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Comments for There Goes the Wife

Comments:  There Goes The 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 1998-2006. 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

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December 28, 2005
08:23 PM

Dear Alan......It is nice to see that you are willing to understand why you are doing this......and that you are willing to understand and correct it for yourself......Sorry that it ended a marriage.......I was on the other side of this.....your wife's side.....and I understand what she is going through.....I hope that you will be able to heal and your wife also!!! I think you will be able to reach it with honesty and openness in your heart and soul......Because this is a Soul Searching process....to say the least.....Good Luck.....BeenThereDoneThat

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December 28, 2005
09:17 PM

Myself personally I believe there is a deep seeded rage within people that abuse, and they are unwilling or unable to reach it. Until that rage is found and dealt with, Anger Management and the rest is the start of a band aid that will cover the wound. It will do more good to find out WHY you have this pull to mow over people - especially those you state you love. Unless you find that "WHY" and find ways of acknowledging it and dealing with it - you are just spinning your wheels. It will come up again and again. If it is people or periods of ugly or whatever - you need to place it to rest somehow. People that have hurt you in the past, situations, whatever.. find a way to accept and move on. I think everyone has those - some more ugly than others - some sound small to others that are actually big to us - doesn't make a difference. It affects you and that is all that matters. The anger management and the rest - okay it will help but the bigger issues can't be ignored. After all it isn't an anger problem - it is an abuse problem. Alan you have a big hill to climb. Until you climb that hill and conquer it somehow - your wife will always be scared even if she does give you that second chance you are hoping for. LOL You have to remember its your second chance to you....but is it to her? Your opinion on that matter doesn't count - her's does! Do it and not ask for to much acknowledgement and recognition! At first she really won't care the way you want her to. In time you will not need that, and that is when it will make the difference. Don't look for the difference - it will show itself if it happens. If it doesn't happen, go on anyway. Remember this for you and your life. That internal rage will pop up in the future in a difference circumstance if you don't....it won't be easy and it WILL be a long road! The ending...LOL Well that is up to you no matter what she does!

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December 28, 2005
09:39 PM

Alan, Hi. I'm so glad that you are taking this seriously and that you do want to stop this. I have also been on the receiving end of this and it is very hard. Abuse kills a persons spirit. It puts them into depression, and sometimes depression is the best place you can be when trying to live with someone who is abusive. My biggest problem in my marriage is how my husband always has to blame me for everything wrong in our marriage and everything wrong in his life. I think this is the biggest thing you have to think about. You cannot continue to blame her. The blame thing did not come up in your letter but this is one of the ways you always thought and this you need to change. I really do hope you do the hard work and keep up with it. Best Wishes

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December 29, 2005
12:45 AM

Alan! Come to the Catbox and interact with us. Yes! Go! It's proof in the pudding, Buster. If you're truly interested in healing yourself and your possibilities for a GOOD relationship, you'll stick around and LEARN. If not, then yer just in it for the outcome and have no interest in the journey. IOW, your song and dance has made no impression on me. Am I a tough cookie? No. I'm really not. I look for a genuine soul. If you're sincere, you'll stick around here. You've tugged at Dr. Irene's heartstrings. For the life of me, I don't know HOW you accomplished that. Pfffffffft. Tallulah Oh, Tallulah... I should have known :)  (Actually, what Alan needs is both tough and soft. Soft that tows tough lines.)

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December 29, 2005
04:03 AM

Alan .... yeah I tend agree with Tallulah .... I was thinking same thing as I was reading your letter to Dr Irene ......"The proof is in the pudding!" Sorry mate ... but you made you bed & you now lie in it!!!! Work on yourself ....??? yep great ... but you have hurt someone .... live & learn to live with it! NOW you see the light? Maybe you destroyed the batteries of the light for your wife had for you! & that will be her choice ... Read Dr Irene's words again ..."Yes; and you had no sane choice but to give her the space she wanted. Anything else would have been controlling behavior on your part" Sound harsh? Oh yes I totally agree ..... but so is ABUSE! DMC

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December 29, 2005
09:17 AM

Hi Alan- I commend you for facing your demons and wanting to change. There are many, many people who control and abuse who will never even see, let alone admit and want to change, their destructive behavior. Dr. Irene has many, many great articles on her website, read them! Therapy and a 12-step program may also be options. Do it for yourself, and not to get your wife back. The improvements you will make in your own life will be well worth it. Peace, Mandebrotforever

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December 29, 2005
09:33 AM

Congratulation on being willing to work on it! My husband and I are in a similar space. You guys CAN get through it, but it takes big change- from both of you. Your wife needs to know that you WANT this to change, and you support her changes, her doing what it takes to fix it, want to hear her needs, and are willing to change yourself. You're listening. That's great. We found that for my husband, one of the greatest realizations was that it wasn't that he needed not to get angry- though that was true- for his sake, he needed to work on it. For my sake, it was all behaviour. He could get as angry as he wanted and needed- anger is a sign that's something's wrong, and you need to pay attention. BUT, he needed to treat ME well in his anger. That meant respecting my choices, my differences, supporting my decisions, and letting me express my feelings, opinions, thoughts, desires for behaviour changes. And when he was talking to me, it ws okay for him to say "I'm angry" or "I'm upset", but not to pound the walls, to ask for behavior changes, but not demand them, blame me (and seeing blame is HARD). He needed (it's still a journey) to take responsibility for his feelings- I do not MAKE him feel any particular way, and he needs to deal with those feelings by being respectful of ME in the process. He needed to learn to separate to cool down when needed- in short, refuse to rage. Excellent synopsis of a good outcome. Congratulations to you guys! And congratulations to you - because it's too easy for the abused person to become sooooo angry, they will never forgive. Repair of an abusive marriage requires change in both partnersWe're still in the process. But it has been so good for him- and so good for me to learn that this kind of behavior is not acceptable to either of us. If you an be on the same team, working on this- your wife on saying, "no, I won't take this", and you on "no, I won't do this", and you can submit yourself to hearing from her and meeting her needs and at the same time, take care of yourself, there's hope. It's hard work, but worth it for both of you.

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December 29, 2005
09:44 AM

Its the need to CONTROL that you need to work on and not so much the anger. Anger is just another way to control. You need to delve into WHY you need to control. I have to agree with Tallulah and DMC - if you're really serious, you'll interact with us on the board. I think its so easy to tell the person you've been abusing AND yourself that you're going to change but more often than not its just another way of controlling the situation. The proof IS in the pudding (banana, by the way, and if you look carefully there are many toes floating around in it). These ladies will certainly be tough on you Alan, and that's OK, because others will be soft. You need both. I hope you join the Catbox. For the record, given my theoretical orientation, while it's important to understand the WHY to give you insight and inner direction, it's paramount to learn the HOW (skills) to change your thoughts and feelings, as well as behavior.

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December 29, 2005
12:47 PM

Alan, I want to believe you, I truly do. But, having lived on your wife's side of the fence, I fear you are only sorry for yourself for having lost the best thing in your life. True, this is huge, but it does nothing for your wife. It doesn't remove any of the scars that you placed there with your raging. She still feels the pain of the jabs you've long forgotten about. Your remorse now is, for her, too little, too late. The pain you're feeling now is only a sample of what she's been feeling for eight long years of torment that she didn't deserve. I hope you meant it when you said you want to change. You need to change those attitudes, regardless of whether your wife comes back or not. Ginger

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December 29, 2005
02:42 PM

Alan, Thank you for your honesty. I am newly married to a man who behaves this way to me. I feel despair when he does not even seem to realize his part in what is happening and how his accusations and ridicule affect me. I try so hard to please him and follow and anticipate his wishes, but it is never enough. He immediately moves past what I have accomplished to what still needs to be addressed or that I perhaps approached completion of the task I was assigned without following the exact specifications I was given. I hope he realizes, before it is too late, how that sparkle in my eye for him is drowning in the tears I am crying daily. Unfortunately, it's unlikely he'll realize it until you've had enough... So do yourSelf and your marriage a favor and try to get there before you become too angry, too crushed. I wish you wellness and success with your reconciliation efforts, or in your next relationship. I bet, like my husband, your behaviors served a meaningful purpose of survival at one time through hurts of your own life before you met your wife. It is sad that those hurts kept you from the happiness you finally had found. Best wishes to you and your wife. SW

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December 29, 2005
03:00 PM

I have a question for you, Alan. My partner emotionally abuses me. She has acknowledged (once) that she has some unrealistic expectations which cause her to get angry with me a lot more than with anyone else in her life. That gave me hope, but I haven't seen much change since then. Any time I try to tell her she's hurting me, she gets very angry that I am "accusing" and "blaming" her. Lately, when I tell her that something she's doing is hurtful to me -- for example, snapping at me, giving me the "cold shoulder" or "silent treatment", looking through a book while we're trying to have a talk, crossing her arms, repeating my name at the end of every phrase -- she says I'm "trying to control her", "trying to control her body", "trying to take away her right to do what she wants with her own body", etc. If I ask her *why* she just did, or is doing, something hurtful, or *why* she is angry, she gets angry and says I am "picking on her" and hurting her. After I started telling her I am afraid of her anger and angry behavior and that I walk on eggs all the time to try to avoid setting off her anger, she started telling me that she is afraid of *me* and my accusations, and that she walks on eggs afraid of what I'll accuse her of next. I know that she is so deep in denial, there's not much hope of getting through to her. But while I know that most abusive people never change, I see people like you, who have woke up to what you were doing and decided to change (yay you!). And of course I think, if some people *do* change, then why can't my partner be one of them? So what was it that caused you to finally hear your wife, and understand what you had been doing? And if there was anything she could have said or done that would have helped you to see yourself before -- years ago -- what would it have been? -- Angi, in pain

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December 29, 2005
03:44 PM

Wow, I want to believe you too! But there is no Santa Claus. I hope that you find some way to make things better in your life... good luck. I am proud of your wife for knowing that she deserves better.

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December 29, 2005
04:55 PM

Hello; I can relate to your story Alan, and at first I thought it was my husband writing. I felt sickened and scared to see what I was seeing. After 8 years of abuse I felt the panic attacks stronger and the need to run for my life in March. That is why I left. I did not feel safe anymore. I still live in fear and intimidation of him, and now I am getting a divorce because his anger keeps pushing me farther away.. I am alone and have lost my home, all my friends, family, and business friends because they believe his lies. They only see the nice funny guy. The intimidation doesn't stop. He still sends me threatening emails and calls my work backline to leave me hateful words. I just hope one day he will see his hate for me and stop trying to ruin my life. I still care for him but his anger towards me is more important to him. Everything and everyone else was more important to him. I was a wonderful loving wife. I laid my life down for him everyday in love and he stomped on it. I don't know if you will ever be able to undo what you have done. The scares are too deep. J Sounds like your H is one of those who will never "get it." :(

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December 29, 2005
06:37 PM

Thank you all for your comments. They have all been insightful – some harder to hear than others, but all necessary. Yes. I guess rather than send a really long e-mail I will be sending comments back over the next few days. You all have such courage in making such huge changes in your life. I first would like to comment to SW and Agni specifically because they are in the middle of trying to save their relationships now. I am so sorry you are being treated the same way my wife was. I don’t know if you have read any of the books Dr. Irene mentioned – please do! There is so much information on setting boundaries. I started with The Verbally Abuse Relationship by Patricia Evans. I think it really helped clarify what I was doing. Although I am fully to blame for all of my actions – I do wish that I saw it this clearly earlier. Possibly you can initiate this in your relationships? Unfortunately we had no boundaries in our relationship so I just kept going as if it was OK to yell. I hate to say it – but I didn’t see it – truly! I was living in a different reality and seeing with different eyes. I was so wrapped up in my own thoughts that I truly never even thought – “I wonder how she is feeling when I do this” I simply thought of it as the way we argued! I never once heard or thought of the word ‘abuse’. Please set your boundaries and tell your husband/wife IMMEDIATELY! If she/he sees how serious you are maybe he/she will start to understand and then you both can take steps to build your happiness again ( that is if its not too late!) If your partner is willing to go to counseling – please find one that specializes in marriage counseling – maybe Dr. Irene or someone else knows more terms of types of councelors? And for J – thank goodness you got out of there. It must have taken so much courage to do what you have done. I see so much courage in my wife for doing the same. You mention that he is sending you threatening e-mails. You can block his e-mails from your account so you don’t get them. I am sure this makes it very difficult for you to move on. I am so sorry for what I have done. Alan  I like the empathy you're demonstrating Alan. Excellent!

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December 29, 2005
06:51 PM

Dr. Irene and a few of the others suggested I need to find the “WHY”. I was searching for the “WHY” adamantly for the first week after she left. I really couldn’t understand her feelings yet and once she said “abuse” I started to recognize it. Then the deeper I looked I started to find all of these patterns. Patterns that date back before her, before I was a teenager even. Yes. I started to remember things my parents would say to me like “Your being too sensitive” and “not now Alan” I was constantly being put on hold. I was third born and was always looking for attention but not getting enough. Yes. I bet at some level you felt this was unfair. I am not removing my blame - because I was the one who treated my wife so poorly - I have to live with that and the consequences. What kills me is that I used to constantly tell me wife “Your not listening to me” – guess who I was really talking to .. my parents. Bingo! Although my therapist acknowledged this – he urged me not to concentrate on the WHY I was doing it but would rather that I concentrate on how not to do it again. DO I need a different type of therapy? No. The WHY is consistent with psychodynamic therapies, which in my opinion, have some usefulness especially in understanding yourself and helping you develop important mindfulness skills, but don't get you there unless you somehow manage to find your way. The HOW therapies, the behavioral therapies, get you there. The therapists guides you there instead of letting you flounder. There is evidence-based outcome research supporting behavioral approaches for many problem types. You can't argue with results, and results are pouring in all the time. Unfortunately, old habits die hard - so many counselors are trained in WHY therapies. They don't understand and minimize the HOW approach. They think that unless you do WHY, you're not really doing anything. Having trained both psychodynamically (WHY) and behaviorally (WHY), this is my opinion. Keep in mind that this is an old, ongoing battle between the therapeutic orientations and my statement is way oversimplified. Or is there more to the "WHY" - I will learn more in the weeks to come I do want to get better – I do badly – and I am. I may lose my wife in the process and I will have to accept that. The past 15 days my eyes have opened to a different reality. I have read a few books before these recommendations and am learning a lot of new ways to discuss, listen and behave. Including joining one of the chat groups. I_am_responsible@yahoo.com. They have been very supportive and cut me no slack. It has been the most difficult 15 days of my life since she left. For anyone out there who just thinks they "get in fights" with their mate - please take the time to think about your actions. You may be causing much more damage than you realize. Alan

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December 29, 2005
08:24 PM

Finding the "why" versus concentrating on the "how" (to stop): I think you need to do both. Right. The "third wave" of behavior therapies certainly put more emphasis on the WHY, without compromising the HOW. "Mindfulness" is one powerful technique that, among other things, helps one get to the WHY. Some therapists just focus on the "how", but I think you can only go so far with changing your behavior without getting at the root causes of the feelings behind that behavior. I've certainly found that in my practice as a HOW therapist. For example, if you have a lot of anger, you can learn to "manage" it and not act in abusive ways when angry, and you can learn to not let things get you as angry... but the underlying anger, whatever you're *really* angry about, will still be there. You won't have peace until you face it.

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December 30, 2005
01:00 AM

Here are some responses to Dr. Irene's advice Dr. Irene, this paragraph you wrote really made me shake. "What if my loved one left me? Oh no! I can't give them that kind of power over me, so I'd better not let myself get too dependent on my partner. OK to not let them know how much I really care." Some think if you treat your partner too lovingly, they will end up being taken advantage of, so they never really give of themselves out of fear. Yes...

I remember when we first started dating. Even when I knew I loved her – I could not say it – I chose not to. It was almost as if I was playing a game. This feeling carried with me – I was constantly not showing more love than I thought I should – in fear I guess. Yes. In fear. In terror. I always had a strange feeling – like I wanted to save it all up for that special day or something really stupid like that. The whole time I was holding myself back out of fear? Yes. It sounds so juvenile and stupid. I never understood why I had these strange feelings. Why shouldn't you have them? Your parents kept you wanting, never giving it to you from what you say. So, you grow up thinking that to keep somebody loving you, you have to hold it back from them, or something like that. Your parents modeled behaviors that you learned! And these thoughts and feelings silently lurk in the back of your mind. They run your life, and you don't even realize it because it seems so "normal," like breathing! Becoming more mindful of what is lurking, and overcoming the fear of feeling it, helps you automatically "repair" as well as understand what you have to target.

I'm really in shock. I was such a child – only if I saw how small I was – I would like to go back and tell that kid to “grow up and learn to love his wife like a man.” Please instead tell that child that he had every right to feel as he did. He was not being treated very well. He should hurt!  Allow that adult kid to feel the pain and fear of loss. I care for her so much. I took everything for granted. Always I would watch her from a distance and have such love and respect for her. I was always so confused with my actions after a fight. I never understood my behaviour and I wish I clued in that I needed to fix it. I thought I could do it on my own. I really showed myself didn’t I?

Dr Irene wrote: "You may have even thought, at some level, that it was your "job" to steer her." Dr. Irene, you are right again. I thought I knew better and I thought it was my “job” to steer her. What a horrible thing to read and say. I cant believe how controlling I was. Yes, and the funny part is that in your unconscious, unknowing mind, you were doing the best thing for her! Its like a light went off in my head and the mirror is right in front of me. Great! It really is sick and scary. It's pretty common stuff; accept it even though you hate it; feel it; don't deny it. Recognizing this stuff and owning it is the road to change. Im trying not to take it out on myself but its hard. Yes. Please read  Wherever You Go, There You Are : Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn. It will help you get to and accept and face and feel the WHY without judgment. Don't just read this book. Read it in small doses, digest it, re-read it. And most important, practice what it preaches every day. Even 5 minutes a day before you go to sleep each night will help you tremendously over time. I had gruesome behaviour. I never want to repeat it again – I wont. Once you start seeing this stuff, it's hard to go back. But, you will repeat it again, at least inside your head, because there's lots of it in there, and it's OK that you do - because that is how you will find your way out. Then you will get to a point where you think it is all gone, and you will find it operating at more subtle levels. Give yourself time. Love yourSelf enough to give yourself the time you need. Just keep at it.

"Work on yourself, and one day you will be able to tell us what was going on in the back of your mind." This is a hard one. How do I find these answers? Getting to the depth of it all. How does one get to it if its hidden way back? I will read the books – I want to understand it so that I can abolish it out of my brain forever. Alan  Besides anything written by Jon Kabat-Zinn, psychology's mindfulness guru (This guy is a PhD of the "evidence-based" school; the techniques work. He has applied mindfulness extensively to pain management; the techniques, born of eastern philosphy, can be applied to anything.), the touchy-feely self-help books will help you get to the WHY - and the Self acceptance.

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December 30, 2005
10:27 AM

Finding the "why" versus concentrating on the "how" (to stop): I think you need to do both. Some therapists just focus on the "how", but I think you can only go so far with changing your behavior without getting at the root causes of the feelings behind that behavior. For example, if you have a lot of anger, you can learn to "manage" it and not act in abusive ways when angry, and you can learn to not let things get you as angry... but the underlying anger, whatever you're *really* angry about, will still be there. You won't have peace until you face it.

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December 31, 2005
12:23 PM

Someone mentioned blame – yes– when I yelled I was accusing or blaming. It was like – when I felt myself get hot - I had to find something that was wrong. I cant believe how easily it would happen and I would have no control at all – I would allow this feeling to come from wherever it came from, turned my eyebrows down and shoot out my mouth until the walls shook. Even a few times I started hitting the steering wheel or the dashboard – I had no control over me – only wanted control over her. Good for you for seeing this! I am so ashamed by what I did. It was so horrible for her – for so many years too. I am glad she had the courage to step out. I recently looked in the mirror and tried to recreate that face. It was scary –horrifying - I couldn’t look at myself anymore. Very cool! Therapists sometimes use video cameras to help their clients see this stuff! Even up until before she left – I wanted to control where she was going. I thought if she returned home than she might realize how good we had it here. This was only 20 days ago! I feel so absurd and horrible. I don’t know how I didn’t see this clearly. I get sick to my stomach everyday thinking about it. I have been told be the group that dealing with it is part of the process. It hurts bad – but I cant imagine how bad it is for her. Again, I like the empathy. Make sure you have empathy for yourself as well.  I am so sorry for what I have done, I'm in the middle of reading Lundy Bancroft's  book - it makes my insides wretch thinking that he is describing me in parts of this book. Alan This guy is good. Take a look at his website: http://www.lundybancroft.com/

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December 31, 2005
02:12 PM

My wife e-mailed me after seeing the site and the posts. She said that she was hurt that I wasn't honest enough with what I have done to her. Ever since she left I have been keeping a list each time I recall or am reminded of my horrible abusive behaviour. It is a really long list so I don't know if it will post - but I feel I need to admit these horrible things. Tomorrow will be a new year and I would like to remind myself of these atrocities so that I never do them again.

What I did to her • Made fun of her for not wanting to play for points – a power over attitude • Everything I said up until now was the wrong way of thinking – I was always trying to win – I always felt I had the right to be THAT angry • When planning out life goals I would demand her to let me know where we are going – every semester it seemed like I was demanding this – as if I was waiting for her to decide for us and my life was on hold because of it. • I became stuck on verbage and angry when she said words she didn’t mean • my wife asked a few times if she was crazy – I immediately thought no – but actually pondered this fear as coming from her family • I was always telling her “Your not listening to me” – this was a manipulation to let her know that what she was telling herself was false – incidentally I always said this to my mother growing up • my wife would feel inadequate when she cried – when she was young her father told her it was wrong – I started telling her she is crying too much • I remember my wife getting upset because we were fighting in the car and then I had to “turn it off” because a student was approaching – this became fake • If I was angry – I sometimes gave her looks or became frustrated with her in public – this must have been totally embarrassing for her – especially if she thought other people were watching – how horrible this must have been • When everything was fine with her I might start in on something and come out of nowhere – this must have totally taken her by surprise – shocked her and continued to damage her system • Sometimes shell ask me what's wrong and instead of engaging with her – Ill just say “Its too complicated “ and Ill say it really short, and cut off any continued conversation – I see now how much that would hurt - and how conceited that was • I asked her to be in control of the budget and then when she started doing it – as soon as she had a question I would get angry and frustrated that she doesn’t know – this would cause her to not want to do it anymore • When she would ask if we could buy something – in the past I would just buy it and say no problem – lately every time she asks I get upset because I don’t want the responsibility of making that decision – I would rather her be in charge of the finances so she wouldn’t have to ask my permission • I remember if I was in a bad mood – jumping on her when she asked an innocent question – like “can I help” – I cant believe how many times I beat her down with words – this is horrible • I remember often that I would get more upset when she would “rebuttle” what I am talking about – this would cause me to get angrier and want to continue arguing – I wonder if my advice to her was actually right – if she would not stoop to my reality then there would be nothing for me to continue my ranting about • When we were walking home from the a bar – she was expressing to me that she didn’t get a good sense that this friend was a good man to his family. Rather than respecting my wife’s opinion I tried to convince her that she was wrong and was being judgmental. This was also after she didn’t even want to be at the party in the first place. • Not giving my wife respect enough to share Christmas in our house - for some stupid reason that I felt uncomfortable with a holiday I didn't grow up with • I was constantly impatient – if she was taking to long in the bathroom and I wanted to start the DVD – I would say ““Im starting the DVD without you…” Getting ready for work would always be so stressful. “where’s my keys, wallet etc.” “Hurry were going to be late” “I guess its too late for breakfast ( almost as if it was her fault) • WITHHOLDING – not sharing or conversing with your partner – I thought I shared with her? – sometimes I would have a lot on my mind and be thinking about what I was going to say next – OR want to jump in on the conversation and not have the patience of letting her finish • Sometimes when I would yell I would go over and shut the window – this shows that part of me did know that I was doing something wrong that nobody else should hear • I controlled every decision – up until the flight home – I didn’t want her to go to her friends in fear that she would become taken away by their religion – I felt safer with her parents – but at the same time thought that she would feel comfortable and be able to remember the good in us. – I always wanted to be in control – I don’t want it anymore – I give up all control of everybody from now on • When I would be yelling I would try so hard to get my “point” across that I would continually repeat myself – by the end she would be so exhausted that she would just nod her head and say OK – the look in her face was that of a worn down woman – I did this to her – then I would get angry that she was feeling this way because I didn’t think I could do that to someone – so I immediately thought – no your thinking about it wrong ! It was bad - really bad • I said I loved her but didn't treat her with love • Sometimes I would call her and ask her what she is doing – if she didn’t sound like she was working on something I would get annoyed that I have to work so hard and she could go for walks, talk on the phone etc. I never gave her enough equality and respect that she can make her own decisions of how to spend her time. • I would become frustrated when she was on the phone – I really was threatened when she want giving me the attention • Making my wife feel like this “There were many times that I drove with you in the car, you yelling at me .(even before school).. I had to stop talking because I was in shock. I cried.. and you never cared enough to notice. It was all about your control. No kidding I wanted to die. My 'best friend' was silently killing me.- toxic • I was angry too many times – too often – sometimes several times a month – even several times a day • We didn’t have fights – they were attacks – from me – a few times it would get so bad that my wife would be hyperventilating – she says she felt like dying – why didn’t I do anything about it? • Not cherishing my wife like I promised in our vows • She mentioned abuse 5 years ago – it was an ugly word – I didn’t take it seriously – we could have seen it then and stopped it - why didn’t I see it? It took my wife leaving to actually see it – that is so pathetic • Watching my wife hurt – stripping her spirit, soul, dignity, ego, - all from the sound of my yelling • Yelling at my wife while she was trying her best to find us a house to rent – all I could think about was me – and the stress of my job – and not giving her the respect to make her own decisions • Nagging her in the kitchen – when she painted – when she didn’t paint – always had to say something to bring her down • Not respecting her morals to do the best she could no matter what. • Having a terrible attitude • Being a bully • Not treating her as an equal • Yelling at my wife two nights before our wedding day • Calling her “too sensitive” • Telling her what to say on the phone This behaviour is disgusting. I will NEVER repeat these mistakes for as long as I shall live. Alan

EXCELLENT! Here's an exercise for you: Go back to each point you made. Figure out how you would handle the situation now - knowing what you know now. Take your time with this and pay attention to your thoughts and feelings, especially what resentments pop. Find a way to log all this. By the way, it's OK to have anger and the resentments. Feel it; don't deny it. Most of your anger will "old stuff." But sit with it and you will find that some of it will be valid and based on the current situation. Try to distinguish between the two. Current-day anger is a healthy internal signal. You will need to learn how to use that information to assert yourself in healthy ways (vs. acting out behaviorally).

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January 01, 2006
02:49 AM

Alan, I am exhausted reading your last e-mail, because I feel the exasperation your wife felt. I love reading your posts. I am constantly striving for the "why" in my husband. Tonight is New Years eve and my husband went to bed screaming because the garbage wasn't taken out and I should have eaten the left overs. He tries to control every aspect of our lives and if he can't control us (myself and two children) he yells to gain control. My son (12) went to bed tonight and I said, "Happy New Year" and he said, "how can it be happy with dad yelling". This was heart wrenching and a wake up call for me. I have been married to him for 15 years and he has been abusive verbally for all of them. I sat crying because it is New Years Eve and I am sitting alone in a secluded world. He chases people away with his anger and we don't invite people over because he embarrasses us with yelling or rude comments. Friends eventually stop calling or visiting. I left him once and he did get anger management counseling. He is back to his old self. He feels he has every right to act in such a way. I am intrigued with your posts, because you I really want to know - can you honestly say you had "no idea" you acted so badly at the time? I want to understand his mind. I can honestly say I am emotionally divorced and it is only a matter of time before I take the same steps as your wife did. I for whatever reason have a tiny shred of fight in me to save our marriage. I now call him on his behaviors and call it as I see it. I am brutally honest with the kids regarding his behavior and make no excuses for him. They need to know it is wrong. They are now confronting him lovingly as well. If he does not see the truth soon, we will have to give up on him. Maybe that is the only way he will really believe it. Happy New Year! LuAnn

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January 01, 2006
03:10 PM

LuAnn I am terribly sorry for what you are going through. It must be so frightening for you – especially for your children. As I read more about verbal/emotional abuse I get so scared as to where it might have gone if my wife hadn’t had the courage to take such a giant step. I also have to correct myself from a previous e-mail. My wife pointed out this to me. I said I started to realize what it was when she said “abuse”. In fact it took her leaving AND saying it was “abuse” for me to realize the depth of it all and how serious it really was. She reminded me that she brought up “abuse” about 5 years ago when she was working for a therapist. When she told me I did remember her saying that and not thinking there could be any way that that was us. I feel so angry towards my attitude for not doing anything about it. I am ashamed of what I didn’t see. This is my reality and the answer I can give you. I don’t know about your husband, but I am in a state of shock right now. It is if a floodgate has opened up and I am seeing face to face what I have done. My wife’s epiphany allowed her to see how horrible my behaviour/attitude was. I am glad she kept communicating with me – or else I would still be thinking that she just had a “breakdown”. I can tell you honestly that I had no idea how severe my behaviour was. I really only thought – “well this is how we argue”. I come from a family where yelling is the norm and no one openly cherishes their wife in the way we should. I never even considered her feelings – I thought I did – but now I realize I was only considering how I thought she would feel. All the decisions I would make were about how I saw it – it was all control. And I think when you're living in that reality, you believe it to be true!. God – if I could have only stopped for one second – actually watched my wife crying, trembling sometimes, I would have possibly realized – HEY –THIS IS VERY WRONG _ STOP IT NOW! NEVER DO IT AGAIN! Unfortunately that never happened. So I am paying the consequences for not waking up before she did. It doesn’t sound like your husband is willing to change – if he has already gone though an anger management program, and you are constantly setting your boundaries – matter of factly with him and not “entertaining” his reality, then I don’t see anything else you can do. I think this should be advice more from a Dr. though. I assume you guys are going to marriage counseling? Hope that helps? Alan

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January 01, 2006
03:39 PM

I am brutally honest with the kids regarding his behavior and make no excuses for him. They need to know it is wrong. They are now confronting him lovingly as well. If he does not see the truth soon, we will have to give up on him. Maybe that is the only way he will really believe it. Happy New Year! LuAnn LuAnn why don't you give your kids a real new years and open your phone book and call the nearest Domestic violence Center and get your kids away from him. The only thing you are teaching your kids by staying is how to be abusive themselves!!!!!!!!!

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January 01, 2006
08:38 PM

Alan- 3 months ago, I left my wife of 24 years, taking our teenager daughter with me. My daughter and I had both put up with years of control, and verbal and emotional abuse, and neglect. Years of marriage counseling, and psychiatric and spiritual help did nothing to change her behavior. I was very blunt about the consequences. I told her in every possible way that we would leave unless she stopped. When we finally left, she acted like it was a shock, and she didn't see it coming. While we are in the process of the divorce, she keeps trying to convince me to reconsider. What she doesn't even see, is that she is using the same tactics of control and manipulation to try and get me to reconsider. So now, I don't even take her calls. Please don't make this mistake in your situation. If you really can change, and are willing to eat dirt (Gee, I don't see it as "eating dirt." More like owning your stuff!) and get help, and she is willing to come back, that's great. But don't try to talk her into it. All you can do is make the changes you need for yourself, whether or not it wins her back. If she sees the changes, and comes back because it's her idea, then you might have a shot. But be prepared that it may not happen. Once someone is fed up enough to leave, well, she could be like me... past the point of no return. I hope for the best for both of you; as individuals first of all. You are on the right track by facing the hard truth of your behavior. You have to come to a place of peace within yourself before you can have a peaceful relationship with anyone else. Good luck! :) Jef

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January 01, 2006
11:00 PM

Alan, I am glad you are in enough pain to want to understand what your behavior has done to your wife and your marriage. You can work things out if you will work hard in counseling and believe what you hear. Your actions will speak louder than your words if your wife see's that you are truly trying to understand your behavior and its affects on your wife. Abuse does kill the spirit of a person. Find out what happened in your childhood that is keeping you in this need to control. My ex abused me for 23 years, very covertly. I had no idea until divorce that I was experiencing so many physical and emotional affects of this abuse. Then I watched my daughter experience young abusive men in her life, typical in marriages where she watched how I was treated and I did not have appropriate boundaries. She and I are both in counseling and it does work. You have to believe what the experts tell you about yourself and the abusive behavior. It may be too late but you will learn and become more in tune with your behavior which will lead you to a very rich relationship even if it will not be your current wife. She has her own work to do, too, so that she doesn't attract another abuser in her life. You see, we all have work to do in the abusive relationships. There is some reason why we stay in the abuse. Not a good thing. I hope you will make a good commitment to counseling; 3-5 years. You will be glad you did. My ex still today does not take any responsibility for his abusive nature. He's is just the "nice guy", and as far as he was concerned I was so lucky to have him in my life. Wont even do the work for his daughter's sake. Really sad. Respect yourself enough to get the help. Take care!

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January 02, 2006
06:39 PM

Alan, Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. I am in a similar situation I believe. Although my Wife hasn't yet left, she is struggling to deal with her co-dependency. We co-habitate now, a far cry from the marriage we once had. I owe most of the blame to my angry, controlling behavior. I am just starting to realize that I am the "causer" of most of our issues. I have a few issues that are different from yours however the overall scope is very similar, and I want to find ways to deal with these issues and learn to accept me and her for who we are and allow u to work in unison and improving ourselves, thus improving our relationship, if it isn't already too late. It seems that this is a very common problem and I am hoping to receive information and resources that will help me to understand these habits and how to deal with and grow away from them. I hope I am not asking too much of any of you and hope that the more educated of you is able to offer sincere help. I really want to give my Wife the husband she deserves. Thanks, Greg H

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January 02, 2006
08:26 PM

Hello Alan, Glad to read your words and glad for your wife finally, to find the voice where you can hear her words too. I had to read your letter deeply because your situation is similar to mine and my husbands, (in the timeframe anyhow.) He and I had married this last March and have been together off and on 8 years. However, we are seeking separate counseling and even though I have a separate apartment he is still controlling by not giving me the time to breath that I so desperately need. Because of his lack of allowing me the freedom to heal and the space to heal and to give me time to build trust for him again, I am in contact with a divorce lawyer. Even though he is in counseling and I want to believe him, his actions speak louder than words. I would like to encourage you to continue to allow your wife her space and for her to explore her own reality without any advice or discouragement from yourself. It really sounds that you are in a place of respect, (although hard on yourself, my husband is brutally hard on himself too yet, he will not stop asking me to just basically 'erase' it and give him a clean slate). I wish you the best in building trust with your wife and even if you both end up separate truly do consider what you are trying to do as elevating both her and you to a much healthier place. Alan, thank you for sharing and thank you also for allowing me to respond as this was helpful for me very much. Good luck to your wife also. J.

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January 02, 2006
10:17 PM

Greg, My wife leaving was the hardest thing in the world for me to accept. I had no choice and if I did I probably would have asked her to stay to work it out. I don’t know how that would have turned out, however, I do know that the distance that we have has been a blessing in disguise. I didn’t clearly see how much hurt my wife was in until she was able to get her own space. All the emotions came out – hurt, anger, fear, pain – as she remembered every incident – she told me in whatever way possible ( phone calls, e-mails – and believe me they aren’t fun to endure – but it was much worse for her to experience it over the past 8 years). I can tell you it hurt more than anything in my life, but I am so lucky to have a wife like her to share her experience with me.

If she left and never said a word I would be totally lost, and probably in denial right now thinking that it was just a “breakdown”. I “woke up” ever since I took the “abuse” seriously. I have learned/read more in the past 18 days than I thought I could – It became a full time job to understand what I have done. All the information is out there Greg – go after it – read Dr. Irene’s pages and her book recommendations. They are helping immensely! Although the pain of this loss will not go away – I feel a renewed strength with this knowledge. I know I can change it with time and patience. In the grand scope of our lives a few years is nothing to turn me into a better person! Find a counselor to help guide you and read, read, read ( take lots of notes to – your studying to get your life back! Work hard!) PS –Last night my wife called to let me know she wasn't angry - mostly hurt – her emotional scars are deep – hearing her voice again fuelled me to work hard for the entire year of 2006! I will become a better person. Alan :)

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January 02, 2006
11:46 PM

J – I don’t know if you wanted a response so ignore if you don’t. The timeframe is really close. We were married in July! And we have been together for 9 years! I cant tell you how your husband thinks, but I can try and give some perspective of how I thought. The idea that I was being controlling didn’t come easy to me. It’s ridiculous when I look at it now because it was so obvious. At the time however, I was only stuck on what I wanted. Not consciously though. See, I thought I was a ‘good guy’ and looking out for the best interest of my wife: making sure our lunches were ready in the morning, reminding her constantly about stuff, paying attention to bills and bank statements, planning our trips, choosing the movies, cooking OR watching her cook if I couldn’t.

To me it was my “way of caring” – now that my eyes have opened - total crap! :) I was being my mother. A little of my brother too. I was youngest of three boys and always was watched, told what to do and often a scapegoat. As I educate myself I am starting to recognize the patterns and it makes it easy to see where I was totally wrong and allows me to clearly see how to fix it. After talking to my therapist today we agreed that it would take some time to eradicate my behaviours as I have been used to them for so many years ( and grew up in the same environment). However it is possible and that’s what will keep me going to succeed. Point of all this I guess is – maybe the light switch hasn’t gone off in your husband yet. It seems he is doing the right things, therapist, working hard – but who knows what the therapist is telling him. Dr.Irene’s website was an eye opener for me. Reading the experts take gave me an understanding on what my wife was going through AND what I was doing. It made it human and I could accept that. Reading the stories from other experiences let me understand that our situation wasn’t the only one. Along with the intense reading, note taking and therapy it all started to click. I don’t know if this helps, but maybe your husband is trying but just not finding the right resources.. OR maybe he really doesn’t want to succeed ( or doesn’t know what the stakes are) Happy New Year Alan 

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January 03, 2006
01:03 AM

Alan, Hi again, I'm the one that brought up the constant blaming before. I can see from your responses that you are really trying and I am very proud of you for that. You seem to be getting a lot of insight into this and it must be very overwhelming for you at this point. The only way though to make a change is constant awareness. A trip to the therapist every 2 weeks isn't going to do it. It needs to be something you do daily. So far, you are doing the work. I really do hope you keep it up. A lot of us here have given up any hopes for the marriage, but that does not stop us from trying to help someone that wants to change. I just thought that once in awhile you might need a little encouragement. Amy

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January 03, 2006
08:30 AM

I sure wish my husband would come to this realization! No hope for that, as far as I can see. TK

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January 03, 2006
05:14 PM

I just finished reading Dr. Irene's recommendation Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft. I took many notes and recognized where I could apply my own behaviours at times. However I was confused about a few things. He mentions that abusers have tactics and seldom change - if I understood him right than all my abuse was intentional. At the time, your abuse was intentional in that it accomplished its purpose of shifting blame, etc. Whether or not you were aware of it is another story. Furthermore, recognize that not all abusers are the same. The psychological components vary and the severity of those components vary. We don't yet understand who changes and who doesn't, let alone how to classify/diagnose the abuser, though the direction you're going in tells me you are on excellent footing and have the capacity to change. Go for it!

I understand what I have done and see the damage and I am taking responsibility for it. I am struggling with the notion that I abused my wife intentionally. Although, no one else was making me do it - I always saw it as "reacting" - (very poorly) and not seeing how she felt. I don't remember thinking about how I was going to abuse her next. Am I understanding this wrong? Yes. Just because it was unconscious/unintentional does not take away from the fact that you did it and it accomplished its purpose. You have to take responsibility for that and not get caught up here. Don't judge; you did the best you knew how to do at the time. He also mentions that abusers rarely change - this scares me. Rarely change is different from never change. That abusers rarely change is what the research suggests, but then again, we don't have nearly enough research in this relatively new field, nor do we know what type of abuser changes and doesn't change, so don't go there. You ARE changing. That's all you need concern yourself with.

I feel I am changing and desperately want to eradicate any abusive attitude/behaviour that I have. It took me this long to see everything that I have done to my wife - I am just worried that if it took me this long, then part of me is still blocking my ability to change without me knowing it - how can I tell? I promise you that is happening; it is a normal part of the process. Being mindful of yourself will help you uncover this, as will feedback from your therapist, your wife, and anybody else who you've behaved poorly towards. Bancroft also writes " I have yet to meet an abuser who has made any meaningful and lasting changes in his behaviour toward female partners through therapy - when he is finished he will be a happy, well-adjusted ABUSER" he then suggests the only method is an abuser program. That is his opinion. That's like saying you can't fix alcoholism without AA, which is simply not true. The reality is that we don't know enough yet, in my opinion, to make blanket statements. Work this one out individually with your therapist.

I'm having a hard time trusting my own judgments right now. Excellent! The ground is being shifted from under you; of course you don't trust your judgments now! That you feel this way is an excellent sign that you are changing. Excellent!

 I want to rid my abusive behaviours - so I guess the abuser program is the next step. I am in therapy twice a week - should I stop? No!  You talk to your therapist. Even if you do an abuser program, there is no reason why you can't remain with your therapist. If you continue working as you have, you may not need a program.  Has anyone had any experience with these programs? I have read that I should look for an "Emerge-model" or Duluth model program. Thoughts, Advice? Alan Advice: print this whole thing out and bring it to your therapist. Deal with your anxiety and recognize that you don't have to answer all these questions today - and doing so will be part of your recovery.

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January 03, 2006
06:34 PM

Alan, I think I think "most abusers don't change" is intended as a piece of reality for people who are hoping their partners will change. Also you should take that as forewarning that change is HARD. Do you want it badly enough to see it through, no matter how hard it gets? Only you can answer that question. Most abusers ultimately don't. But you don't have to be like most abusers. The choice is entirely yours.

"The choice is yours..." Yes Alan, it is. And you are in a great space and direction. You will have doubts; you will have fears, and it is OK to have them. Feel the feelings, don't react. Things are going well; there is no reason to jump any guns here even though you may feel like it. Impulsivity is part of what you want to curb.

Dear Readers, feel free to continue chatting here, or, of course, take it to the CatBox. Many thanks to each and every one of you for your great feedback and support of Alan - including those of you who are "tough" on him! :)

May God bless you and yours and may your 2006 be the best year ever for you and your family. Dr. Irene, January 5, 2006.

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January 06, 2006
08:34 AM

Alan, This is not going to be an easy process. You will have these creepy feelings for a very long time. It is part of the change. You are wanting relief. The only way to get it, is to do the work. Trust me, I have been on the other end of the abuse, but I am hear to tell you, the abuser can be successful and have a fabulous relationship, if he will commit to the work. It's like trying to diet, you have to stick with it for years. Stay with your therapist despite the other work that you do. Keep a balanced life. Find a good male friend to support and encourage you. One who can truly be honest and loving. Start eating and exercising, cause this will help release good nurturing to you. You probably dont have very good self care right now, cause you dont think you deserve it, but you do. Make sure your therapist is qualified and skilled in the areas of abuse. I dont support my ex anymore cause he didnt and doesnt today, want to see his ways. But, I will support and encourage the abuser, if I see he truly accepts responsibility. Most people will. Take care, and keep writing, it will move you forward.

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January 06, 2006
05:00 PM

Well Thank you again for all the great comments and advice. Dr. Irene your experience shines! I am re-reading all of your comments and everyone else’s several times. I am finding that as I progress – digress – regress - and progress through this – I am able to look at certain sentences and really start to understand them and relate to what is happening to me. Logically I think I understand most of it – but I am starting to notice when it has effect by the way the words have an impact on me. I think it means I’m starting to change. I see my therapist twice a week, chat on the I_am_responsible@yahoo.com message board several times a day ( they are great – soft that tow tough lines!) and I am slowly going through all of the book recommendations. I have started to eat well and exercise. The last writer picked up on my emptiness – but I am taking care of my body figuring that it will keep my mind healthy to be able to sort all of this out. Keeping busy seems to work most of the time. Mornings and sleep is the worst. I really feel the isolation now. I think the shock is wearing off and its getting harder and harder to focus. It hurts badly - worse than I imagined. I am sure this is all part of the process. I want to call my wife and tell her how sorry I am, tell her that I am changing and tell her to be here. However, I know I cant do this. I need to experience this alone for myself and she needs her time to make her own decisions. It is just hard to be alone. On the other hand, I am starting to feel scared for the possibility that my wife may reconsider and come back at some point. More than anything I want to be with her again, however, I don’t want to be as I was before. I sense my behaviours changing but I guess I wont know until I have the relationship to test it in. This gives me fear and uncertaintly, almost like someone watching a film that is only in progress and forming an opinion on it. Im am starting to understand more of the WHY. I am remembering parts of my growing up more and seeing the patterns develop. I can feel the angry/resentful kid inside of me. Yesterday I became frustrated at something – I sat with it for a while and then realized there was nothing I could do about the situation. However, the heat was still there. So I tried something new that my therapist recommended–I told myself that I am 30 years old and that I don’t need to react. The feeling went away! It was incredible to be able to control this feeling and not allow it to continue! A little later when I had the space - I did as Dr. Irene recommended and I told the “kid” that it’s OK that he was feeling the way he was. I sat with it and cried, and cried some more. Thank you for the advice – I can tell its working. Thank you all for your insight and encouragement. I am sorry to hear that some of you have relationships that are beyond repair. Hopefully you are finding strength in your own work. Your words and experience have helped me in more ways than you may know Sincerely, Alan

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January 07, 2006
05:51 AM

Hi Alan, J here. Clearly after the last few days I can see that there is not chance left with my husband, at all. He went over the top and his work with the counselor seems more to have been aimed at being ammunition for him to continue fighting with me. Hours on end...Yet, relentless. He called the other day at 2:45 in the morning, (he knows that I will answer the phone in my sleep AND, i didn't turn it off). He did a jekyll and Hyde manuever from his earlier conversation which had started off nicely but ended with him manipulating the heck out of me. Now I can clearly see how innappropriate he was and he escelated to the point where I have gone true No CONTACT. I got a police escort to get the last of my things out of our apartment. I do not know how he got the landlords to lock me out, (the police said that was a major no no and that it was my address and they cannot lock me out). Yet, even though the landlords told me he was crazy and he left them many messages, they refused to let me in without the police. Not every abuser who goes to counselling is seeking to truly work on themselves, Alan, unlike what you are experiencing. Many only do it as a ruse to keep a connection to their victim and to prolong their manipulation. Glad to end his/my cycle. J, (jennifer) p.s. best wishes for you and your wife

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January 07, 2006
10:31 PM

Alan, I was the one who wrote about eating healthy and working out. You see, you do need to feel the pain of aloneness, cause you have been in a relationship that was unhealthy. It doesnt matter which side of the relationship, abuse or abuser, we all have to go through the same steps to heal. It is almost the same work for both parties. You do have to spend alot of time alone, so that you get to know who you really are. You may even go through some Post Traumatic Shock Syndrome PTSS, before it is over. It is unbelievealbe that you would find yourself in this situation but it happens, alot, in relationships, unfortunately. Our lives are very parallel sometimes. That is why therapists know us long before we ever hit the counselor chair. They see these patterns of behaviors all the time. It is actually healing to know that they already know us, cause they actually can make us feel better that we arent alone in this madness. You are not alone, and neither is your wife. I hope she is on this site and is learning both sides of the abusive relationship. I applaud your efforts, once again, cause I found this site and tried to get my ex to see that I dont blame him for his past behavior, I just became privy to the knowledge that we both had significant childhoods/past experiences that helped create our unhealthiness. If we both would have done the work, we probably could have had a fabulous, honest, and open relationship and been freed up from all of the weight that was on us long before we realized it. But I respect that it was going to be too painful for him to uncover all of those buried hurts/pains so I moved on without him, his choice. He is not moving forward at all. It is very sad. He is so numbed out, and it is hurting all of his relationships. Sounds like you are making a different choice. You have to do your own work. You need to focus on you and go through all of the stages to recover and heal from this unfortunate awareness. But day by day you will free yourself up from the pain. It will be lifelong work, but it gets easier, and you will slip at times, but keep it up. I have been at it for 4 years. I have learned, applied and accepted the things I could not change and life became so much better. I think I can empathize cause when you describe your feelings, I was right there, too. I never thought I would ever smile again, or feel like living fully. But, I am hear to tell you with a lot of work, honesty and getting real with yourself, you will be amazed where it will get you. My relationship in my marriage was so painful, I didnt even want to think about dating or marriage again. I am here to say, that I am in a healthy relationship today, and it is so completely different than the codependent, abusive relationship I was in. It is a choice. Trust me, you want to experience a good one. I shared my painful story to two 90 year old neighbors, who were so kind to me, and they just laughed that I thought life was over. My head and my heart couldn't match up, then. Now I laugh at myself for believing that life could really be over. Grow from the experience and commit to the long haul. You will reap what you sow. Keep getting it out. It is moving you forward. For all of you out there on both sides, do the work. Just do the work. It pays off. It takes a while to just get it. You cannot trick this crazy stuff. You have to go through it and hit it head on. Think spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. No short cuts. I wish all of you peace. Make this the best year of your life. It is a choice.

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January 08, 2006
08:57 PM

Hello, This post is for the person who responded last, about working out and exercise and how it is necessary to have alone time. I do not want to SKIP any steps and probably have a dumb question. Even though I had been living apart from my husband since the end of August and have had limited contact with him, our true and final separation with no contact for good started this Jan 4th. Yes, I feel the pangs of lonliness and even though they are familiar since these last few months they are new, (because they are the final ones and I know this.) Well, I am worried because I am about to adopt a "rescue" cat who had been abused and abondanded. See, even though I had been considering adopting a cat since September, (I have been without one for 9 years) I am a little afraid that this may interfere with my 'alone' time for recovery. Okay, am I just thinking stupid here? I mean, she is an adorable 5 year old cat that needs a loving home and someone to spoil her. I have a nice new apartment and would love to welcome her. I am trying to be rational here and know that I have longed to adopt a cat again for some time, and that the time is right, I found her through the rescue site, met her at the house that is fostering her, met her foster owners. Basically I also know that as much as I want to offer her, (especially with the whole abuse bond) I know that the companionship and sweetness that she will give me is alot, (now I wonder if I am being selfish). Aggh. Okay, okay, I think it is not displacing the lonliness but, that it IS a positive way to share my life and that I am at a place and time in my life where I am especially prong to appreciate it more than ever. Thanks for reading all this prattle! Jennifer B

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January 09, 2006
11:34 AM

Dr Irene and others, I am feeling hurt Most of my days since my wife left have been filled with sorrow and fueled by the need to get better – fix myself and my attitude and rid my abusive behaviours. The other day while reading through my wife’s recent e-mails I realized that I was being blamed for actions that I did not do. Originally, when I read them I passed them off because I only wanted to listen and hear her hurt and anger. However, these issues keep coming up and I feel I need to voice myself in fear that I don’t lose whatever integrity I have left. I don’t know if this is the right thing to do but I need to voice this concern. My wife claims that I allowed myself to be a target for other females. This hurts me deeply. My wife has been the only woman in my life since we met in college. We spent 2 years apart and for 3 years living together up until or marriage and now. I have only thought, lived, breathed and loved one woman since I met her. Even when I was on my own and had other females proposition me I refused. I only thought of a life together with my wife ( girlfriend at the time). I made life altering decisions with her and it made me and brought me to where I am today. I know she is filled with only hurt from the abuse right now and I don’t know if I have any business defending anything right now. I can accept that I had no control over my abusive behaviour towards her – which she may never get over. It hurts me deeply that she is altering my values in her pain and I fear that this is helping her to get over me. My wife also has a deep resentment for my family. She says we have too many differences and says now that she always felt this way from the beginning but never voiced it. She claims that there were people at our wedding that were only there because they were important people like Dr’s and Lawer’s – this just isn’t true either. I fear she is taking this out on me as well. I have no control over other people and how they choose to be. I wish she would have come clean to tell me everything that she felt so that I could have had a chance to change or find a solution. She is looking back at every experience we have ever had and tarnishing it – this hurts me beyond belief – because I can look at pictures and video and see she was happy, in love – saying words to me that she meant at the time. Am I reacting to something I shouldn’t? I have only been compelled to apologize and work on myself – these feelings I don’t know what I can do about. She is looking for divorce papers now and I don’t think there is anything I can do. Alan

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January 09, 2006
11:40 AM

Dr Irene and others, Most of my days since my wife left have been filled with sorrow and fueled by the need to get better – fix myself and my attitude and rid my abusive behaviours. The other day while reading through my wife’s recent e-mails I realized that I was being blamed for actions that I did not do. Originally, when I read them I passed them off because I only wanted to listen and hear her hurt and anger. However, these issues keep coming up and I feel I need to voice myself in fear that I don’t lose whatever integrity I have left. I don’t know if this is the right thing to do but I need to voice this concern. My wife claims that I allowed myself to be a target for other females. This hurts me deeply. My wife has been the only woman in my life since we met in college. We spent 2 years apart and for 3 years living together up until or marriage and now. I have only thought, lived, breathed and loved one woman since I met her. Even when I was on my own and had other females proposition me I refused. I only thought of a life together with my wife ( girlfriend at the time). I made life altering decisions with her and it made me and brought me to where I am today. I know she is filled with only hurt from the abuse right now and I don’t know if I have any business defending anything right now. I can accept that I had no control over my abusive behaviour towards her – which she may never get over. It hurts me deeply that she is altering my values in her pain and I fear that this is helping her to get over me. My wife also has a deep resentment for my family. She says we have too many differences and says now that she always felt this way from the beginning but never voiced it. She claims that there were people at our wedding that were only there because they were important people like Dr’s and Lawer’s – this just isn’t true either. I fear she is taking this out on me as well. I have no control over other people and how they choose to be. I wish she would have come clean to tell me everything that she felt so that I could have had a chance to change or find a solution. She is looking back at every experience we have ever had and tarnishing it – this hurts me beyond belief – because I can look at pictures and video and see she was happy, in love – saying words to me that she meant at the time. Am I reacting to something I shouldn’t? I have only been compelled to apologize and work on myself – these feelings I don’t know what I can do about. She is looking for divorce papers now and I don’t think there is anything I can do.

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January 09, 2006
11:41 AM

The previous message is from Alan by the way

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January 09, 2006
05:06 PM

Hello Alan, You wrote: "She is looking back at every experience we have ever had and tarnishing it – this hurts me beyond belief – because I can look at pictures and video and see she was happy, in love – saying words to me that she meant at the time. Am I reacting to something I shouldn’t? I have only been compelled to apologize and work on myself – these feelings I don’t know what I can do about. She is looking for divorce papers now and I don’t think there is anything I can do. " My answer is yes, you can leave her alone and let her control herself and you control only yourself. Let her work her things out, let her remember things and allow her HER version of reality wether or not you agree with it. You claim that she is tarnishing the past...You may not yet even have the vaguest clue of how hurtful the past really was for her in the first place. Yes, it is sad and all of that for you but, (and what I am about to say here is really a big deal) It is not about you, got it. IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU, (not for her it isn't). Good luck, try to stop obsessing or focusing on her and how she views your mutual past, work on yoruself only. Besides, how can you work on yourself if all you are doing is wondering or worrying about her? Huh? If she is looking for divorce papers then, well, allow her the freedom to consider it, (who knows how things will go but, one thing that is pretty sure, if you panic and try to control her, you will probably gaurantee that they will proceed in the very manner you are trying to control them NOT to go). I can only speak from experience because my husband always wanted to apologize, (for hours on end) and wanted me to see his version, (for hours) and wanted me to stay and on and on... Best wishes, Jennifer B. p.s. so what did you expect, a medal? So you worked on yourself and suffered for a few days or weeks, big deal, keep doing it for months on end to see how things go and if you can grow, (I know, sounds harsh)

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January 09, 2006
06:25 PM

Thank you Jennifer It was harsh - but real Thank you for pointing it out and re-inforcing it. I need to hear it constantly. I really do because it is easay to fall back into patterns. What I was trying to get at was not what should I do about her - no intention right now to control her- but what should I do about these feelings I have about it. Rather than react to them - by calling, apologizing, telling her etc. - I wanted to voice it to the group to get an opinion as to how other people have dealt with these feelings. Im certainly not looking for a medal - Im trying to find assistance for the right course because I have gone in the wrong course for the past 30 years! Thanks for the response

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January 09, 2006
09:43 PM

Alan, Divorce is not the issue here. It seems like it is, but it isnt. When my husband asked for divorce, I gave it to him. It was the most painful thing I had done in my life, but you cant make someone stay in a marriage no matter how hard you try to control it. The best thing you can do is let your ACTIONS demonstrate to her that you are serious about this and you are going to do the work to become a healthy person first, then a healthy partner second. You may not even need her in your life after you have had some time to grow through this unhealthiness. She may not choose to grow through her pain. Many victims dont want to change. And, sometimes it really scares them when they see their partner change cause they had really rather keep it the way it is. Abuser or victim, it is still a personal choice on what work gets done. Both are unhealthy people. You are choosing to become healthy. Set her free. She needs to be free anyway. You need to be free, too. You are in some bondage to her. Get out from under it. It's always possible that you may not have as much abusive nature if you are away from someone who dances with you. Get off the dance floor and learn new steps, and practice before you go on the dance floor. Trust me, I know exactly what you are experiencing. Here is the way I felt. It's like waking up in a different country. You look around and find out that everyone you thought you knew is now speaking a different language and you have to learn the language all over again. Well you are learning a new language, the language of being a healthy individual. It's a gift you give yourself, then others. Dont dwell on the divorce. There is always re-marriage. Anyone can re-marry at anytime both parties want to. There really is no real finality with divorce. No more than one person choosing to leave another and not going back. My ex was not going to come back. Never, he said. I wanted him to love me enough to come back. That is the unhealthiness talking. Keep a journal. Right down your feelings and express your desire for her to come back or repair the relationship, but dont give it to her. Just keep a record of your feelings and your thoughts about her. Does she read the post on this site?????? If so, will she post??? I wish, so that I could write to her. You dont know how many of us will support the abuser, who owns his stuff, cause most abusers dont. They will let you do all the work for years and still bumble along with their kids, their friends and act so innocent about their abusive nature. The scariest thing is that alot of abusers will never "get" that they were abusers. They will never see it. Therapist dont even want to work with them, cause they know the outcome is almost nil. The therapist spend alot of time trying to help the victim see that it isnt going to happen. They have to move the victim forward. Magical thinking. You can be the greatest person in the world but the abuser is never going to let you be the greatest person in the world. I am so glad that you keep writing and you havent given up. Most would by now. Keep going. You will be so glad you did. And Jennifer, get the Cat. Animals are a man's best friend. They wont hinder you spending time alone and getting with your feelings. That cat wont turn into a person. They are there to encourage and support your growth. They will heal your soul, where your soul has been wounded. It's a healthy dependent care. That's okay.

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January 09, 2006
11:27 PM

Thank you for the words - to the last person - I dont know your name I appreciate the sentiment "Divorce is not final" - thinking about it that way helps. I know I cant hold onto her - slowly every day Im letting her go bit by bit. Its hard to hold onto when I can feel and hear her wanting to be let go as well. Its sudden and shocking and thats what makes it hard. Seeing the results of my own behaviour makes it unbearable at times - this thought I'll probably hold onto longer - as it becomes a driving force for me to never repeat it. Its hard to look at yourself in the mirror. My understanding of it helps it become a tangible thing that I can grab hold of and deal with. All of the comments on this site, the chat group and the professionals have been more help than I can thank you all for. I will keep going - I wont allow anyone else to hurt by my lack of control of my behaviour. Alan

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January 10, 2006
05:37 AM

Hi Alan, What do you do abou those feelings? You feel them, deal with them and feel through them and keep claiming 100% responsibility for them, they are all yours and no one elses. You are the creator of those feelings and the sole owner. Also, remember that you create your feelings based on what you think, which means that you have control over your own feelings. So, again, deal with them and if they are too much, share them with your counselor and ask for his/her professional opinion. Jennifer B

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January 10, 2006
05:49 AM

Hi again to Alan and to the wonderful advice person, This thread is helping me as well and I thank you both. I called the cat's foster parents and the shelter that housed her yesterday and worked out some details and adopted her last night! I had to drive about 45 minutes with her in the car and was totally surprised by how good she was. Cats normally hate the car. All she did was give me a few mrawls to let me know how indignant it all was but, then rode like a queen for the next 40 minutes. What a good girl! I found out that she has had a tough string of bad luck with about 6 different homes in her 5 short years. Her last home truly loved her but, thought she would be happiest as a solo cat and not with 4 kitty roomates. She is still settling in as its been less than 12 hours but, when I woke up this morning and looked around for her she was sleeping underneath my bed, directly under where I was sleeping. Since she has been through so much in her life I know it will take time before she trusts but, I am happy to start this process with her. I mean, I would much, much rather aquiesce to a formerly abused cat who needs a loving home than to an abusive human who just needs someone to dance with. I don't do that dance anymore, I am going to learn some new steps and am not even concerned about taking the floor! Thank you, Jennifer B

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January 10, 2006
05:41 PM

Alan, Unfortuately, we all say things and turn things, aroung and into, what makes us feel better. Let her say what she needs to say. Your actions will still speak volumes about who you are. She is angry, hurt, sad and is just processing like you are. It doesnt last forever. I can look back and laugh at so much, now. When you get through the pain and begin to heal or recover, you will see truth you never wanted or could see. My ex and I are back where we were before we started dating. I told him the other day that we just never should have crossed the coffee table, but I was glad that we did cause we have two incredible kids that came from our relationship, healthy or unhealthy. Now we are teaching them early to pay attention to some things before they get too heavy into early relationships that are serious. He still doesnt see his part, but he figures I am not dumb so even though he cant see it, he knows there was something wrong. I am in a very healthy, satisfying in every way relationship, and I can truly see the difference. My counselor told me, one day, I would have this great experience and it would really ring true the poor relationship I was in. I was so glazed over with pain when he would say that, cause I thought I had the best thing and lost it. Duh!! We are always in the learning curve. Does she read the post??? Have an interest in the site, at all???? Jennifer, you go girl, with your cat. You will get on that dance floor again. You do it, in and on your own time. I bet it will be a great dance. I never thought I would dance again, but the last 6 months have proven to be a very good dance. I have had so many things happen that relate to what both of you are going through. I feel all of your pains, pangs, and fears. But I am hear to say, once again, do the work and you will reap what you so. As a good ole friend of mine use to say, "If you will do this, I will dance at your wedding." Well, guys, if you will keep doing your work, I will dance at your wedding. Do you go on the boards? I havent quite figured out how to do it. Too busy to sit and figure it out. Any advice??? I always forget to sign my name, so to take the mystery away, let me introduce myself as, Val. If you have any questions, I will try and tell you what I have learned through the mega resources I have on my shelf. I too, took this stuff very seriously, and have a whole library committed to resources. They are abundant. Dr. Irene puts in all in a nutshell and speaks on both sides of the issue. That really helps. Doc, if you are listening, thanks, you have helped me more than you know. I've been on the site for over a couple of years, I think. Time flies even when it isnt so fun. Thanks for the banter. It helps heal the spirit. Val

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January 10, 2006
06:26 PM

Hello Val, Thank you and also thank you to Alan for sharing your thread with me, (as your posts and responses back to mine were very helpful). Val, just this afternoon I was really surprised by some of the waves of grief I felt. These were as strong as when I first realized that my husband was abusing me and that my dream was a nightmare. You wrote, "cause I thought I had the best thing and lost it. Duh!!" Tonight I was having a little kitty snuggle and I was crying over what I thought I lost, (which in reality where things that I really never had). What I was grieving were the brief honeymoon time when I first moved in with him, after 7 years of off an on and then that 8 months living together where everything was hopes for the future. It was not rosy but, it was "hopeful", this is one of the things I think I may be grieving. I know it will get better but, for now, I am "going" through it. Jennifer B

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January 11, 2006
01:23 AM

Hi Val , Hi Jennifer B Thanks for sharing your stories and advice In my wife’s heart right now she thinks we were never right and says I never loved her. This kills me more than anything. I had a behaviour that recurred too many times and it overshadows everything. I messed up horribly – I didn’t pay attention. I think about it now and there is such a shift. I m mindful of every word I say now – every thought I think. I see how little time it takes to just be in the present moment rather than always thinking about what we need for the end of the month, next paycheck, end of the year, our lives etc. Its like looking back at a childhood and saying – I cant believe I thought those things or acted that way. It hurts to see who I was – just 26 days ago. Crazy to see it so differently in such a short time. The steps you guys have taken and my wife are so necessary – though painful it forces clarity. I don’t know if my wife is reading the posts. I told her about it but right now everything I tell her is rejected so I doubt it. Im so sorry for what I have done. Im sorry for anyone there who has been hurt by their best friend/closest intimate other. I can see how it can feel so horrible the trust she gave me and now feeling that I threw it all away. I will be forever learning to see properly. My eyes were fogged over by selfishness and what I thought was the right way to be. Yes Val I go on the boards. If you go to DR. Irene’s page – http://www.drirene.com/support_lists.htm there are three to choose from. I too have gotten a little confused in the catbox. Not sure where to post. The I_am_responsible chat group is great. Very supportive but very real. Give it a try. Alan

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January 13, 2006
09:06 AM

The other day I had a conversation with my wife. It was sthe first time we both were able to talk since she left 29 days ago. We listened to eachother, really listened. I was using all of the tools that I have been taught by this site and books and I found myself engaging and connecting in ways that I never have before. I could hear my wife relax some, and although there is still lots of hurt we were able to share and learn from eachothers experiences and what we have learned over the past month. I learned a lot from her and appreciate her opening up to me. I dont think she is able to forgive at this point however, she was able to listen and engage and that was wonderful to me. When I woke up this morning I felt a little bit different and Im a little bit nervous about it. I thought of life with my wife again - I felt comforted and filled with warmth and smiles. Then I thought about life without her and I didnt have the same usual response of sickness and fear. This worries me, I am scared that I am becoming a little complacent over her decision to return or not to. As if either way I could deal with. Does this mean I am getting over her? It feels much too soon. Advice? Alan

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January 14, 2006
06:06 AM

Good Grief Alan, It has only been 29 days and you are feeling the NEED for her to forgive you? Allow her time to greive, process and have HER time! Goodness' sakes, it is not about YOU, (for her). Jennifer B

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January 14, 2006
09:32 AM

Jennifer Its a difficult thing to live alone for 30 days straight after 8 years of companionship. Although it doesnt seem like much 30 days of being face to face with your own horrible behaviours and hearing only pain from my wife whom I thought I was loving with all my heart is the most difficult thing I have ever had to contend with. I guess it would have been easy to deny everything and resent her but I could not. I appreciate your perspective, I really do - I think about my wife everyday and talk and apologize my heart out and continue to work on myself. It is a difficult thing when you are by yourself for hours on end, only dealing with the mistakes you have made, not to think about yourself. Im not feeling sorry for myself its just what is - and Im trying my hardest to forgive myself. My wife is hurting badly. She has been hurting for 8 years and kept it quiet. I cant imagine the suffering she has gone through. I am the cause of her suffering for 8 YEARS! if that isnt enough to beat oneself down to the ground I dont know what is. Its painful and I cant deny that. Im trying to cope - and you say its not about me but I assure you its happening to me. I am using this and other groups to express myself because I have been on the wrong path for too long. I appreciate your candor to re-direct me but I am a human being. PS - In the previous e-mail I asked if I was getting over her - what I meant was - am I learning to cope without her? Alan

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January 14, 2006
11:33 AM

Jennifer I re-read my previous e-mail. I think I reacted there. It must have read as aggression towards you and I apologize. You are right I am wanting forgiveness and I should not expect it too soon - or at all for that matter. I'm in a whirlwind of doubt and Im constantly re-thinking my thoughts. Dont stop harping on me. I cant imagine how you must feel hearing an abuser talk about themself. Alan

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January 14, 2006
02:53 PM

Alan, I dont see you only thinking about yourself. I see you caring about your wife's feelings. I was on the abused side for 23+ years and I still had to take responsibility for my own actions. If you are truly a genuine, caring person, your wife will see it. She has to give you time to work on you, and she has to work on herself. It isnt all about you. She has to do and take some of the responsibility. You say you are hurting, you've made mistakes. We all do. We are human and very fallible. So, beating yourself up isnt going to solve anything but take you down to more depression. Just go to work on your inner self and try and look realistically from childhood on, where you were wounded? What was your family circustances and are you modeling someone else's behavior that was taught to you? My husband's father was a verbal, physical abuser and an alcoholic. My husband witnessed alot of horrible things. All of the kids were affected by it. My husband was an abuser in a covert way, very covert. He probably didnt want to be like his dad so he thought he wasnt cause it didnt look like the same way he saw his dad treat his mother. It was covert, not overt. He was probably in pain more than the rest of the siblings cause he always acted so macho and declared he scathed by and was above it all. Well guess what?? He wasnt. I have been living with a very dry drunk all this time and didnt realize it. He didnt drink alot. I believed he had scathed by it to. But, no, he didnt. When I started counseling for codependent behaviors, I had to come clean that my dad was a verbal abuser to my mother and myself. I have now put boundaries in place, but I dont blame my dad for having them. I cant change him but I can point out when his behavior is not acceptable to me and leave the room or house when I am there. Victims have alot of work to do, as well. I have been at it with a very good therapist and it will bring you a lot of joy. You will change, if you do the work. You will slip. I do every day. We all do, so dont go a thinking you are so bad you cant redeem yourself. You can and you will. Your wife does need alot of time. Even if you two were to stay together it can take up to 5 or so years to reap the benefits of change. Stick with it. If your wife cares enough, she will seek the other side and learn how to have good boundaries. It doesnt excuse the behavior on your part, but each party has 50% of the relationship, no matter what. Besides, we all can go down into self pity, feel a little pain, and grieve. Abusers get to grieve, too. It is a painful wakeup call. It will move you forward. It's all part of the growth to maturity and acceptance. You will become free and experience the joy of real freedom one day. Keep getting it out. I am reaping some of the greatest benefits of my work. It took a lot of time to get there. But I see many people struggling today and they dont want to see their behaviors or spend the time doing the work. Too lazy. So they get what they get each day. Work on empowerment. Alan, healthy balance. Exercise, nutrition, counseling, a good day at the office, a little spiritual meditation. Find your inner spirit, and let the spirit move you, too. We all are loveable, deserve love and when we fall, and we will, we need to remember the higher power is working more than we know. Thank goodness. It does feel kind of lonely but you know what, we have to learn to be good and single, alone and fulfilled before we can have a good relationship with another person. So work from that premise. I love my alone time and it isnt lonely. Keep pushing even when that big ole rock isnt moving. All you need to do is push. Take care!

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January 17, 2006
10:26 AM

I dont know if people are reading these posts anymore. Some of you recommended that my wife post her thoughts. I have to say that she probably will not and this is my fault. She showed me once again how I did not think about her and only myself. I encouraged my wife to post and she almost did - just when she built up some trust I shattered it once again. I sent this link to my family for the intention that they see what I have done to my wife so they can understand why she had to leave. Unfortunately I failed to see the violation of her privacy. On one of my posts I let her feeling be known and some of them were regarding my family. She did not ask me to do this. I cant believe I didnt think about this but this is my pattern. I have violated her rights to privacy and I am truely sorry for this. I can see how horrified she would feel This is a difficult road. Im trying to stay on course but the ground is shakey. Alan

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January 17, 2006
08:14 PM

Alan, She has to understand where you are coming from. Did she know you were on this site. The site explains both sides. She has to try and understand the patterns of behavior and allow time on both sides to process. I am sure she is angry. I was angry too. I had to learn and learn some more. It will be hard for her to understand at first, but she needs to know that there are alot of us out there who's spouses didnt acknowledge their behavior. I wish she would post, but you havent violated her privacy. No one knows who you are. You are a parallel couple who are dealing with an epidemic of relationships. You are not the only ones dealing with this. She has to understand that eventually. Sure, her family is going to take sides but you know what? Mine stayed neutral and let us work it out. Stop beating yourself up over every little thing. I believe you are trying. That is what matters. You are going to make mistakes. Keep working at it. She will see in time, your truth and forgiveness. It will take some time. I am still here with you, if you need support. I kick myself in the rear alot. You just will. Tell her to post. We dont know her. Vent it out. Val

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January 20, 2006
01:12 PM

Alan, I read your letter because I want to learn about what motivated my abusive ex husband. I wanted to know if my abusive ex husband had a kernel of awareness of how much I loved him and how confusing and destructive his abuse was to me. If he ever really saw me for who I am. I certainly cherished the good parts of him. Because my experince and your wife's are very similar, our responses to the situation are similar...the thing I would like recovering abusers to know is that no, trust in you agian is not likely. Why? because when the realization comes that we have been abused for the duration of the relationship, that we have been manipulated and controlled; it becomes impossible to distinguish between that and genuine happy memories. Abuse confounds all attempts to understand our past with the abuser and it remains frozen in turmoil. The past actually changes, and that is mind blowing and soul shattering. What was control and what was manipulation? Did he really love me? Is he Capable of love? That is my real question for Dr. Irene. Are abusive people capable of love? Or was I simply an object to use as a punching bag? An object to vent rage on? I read Alan's letter and he sounded a lot like my ex, for the first couple of lines, I thought it was him and I had hope again. I had hope that he finally saw me for who I am. I had hope that I could have my husband back, healthy and whole...but realistically, the damage is done, and he lacks Alan's insight (as well as his library)and he too is sleeping alone.

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January 20, 2006
01:40 PM

Is anyone else concerned that after only 30 days since he discovered he is a wife abuser (because his wife left him), Alan is the "expert" on this page? Does it concern any of the women who are dealing with co dependency issues, that a confirmed abused (for 8 years AT LEAST)is now our guru? Stop congratulating him ladies. As many of you have pointed out, he only figured it out because he lost his wife. It has only been a month. He is not in any position to have these kind of "advice" conversations (where he is giving answers, or controling) with abused women. STOP GIVING HIM POWER. Alan, share your story, but do it in a way and in a forum where you are not advising or leading potential victims. Don't think your new position as martyr on this page is not an extension of your PROBLEMS - it is not part of your healing

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January 20, 2006
07:34 PM

Everyone needs to speak for themselves. All ladies and gents (many men have been abused, too) it isnt a gender thing even though it happens to more women. It is unfortunate that we stay in these relationships and many times we didnt even realize to the magnitude of manipulation. It was done with such kindness or covert ways. I dont see Alan being an expert. Alan, you will have to be very honest with yourself, cause admitting your abuse and changing the behavior are two completely different things. The abuser and victim really are on different unhealthy rides. I hope the men and women who have been in abusive relationships have done the work to recognize the abusive nature, learn boundaries, and attract themselves to healthier people. It really is major work on both sides. Most of it came from the childhood relationship patterns, so you have to deal with the anger, it is on both sides (anger) and process it with a good abuse counselor. Most people will not recover without the help of a professional. We also have to take personal responsibility. Being separated and alone is good for both parties. Neither are really healthy enough to have a relationship without the work. I personally keep doing the work on recovery, balance it with healthy choices, and let my Higher Power, guide me through the peaks and valleys. It is a roller coaster. The outcomes of abusers recognizing and taking healthy action is difficult, but I believe some make it. It doesnt make me feel better to blast my ex for being the poison in the water. I have accepted that he cant see it, therefore he cant make better choices. I couldnt see my own abuse and it took me 6-10 months to recognize it myself. How long did it take some of you to get it????? I have just chosen to not be around him. That is my boundary. I have worked through forgiveness and it has opened my life up immensely. Great things are coming from it. So, I believe we all can have fruitful lives, and are deserving of fruit, when we all do our part to take personal responsibility. I have noticed, that those of us who were the victims, can still sabatoge ourselves. That is what I have to pay most attention to. I still catch myself believing I dont deserve to have quality of life. But I do and it is coming, ever so sweetly. Keep up the work.

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January 22, 2006
06:20 PM

Hello to the poster who wrote, "Is anyone else concerned that after only 30 days since he discovered he is a wife abuser (because his wife left him), Alan is the "expert" on this page? Does it concern any of the women who are dealing with co dependency issues, that a confirmed abused (for 8 years AT LEAST)is now our guru? Stop congratulating him ladies." Not all of us are congratulating him. Not all of us even continued to respond to his posts for attention and ammo. Jennifer B p.s. just today my best friend was telling me how after she caught her husband cheating, (oh he had a credit card charge to a hotel while she was in the HOSPITAL for her hysterectomy) that he wanted her to forgive him right away, like how dare she be upset because I mean after all, he WAS so sorry!!

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January 23, 2006
02:17 PM

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January 23, 2006
03:02 PM

I am the one who posted the really angry e-mail lambasting Alan and his "guru" status. I have to appologise for bringing an angry tone to the page. I stand by my words and thoughts. I am responsible though for bringing an aggressive tone and it was uncalled for. We have all had enough of that in our lives. As you can probably tell, I have just been let out of an abusive relationship. Where I was once a happy, laughing funny woman, filled with optimism (that is what he said he loved about me, my ability to be generous of spirit and positive) my abuser infected me with the suspicion, rage, hate and contempt he has for the world. What abusers should know is this: when the woman you love turns into "the same old nag, just like the other one's", it is because YOU have manipulated and bullied her into changing. You manipulated and bullied all of the women into becomming the same victim. THAT is the reason. M. violated my boundaries and I am having a hard time responding to things as I normally would. It is going to take some time before I can gage correctly what is appropraite and thought based, rather than emotional reaction. I am truly like a wounded dog and that is what terrifies me the most. I don't recognize myself. I am aware that I am "off", but I don't know how to get back to normal, and I am terrified I will remain this slightly crazy, inappropraite, emotional basket case. I am starting therapy, I have been a few times actually. The challenge I face right now is that I am afraid to leave the house because of outbursts like the post I did from the other day. I don't want to do that in public, but apparently I can't be trusted yet. It semmed ok at the time - the post. And now this whole e-mail sounds just like my abuser does. God please help me. What happened to me?

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January 23, 2006
04:15 PM

You do sound like you are on the early stages of abuse recognition. You are getting really good and angry and it comes out. That is what I said about everyone has their work to do. I think Alan has left the site. Alan, are you out there??? Even listening??? I hope you are with an abuse counselor cause it does make the difference. I find myself telling my counselor the differences you see when you are in the unhealthy abusive relationship vs the healthier relationship. WOW! He jumps right in the minute you distinquish the two. He gets it. He also an anger specialist and it is all about anger. Sorry you are feeling so aggressive. I never ever really got that way, but I can see where you can. I do hate that Alan left the site cause he does have some information for us. Have you tried to talk to your abuser?? They cant share anything that is helpful.

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January 24, 2006
10:45 AM

I am still here. I have mostly been reading the posts. It is difficult to respond to the harshness sometimes. I do need to hear it and have by others and my wife. Thank you all of sharing I am listening intently. The one person is right that it may not be my plasce to give any aort of advice to someone that has been abused. I have been reading a lot and learning from therapy ( he does deal with abusive people). At times I felt I wanted to share what I had learned, I truly did not mean any offence. There are also times where I need to listen to positive re-enforcement as well. I guess abusers have quite a challenge too. Overcoming a behaviour that has been ingrained and accepted over years is no easy task. Its hard to see yourself from the outside. It wasn’t easy to understand at first - I was in an unconscious relationship. It is like walking around dead. Assuming everything is normal – because this was normal for me and what I learned in my past. Now that I am “awake” it is a scary world. Its like being pulled out of a warm bath naked in the snow. There is nowhere to turn for comfort. I had to face myself and re-learn my very own way of thinking. After 30 years of conditioning this is hard to do. I am sure the abused partners have it similar. Trying to figure out why they took it for so long. Not being able to trust others. It is scary and painful that my wife is in such turmoil, I am so used to sharing everything with her and her me. Now we have ourselves. I have been grieving a lot and am now learning about being in the present. I am spending a lot of time healing and meditating. Asking a lot of questions about myself, discovering where the behaviours have come from and trying to understand them. I have no expectations at this point about any outcome with my wife and I. I question “love” a lot. One of the writers asked if abusers are capable of love. I know I am – at least I think I am. I feel love for many people. I thought I was a genuine person. I look at the people around me and I talk to them genuinely. I have love for my wife – more than she knows - I just didn’t know how to show it. Some of these actions and behaviours have to be taught. As my bad behaviours were taught. Love was expressed very differently in my family and this I accepted. My wife showed me love and I didn’t respond in the same way. This hurts me everyday. Now that I see it, it is almost so simple. I really did feel it. It was as if I was on auto pilot with all of my reactions. I never stopped – I was continually reacting and had constant thoughts of the future and what to do next, how to pay for this, how to achieve that goal etc. There was no stillness. I am learning that this is the only way to be aware. I hear other abused partners talk about wishing their husbands could have been aware. Im not sure it makes much of a difference. The damage has already been done. Like my wife you have bad memories and walk with pain. The person who was supposed to love you did not show it. I understand how that would hurt for a long time. I have heard change is possible for both. It is necessary for me to change my behaviour for myself, I wont go on walking dead – it is too horrifying to see yourself like that. I can never go back. Alan

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January 24, 2006
06:06 PM

Alan, Thanks for your amazing story,(mine too!)Dr. Irene, when I stumbled onto this site last night after one of my raging run-away from home adolesant out bursts, I stayed up all night reading and surfing the site. God Bless you for your contribution and those that share. Jim

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January 24, 2006
06:24 PM

Please, don't buy into all of this. A good lie is 2 parts truth and 1 part lie. yes, these things are not good and anyone doing them needs to stop. yes,i have verbally abused. i am sorry and i want to repentent for it. no, i did not see it until my wife decided to stand up and leave. does this mean that everything done was my fault?? maybe so, i don't want it that way... some people are just born nice. sooo nice. i wish i was born nice. i wasn't trying to be mean, i did not know. i still have a place in this world. it's not right to throw up your hands and say "i am finished, to hell with you." the nice person, still has issues too. not very many, but they still do. we abusers are not hopeless. we need to change, but so do the nice people. nice people are looking for that relationship that will totally fulill them. it won't be found. they will find something wrong with anyone. verbal abuse is wrong. strong will is beautiful to a nice person. but the person who leans toward controlling needs to somehow be aware of the hurt they are causing and stop. they don't however need to become wimpy and soft and blame themselves for everything that ever happened in the relationship... a little bit is the fault of the nice person. not very much, but some. and yes, nice people do misunderstand a lot of things that are said or done. mostly, out in the world and in relationships that are not husband and wife. they hide or think there is a fairy tale land out there somewhere... why, irene, don't you address that?? you probably are a nice person. to have this website that is just onesided. people happen stance onto this and "WOW!! i have been verbally abused, time to pick up and leave... there's no hope...this website clinches it...it's all their fault...no wonder i can't get ahead in life...see you later... i bound to be happy..." people are people. no one is going to be perfect. even the good relationships have one bad person in them and one nice person. it's just how bad a nice person thinks is bad...(i know i have issues) i hope you are getting the gist of this rant.

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January 24, 2006
06:34 PM

Alan, I appreciate your willingness to visit on this site. It does show some character of who you are. We have a lot to share and learn from each other on both sides. If my ex could have done what you were doing we would have been able to at least see the patterns and correct things. So, I am still going to give you a + mark for staying in the game, while some beat up on you. You are taking it seriously, I can tell. Not too many abusers are going to stay on the line and take what you have taken from the victims. Who do you think was in your past that created some of your actions/behaviors?? Have you pinpointed it?? I believe that abusers are capable of loving. It really just seems to be the intimate partner that takes the brunt of the abusive nature, most of the times. So, abusers can and are pretty genuine about caring and loving others. We all have our control, fear and insecurities. We have to work on them to free up ourselves and others from our needs to control. I have seen a real difference having been in counseling. It does take about 3-5 years to really start to see it show up around you. When my counselor said 3-5 years, he wasnt kidding. You might want to go to an anger workshop. My daughter and I did. 6 weeks. Anger is more than just getting mad and saying things that hurt. It is amazing. Some of us dont even know how to get angry. That is scary. How do you think the victims of abuse can help you??? The confrontation, pointing out the subtle things, what helps you to see the abuse??? I dont want to lose the abuser side. It gives us an opportunity to ask questions and learn, too.

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January 24, 2006
06:57 PM

Please, don't buy into all of this. A good lie is 2 parts truth and 1 part lie. yes, these things are not good and anyone doing them needs to stop. yes,i have verbally abused. i am sorry and i want to repentent for it. no, i did not see it until my wife decided to stand up and leave. does this mean that everything done was my fault?? maybe so, i don't want it that way... some people are just born nice. sooo nice. i wish i was born nice. i wasn't trying to be mean, i did not know. i still have a place in this world. it's not right to throw up your hands and say "i am finished, to hell with you." the nice person, still has issues too. not very many, but they still do. we abusers are not hopeless. we need to change, but so do the nice people. nice people are looking for that relationship that will totally fulill them. it won't be found. they will find something wrong with anyone. verbal abuse is wrong. strong will is beautiful to a nice person. but the person who leans toward controlling needs to somehow be aware of the hurt they are causing and stop. they don't however need to become wimpy and soft and blame themselves for everything that ever happened in the relationship... a little bit is the fault of the nice person. not very much, but some. and yes, nice people do misunderstand a lot of things that are said or done. mostly, out in the world and in relationships that are not husband and wife. they hide or think there is a fairy tale land out there somewhere... why, irene, don't you address that?? you probably are a nice person. to have this website that is just onesided. people happen stance onto this and "WOW!! i have been verbally abused, time to pick up and leave... there's no hope...this website clinches it...it's all their fault...no wonder i can't get ahead in life...see you later... i bound to be happy..." people are people. no one is going to be perfect. even the good relationships have one bad person in them and one nice person. it's just how bad a nice person thinks is bad...(i know i have issues) i hope you are getting the gist of this rant.

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January 25, 2006
01:18 AM

I am still here. I have mostly been reading the posts. It is difficult to respond to the harshness sometimes. I do need to hear it and have by others and my wife. Thank you all of sharing I am listening intently. The one person is right that it may not be my plasce to give any aort of advice to someone that has been abused. I have been reading a lot and learning from therapy ( he does deal with abusive people). At times I felt I wanted to share what I had learned, I truly did not mean any offence. There are also times where I need to listen to positive re-enforcement as well. I guess abusers have quite a challenge too. Overcoming a behaviour that has been ingrained and accepted over years is no easy task. Its hard to see yourself from the outside. It wasn’t easy to understand at first - I was in an unconscious relationship. It is like walking around dead. Assuming everything is normal – because this was normal for me and what I learned in my past. Now that I am “awake” it is a scary world. Its like being pulled out of a warm bath naked in the snow. There is nowhere to turn for comfort. I had to face myself and re-learn my very own way of thinking. After 30 years of conditioning this is hard to do. I am sure the abused partners have it similar. Trying to figure out why they took it for so long. Not being able to trust others. It is scary and painful that my wife is in such turmoil, I am so used to sharing everything with her and her me. Now we have ourselves. I have been grieving a lot and am now learning about being in the present. I am spending a lot of time healing and meditating. Asking a lot of questions about myself, discovering where the behaviours have come from and trying to understand them. I have no expectations at this point about any outcome with my wife and I. I question “love” a lot. One of the writers asked if abusers are capable of love. I know I am – at least I think I am. I feel love for many people. I thought I was a genuine person. I look at the people around me and I talk to them genuinely. I have love for my wife – more than she knows - I just didn’t know how to show it. Some of these actions and behaviours have to be taught. As my bad behaviours were taught. Love was expressed very differently in my family and this I accepted. My wife showed me love and I didn’t respond in the same way. This hurts me everyday. Now that I see it, it is almost so simple. I really did feel it. It was as if I was on auto pilot with all of my reactions. I never stopped – I was continually reacting and had constant thoughts of the future and what to do next, how to pay for this, how to achieve that goal etc. There was no stillness. I am learning that this is the only way to be aware. I hear other abused partners talk about wishing their husbands could have been aware. Im not sure it makes much of a difference. The damage has already been done. Like my wife you have bad memories and walk with pain. The person who was supposed to love you did not show it. I understand how that would hurt for a long time. I have heard change is possible for both. It is necessary for me to change my behaviour for myself, I wont go on walking dead – it is too horrifying to see yourself like that. I can never go back. Alan

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January 25, 2006
07:26 AM

Alan, I would like to reiterate what some have said. It is good to hear your point of view. People in recovery from both sides of the fence can help eachother. I asked the questions about love and your answer was helpful. It does take courage for you to be on this site, or maybe it is something undafe, I don't know. I can't trust my judgement right now. Only you can answer it. But it is also true that if my ex could bring himself to get the help he admitted he needs, both of our lives would be different. So, if it is genuine that you are here to learn, I commend you. Understand that the lack of trust on our part is not unfounded. One of the aspects of abusive relationships is sometimes a quick romance, which stymies time for real trust building...trust building takes time. Especially with a group like this. We have learned not to trust quickly and easily. and all things require patience.

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January 25, 2006
12:46 PM

Stop beating yourself down. Yes you abused, but now your eyes are wide open and you want to do what is right. You are getting help. If your wife does not want to forgive, what can you do? Let go, stop trying to control and pray that God keeps making you the man that He wants you to be. Pray your wife will see the change in you. You have this incredible love for your wife. For her not to forgive you would be a travisty. You are the best husband she can ever have at this point. All your rough edges are getting worn off. You know this wonderful woman inside and out. If she allows you to, you will treat like the queen and best friend she is. She won't find that in any other man. She was attracted to you for a reason. Keep changing and getting as much information you can. Ask God to keep softening your heart, but be strong and secure. Be humble in spirit and kind in word. That is the best you can be. Don't change your whole personality though. You are an awesome man. Don't give up. And God answers prayer.

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January 25, 2006
01:16 PM

Thank you all for continuing to post. This is really helpful for many people. I would like to respond to a few of you. The person who talked about “its not right to throw up your hands and say Im finished”. I hear what you are saying. It is very honorable to work things out and stay in a relationship for a stronger outcome. It is easy to see it from the outside as two people with problems that can be solved. However, it is important to remember the other persons point of view. My wife was yelled at for 8 years – not constantly – sometimes not even often, but still a pattern. When you have a large man, with his heavy eyebrows pointed down, cringing his face and yelling at the top of his lungs it is a scary place to be. I know, I have been on the other side as well. You want to turn into a bug and run as far away from that person as possible. Almost sometimes hoping the person will actually squash you so that you will not need to endure it any longer. Then you realize this is the person that you love, you want to help them. So you let time heal and you do great things for them hoping that they will change because they will see what you have done for them. It is possible they do for a bit, making it feel safe again. Then without warning out comes the monstor to attack. I can only assume that my wife held this in for so long and made excuses that her body told her enough is enough and turned the other way. My wife leaving was necessary. It woke me up. I am awake now. I have never been awake before. It feels very different. Healthy, scary, lonely, painful, but strong. I do have hope that one day she may decide to take another look, and I will be ready. However, I cant expect it and I know the healing process will take time. It is all necessary right now. I know one thing. I will never be unconscious again. I think once this mask has been lifted I can see too clearly to put it back on. At least I hope I will always feel this way. You hear stories, about people returning to their old ways. Its scary. Also spend more time on this site. You will find it is not one sided. There is a lot of information on both the abused partner and the abuser. It has given me a lot of wisdom on how to move forward and recognize my behaviours. Thank you for your insights. Alan

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January 25, 2006
01:23 PM

Thank you to the person who speaks of “your ex getting the help that he needs”. IT is not easy to ask for help and to admit what you are doing. It is also not easy to see. As well, even when you see it is not easy to make all the changes – I have been this way for a long time. Part of me wants to say how life is unfair and I did try and I was nice most of the time etc. But I trust that my wife did not leave for no reason. Something horrible must have happened for her to leave like that without much warning. And so I needed to do some deep digging to see what it was and I found some answers. I agree with you that it is hard to trust ourselves. Thank you for stating that from the abused partner’s side. I imagine you question how you let yourself be treated that way for a period of time. Im curious about what you are referring to with the “quick romance” are you talking about this group only or something else? Alan

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January 25, 2006
01:35 PM

Thank you for the advice “If your wife does not want to forgive, what can you do? Let go, stop trying to control and pray that God keeps making you the man that He wants you to be.” This is helpful. I am learning this slowly. There is nothing I can do. I wont say it doesn’t hurt like hell, but it is out of my control. I pray for myself and her daily. I don’t know if I’m the best husband she could have, but I know I could do my best to be. Far better than I could 41 days ago. Im sure I still have some edges, they are slightly rounded at this point but not gone. Im working on it. I did know her well. I thought inside out, but I don’t think she knew herself well enough, or at least wasn’t letting on more than she thought she could. So she held back from me. This is hard because part of me feels if she could have let a little bit more out I might have been able to see it more clearly. But maybe not. I should have regardless. I do think we were attracted for a reason. I often remember us laughing and being silly. I cant be this way with anyone else. That is special to me. I miss that. Thinking about our relationship that no one else shared but us gives me hope that there is love. Thank you for the compliments. Your right I am not hearing them right now. I am beating myself up, but I am listening intently. I need some more courage to forgive myself. It will take time. Alan

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January 26, 2006
06:23 AM

by "quick romance" I was drawing an analogy...should have said it better...between the typical way an abusive personality consumes a new person and demands a level of commitment intimacy and trust which is impossible in a short space of time. The same applies on the board. Expect it to take TIME before you can trust yourself or your wife can trust you or any of us can trust you...longer than normal because we all have special issues.

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January 26, 2006
01:13 PM

I understand. Thanks for the clarification. Time I have lots of. I am learning patience and not to expect anything. It is a daily struggle but I feel I improve every day. Alan

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January 28, 2006
03:53 PM

Yes, I think it is hard for abusers to admit they are wrong. I believe most have been taught to mistreat others by way of modeling in their homes of origin. Those of us who have been abused by significant others and "got away" and thought we wouldn't pick another one like the one before, and in fact do,end up feeling extremely angry at ourselves, trapped and almost helpless in the situation. That is because once you dive into a relationship with an abuser, you do feel trapped, until you are able to break free and treat yourself how you deserve..with RESPECT and dignity. Abusers should be ashamed of their behavior, but often are not. Somewhere along the way, they shut down, and began their reign of terror on unsuspecting others who loved them and were caught up by their initial charm and "love".

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January 28, 2006
09:17 PM

For the comment above mine: You're right, it is hard for me to admit that I am wrong. But, now I know I am. If you picked out another one then you are not healthy either. Would it not have been better to stay with the original one and worked on the problems? You delicate creatures (not a putdown) do have problems that you have to take resposibilities for. We abusers did not treat you with the respect you deserved...I will now. I have learned my lesson. Won't you be patient with us? My dream is to save marriages. To take the husband and try to wake them up and show them how to treat their wife. We honestly do not treat you this way on purpose and once we feel how badly it hurts you we are very ashamed and willing to do anything it takes, but you all say it's too late. My question for any verbally abused wife: Is there a perfect romance novel man out there? Please look within and see your problems and excuses and not only ours. I am writing this in a non threatening tone of voice, searching for answers and not in an argumentative tone. I'm not Alan, but I am an ex abuser(hopefully)

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January 29, 2006
01:12 AM

For the person who is asking for another chance. I think that if you are looking for it then it may be hard to find. You cant force it or control it. This is what got us into trouble in the first place. If it is meant to happen then it will. If you abused someone then they need to recover from it. A fix cannot be forced - especially by the abuser. My wife needs time away to sort out her own issues and to recover from the abuse. If she feels that she would like to try to work things out then we are able to try. If however, she does not wish to work things out then there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. Ill give you advice that others have given me and it is hard to hear but helps everyday. Work on yourself. You cant expect any relationship change to happen without a change in your own behaviour. It will take time - Ive been at it for 43 days. It still hurts like hell and is really hard to come to terms with everything. Re-learning behaviour is no easy task. It takes practice every day all the time. Finding out why you are angry in the first place takes some deep searching, and it is extremely painful. Facing your own demons is scary and hurtful, but I believe it is helping. Get into therapy if you can and read the books. It is best if you are guided through it. It will take time and admitting some really horrible things about yourself. The more you understand it I think the more you will realize how important this change is. Make the changes not to get your relationship back, but so that you will be a better person. I hope this helps. I know you want to fix it right away - this is the control that we have to change - recognize the feeling but dont react on it. If your interested, the Jon Kabat-Zinn books are very helpful. Im reading "Wherever you go, There you are". Learning mindfullness have allowed me to pay attention to all things. It has taught me patience and being still. This has given me strength to resist the temptation to react. I hope this can help you.Alan

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January 29, 2006
10:17 PM

Thanks Alan, I know there are holes in my arguments, my way of thinking. You make excellent arguments and I can see your progress. I guess it may be control that I am seeking. As one abuser to another, near the end I desparately wanted to get marriage counselling. I saw what I had done, what an evil jerk I had been. My poor wife wanted none of it. She had had enough. I don't believe I started out that way. My whole marriage my wife was reading my mind. She has been a people pleaser her whole life, being married to me and my selfishness did not help her self esteem any. She is very tender and kind. I believe, through counselling by myself, that I fell into this pattern. I got some twisted fulfillment out of her trying to read my mind, it built up my self esteem. I am not trying to minimize my behavior(and if I am, I don't see it yet). My point is this: If she were healthier, she would not have put up with my garbage from the git go...she may have not even married me either...I don't want that, but she would have told me I was invading her borders. I know she did tell try to tell me, hind sight. But it seemed very subtle to me. And if I were not the inconsiderate selfish person I was, I should have picked up what she was saying, but I didn't. I never wanted to hurt her. It was not on my agenda nor was it on yours. blah, blah, blah, I know I am talking circles around myself. Sometimes I wish she would have stood up to me and said "You are lying again." or "Cram it you know where." She was very nice, she did not do that. I personally would of thought that very attractive. But I am probably wrong there too. she did the doormat thing until she had all she could take. I am not trying to offend anyone with this post. And I don't mind criticism if you want to blast me. I need to hear it. Anyway, Alan, I hope and pray you get your wife back. You seem like a very humble human being and I think humbleness here is the key. Yes, you have helped me. God bless you. Steve

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January 30, 2006
09:17 PM

Steve and Alan, I applaud both of you for being so candid and stepping up to take responsibility. You dont know how many of us wish our abusers would just be open to the fact that "maybe" their behavior could have been a key factor in the break up of our relationships. You know, we victims arent saints, we make/made our own shares of mistakes, but we never claimed to be perfect, but we were made to be perfect and when we didnt measure up, we felt so low and couldnt figure out why our partners werent happy. We felt like we did the right things to have a nice home, good kids, responsible to the household, but it was never good enough. I dont think we really even nagged. Most of the time we went along to get along. That was our mistake. Steve, you are right, we should have put on our boot and kicked you to the street. This would have gotten the attention that we werent going to put up with this stuff, but we were too afraid that you would have left. I always asked, why is it that I have to become the bad guy and make the changes that the bad guy should have seen was innappropriate??? I dont get that I have to change my goodness to be a bad guy to get someone who is making poor choices, straighten up. Shouldn't he/she see for him/herself that he/she needs to make the choices for him/herself. It is a mind boggeling thing. It is crazy making. I wish both parties could really see the nasty sides this disease plays out and if both parties could learn how the dance got that way, correct the steps, the families could stay in tact. You can almost laugh about it when you finally see the reality of how crazy it all is/was. But, unfortunately, there are some in the party who wont/cant see what they most need to see. The big ole elephant sits in the room and lets everyone else be the problem instead of saying, "oh my, what have I done to create such a mess in this family situation?" But you two, seem to get it. You are in enough pain, and miss your spouse to care. That is a good start. Most of us would forgive our spouses if they would just step up, admit the possibility, and say I'll work on it with a good professional. I would have done my work 110% with the elephant, cause we still love them. We never stopped loving them. That is what we grieve the most. We love you guys, more than anything, but we cant love you anymore cause we cant live with that kind of abuse day in and day out. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I hope your spouses are reading these posts, so they can see how lucky they are to at least see their spouses taking an interest in posting. That says alot.

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January 31, 2006
07:17 AM

Alan, Steve. I've been reading this post since 01-05 and agree with most of what you say. I was (and hopefully to this date still am) in a relationship where I moved in with my girlfriend 3.5 yrs ago who was just (then) recently divorced. She had been a victim for 16 years with her previous marriage. I never EVER thought I had been an abuser. Alot like other men, I understood abuse as physical, not mental. My girlfreind would write her daily acitivites in a journal. About every three months she would let me read her journal, not having a clue with what she was all about. Everything was about me. I need to improve, help myself. What was this all about? We broke up around the 1st of December (my choice). I thought I didnn't need it. Christmas Day after spending it alone I realized I had made a mistake. After Christmas she allowed me to read her recent journal along with a book titled "When I Love you becomes violent" and MY GOD, I had no idea that book was about me. I felt so ashamed of my behaviour for the past 3 and a half years and pretty much most of my adult life with my previous marriage of 7 years other relationships. She and I had gone to therapy for the past 6 months, but I was too closed-minded to realize what was going on with me. After reading the book I felt like a huge weight had been lifted. Since then, I've gone to therapy alone and am really getting the idea of what SHE is all about. The help I've received from this post,, hearing from the victims themselves has been more than enough to wake me up. I know I too will probably be blasted from others, but I want you all to know I am on the road to recovery and thank all of you for your input, because without it I just couldn't seem to understand where the vicitms were coming from. Most of my actions I feel came from fear of someone really getting to know me. I always felt knowledge was power and the more power I gave someone, the more they could (or would have) control over me. It really is about control. I have surrendered since then and will continue to read the posts, continue therapy, constantly educate myself and constantly remind myself of the crap I made her put up with. I re-read her letters from the past three and a half years, understanding more and more what she was trying to say. In the last couple of weeks we have spent some really "special time" together and I am so thankful she's even giving me the time of day. I ended up wrting my ex-wife a letter of apology a couple of weeks ago and I've been divorced from her for five years. Alan, I hope things work for you. Believe me, I was there. Never again. M

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January 31, 2006
07:21 AM

Alan, Steve. I've been reading this post since 01-05 and agree with most of what you say. I was (and hopefully to this date still am) in a relationship where I moved in with my girlfriend 3.5 yrs ago who was just (then) recently divorced. She had been a victim for 16 years with her previous marriage. I never EVER thought I had been an abuser. Alot like other men, I understood abuse as physical, not mental. My girlfreind would write her daily acitivites in a journal. About every three months she would let me read her journal, not having a clue with what she was all about. Everything was about me. I need to improve, help myself. What was this all about? We broke up around the 1st of December (my choice). I thought I didnn't need it. Christmas Day after spending it alone I realized I had made a mistake. After Christmas she allowed me to read her recent journal along with a book titled "When I Love you becomes violent" and MY GOD, I had no idea that book was about me. I felt so ashamed of my behaviour for the past 3 and a half years and pretty much most of my adult life with my previous marriage of 7 years other relationships. She and I had gone to therapy for the past 6 months, but I was too closed-minded to realize what was going on with me. After reading the book I felt like a huge weight had been lifted. Since then, I've gone to therapy alone and am really getting the idea of what SHE is all about. The help I've received from this post,, hearing from the victims themselves has been more than enough to wake me up. I know I too will probably be blasted from others, but I want you all to know I am on the road to recovery and thank all of you for your input, because without it I just couldn't seem to understand where the vicitms were coming from. Most of my actions I feel came from fear of someone really getting to know me. I always felt knowledge was power and the more power I gave someone, the more they could (or would have) control over me. It really is about control. I have surrendered since then and will continue to read the posts, continue therapy, constantly educate myself and constantly remind myself of the crap I made her put up with. I re-read her letters from the past three and a half years, understanding more and more what she was trying to say. In the last couple of weeks we have spent some really "special time" together and I am so thankful she's even giving me the time of day. I ended up wrting my ex-wife a letter of apology a couple of weeks ago and I've been divorced from her for five years. Alan, I hope things work for you. Believe me, I was there. Never again. M

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January 31, 2006
07:22 AM

Alan, Steve. I've been reading this post since 01-05 and agree with most of what you say. I was (and hopefully to this date still am) in a relationship where I moved in with my girlfriend 3.5 yrs ago who was just (then) recently divorced. She had been a victim for 16 years with her previous marriage. I never EVER thought I had been an abuser. Alot like other men, I understood abuse as physical, not mental. My girlfreind would write her daily acitivites in a journal. About every three months she would let me read her journal, not having a clue with what she was all about. Everything was about me. I need to improve, help myself. What was this all about? We broke up around the 1st of December (my choice). I thought I didnn't need it. Christmas Day after spending it alone I realized I had made a mistake. After Christmas she allowed me to read her recent journal along with a book titled "When I Love you becomes violent" and MY GOD, I had no idea that book was about me. I felt so ashamed of my behaviour for the past 3 and a half years and pretty much most of my adult life with my previous marriage of 7 years other relationships. She and I had gone to therapy for the past 6 months, but I was too closed-minded to realize what was going on with me. After reading the book I felt like a huge weight had been lifted. Since then, I've gone to therapy alone and am really getting the idea of what SHE is all about. The help I've received from this post,, hearing from the victims themselves has been more than enough to wake me up. I know I too will probably be blasted from others, but I want you all to know I am on the road to recovery and thank all of you for your input, because without it I just couldn't seem to understand where the vicitms were coming from. Most of my actions I feel came from fear of someone really getting to know me. I always felt knowledge was power and the more power I gave someone, the more they could (or would have) control over me. It really is about control. I have surrendered since then and will continue to read the posts, continue therapy, constantly educate myself and constantly remind myself of the crap I made her put up with. I re-read her letters from the past three and a half years, understanding more and more what she was trying to say. In the last couple of weeks we have spent some really "special time" together and I am so thankful she's even giving me the time of day. I ended up wrting my ex-wife a letter of apology a couple of weeks ago and I've been divorced from her for five years. Alan, I hope things work for you. Believe me, I was there. Never again. M

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January 31, 2006
11:12 AM

Thanks M for sharing You are blessed that you get a second chance. I had a dream last night that I did too. Life was different. There was respect and mutuality. Listening to everything and revelling in the beauty of life at every moment. I am seeing through different eyes these days. I am seeing in moment by moment rather than 2 years into the future. What a difference it makes to live in the now. I appreciate life and those around me. I get the sense you see this with your relationship now. This is a beautiful thing. I am hoping you are asking her lots of questions and listening intently. Has she gone through her own disscoveries as well? I would be worried if this is all coming from you. I know for myself there was a hidden fear of bringing up the bad stuff when it was "working". I know better now. Her happiness and well-being are so important to me. Even if it means we cannot be together. I wish you both well. Enjoy this life. Alan

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January 31, 2006
12:10 PM

To the person above who mentioned " I dont think we ever really nagged". Thank you for continuing to post. It must be difficult after what you have been through to talk so openly with admitted abusers. I know that every situation is different, but like you my wife never nagged either. My list of expectations grew and the more I became unsatisfied with myself the more I would take it out on her. There was no right way, she could not have made it right. I am sorry you did not have a husband that was willing to admit his faults. It is hard to face yourself and your past. For everyone. I am learning from others here and on the chat groups that we all have this search in common. To be better human beings and to respect ourselves -as we are today - not what we were told from years ago, or who we thought we were expected to be. It aint easy with so much pattern engrianed. Awareness is powerful. It feels like watching a movie, seeing this person that I was. Reacting in such stupid, senseless ways. It must have been so obvious watching it and so helpless not being able to stop it. I realised that only we can stop ourselves. I believe (and hope) that once it is recognized, with the right help and daily practice we can control it and stop it from affecting us and the ones we love for as long as we live. This is what is keeping me going everyday. Thanks for being here. Alan

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January 31, 2006
07:18 PM

Guys, I cant say enough about the help all of us will receive by working together victim/abuser on this site. I wish Dr. Irene would check in and see this great stuff coming from both sides. It is refreshing seeing the abuser care enough to want to get help, see his/her side of the abuse and try and understand it. It is stuff from our past, things we were taught. If we can get really real with it, we can move past the painful hurts and build a really good relationship with another person. I hope that the spouses are reading these posts. Very beneficial for them to see that most abusers dont seek help, acknowledge their behavior or even attempt to care enough to repair the situation. Also, you are right, it is the fear of whatever it is inside of you that keeps you from wanting to admit and take responsibility for this abuse. My counselor told me that my husband had such a painful past and wounded that he has made the choice to not take responsibility cause he does not want to dig up all that painful emotion that has been so stuffed down inside of him since his childhood. HeI dont blame him for his behavior. I get angry cause he wont take the risk to work on it so he can be freed up from the pain, and get back with this adorable family he has. It is really sad. We could all be so happy and having fun, being in the day to day. When you get with a really good abuse counselor they will free you up from the pain that has held you bondage. It is behavior that you have been taught and most of it was just wrong teaching and modeling. I hope your spouses care enough to see the "step up" you guys have taken to try and see this behavior. I cant say enough about how good it makes me feel that someone will take responsibility. I dont think very many spouses who were victim wouldnt just love to have that cherished relationship with someone who has learned and acknowledged and changed the abusive behavior. There is some really good stuff in all of us that we are attracted to, and it is those good parts we want to experience. Please tell your ex's/girlfriends/spouses to read these posts and try and see the reality of what some good work can do. I had a counselor tell me one time that if two people can open themselves up to good counseling, they can have a relationship that is 70 times better than they could possibly have imagined. I hope one of you couples will take the risk, sign up and show the world that you can overcome this crazy stuff. I wonder sometime how many relationships get lost in the pain, instead of lifted up into the serenity a good couple can have together. Keep working and fighting. If you love someone you will set them free, but at the same time, take a stand and dont just give up. Sometimes we think its cool to see someone care enough about us to take a stand. Not in a controlling way, but a loving way. Keep learning. It will pay off. I believe it does take about 5 years to really get it. It is a good feeling. Each year I have been recovering has been a really great step in a finding a new relationship that has all the ingredients of love, security, nurture and respect. I dont hardly even have to think in this relationship. It is so natural and smooth. Yikes!

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February 01, 2006
08:29 PM

Thankyou for the person who wrote above "take a stand and dont just give up". This is encouraging coming from someone who has been in a similar situation to my wife. I am glad to hear your recovery and this gives me hope that my wife will one day find her own voice and strength to recover from this abuse with or without me. It is difficult from my side to take any stand at this point. I do not trust my judgements as some of my good intentions recently have been taken as insults by my wife. I dont want to inflict any more pain unto her. I know she needs this time to be away from me and I fear that any attempt to communicate will come across as controlling or not in the way I intend it to be. I love me wife dearly and miss her with everything however I understand her distance and do not hold any negative feelings towards it. This is necessary. Alan

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February 01, 2006
09:04 PM

How do I get some legal help in a custody issue, which has been done by my husband behind my back,....when he and my older son, conspired and TOOK my younger son...away from me?

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February 02, 2006
07:40 AM

Dear Alan, I have to say that I was incredibly shocked when I read this post because it is almost word for word about what happened in my marriage. Even your name is the same as my ex's middle name! I guess that says something about the universality of abuse. I would like to point something out that I don't think anyone has said to you. My ex always referred to me as "the wife." I hated it. Everytime I heard that phrase I felt like saying....but I am a person not a wife! Of course, I never did because for 20 years I had been told that I was too sensitive so I learned to cover my responses because they were always "wrong." Had he said "my wife," I would have felt like he loved me at least a little. But "the wife" objectified me and was one of the reasons that I chose to finally leave. I realized that even after anger management classes, I was still a thing to him. The listening part is very tricky. Since my ex husband was a withholder, the "listening silence" felt like one more chance for him to withhold. When we were first married and I asked him how I looked, he answered "my mother taught me that if I couldn't say anything nice, I shouldn't say anything at all." (followed by his laughter.) My whole marriage he never said anything about me. The message was pretty clear. So when he decided to "listen" (as he said) in the end....it sent the wrong message. It would have been better if he had said...."you are right and I am very sorry." I also never told my exh how I truly felt about him until we were separated. Why? Because it would have hurt him. When he did something embarrassing I covered it up....he was my husband and I wanted to support him. When he said mean things to me, I would plead with him to love me and support me. He loved to tell me how strong I was. Now I realize that it was after he had insulted or embarrassed me and it was one more way to shut me up. While we were separated he came to me after an anger management session and told me why he was so angry. His reason? Because I am fat. His whole angry life has to do with me being overweight. At that point, my mercy broke and I too began telling him all the disappointments that I had over the 20 years. Not the little disappointments because I had attempted to share those with him, but the big ones. Like the sexual frustration I had due to his physical inadequacy, or the shame I felt because he would do disgusting things in front of other people to try and be funny. I'm sure it hurt him and it seemed as if I just started to remember. No, the memories were all there, but I chose to submerge them in order to treat him humanely. Crazy, he never did the same for me! I stuck to my guns, left him and moved to another country. I had to. I knew that since I was "the wife", i.e. just another possession, I had to get as far away as possible from him in order to have a life. Also I was just a little bit afraid that he would attempt to kill me if I ever had too much of a life in our town where we lived. The man who had changed so much has continued to abuse me....even three years later. He has completely alienated our young adult daughter by "telling her things" (her words) and playing the victim. He also calls my family regularly and tells them things about me. So I don't think he has really changed. Hope this gives you some added perspective into your situation.

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February 02, 2006
06:01 PM

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February 02, 2006
07:48 PM

It's really sad. I went through this abuse awareness 4 years ago. I didnt realize I had been so abused in my marriage. It was done through subtle ways and silence. Psychological manipulation. The scariest thing is seeing the results this has had on my daughter who is now 21. She is still dragged down by it but doesnt really understand the magnitude of affect it has on her. Very disturbing. I thought I was much stronger and able to battle this abuse, but clearly, I taught her to keep putting up with it. She actually wrote a paper in middle school that stated I was a very noble and strong person. Well guess what, abuse makes us so strong and noble to a fault. We should have have been placed in this position. We should be able to love and be loved and not always be the strong one to respond to every little thing. I have a college friend who has been in an abusive relationship for 20 years and just recently left. She contacted me on Sunday and said she had dipped down to her lowest (thoughts of suicide) since she discovered how bad her situation was. Her soon to be ex told her the other day that he wishes she wouldnt divorce him so that she could see how much better he has become at learning how to tolerate her. WOW! What a punch. We are just objects to be punched on, by the abuser. Surely, abusers dont really mean what they say. They just dont know how to communicate. Surely! Guys, is it, that you dont really know what you are saying or is it just out of control thinking??? I am always so curious as to what the abuser is really thinking. Who are you really mad and angry at?? Yourself, your mother, who is it??? It really isnt us, is it. Dont you really love us?? You dont really hate us as much as you act like you do, do you??? Can anyone explain that part??? Please help us to understand. I do believe it is the most intimate partner that suffers at the hands of the abuser. My ex acts so innocent and just pretends like I hav just made all of this up. When I tell him what I learned in counseling, he says "that counselor doesnt know me." Well guess what, they know you long before you walk in the door, cause they have seen the profile. All a victim has to do is start explaining their situation and the professional can hone right in on it. I never was expecting to go to counseling and find out that I had been abused as severly as I had been. I went to counseling to find out what was wrong with me, and why I couldnt measure up. It was unbelieveable what I had learned. I still appreciate the abusers on this site, Alan, Steve, and others who are helping us to see what is in the abusers mind??? Guys, what did yall witness in your childhoods. Did your parents abuse you or teach you these kinds of traits??? Help us to learn.

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February 02, 2006
10:40 PM

Thank you to the last couple postings. As you are asking questions of me I am also learning more answers on how you have felt by your partners. It must be horrible for you to be living with this weight, these memories. I don’t know if my answers will help with your pain. I will answer as best as I can. Thank you for asking. I don’t think that I am the same as Steve or anyone else for that matter. I have had my own experiences and can only create my own conclusions based on those. Nothing justifies any of my behaviours towards my wife. However, it is important, as I have been reading, to understand why I have abused and recognize the patterns of “unfinished business” from the past in order to change. I am in the process. I have heard it will take some time. Unlearning how to think is hard work. I am sure letting go of painful memories is also hard. Without getting into every detail I can give you some examples of one of my patterns. At times I became very frustrated when I felt my wife was not listening to me. I was constantly saying (usually yelling) “your not listening, or your not hearing me.” What I have come to realize was that I was looking for her to read my mind, something that would have been impossible for her. It was all control. The part where it was “unintentional” does not make it any less harmful. This is the hard part for others to understand. As I said before, it is like looking back and watching a movie. Seeing it happen, but not understanding that that could be me. The psychology as I understand it is that, once I started “reacting” I was reverting to the part of me that never grew up. If you read about child abuse you will see that children stop growing. At least parts of us did. So when I think about the above example, when I was saying “your not listening” I remembered saying that all the time to my parents. -although they would not have realized the impact. If I was not heard and I really needed to be (because of fear of being abused) this validation never came. So here I am 20 years later still saying the same thing. And still acting in the same way – with a tantrum, and no self-control – just like a child. Again, I don’t want to justify the behaviour, because a 30 year old should never act out their anger in any circumstance. Now that I can see how I was and why I was I have the power to recognize it and the tools to stop it. I hope this makes some sense and helps to answer some of your questions. Thanks for posting. Alan

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February 02, 2006
10:48 PM

Just in-case I did not do the explanation justice, I will paste the notes I took from Patricia Evans book - as I think she does a much better job at explaining it. - Alan It becomes evident that every abuse is an attempt by an abuser to defend himself from his inner child’s feelings of anger, fear and helplessness, and to protect himself from the knowledge of what he is doing. Child grew up in a Reality 1 environment where the power over and dominance prevailed, and hence so did verbal abuse. As in the case of the partner many of the feelings could not be validated or accepted. However, unlike the partner, he had no compassionate witness to his experience. He could only conclude that nothing was wrong. If nothing was wrong than all of his painful feelings must not exist. Automatically he stopped feeling his painful feelings. He closed them off as if one would close a door and no longer know they existed. He did not know what he suffered. In a way he closed the door on a part of himself and became injured to reality 1. And he models his behaviour after his childhood abusers. - he could not experience empathy and compassion. Abusers seek Power-over because they feel helpless. The helpless painful feelings of childhood that “must not exist” and “must not be felt” do exist, and if are not felt are acted out. The longer the child within is unrecognized, the more enraged it becomes, and consequently the more rage the abuser acts out. Without empathy the abuser cannot be sensitive to his partners anguish. He acts out his repressed feelings doing onto her what was done to him at childhood. Since he cannot feel his feelings he must act them out. His need to keep the overwhelming pain that “must not exist” at bay is an underlying dynamic force which compels him to seek ‘power-over’, control, dominance and superiority.

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February 05, 2006
06:05 AM

There is usefulness in the dialogue between the abused and the abuser, and I commend both sides for having the courage to be open and to reach out and to have dialogue. I read something very disturbing in a post from Steve. Something like 'If she had told me in xyz way that I was abusive, I would have understood...' That is exactly what my x used to say and it IS PART of the abusive mentality. WE DO tell you in 100 + ways and it is NOT up to the victim to explain it in a way that the abuser "likes" to hear. THAT is controlling behaviour and it smaks of not taking personal responsibility. Telling someone thier behaviour is hurtful, harmful and unacceptable - ONCE is enough. Even when my abusive x raged at me...I still was able to listen to his WORDS to look for 'truths' and sense inbetween the invective. The owness is NOT on the victim to keep trying if the abuser is not hearing. "If you had said it this way I would have understood" NO NO NO! That is exactly the same as "you tone, posture, act, PROVOKED me to hit, insult, withdraw, take revenge (not understand- in otherwords, to BEHAVE as an understanding person)". And if you think the victim gives up after the 100th time - you are wrong. Why don't you think about your responses as an abuser when the victim DOES tell you? Denial? Name calling? Minimizing? Reprisals? And still you suggest the victim keeps trying? You have work to do. The responsibility is ultimately YOURS ABUSER. DO NOT make the mistake of eqalizing the circumstances of victims and abusers by saying you would have been attracted to a more assertive response. That is a load. How many times have abusers threatened to leave at the first sign of assertion? Name called? Thought 'what a nag or bleep?', or just plain ignored? Stop lying to yourselves. WE TRIED EVERYTHING. YOU DID NOT RESPOND TO ANYTHING. My x when I confronted him and he admitted he had a problem said "you have to help me, but you have to talk to me in a way I like". SAYS IT ALL! Considering his whims changed with his mood and I had to predict that....CONTROLLING BEHAVIOUR, SELFISH BEHAVIOUR. PERIOD. OWN IT!

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February 06, 2006
07:13 PM

Alan, I was quite struck by the similarities between you and my husband. The main difference was that he did not yell or hit thinks. He was very covert. He controlled what we ate, how it was fixed, I wasn't allowed to use sugar - only honey because it was healthier. He controlled how I dressed and fixed my hair. If I bought something he didn't like I would end up taking it back because if I wore it he would say he didn't like and if I didn't change he would be distant and unaffectionate. I had to have just the right style purse, shoes, etc for the outfit. He complained that my legs and butt was too big, stomach too pouchy, posture not good enough. I am 5'4" 120lbs and very lean. If it were not for the fact that I liked food so well I would have most likely become anorexic just to please him. He berated me so much for about a year that I got to where I wasn't even comfortable being around him unclothed. I was afraid he would see another imperfection. All through the marriage there would be times that he would get upset and go for 4-5 days and not hardly speak to me. When I would ask him what was wrong he wouldn't tell me. When he finally would start talking he would tell me that I didn't ask the RIGHT way. He blamed me for all of our problems sexually. I wasn't "wild" enough. He actually threatened to leave if I didn't do some of the things he wanted. When I did give in he wouldn't enjoy it because I was only doing it to keep him from hounding me. He always talked of suicide which made me feel responsible for trying to keep him happy. The last 3-4 yrs we were together he pretty much slept upstairs on the couch. During this time I allowed myself to become emotionally attached to another man and for the first time actually felt pretty. This attraction (nothing physical) ultimately caused a big fight in which he left with a few clothes and a gun and was threatening to kill himself. I went to my parents and never returned. We tried couples counselling but that didn't work. It wasn't until I got into individual counseling that I finally realized that this was emotional/verbal abuse. I had no idea until that point. I knew something wasn't right but couldn't pinpoint the problem. About a year after we separated he finally admitted to having a serious addition to pornography. No wonder I couldn never live up to his expectations! Needless to say I was in shock. It had been going on for years and I had no clue. We have been married 14yrs, and separated for 2 of those. Even though we went to couples counseling, my heart wasn't in it. I felt as if a weight had been lifted from me and I am now soaring the first time ever and I'm loving it. He to apoligized for all the things he had done and even though he may not emotionally/verbally abuse me anymore I can still see the controlling behavior. He only went to a few counselling sessions 2 yrs ago and has just recently started back but I will have to say that in the 2 yrs we have been separated I have not missed him one day. I have missed having another person around. It can be very lonely but I wouldn't trade the loneliness to have him back. I hope that things will be better for you two. I dread going through a divorce and fear what he may do to himself. I suppose I still feel guilty and somewhat resposible for hurting him plus the fact that we are both Christians but I can't go back. I can't even picture myself with him anymore. It makes me cringe.

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February 06, 2006
07:17 PM

Alan, I was quite struck by the similarities between you and my husband. The main difference was that he did not yell or hit thinks. He was very covert. He controlled what we ate, how it was fixed, I wasn't allowed to use sugar - only honey because it was healthier. He controlled how I dressed and fixed my hair. If I bought something he didn't like I would end up taking it back because if I wore it he would say he didn't like and if I didn't change he would be distant and unaffectionate. I had to have just the right style purse, shoes, etc for the outfit. He complained that my legs and butt was too big, stomach too pouchy, posture not good enough. I am 5'4" 120lbs and very lean. If it were not for the fact that I liked food so well I would have most likely become anorexic just to please him. He berated me so much for about a year that I got to where I wasn't even comfortable being around him unclothed. I was afraid he would see another imperfection. All through the marriage there would be times that he would get upset and go for 4-5 days and not hardly speak to me. When I would ask him what was wrong he wouldn't tell me. When he finally would start talking he would tell me that I didn't ask the RIGHT way. He blamed me for all of our problems sexually. I wasn't "wild" enough. He actually threatened to leave if I didn't do some of the things he wanted. When I did give in he wouldn't enjoy it because I was only doing it to keep him from hounding me. He always talked of suicide which made me feel responsible for trying to keep him happy. The last 3-4 yrs we were together he pretty much slept upstairs on the couch. During this time I allowed myself to become emotionally attached to another man and for the first time actually felt pretty. This attraction (nothing physical) ultimately caused a big fight in which he left with a few clothes and a gun and was threatening to kill himself. I went to my parents and never returned. We tried couples counselling but that didn't work. It wasn't until I got into individual counseling that I finally realized that this was emotional/verbal abuse. I had no idea until that point. I knew something wasn't right but couldn't pinpoint the problem. About a year after we separated he finally admitted to having a serious addition to pornography. No wonder I couldn never live up to his expectations! Needless to say I was in shock. It had been going on for years and I had no clue. We have been married 14yrs, and separated for 2 of those. Even though we went to couples counseling, my heart wasn't in it. I felt as if a weight had been lifted from me and I am now soaring the first time ever and I'm loving it. He to apoligized for all the things he had done and even though he may not emotionally/verbally abuse me anymore I can still see the controlling behavior. He only went to a few counselling sessions 2 yrs ago and has just recently started back but I will have to say that in the 2 yrs we have been separated I have not missed him one day. I have missed having another person around. It can be very lonely but I wouldn't trade the loneliness to have him back. I hope that things will be better for you two. I dread going through a divorce and fear what he may do to himself. I suppose I still feel guilty and somewhat resposible for hurting him plus the fact that we are both Christians but I can't go back. I can't even picture myself with him anymore. It makes me cringe.

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February 06, 2006
11:19 PM

This is Steve to the Feb 05 6:05 am post, I understand what you are saying. I need to own up to my abuse. My rebuttle: You think we do this on purpose. We don't, or at least I didn't. We do not have an agenda to get up in the morning and see how much terror we can inflict on you wives. I really, honestly did not see it. Please have mercy. And if you ever find that perfect husband out there... I will be happy for you. I don't think your husband really woke up. I want to go to counselling with my wife. I desire to see the truth. If I am wrong on all counts... that's okay, Because I want the TRUTH. But with the counselling I have had(and I have to go by myself, because my wife refuses to go with me, why would a person refuse to go to counselling??, if they had nothing to hide??) I also know there is a martyr syndrome too! it does not mix very well with verbal abuse.

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February 06, 2006
11:55 PM

This is Steve again, I am as guilty as anything. I did it. I am very ashamed for it. My poor wife. If I had it all to do over again. I wish I knew then what I know now. I am walking this tightrope trying to be this perfect man. I am going to fall off of it. No matter how hard I try. But I am getting better. I know it. I hope my wife can forgive me and see that I am trying. I have no desire to get back into a relationship with her so I can torment her some more. There is no manipulation with me writing this. We are separated and I am sure she doesn't even read this site and I am not using my real name. My thing is, if your spouse sees what they have done and want help, why not let them prove it. But go real slow. You drive and put the brakes on and let them off when you feel safe.

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February 07, 2006
01:57 PM

I have no tact because I am a verbal abuser, and I am not suppose to tell my wife these things, i am suppose to pray for her and leave the results up to the Holy Spirit. He is the enforcer. But you are not MY wife and you can get angry with me if you want to. And it might do you good to see inside the thoughts of a controlling person as it is for me to see inside the victim's mind. you have an excuse to not do the right thing. you gave your heart to another man, that is not right. it was worse than physical. you justify it and wonder why your mate went bonkers. i know he was into porn, that is not right either. it made a bad situation worse. and you being a Christian. do you have peace with your decisions? you stated that you didn't. or have you turned the conscience off and rationalized your bad decisions? God is forgiving and He will forgive you for leaving. i have found that God brings me back to place i have run from, in order for me to walk the path that He prepared for me. God can also change desires. So your husband makes you cringe. Your heart can change if you ask. You are wanting to marry a healthy person, but the fact is they are seeking a healthy person also.And most likely you will be attracted to the same type of person that you are trying to get away from. why not forgive? be healed together, grow together and fall back in love together? seek Jesus, and see if it's not what He wants. forgive me Alan. it won't happen again(words of a true verbal abuser) Crusader Steve

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February 07, 2006
02:36 PM

Steve, I have some thoughts for you. I recommend you write the e-mails but do not send them right away. I have learned that the reactions from an abuser is really lack of control of him/herself. There is a need to be heard - possibly because you were not listened to early on in your life. It is possible that these supressed emotions are now having a tantrum inside you and you feel that you need to release them. I remember thinking "If I dont say how I feel then I will explode". With help from my therapist I can rationally think " how many times have I actually exploded!". Please write your letters/e-mails then without sending - walk away - meditate - take time to do somthing else. Then return with calmness and read what you wrote. It is possible you may be able to write more clearly rather than reacting. It worked for me. Alan

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February 07, 2006
04:14 PM

To the person who posted before Steve, Thank you for sharing. It sounds like you are in a good place. From the sounds of it the abuse wasnt so covert! Being controlled like that must have been a horrible existance for so many years. Im reading a useful book called "The emotionall abusive relationship - Beverly Engel" I dont know if you have read it, it gives some great methods of dealing with the abuse and knowing which way to go with it. No one can tell you what is right for you. Your decision to stay away and be on your own is yours. From the sounds of it your doing great. All the best with you and the great journey. Alan

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February 07, 2006
10:09 PM

Alan, There is hope! You may have practiced your harmful communications until they became your normal way of expressing your tho'ts,and ALONE it is near impossible to change. Please be willing to humble yourself and ask God to forgive your behavior. IN HIS STRENGTH AND UNCONDITIONAL LOVE YOU CAN CHANGE FROM THE INSIDE-OUT. I live with a man who also can be wounding with his tongue. Denial is his norm, he invalidates my hurt, sad feelings. I practice forgiveness often, then work hard on getting over his abusiveness. We pray for one another to be healed and start over. But owning it is a start. Doing to her what/ how you want to be treated. If you are a believer, pray for her to be restored. Love conquers ALL

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February 08, 2006
06:01 PM

Alan, I have read the book and found it to be excellent. So much so I have given 2 away to others. I have also been in counseling for almost 2yrs to learn to deal with my "life traps" which happens to be subjugation. (Basically I'm a doormat!) : ) It sounds as though you are definantly on the right track. The thing I found helpful was to highlight everything that applied to my situation and do journeling. Good luck to you. Steve, I had no excuse. It was a trap I fell into at a low moment just as my husband did. He also became emotionally attracted to at least 2 other women throughout the marriage. During the last few years we were together he had no desire to go to church and didn't understand why I wanted to go. When he did go, I didn't feel free to worship the way I would have liked for fear that he would ridicule me or give me "the look". I have prayed for forgiveness and I have forgiven my husband but I have no desire to go back into that situation. I also have no desire to marry anyone else at this time. I enjoy being by myself. You mentioned that the emotional attraction to another man was worse than physical and so it is with emotional abuse. A bruise will go away but the words are there forever.

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February 08, 2006
06:06 PM

Alan, I have read the book and found it to be excellent. So much so I have given 2 away to others. I have also been in counseling for almost 2yrs to learn to deal with my "life traps" which happens to be subjugation. (Basically I'm a doormat!) : ) It sounds as though you are definantly on the right track. The thing I found helpful was to highlight everything that applied to my situation and do journeling. Good luck to you. Steve, I had no excuse. It was a trap I fell into at a low moment just as my husband did. He also became emotionally attracted to at least 2 other women throughout the marriage. During the last few years we were together he had no desire to go to church and didn't understand why I wanted to go. When he did go, I didn't feel free to worship the way I would have liked for fear that he would ridicule me or give me "the look". I have prayed for forgiveness and I have forgiven my husband but I have no desire to go back into that situation. I also have no desire to marry anyone else at this time. I enjoy being by myself. You mentioned that the emotional attraction to another man was worse than physical and so it is with emotional abuse. A bruise will go away but the words are there forever.

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February 08, 2006
06:09 PM

Alan, I have read the book and found it to be excellent. So much so I have given 2 away to others. I have also been in counseling for almost 2yrs to learn to deal with my "life traps" which happens to be subjugation. (Basically I'm a doormat!) : ) It sounds as though you are definantly on the right track. The thing I found helpful was to highlight everything that applied to my situation and do journeling. Good luck to you.

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February 08, 2006
06:21 PM

Sorry for all the extra posts. Everytime I tried I would error messages and I didn't think they went through. OOPS!

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February 08, 2006
09:09 PM

I know that most abusers have no idea that their behavior affects the ones they love so much. They are just operating from a taught behavior they saw reflected in their childhood. My husband asked me for divorce when he saw that I could not do anything else to make our relationship right. It was my fault I couldnt get it right, so he finally said he thought we should divorce cause there wasnt anything else left to do. That was about the lowest he could take me. I wasnt worth anything, didnt have the ability to make things right, and so that was the only choice. The narcisstic personality throws you away when you arent able to get it right. Cause its all about you and what you arent/cant do to make things right. I had done everything to make this relationship a good one. I told him I guessed this is the only choice, cause he wasnt willing to do anything, get counseling or try and see it through any other way. So, he went and filed. On September 11th, 2001 while everyone else was re-examining their family relationships, mine was bringing me over papers to sign to move forward with the courts. It was absolutely the lowest thing he could have done. Insensitive and uncaring. He acted like I had never done anything right. I had done a lot right. Not to mention that he didnt even think about the kids and their feelings at this horrible time in the world events that were playing out. He was trying to control the divorce to get everything. I couldnt even see it until the very last week, and I came in and asserted myself like I had never done before. You would have thought he had seen a ghost. The divorce went through on the 18th of September 2001. He was still living in the house. He had worn my boundaries so far down I couldnt even figure out this crazy making behavior. Two weeks after that, he was still living in the house, came in and told my daughter and I to get dressed, that we were going shopping. I was scratching my head on this one. Then he came over and looked me in the eye and said, "by the way, I am going out with my old girlfriend from high school tonight. It's just dinner." Well needless to say, I wasnt going shopping and when he told my daughter he had a date, she was not going shopping either. That is when I realized I needed serious counseling to see why I thought I deserved to be treated with such dis-respect and my daughter, too. That is when the counselor started discussing with me covert and overt abuse and the poison that had been in the water all this time, 23 years. I was so sad that I had not seen it. He got his jolly's in watching me be down, hurt, and trying so hard to fix things. When the counselor started working with me, he had to teach me boundaries and how to apply them to him. He still today doesnt think he has done anything to create this mess. He thinks he made the right choice, and continues to blame me for everything around his friends. We have been divorced for 4 years. I told my friends that he will continue to blame me for everything until he finds another victim to start inflicting his blame on. I dont wish that for anyone. My counselor says you have to get 1000 miles away from these people. They will still attempt to control you when you arent even in the same house. It's amazing. Through good boundary training he has lost almost all of his control. He still does it through our kids, but they see it and realize it is about him, not me. It is so sad, the lengths they will go to make you miserable. They are so angry. But they dont know it. I still dont blame him, cause I dont think they really know what they are doing. They really cant see it in themselves, unless they will open themselves up for examination. Most will not. It's too painful. There are so many examples of this crazy making behavior. Have you guys been told you have done these kinds of crazy things??? It is so bizarre. Every year gets better and better. I am in a healthy relationship today. I didnt open myself up for another dating relationship for 4 years cause I knew I would attract the same type of man. I am in a very healthy relationship now. It is absolutely amazing the difference. I never thought it could happen, but good counseling and openess to change, give great gifts. I can really see the devastation my abusive relationship caused, especially after being in a good healthy relationship. Keep up the work, both victims and abusers. It will reap you a better life. Val


February 11, 2006
04:26 PM

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February 18, 2006
11:43 PM

A Rude Awakening To Self About 3 months ago I awakened to the fact that I have emotionally abused my wife since we were married 17 years ago. It has been subtle and completely unintentional, but just as damaging none the less. I have actively stopped engaging in behavior that could be invalidating, or abusive. I will give some background because it totally fuels the problems we have had and may serve to help someone else recognize and stop a destructive pattern before it gets this far. I have a dominant personality and have always been self employed. My wife is 9 years younger than me and didn’t have any experience living on her own when we were married. I have always employed a quick sarcastic wit. A bad habit with most of my friends when I was growing up. My wife had been sexually abused as a child, I didn’t know this until a few years into our marriage. This had the effect of causing her to “lose her voice” and put up a protective shell which in her case was a tomboy like personality. In John Gray’s book: “Men, Women and relationships” he outlines how communication between men and women typically invalidates, disrespects and demeans due to the differences in how men and women interpret each others communication. In our case this was magnified because I interpreted her tomboy like mannerism and spoke to her as I would when talking with another man I never realized how demeaning and invalidating it was to my wife. Her lack of being able to voice real problems gave me no indication of the hurt or depth of it, so it continued. I have always been the type of person that will do whatever needs to be done and I made most of the decisions, not realizing that I was unconsciously invalidating her and controlling things in a stifling way. I am now very close to losing my wife due to my neglect of her emotional well being. We are seeking counseling and I am willing to lay down everything for my wife, but she is so bound up in anger and resentment that she doesn’t want to be near me. I am wounded to the core. I am a Christian and believe in the covenant of marriage. I love my wife above everything else in this life and the fact that I am the source of so much of her pain is crushing to me. I have never wanted to control everything and I don't harbor any anger. I have never actually yelled at my wife, but my communication was was just as damaging. Like Alan, I am taking full ownership of my actions and will continue to unconditionally love my wife, pray for healing, seek counseling and change my behavior. I will continue to read this list to learn more about communicating with someone who has been hurt emotionally. M

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February 19, 2006
07:19 PM

The first step is recognizing your behavior. Good for you and the others who want to take responsibility. I cant speak for all spouses who have been abused, but I will say, the first step is getting the abuser to acknowledge or just be open to the possibility that they were abusive. Mine (ex) did not, would not and wont. That is all I asked for him to do. Divorce was easier for him than accepting responsibility. I believe everyday that he is in so much pain, but cannot do the work to help himself much less own his responsibilities to the family that is making all of the changes cause he wont. Very sad. I had a friend of mine who was in abusive relationship tell me that in 2000, after her husband had demeaned or wounded her one more time verbally, that she sat down and wrote out what she felt. First she said, "I am married to a man who expects me to be perfect, even though he shows up everyday about as imperfect as they come. He wants respect, but respects no one. He comes in from work, everyday and asks, "what have you done to me today?". It goes on and on. She placed this piece of paper in the drawer in her desk, and in 2004 while cleaning out the drawer, she found it. She realized that in 4 years there still had not been any change. The daily grind on her was still there, each and every day. She finally left the marriage and is on her way to divorce. If you have children and you have been abusive, they will continue to struggle for years. They must get help and you (abusers) must take responsibility and let them know that your behavior was wrong toward their mother or father, and that you are pretty sure they were also affected. You have to have professional help work with the family. It cannot be done alone. When fathers abuse mothers, it robs the family of security, love and protection. Children will go to any extremes to act out through drugs, alcohol, body piercing, cutting, bulimia, anorexia. It is a root cause. ABUSE. It is the most devastating thing that can happen. I am asking each and every one of you who have abusive nature to get the help you need, become an advocate for stopping abuse and holding other men/women accountable to their abusive nature. Abuse kills the spirit of a person. The family will be fractured forever if they dont seek help. Taking responsibility will lift the burden of pain off the spouse and children. You have to let your actions be your guide. You can say words, but your actions will be the guide for a reuniting of the family or not. It isnt about the abusive nature (you were taught wrong in your upbringing), its about accepting responsibility and making the changes necessary to demonstrate to your family that they matter above everything else. And you are sorry, truly sorry for demonstrating behavior that hurt them. Take Care, Val

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February 20, 2006
02:27 PM

Hello M and Val Sorry I have been out of touch. A death in the family pulled me away for a little while. M I support your search for growth. Val is right, the first step is taking the responsiblility. It has been 67 days without my wife and I know I always have a lot to learn. It is true what Dr. Irene says, just when you think you have got it and changed, you find a whole new set of beliefs to overcome. It has been hard work. If you really want to change take your time with it. Dont expect it to happen right away. Read the recommended books and read them slowly. Just because you dont think you are angry doesnt mean you are not seeply inside. It is hard to dig up the past and some say not productive or necessary. I found it helped me to surface why I was reacting in such foolish ways. The danger I guess is drowning in it. Keep a level head if yo ucan and allow yourself to feel emotions you might not have felt in a while. I want to ask you about one thought you had. You mentioned you want to make the marriage work because of your religion. While this is noble, I am wondering if you would still want to make it work if you were not Christian? One way that I keep myself in check is by only wanting change for the reason to change. To be a better person for myself and the way I treat others. This may be the only way to create a safe environment for others. Keep up the good fight. Alan

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February 20, 2006
05:58 PM

Hey guys, I am so glad you guys are taking the "higher road". Most abusers dont. They cant see it or be open to it. Alan, you are right, you must just solely work on yourself to be the best and learn from the experiences you have had. Even if your wife cant or doesnt come back, you will be able to move forward and have a very rich life. Doesnt seem that way, now, but it will show up within a 3-5 year stretch. When you stop the behavior, re-parent, re-program you will be a good mate to yourself and to others cause you will have let go and released all of these falsehoods you have been operating from. I have a friend who is just now seeing the benefits of counseling. I told her to sit quietly and write a story about her life. Reading your story will help you identify the relationships you have had in your life and then you can see the ones that were good, the ones that caused you damage and the ones who modeled inappropriate behavior. You can List out everything. Every wound, every hurt, every neglect. Write about your parents and their relationship. Be very honest with what you witnessed. How did your parents treat you. What was your dad like. How did he treat your mother. Siblings?? What were those relationships like. Then read it out loud. Feel the emotion. Describe what you loved about your childhood, what was painful. Where did you feel ignored, mis understood, etc. Read it out loud again, and feel the pain. Cry it you have to. Allow yourself to be vulnerable in your pain. If you can read it to your counselor they will be able to help you see where you got programmed to be abusive. They can help you life the pain, guilt, shame etc off of you. Also, you probably have been very damaged in your soul. You probably wanted to be a good husband, father, but you didnt have the right ingredients to give to the relationship. You can be re-parented with your counselor. They will teach you what you didnt see modeled in your family relationships. It will help you get down the road further. Also, whoever wants to stay for religious reasons?? It's not about religion. God wants you to be happy, live in harmony and take responsibility for yourself. Then you will be a good partner to your mate. He doesnt want you staying in your marriage cause you made a promise to Him. Abusers cant love their partner cause they dont love themselves. God wants you to love yourself as a child of His. Then you can love your mate. Examine your spiritual heart. Religion is something you practice in a set of beliefs. Never tell your mate that she has to stay cause of a promise. God never wanted a man or woman to stay in an abusive relationship. We only stay in marriages that are lead by the plan of God. Abuse is not in His Word. Alan, I really admire your tenacity. You will go a two steps forward and one step back, but I promise you will find fruit if you keeping examining your behavior. Remember! You are not a bad person. You are a great person who is just on the wrong path. Find the right road, with some great help, and you will find your gold at the end of the rainbow. It may not be your wife, but guess what?? She may be there at the end when you get to other side of that rainbow. Keep the faith. Faith is believing in the things you cannot see. Look inside yourself and get real serious with your core beliefs. Take Care! Be gentle with yourself. You will get alot further in your healing and recovery. Val

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February 20, 2006
06:34 PM

Feb 20, 2006 Hi there, I too have started to read the book " The verbally Abusive Realationship" by Patricia Evans. It has opened up my eyes. I knew that I was in a abusive realtionship but denied it unitil I started reading this book. I have been feeling like a looser, failure, ugley, no confidence or self esteem. I always question myself like what did I do wrong, what did I say wrong. I am now relizing that I am not the problem and I some how have to keep telling myself that. It seems that every time I try to have a conversation with my husband it ends up in a fight. We both differnet opinions but he seems to get really defensive over it. I tell him that it is great we both have differnt opionions, why cant we share them and maybe we can change each others mind. I respect his opion, but he seems to get really defensive and wants to debat over it. When I mean debate, his tone gets really loud. When his tone gets loud, he intinates me. I dont want to fight over it but he seems like its a war now. That's when the arguments starts. I dont know what to do anymore as nothing seem to change it.

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February 21, 2006
01:19 PM

To the person who posted last. Yes it does seem like you are in a verbally abusive relationship. Has your husband read the book? It sounds like you will need to draw the line with him. As it is stated in the books you will need to clearly let him know that you will no longer tolerate his behaviour and make the consequences very clear. By the time I heard my wife say it it was too late. You will really need to ask yourself what your boundaries are, the consequences and then stick to them. It will be a hard battle and you will need to decided if your relationship is worth the fight. Either way, it will take a lot of work to learn how not to fall into patterns and respect and love yourself. Its a tough battle but worth the fight. Id also advice getting on a chat group that will give you support every time you need it. Hang in there. Alan

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February 21, 2006
03:47 PM

Hi Alan, Wow. I was reading your email and started wondering if it was my own husband who wrote it. I left my husband in November of 2005 because of his verbal and emotional abuse and I'm still a mess inside. I keep hanging onto the hope that he might actually, like you, begin to at least show an interest in looking at the problem and trying to work on it. Good for you. Good for your wife and your kids. You are brave to be able to swallow your pride and look at the truth. I wish you the best. I only wish my husband could be as brave as you. Warm Regards, Tammy

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February 21, 2006
05:17 PM

Thanks Tammy We dont have kids but I do hope to someday. Im so glad I was awoken to my behaviour before this crucial step in my life. Im sorry you had to leave and that the pain continues. I am sure that it hurts more becasue he will not take responsibility. Well, Im not sure if this helps my wife more that I did. She is very hurt and confused. We have been able to start a dialogue and I am greatful. Everything will take time. I know we have love and I hope I will have the chance to show her that we can live in a different relationship. I may not get the chance though. This is the consequence of being ignorant to the abuse. It is a tough lesson. Alan

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February 27, 2006
11:51 AM

Hey, Alan. I read through most of the column here. You’ve come a long way, baby! I stopped posting on the Catbox months ago because I found I was feeding on “victim-speak.” Whatever you focus on, you become. It DID help greatly for a while. Synopsis of my story: After 14 years of marriage, I recognized that I was married to a man who used verbal abuse to get his way. He was frequently angry and critical. I felt like I could never please him. He didn’t apologize or acknowledge apologies from me. I hid my frustration for years. About a year ago tried counseling. He refused to continue because he felt attacked. I finally told him I was planning to leave. When I left, he was shocked. I recommend you read the book, “Uncoupling” by D. Vaughn. It explains the steps ANYONE goes through when making decisions to leave a relationship. One of the steps is rewriting your own history. The leaver has to justify ending the relationship, so they minimize the good stuff and focus on the misery. When I believed my husband was willing to own up to his part of our breakdown, I DID move back in. I was reluctant, especially after reading the horror stories in the Catbox. I did what many books, and my counselor, suggested. I acted the part of a loving wife – at this point it was real make-believe. I also called my husband on his unpleasant behavior. His reactions to me during this time were the key to me staying. My husband honestly didn’t recognize his VA patterns before I left. He did what WORKED. It worked for his mother, so he adapted it in his life. He later admitted that all he ever wanted was PEACE at any cost. (Ironic, eh?) He’s working hard and I’ve grown a lot, too. I played a role in this scenario. I’m a conflict-avoider BIG TIME. I will also omit details if I think it will get me in hot water (aka. LIE.) I tend to be indirect and sometimes take things too personally. I’ve almost finished RE-rewriting my history. :) Helpful growth books: “Boundaries” or “Boundaries in Marriage” (Townsend/Cloud) “The five love languages” (Chapman) A lot of verbally abusive patterns as described by Patricia Evans are not categorized as verbal abuse in these books – they are common patterns among married couples. An important point: If I hadn’t understood my husband’s destructive behavior patterns to be VA, I would never have mustered the courage to leave. I would still be confused and miserable and trying to figure out what *I* was doing WRONG in our relationship. Duchess (Sally)

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February 27, 2006
01:12 PM

Hey, Alan. I read through most of the posts here. You’ve come a long way, baby! I stopped posting on the Catbox months ago because I found I was feeding on “victim-speak.” Whatever you focus on, you become. The board was useful for a time, though. Synopsis of my story: After 14 years of marriage, I recognized that I was married to a man who used verbal abuse to get his way. He was frequently angry and critical I felt like I could never please him. He didn’t apologize or acknowledge apologies from me. I buried my frustration for years. We tried counseling. He refused to continue because he felt attacked. I finally told him my plans to leave. When I left, he was shocked. I recommend you read the book, “Uncoupling” by D. Vaughn. It explains the steps ANYONE goes through when making decisions to leave a relationship. One of the steps is rewriting your history. The leaver has to justify ending the relationship, so he/she minimizes the good stuff and focuses on the misery. When I believed my husband was willing to own up to his part of our breakdown, I moved back in. I was reluctant, especially after reading the horror stories in the Catbox. I was VERY ANGRY. Against my better judgement, I did what many books, and my counselor, suggested. I acted the part of a loving wife. I also called my husband on his unpleasant behavior. His reactions to me during this time were the key to me staying. My husband honestly didn’t recognize his VA patterns before I left. He did what WORKED. It worked for his mother, so he adapted it in his life. He later admitted that all he ever wanted was PEACE at any cost. (Ironic, eh?) He worked hard and I’ve grown a lot, too. I played a role in this scenario. I’m a conflict-avoider BIG TIME. I will also omit details if I think it will get me in hot water (aka LIE.) I tend to be indirect and sometimes take things personally. I’ve almost finished RE-rewriting my history. I can remember the good stuff again. :) Helpful growth books: “Boundaries” or “Boundaries in Marriage” (Townsend/Cloud) “The five love languages” (Chapman) These books talk about common destructive patterns among couples – Patricia Evans categorizes many of them as abuse. An important point: If I hadn’t understood my husband’s destructive behavior patterns to be VA, I would never have mustered the courage to leave. I would still be confused and miserable and trying to figure out what *I* was doing WRONG in our relationship. Now MY HUSBAND AND I can work on the relationship TOGETHER. My best to both of you, Duchess (Sally)

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February 28, 2006
01:16 AM

Duchess What you write here is extremely powerful. It is so rare to hear. My ears have been filled with the labels and I have begun to think this is what will remain. From what I gather you are saying you moved past these labels and made your own pro active choice to continue a the relationship!? So now that the boundaries are in place and all of the behaviours are called on and out in the open are you finding a new foundation for a relationship? Is it starting to feel right? You seem to have so much positive strength in your wriitng. This is very encouraging. Thank you for your support. I have taken responsibility for what I have done and made steps towards healing. I have since confronted my original abusers and have made much progress in my own issues with my childhood. I believe I am so aware of my behaviours and I have learned an entire new way to communicate. My wife and I have talked and we are now listening to eachother. We are taking it slow and respecting eachother. It feels new and fresh. The wounds are also very fresh and I understand her hesitattion. I see her strength and her pain and I know this will take a long time to make right. Either way we are both strengthening our respect for ourselves and learning so much from our past mistakes and history. Thank you for sharing your enlightening story. Alan

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February 28, 2006
03:46 AM

I dont think all abusers are pathalogial. I definitely own up to being verbally abusive, but it was out of bad habits in communication and ignorance. Throw in a heaping helping of Tomboyish wife that can dish out the verbal sparring, but had a history of emotional abuse as a child and you have an extremely destructive scenario. I was a master at "countering" discounting" "Jokes" and "critisizing" This is inexcusable, but I never knew how damaging it was and my wife was never able to communicate it effectively. In hindsight, she made cutting remarks that indicated her disagreement, but she was never able to sit down and discuss anything with me iin a way that my thick head would grasp. (a gentle word turns away wrath) Men are naturally combative and generally don't respond well to combative women. This is no excuse, but it is one of the differences in the way men and women percieve things. Much of the verbal abuse talked about on the net can be attributed to the differences in communication, so I think it is premature to have a bail out mentality until you find out if your spouse is willing to step up to the plate. The previous writer mentioned that the "leaver needs to justfy their leaving" I believe that many of these forums feed the fire before it is a fire. That being said, I have never met the man who could stubbornly refuse to admit his mistakes and continue to treat someone poorly after he has been made aware, so I have never seen a real basket case. Unfortunately, my wife has rewritten history and is only concentrating on the negative. She wants nothing to do with me and we are about talking with a counselor about a trial separation with strict rules. The sad thing is that my behaviour has really driven her to a state of selfishness that is very uncharacteristic of her normal self. I had engaged in many controlling behaviors, but they were more out of necessity, I have never desired the control, but nobody else took up the slack, so I took control to make sure things got done... I am not only willing to change, it took about 3 days for me to see myself in this light and just stop engaging in that sort of behavior.... Too little, too late maybe.....but please hold out a bit of hope for your husbands and try to let them know how serious this is before you hit the boiling point. It may take a couple encounters, we can be slow.... Just a side note, I have never raised my voice to my wife or threatened her with anything, so I can't really relate to those of you who are dealing with angry people, I don't really know anger.... M.

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February 28, 2006
11:59 AM

The sad thing is that my behaviour has really driven her to a state of selfishness that is very uncharacteristic of her normal self. I had engaged in many controlling behaviors, but they were more out of necessity, I have never desired the control, but nobody else took up the slack, so I took control to make sure things got done... I am not only willing to change, it took about 3 days for me to see myself in this light and just stop engaging in that sort of behavior.... Too little, too late maybe.....but please hold out a bit of hope for your husbands and try to let them know how serious this is before you hit the boiling point. It may take a couple encounters, we can be slow.... Just a side note, I have never raised my voice to my wife or threatened her with anything, so I can't really relate to those of you who are dealing with angry people, I don't really know anger.... M M - You say that you dont really know anger. Are you not angry towards her new found selfishness? If I could give any comment it would be to hold on and be patient. This is one of the most difficult things for us controlling people to do. The advice I was given repetedly by others was to not concentrate on her behaviour but only my own. Anything else is controlling. ANd when I felt the urge to examine how she is and the negative effects of it I was to take that energy and concentrate on myself only. It is this need to figure things out that is damaging to us. Allowing things to just "be" is a hard skill to come by but becomes empowering in itself. I found the more I concentrated on myself the more I was able to trust others and feel that I did not need to think for anyone else. This I believe relieved pressure from my wife to sever all ties and allowed her to be and feel the way she needs to. I dont know how it will end up but it feel respectful. Dont give up on yourself as I have heard this takes a long time to make right. Feel the pain, keep working on yourself and have patience. Alan

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February 28, 2006
12:13 PM

The sad thing is that my behaviour has really driven her to a state of selfishness that is very uncharacteristic of her normal self. I had engaged in many controlling behaviors, but they were more out of necessity, I have never desired the control, but nobody else took up the slack, so I took control to make sure things got done... I am not only willing to change, it took about 3 days for me to see myself in this light and just stop engaging in that sort of behavior.... Too little, too late maybe.....but please hold out a bit of hope for your husbands and try to let them know how serious this is before you hit the boiling point. It may take a couple encounters, we can be slow.... Just a side note, I have never raised my voice to my wife or threatened her with anything, so I can't really relate to those of you who are dealing with angry people, I don't really know anger.... M M - You say that you dont really know anger. Are you not angry towards her new found selfishness? If I could give any comment it would be to hold on and be patient. This is one of the most difficult things for us controlling people to do. The advice I was given repetedly by others was to not concentrate on her behaviour but only my own. Anything else is controlling. ANd when I felt the urge to examine how she is and the negative effects of it I was to take that energy and concentrate on myself only. It is this need to figure things out that is damaging to us. Allowing things to just "be" is a hard skill to come by but becomes empowering in itself. I found the more I concentrated on myself the more I was able to trust others and feel that I did not need to think for anyone else. This I believe relieved pressure from my wife to sever all ties and allowed her to be and feel the way she needs to. I dont know how it will end up but it feel respectful. Dont give up on yourself as I have heard this takes a long time to make right. Feel the pain, keep working on yourself and have patience. Alan

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February 28, 2006
10:57 PM

My God Alan I think Im married to you. My husband is that same miserable person that I cringe everytime he pulls in the driveway. I even bought Calgon one day trying to get away. My boys hate him and we have been through recognition before. I wish you luck changing but do not blame her if she refuses to stick around and see if it worked for you. Personally I wouldnt suggest wasting another moment of time for her to waste.I am talking from experience. We need to live for us now you all have ran us long enough.

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March 01, 2006
01:18 AM

Hi Alan, in response to your question, No I don't feel anger towards her newfound selfishness, I feel remorse because I am a large part of driving her to this state. There are a number of other factors, but none of that diminishes my wrong actions. I wish I would have been confronted with some information about the abusive speech a long time ago, I would have recognized it then. I grew up with people who valued a quick cutting wit and verbal sparring, it was a bad habit to be sure, but I had no idea how damaging it could be or how many ways it could manifest itself. As soon as I saw it spelled out, I identified with it and new I was wrong. This is not a difficult choice, I am sure there will be more layers to peel off, but I guess people engage in this behavior to different degrees. I can't imagine someone denying their own bahavior when it is clearly spelled out for them. There are only two choices, change or stay stupid. M.

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March 01, 2006
02:26 AM

Hi Alan, in response to your question, No I don't feel anger towards her newfound selfishness, I feel remorse because I am a large part of driving her to this state. There are a number of other factors, but none of that diminishes my wrong actions. I wish I would have been confronted with some information about the abusive speech a long time ago, I would have recognized it then. I grew up with people who valued a quick cutting wit and verbal sparring, it was a bad habit to be sure, but I had no idea how damaging it could be or how many ways it could manifest itself. As soon as I saw it spelled out, I identified with it and new I was wrong. This is not a difficult choice, I am sure there will be more layers to peel off, but I guess people engage in this behavior to different degrees. I can't imagine someone denying their own bahavior when it is clearly spelled out for them. There are only two choices, change or stay stupid. M.

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March 01, 2006
04:52 PM

M I know what you mean. I too was reacting in ways that were "normal". Not being able to see the effects is the hard part - then it becomes heard too late! Everyone has told me to concentrate on myself and give it time. Any time I think nabout how to "fix it" I learn to change that thought to what do I need to do to fix myself. It seems to be working. At least it gets my mind off of what I cant control. I wish you the best with this, you sound like your doing good things. Alan

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March 01, 2006
05:39 PM

Alan, i think some of this is useful. Now you are awake. Don't cower down. Grow in this new light. it seems to me that you reaize that you made mistakes. kissing ass here is not going to change your marriage. my suggestion is that you move on from this place. it has outlived it's usefullness. time to move on. grow. enjoy time with yourself. find out what you like and enjoy. focus on your career. do nice things for people you don't know. pray for broken marriages. think positive thoughts. stay away from the single women. don't give up on your marriage, but you can't grovel in this muck. it's no good. ask Jesus to forgive you and move on. He will. Jesus is going to be the one that will heal you and your marriage. not rehashing every moment. ask Jesus for forgiveness everytime one of those bad moments pops in your head. ask Him to keep you humble. don't pursue your wife, but pray for her. send nice things to her with no manipulation. give her space. pray you will become better, looks like you already are, if there is any chance for your wife to come back, it will be because of Him, the creator of marriage. you now have an awesome vantage point. you see things most married men don't see. use it and thank God for it. God bless. Steve.

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March 03, 2006
10:50 AM

Hi, Alan. Duchess here. You seem to have some questions: *** From what I gather you are saying you moved past these labels and made your own pro active choice to continue the relationship!?*** Yes. I’ve moved past the label of “abuser.” It is not healthy for either of us and only fuels MY discontent. There are so many books that broach the subject as COMMON issues among couples. I guess (MY opinion) what makes it ABUSE, is when the “abusive” party REFUSES to EVER deal with these issues. Even in books that don’t call it abuse, the authors say that it often takes a drastic measure to “wake up” the offending spouse. *** So now that the boundaries are in place and all of the behaviors are called on and out in the open are you finding a new foundation for a relationship?*** I’m reading A LOT, trying to figure out what went wrong. (That’s MY nature.) In my IMMATURE reaction to his lack of respect, I sought attention elsewhere (NOT a recommended course of action BTW), so we’re healing from that as well. (In many ways, that part is harder.) My husband prefers not to read about it -- he never read P.Evans' book. He saw himself in much of what we read aloud together this summer. (Boundaries & Power of Two) He said he felt sad and humbled. I’m learning how to communicate more effectively. He is learning to listen less critically. He is on depression meds. This helps! – he used to feel irritated ALL the time and he reacted like I was the problem. Things aren’t perfect, just BETTER. ***Is it starting to feel right? *** What is “right?” Things were fine for my husband before. I feel like we’re moving in a better direction. It has been 8 months, and I’m not looking at our situation as “hopeless” anymore. We go to regular counseling. I still get depressed sometimes. Our faith has helped us both. A fun, practical thing you might want to try: I ordered (on ebay – new is expensive!) the tape series’ “Light Her Fire” and “Light His Fire” by Dr. Ellen Kreidman. Look it up on the ‘net. It’s practical. I haven’t listened to the tape for men (nor has my husband!), but the women's tape makes sense. Everyone is different. There ARE those that learn and move forward. There are GREAT programs out there for marriage healing that WORK. Not every "abusive" situation has to end in divorce. Duchess.

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March 03, 2006
04:56 PM

Hi Duchess You touched on some issues that hit home with me. Sounds like we are in a similar circumstance.. It sounds like you are very strong with your own thoughts and you know what you want and don’t want. Thanks again for sharing. You mentioned that there are marriage healing programs that work. Have you tried some? Any suggestions for that? Alan

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March 06, 2006
08:53 AM

Hello, again, Alan. Duchess here. There ARE marriage programs. No, we did not attend anything formal. We’re in couples counseling and I am reading everything available. Right now, our schedules are such that carving out our weekly date night is a challenge (job-related). We make that a priority. My husband is willing to go but only if *I* really feel we need it. I often get the feeling he’s going to do the minimum work required, and, as long as I’M “happy,” things are OK by him. I read about Retrouvaille (www.retrouvaille.org) and I contacted them. (A friend from church attended and SHE appreciated it. Her husband, who initiated the idea, didn’t get as much out of it. I’m not sure about the marriage dynamics there – I don’t know him.) Another group is Marriage Savers (www.marriagesavers.org). It is run through various churches. Both organizations utilize couples who have gone through SERIOUS marital issues and come out stronger. The “Light Her Fire/Light His Fire” tape series CLAIMS to do the job as well. I suppose ANYTHING can work, as long as both parties buy into it. D.

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March 07, 2006
06:18 AM

Alan- I tried to get to the Yahoo Group- I_am_responsible@yahoo.com and I looked in groups, I searched the web, I entered this in the address bar...I can't find it (yes I did www. sometimes too-I tried) HELP!

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March 07, 2006
08:24 PM

For the person looking to get to the yahoo chat group - there is a link on this site! go to: http://www.drirene.com/support_lists.htm And youll see the I_am_responsible group at the bottom of the page. Just hit the link and subscribe! It is a wonderful group. Lots of support and strong advice. We welcome you. Alan

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March 09, 2006
02:07 PM

Alan I feel you my friend I did the same stupid things for 9 years and when I saw that dead look in her eyes it went right to my soul!!!! I don't know why I did it or why I could not stop myself when I felt it boiling over but I think now I wanted her to think I was strong with no weakness yet my biggest weakness was trying to pretend to be so strong! I am in therapy now because being a mental abuser isn't a crime but being alone with your thoughts is truely punishment. You must now start the long hard search to find you and your smile and I use that as my happy thought because when I find me and my smile boy are the good times gonna roll!!! Hang in there Alan Life is like a roller coaster lots of ups and downs but what a ride!!!

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March 10, 2006
06:43 AM

I wish my husband valued me as much as you now value your estranged wife . My life is worth less than the fair price on his used pick-up truck according to his actions and "real" words - abusive. Tell your story to the many who are ruthless towards their love ones and let them know this life IS precious and unique. A Gift from God to be Cherished!!

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March 16, 2006
12:58 PM

I wanted to tell the group that is still with us here that the hard work on myself has been worth it. My wife came back last week! We are taking one day at a time and going really slow. I have never been more "awake" and conscious of every step that I make. My wife is also expressing her own responsibility and this is healing for us as well. I want to thank everyone for their wonderful support and toughness through the last 3 months. It has been the hardest 84 days of my life - but also starting to see them as the most important and rewarding. I feel like I have grown so much in such a short time. I feel like I can start to see myself as an honorable person and build up my integrity again. Thank you to Dr Laura and this community, I could not have gotten this far without you. I hope my learning will touch others who have been/are in our situation. It is tough to face but proving its worth a little bit each day. Sincerely, Alan

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March 19, 2006
11:08 PM

I am coming to a impactual self realization that I have been a verbal abusing critic of my mother and most of the men I have ever dated. I did grow up in a verbally abusive household with a father who wasn't satisfied with anything primarily his own family. As I have grown, i've always had a strong personality and have been a natural leader I am a force of nature kind of person and i also have good boundaries. I see weakness in others as a flaw and tend to gravitate towards others like me. I have kept a very strong friendship with my former boyfriend. He has this amazing abilty for unconditional love and I had this never ending list of complaints and greivences towards he and his family. I see now that I have used jabs, sarcasam and humor to say some below the belt things, ad nauseum. I have said things that have made my boyfriends and mother feel so badly about themselves because I felt we need to talk about things or I had to be honest with them about things I was feeling. Then i just beat the dead horse and execute my control issues. With my mother I find myself critical of how she raised me, how she looks, how she is with her grandchildren, her husband. I am constantly criticial and then tell her that I love her. God, my mother must think I hate her. With men, especailly my most recent ex, there is the never ending list, the picking fights for no reason, challenging their strength. Then disceting what they are eating and why they are friends with this or that person, criticizing the places they like to socialize and what i think of the people in it. Non- stop critcizing their home and how their family annoys me. It's unbelievable to think that he loved me so much, I used to ask him why because he also said that I made him feel bad about himself. He would tell me that he just loved me for who I was. Again, this was always shocking to me because I really have no clue about how to love someone. I have been very loving and intimate but I have often lost complete control of my mouth and have used my words and intellect to overpower. i need help. I'm not sure why my mother and boyfriends are the select targets. I have been very hurtful in the past and I do not like this quality in myself. I can not change that I am strong, forceful or have strong personal opinions but I can not go on hurting these people I love anymore. I have never treated friends like this. My best girlfriends, i would never treat them the way i have boyfriends and my mother. I have employees and I go out of my way to speak to them with repsect and conduct myself professionaly and maturely, I have friends with all kinds of flaws and I wholeheartedly accept them and sometimes relish in their quirks. If some of the people who know me saw how I treated my own mother and the men in my life they would be ashamed of me. I am afraid that if I continue this pattern with my family and boyfriends that I will never be able to be happy in a relationship. I want to be happy and have solid loving relationships. I want out of this hyper crticial mode. Please give me some guidance. I am planning on seeing a therapist to begin working out these issues. Thanks Mechelle

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March 19, 2006
11:12 PM

I am coming to a impactual self realization that I have been a verbal abusing critic of my mother and most of the men I have ever dated. I did grow up in a verbally abusive household with a father who wasn't satisfied with anything primarily his own family. As I have grown, i've always had a strong personality and have been a natural leader I am a force of nature kind of person and i also have good boundaries. I see weakness in others as a flaw and tend to gravitate towards others like me. I have kept a very strong friendship with my former boyfriend. He has this amazing abilty for unconditional love and I had this never ending list of complaints and greivences towards he and his family. I see now that I have used jabs, sarcasam and humor to say some below the belt things, ad nauseum. I have said things that have made my boyfriends and mother feel so badly about themselves because I felt we need to talk about things or I had to be honest with them about things I was feeling. Then i just beat the dead horse and execute my control issues. With my mother I find myself critical of how she raised me, how she looks, how she is with her grandchildren, her husband. I am constantly criticial and then tell her that I love her. God, my mother must think I hate her. With men, especailly my most recent ex, there is the never ending list, the picking fights for no reason, challenging their strength. Then disceting what they are eating and why they are friends with this or that person, criticizing the places they like to socialize and what i think of the people in it. Non- stop critcizing their home and how their family annoys me. It's unbelievable to think that he loved me so much, I used to ask him why because he also said that I made him feel bad about himself. He would tell me that he just loved me for who I was. Again, this was always shocking to me because I really have no clue about how to love someone. I have been very loving and intimate but I have often lost complete control of my mouth and have used my words and intellect to overpower. i need help. I'm not sure why my mother and boyfriends are the select targets. I have been very hurtful in the past and I do not like this quality in myself. I can not change that I am strong, forceful or have strong personal opinions but I can not go on hurting these people I love anymore. I have never treated friends like this. My best girlfriends, i would never treat them the way i have boyfriends and my mother. I have employees and I go out of my way to speak to them with repsect and conduct myself professionaly and maturely, I have friends with all kinds of flaws and I wholeheartedly accept them and sometimes relish in their quirks. If some of the people who know me saw how I treated my own mother and the men in my life they would be ashamed of me. I am afraid that if I continue this pattern with my family and boyfriends that I will never be able to be happy in a relationship. I want to be happy and have solid loving relationships. I want out of this hyper crticial mode. Please give me some guidance. I am planning on seeing a therapist to begin working out these issues. Thanks Mechelle

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March 21, 2006
01:09 PM

Hi Mechelle. It is very hard to admit what you did - I know! Putting yourself out there for people to see inside you. Admitting these things takes a lot fo courage and wanting to change is a huge step forward. I commend you for this. There is a rocky road ahead but let me tell you it is very fullfilling. I think admitting and realizing the wrong I had done was a huge hurdle to overcome. My excuse was that my wife had to leave me for my eyes to open. I dont know if something drastic like this happened to you but if not it is amazing that you were able to look at yourself from the outside - this is really hard to do! One thing that I learned from my therapist that might help you is this. I asked him why was I able to be kind and courteous to other people and treat my wife poorly. He said "Because you knew that you could get away with it!" It is possible that these patterns have been set up in your life and never questioned strong enough for you to feel it was inapropriate. Something has triggered this now. So hopefully the fact that you recognize it will be a great starting point for you to start noticing what makes you start to react. For me I was able to find what it was that was really bothering me. I found things that stemmed back to childhood and learned that I had behaviours that were taught and stuck with me into adulthood. I found out that everytime I treated my wife poorly, I was actually acting out my frustrations that I never was able to as a kid. It sounds a little strange, but I was a 20-30 year old having tantrums like a 6-10 year old would have. It was not untill I recognized this and confronted myself that I was able to change it - and I believe it is working! Hang in there - you have made the first step which is a hard one. If you can find a good support group and listen to what others that have been in your position or at the other end say! All the best. Alan

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April 21, 2006
12:46 PM

Hi, my name is Silke. After reading lots of posts here, I know fully understand, that I am living too with an abusive husband. I always knew, that something was not right in our marriage, but I always looked at me, to find the problem. But now, after reading thoses posts, I know that I never had a chance, to "fix" our relationship. To fully understand me, I have to tell you the whole story. I am originally from Germany, so please excuse my poor english. I met my husband on the internet in january 2001. At this time I lived alone, for almost 5 years, with my little son, had a job, a nice apartment, a dog, well, everything you need to have a good life. The only thing I missed was love. I mean love that can not be given by a child. I needed someone to laugh, to talk and to dream with. I fell in love with Mike. After almost 2 years talking, chatting, writing letters and everything, he invited me to the USA, to visit him. First I was afraid, my family warned me, my friends told me stories about people who had bad experiences with Internet friends, but I already missed Mike so much, it was as if I would know him already for years. He even sent me the money to buy tickets for me and my son. And so I came here, planned to stay for two weeks and go back to germany. When I saw him the first time, he had a rose in his hand, I was so happy to see him, everything was so easy, we hugged and he drove me to his home. We had a nice time. After two weeks he asked me to stay and I (stupid as I am) said yes. Everything I had in germany was lost now, but my son was happy here, and I was so in love, I payed the price. 4 weeks later we got married in Las Vegas. Not a big thing, we didn't even have rings, but that was ok for me, I know we didn't have money and Mike said, we will marry again, when times are better, with rings and all. I believed him. From that time on it startet. When he for the first time said to me, that I was good for nothing and he doesn't need me for anything but sex, you can imagine how I felt. He was the love of my life and I gave everything I had and then that. Now we are married for almost 3 years, I got pregnant, my second son is now 1 year old. Mike never filed my papers, so my older son and I could become citizens, I have no access to a phone (Mike has two), I am not allowed to use his car, (I am to stupid to drive a car, he said, I had a car in germany, never had an accident, but that doesn't count), his two kids from a former marriage visit us 2 times a month, I have to watch them, but everything I do is wrong, he is never home, not even when his kids are here, he calls me lazy and stupid all the time, threatens me to take my baby away when I am trying to leave, threatens me with deportation, I gave birth to my baby at home, never saw a doctor, I had a miscarriage this january and he just said, I was halluzinating. The best comment he makes, when I say something is: "Only because you think that, doesn't mean it is." Till the baby was born he didn't give me any money, now I get enough to get some diapers, milk and babyfood, sometimes I can't even pay the school lunch for my older son. When I try to talk with Mike about that, he ignores me, sometimes he talks and talks, blames me for all the problems, and every time I say something, he stands up and goes away. I tried to write him letters, told him how unhappy I am and that I miss the love we had for each other before, nothing worked. He always gives me the feeling, that I didn't "earn" his love. Then I tried to get help from his sister, but she always says, that she thinks I don't want to change, I am always complaining and I don't apprecciate what Mike is doing for me. If I would invest more effort than to complain about everything, we could have a good marriage. I tried everything I could think of, was nice, did everything he wanted, hoping he would trust me again, I never cheated on him, never wasted money, cleaned the house, cooked, did the laundry, watched his kids, everything, but it was never enough. Now I know, no matter what I am doing, he will never be satisfied. I commit, I am not always nice, I yell at him, when he tries to go away, I push him, when he says mean things over and over again, I get angry when he disrespects me, sometimes I just can't handle it anymore. I am not allowed to make my own decisions, when my son is sick and I let him stay home for a day, I get in trouble. Since I have no phone, the school calles Mike and when he comes home, he is already angry. Calls my son a weekling or a liar, yells at me, and tells me I can only let him stay home, when he broke his leg or can't walk anymore. My son has a kidney problem. Every time he gets a fever, it could be a kidney infection, so I am very afraid of that, since my son never visited a doctor here and we don't have health insurance. When he has a fever, I let him stay home and watch him. I can't see anything wrong about that. We almost fight every day. I just can't give up to fight for what I think my rights are. He treats me like a slave, my son is his punchbag, and the most trouble comes, when his other two kids are here. He lets them do everything, they make a mess everywhere, they don't like my food, they ignore me completely. Mike yells at me in front of them, and one time he even beat me, because his son pretended to fell down, when I tried to move him with my hand on the back of his head to the kids room. Mike got so angry, told me I had beaten up his "baby", (he is 5), and of course his "baby" now pretended to have pain in his throat, cought and said he cannot swallow anymore, cried. Mike hit me and pushed me on the floor, I had my baby in my arms who startet crying. Then Mike bent my hands on my back and hit my head several times on the floor, yelling I should never hit his "baby" again. He was right next to his "baby" when that happend, he should have seen that I rarely touched him, and what does that have to do with his throat? Then the boy said, his face hurts, because he fell on his face, when I hit him. Oh man, I cannot believe that. Mike beat me up in front of his kids. That was the first time. And he still tells me I deserved it. The second time was, when we were fighting again and he tried to get away from me. I wanted an answer, he didn't talk with me for days again and I was so angry. I grabbed his shirt and tried to stop him from running away, he turned around, grabbed my neck, almost strangled me and slammed my head against the wall. I couldn't swallow right for two days. That was the second time. I don't want to know, how the next time ends. So at the end I have to do what he wants, because I cannot leave. I have no contact to my family anymore, no friends here, no options. My son is afraid of Mike, hides in his room, and Mike yells at me and says:"See your son is as rotten as you, he can't even say HI, doesn't like me, wants nothing to do with me..." and all that. But when my son is near him, he doesn't like that either and sends him away or finds something to hurt or blame him, tells him that he is lazy. Of course he is hiding. I don't know what to do. I am still hoping, something could help Mike. He is a nice man, most of the time. He is always there for everyone who needs help, but me. Everyone knows him as Mr. Nice Guy. No one believes me, when I say how he treats me, so I cannot expect help from anyone here. I don't give up yet and hope for the best. Silke