focus was more on what he has done wrong or what he did not elaborate upon, as opposed to what his wife has done and how he can get help. Sorry. :)

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, June 15, 2000

S1

Steven, I read your story and was very moved. We should set up your ex with mine. Sounds like they would be made for each other. I am the one who wrote a poem that's on Dr. Irene's website. Just remember, she will NOT change, just as my ex will not. Don't knock yourself out trying; it will destroy. I know how it feels to want to go back, because it is familiar, and of course there were good times, too. I know how it feels to feel sorry for my abuser and want to help him, to love him until he is 'fixed.' But this is out of your control; you are not God. Only she can fix herself, and only if she wants to. People who behave that way are so lost inside, and feel so weak that they feel powerful by belittling others. But you deserve so much better. There ARE people out there who are NOT insane, who will love you as an equal, whole person. Good luck with your custody battle; for the sake of your children, I hope you win. God Bless. Mandy yeehaw2000@hotmail.com

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, June 21, 2000

S1

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, June 24, 2000

S1

The best that I can offer is encased in a nutshell; Work on yourself Set goals Find your true feelings for her and act accordingly

Right now you are the most important thing in your life, then comes your children.

My situation is very close to yours but I am a female. I do not have children at home. I removed them from the situation some time ago. My husband has threatened to kill me, so in three weeks if not sooner I will be disappearing...Good luck Steve!

Elsie

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, July 02, 2000

S1

Steven, I just read your story, and it sent shivers down my spine. What you related (with the exception of the police) is very darn near the life I am currently living. I also have a 4 year old, and a 3 year old, and the way they were being treated was the last straw for me. Two weeks ago, I told my spouse that I wanted a separation. 6 hours later, she overdosed. Didn't kill herself, but I don't think she'll be taking tylenol any time soon. She is diagnosed bipolar as well as borderline. Although I love her very much, I just don't think I can do this dance anymore...and it is truly taking its toll on the kiddos too.

Of course now, she all of a sudden wants to work on whatever needs to be done..even though we've been riding this wave for 9+ years. Right now I have my kids out of the house, and she is basically keeping the house hostage...saying we can come back anytime, but she's not leaving because this was not her choice. Okay...maybe someone else needs to make a choice here. Namely ME!

Listen to Dr. Irene's advice on the anti-depressants. They really are a good kickstart to getting your perspective back. Before I started the Celexa 2 weeks ago, my stomach was in knots at the thought of 'losing this gem'...this gem that has tortured me through the years by breaking my trust in order to build what she called trust for me. Now, it still hurts, but I am getting more than 3 hours of sleep a night, and have quit losing weight over all the stress. Simply makes it easier to keep a clear head and be aware of what the true issues here are and partially separate the too-strong emotions.

Steven - do everything you can to save yourself and those kids...else there will be two more just like her in relationships in another 20 years!

Signed - Someone going through the same thing right now.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, July 05, 2000

S1

To Steven: The Dr. stressed that you document everything. For a good personal story on how to do that, go to www.bpdcentral.com, click on "library", then click on "Problems Coparenting". It's the best thing I've read on the importance of documentation and how to do it and how well that documentation works for you.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, July 10, 2000

S1

WOW... This has hit home really hard. Not to me directly but I have a dear close friend going through almost the exact same thing. For a second I thought maybe HE had written the letter. He is just now getting into the separation part of the story. NOW she says she CAN change. It's a non stop circle. This is as close as he has come to leaving her. I have been his shoulder to lean on at times but it is very diffcult sometimes because I feel like shaking him and saying "Why?? Why can't you see what she is doing to you??" It took him a very long time to be able to see even a hint of what was going on. The struggle now is, when he held on to his words of leaving, NOW she suddenly says I'll do this and I'll do that... then theres a "but you" comment.... He has tried and tried only to be sucked back in to her ways and the circle to be repeated. I'm very impressed with Steves strength to seek help. That is a very important first step. My friend admits now to what is going on but refuses to seek the help. Yes I am here for him and always will be. But my advice turns to anger towards HER at times and thats not what he needs. I wish I could take his hand and lead him right into a counselors office. Anyway I'm very proud of your steps Steve. It takes a very strong man to make it as far as you have. Keep your chin up and just know that it's NOT your fault.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, October 05, 2000

S1

Sorry Steve I just have to say this. Why haven't you reported your wife to social services. I just can't see why Dr. Irene has not suggested it. Whatever you do about you your children are in danger and if you allow your wife's treatment to continue then you are colluding in abusing them.

Sorry Dr. Irene, I have lots of respect for you but saying oops belittes something that is not acceptable in the here and now. Those kids are being physically and emotionally abused. That is not a situation where you wait for the adults to change without getting them the protection they need. from J

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, July 22, 2002

S1

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, December 17, 2002

S1

steven, when i read your letter it could be writing it. my wife has provoked me for 22 years by just wearing me down with insults and critism. after 22 years of waiting for me to really screw up i did. we got into a heated argument where she pushed me and i slapped her. we are now seperated and i am going to domestic violence classed hoping to save my marriage. she now claims that after all the years of my abuse she was abusive toward me because she was a victim of abuse. she still insults me and blames me for every wrong thing in our family.she is angery than ever and now working harder thatn ever at controlling my oldest daughter who just came home from college.i will pray for you and hopefully you will pray for me. god bless