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Comments for Guy's Breaking Point

Comments:  A Guy's Breaking Point

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.

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Thursday May 09, 2002

My Dear Bryan, I read your letter and wish you had given more detail about your previous 3 marriages. Have you had any counseling? I’m not sure you will hear or understand anything I may say. I will start with the ending of your letter. You said, “Sometimes I truly feel these are the cards I've been dealt and I just need to tough it out and learn to adapt. But.......I want to be happy so badly...I want to freely give and receive love, no limitations, no hesitation, no more confusion. I wonder constantly if I am getting closer to that breaking point or actually further away. It's all beginning to feel truly hopeless”. It does seem you are the victim. Amazing that you keep getting into all these card games over the years and keep getting bad hands. Reminds me of the women that was always getting beaten up by her different boyfriends. She was asked where does she find these guys. She answered, “the bikers bar down town”. But, I don’t buy your story. Where are love, compassion, and understanding in any of these marriages? I do hear blame. Of course you are guilty of only being a caretaker. (Not a good one at that). You stated, “My wife was sexually abused by her father as a child and is still VERY angry, although she has been in counseling twice in 10 years (a year each time) and says she is fine with all of it now”. Her trust was violated as a little girl. She fears trusting again. (Any man). Daughters with healthy, close ties to their fathers have better chances of successful relationships. A father helps a girl grow into a strong, independent woman. As daughters grow older, fathers that had treated them as equals help build their self-confidence and self-esteem. When this happens a women has a better chance (still must pick the right guy) of having a close, loving relationship. My point is you have not gained her trust. If anything you have fed her fears. You are like her father and she cannot trust you with her love just as she could not trust her own father with her love. No, you will not protect her and give her the support she needs. So she will never open up and become vulnerable. You cannot be trusted.

Instead of feeling hopeless, try taking control of your life. Set a goal. Don’t play a game of chance. Tell her you want to work on this problem with her. Suggest going to counseling together. Make your mind up that you want this marriage to work. That you want her to trust your love (after you earn it). Work with her, get close, share moments, and ask her what she needs from you. Once she tells you do your best to fulfill her needs. If you and she can become a team working for the same goal, you may experience for the first time in all your marriages what was missing and that was—you and you love.

Wayne L. Misner

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Thursday May 09, 2002

My Dear Bryan, I read your letter and wish you had given more detail about your previous 3 marriages. Have you had any counseling? I’m not sure you will hear or understand anything I may say. I will start with the ending of your letter. You said, “Sometimes I truly feel these are the cards I've been dealt and I just need to tough it out and learn to adapt. But.......I want to be happy so badly...I want to freely give and receive love, no limitations, no hesitation, no more confusion. I wonder constantly if I am getting closer to that breaking point or actually further away. It's all beginning to feel truly hopeless”. It does seem you are the victim. Amazing that you keep getting into all these card games over the years and keep getting bad hands. Reminds me of the women that was always getting beaten up by her different boyfriends. She was asked where does she find these guys. She answered, “the bikers bar down town”. But, I don’t buy your story. Where are love, compassion, and understanding in any of these marriages? I do hear blame. Of course you are guilty of only being a caretaker. (Not a good one at that). You stated, “My wife was sexually abused by her father as a child and is still VERY angry, although she has been in counseling twice in 10 years (a year each time) and says she is fine with all of it now”. Her trust was violated as a little girl. She fears trusting again. (Any man). Daughters with healthy, close ties to their fathers have better chances of successful relationships. A father helps a girl grow into a strong, independent woman. As daughters grow older, fathers that had treated them as equals help build their self-confidence and self-esteem. When this happens a women has a better chance (still must pick the right guy) of having a close, loving relationship. My point is you have not gained her trust. If anything you have fed her fears. You are like her father and she cannot trust you with her love just as she could not trust her own father with her love. No, you will not protect her and give her the support she needs. So she will never open up and become vulnerable. You cannot be trusted.

Instead of feeling hopeless, try taking control of your life. Set a goal. Don’t play a game of chance. Tell her you want to work on this problem with her. Suggest going to counseling together. Make your mind up that you want this marriage to work. That you want her to trust your love (after you earn it). Work with her, get close, share moments, and ask her what she needs from you. Once she tells you do your best to fulfill her needs. If you and she can become a team working for the same goal, you may experience for the first time in all your marriages what was missing and that was—you and you love.

Wayne L. Misner

Submit
Thursday May 09, 2002

My Dear Bryan, I read your letter and wish you had given more detail about your previous 3 marriages. Have you had any counseling? I’m not sure you will hear or understand anything I may say. I will start with the ending of your letter. You said, “Sometimes I truly feel these are the cards I've been dealt and I just need to tough it out and learn to adapt. But.......I want to be happy so badly...I want to freely give and receive love, no limitations, no hesitation, no more confusion. I wonder constantly if I am getting closer to that breaking point or actually further away. It's all beginning to feel truly hopeless”. It does seem you are the victim. Amazing that you keep getting into all these card games over the years and keep getting bad hands. Reminds me of the women that was always getting beaten up by her different boyfriends. She was asked where does she find these guys. She answered, “the bikers bar down town”. But, I don’t buy your story. Where are love, compassion, and understanding in any of these marriages? I do hear blame. Of course you are guilty of only being a caretaker. (Not a good one at that). You stated, “My wife was sexually abused by her father as a child and is still VERY angry, although she has been in counseling twice in 10 years (a year each time) and says she is fine with all of it now”. Her trust was violated as a little girl. She fears trusting again. (Any man). Daughters with healthy, close ties to their fathers have better chances of successful relationships. A father helps a girl grow into a strong, independent woman. As daughters grow older, fathers that had treated them as equals help build their self-confidence and self-esteem. When this happens a women has a better chance (still must pick the right guy) of having a close, loving relationship. My point is you have not gained her trust. If anything you have fed her fears. You are like her father and she cannot trust you with her love just as she could not trust her own father with her love. No, you will not protect her and give her the support she needs. So she will never open up and become vulnerable. You cannot be trusted.

Instead of feeling hopeless, try taking control of your life. Set a goal. Don’t play a game of chance. Tell her you want to work on this problem with her. Suggest going to counseling together. Make your mind up that you want this marriage to work. That you want her to trust your love (after you earn it). Work with her, get close, share moments, and ask her what she needs from you. Once she tells you do your best to fulfill her needs. If you and she can become a team working for the same goal, you may experience for the first time in all your marriages what was missing and that was—you and you love.

Wayne L. Misner

Submit
Thursday May 09, 2002

Dear Bryan,

I happen to agree with Wayne that the ONLY thing that is within your power to change is yourself.

Having had the experience of "picking" women with a history of emotional incest, incest or sexual molestation, I (finally) came to the awareness that the common denominator in these ALL relationships was ME. What eventually entered my mindfulness was the realization that I was bringing these women into my life so that I COULD HEAL. For me, this has taken the course of getting sober, doing the inventories (resentment, sex and FEAR) that I needed to do to come to the understanding of who I was and begining to CHANGE what I believed about myself. This journey has taken me, at EXACTLY the right moment, to other sources of help, inspiration, empathy, compassion and growth.

ALL of the answers to the questions that are being asked lie within Bryan...uncover, discover and discard.

I am unable to GIVE what I do not HAVE.

That means: in order to TRUST, I must first trust myself, in order to LOVE, I must first love myself. WE ATTRACT WHAT WE ARE.

I too, would like to hear more about the other marriages. As we get older, repeating the same things, over and over, that do not WORK - the hammer that drops on our heads gets heavier ( it's MY hammer). I would view this as an opportunity rather than a problem. What is the message the UNIVERSE is sending to Bryan?

What does that 11th. Step prayer tell me:

" Lord, make me a channel of thy peace - that where there is hatred, I may bring love - that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness - that where there is discord, I may bring harmony - that where there is error, I may bring truth - that where there is doubt, I may bring faith - that where there is despair, I may bring hope - that where there are shadows, I may bring light - that where there is sadness, I may bring joy. Lord, grant that I may seek to comfort than to be comforted - to understand, than to be understood - to love, than to be loved. For it is self-forgetting that one finds. It is by forgiving that one is forgiven. It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life. Amen." (12x12, pg.99)

Again, The Kingdom lies within... healing and growth are an INSIDE job.

planettrout

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Thursday May 09, 2002

Dear Bryan,

I happen to agree with Wayne that the ONLY thing that is within your power to change is yourself.

Having had the experience of "picking" women with a history of emotional incest, incest or sexual molestation, I (finally) came to the awareness that the common denominator in all these relationships was ME. What eventually entered my mindfulness was the realization that I was bringing these women into my life so that I COULD HEAL. For me, this has taken the course of getting sober, doing the inventories (resentment, sex and FEAR) that I needed to do to come to the understanding of who I was and begining to CHANGE what I believed about myself. This journey has taken me, at EXACTLY the right moment, to other sources of help, inspiration, empathy, compassion and growth.

ALL of the answers to the questions that are being asked lie within Bryan...uncover, discover and discard.

I am unable to GIVE what I do not HAVE.

That means: in order to TRUST, I must first trust myself, in order to LOVE, I must first love myself. WE ATTRACT WHAT WE ARE.

I too, would like to hear more about the other marriages. As we get older, repeating the same things, over and over, that do not WORK - the hammer that drops on our heads gets heavier ( it's MY hammer). I would view this as an opportunity rather than a problem. What is the message the UNIVERSE is sending to Bryan?

What does that 11th. Step prayer tell me:

" Lord, make me a channel of thy peace - that where there is hatred, I may bring love - that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness - that where there is discord, I may bring harmony - that where there is error, I may bring truth - that where there is doubt, I may bring faith - that where there is despair, I may bring hope - that where there are shadows, I may bring light - that where there is sadness, I may bring joy. Lord, grant that I may seek to comfort than to be comforted - to understand, than to be understood - to love, than to be loved. For it is self-forgetting that one finds. It is by forgiving that one is forgiven. It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life. Amen." (12x12, pg.99)

Again, The Kingdom lies within... healing and growth are an INSIDE job.

planettrout

Submit
Thursday May 09, 2002

Hello....I was going to reply but stopped dead in my tracks when Wayne said you "cannot be trusted". What did I miss? It seems we all got to where we were and to this site for something we missed. So, what is it here? I'd like to know because I cannot find it in re-reading his letter.

Thank you

Submit
Thursday May 09, 2002

Hi, this is Bryan. I have to admit I was a little dismayed at Waynes reply. I don't know why you feel I can not be trusted when you don't know me personally. My Story may not have been written very well, I'm not much of a writer and wasn't sure where to stop. But I'd be happy to explain more about my marriages. And I do know I am to blame, as I wrote. I don't blame my wife, I know I allow what goes on. My Story was written mostly in hopes of helping others who may not be as deep in yet. I wanted to show them how fast it can snowball when no action is taken. I accept my codependency and realize I am at fault....I just wanted to show others that they don't ever have to get to that point of feeling paralyzed, as I have. I was very young when I first married, 19. She was my high school sweetheart. As soon as we married, everything changed. She had friends in college who constantly invited her out to parties and I believe she came to a point where she felt she was missing something by getting married so young. Sometimes I'd be invited to the parties, but as time went on I was invited less and less. Told it was "girls night out". I had no problem with that until she started coming home not just tipsy, but very drunk. And then that slowly turned to cocaine use. I am aware of no abuse at all from her past, her family seemed very concerned when this started. Even she couldn't answer when asked "why"? Over the next couple years, she went into rehab twice. I visited her every visitors day without fail, and did everything I could to cheer her. I took along some of her friends with me as surprises, and sat with her many hours crying with her. I would speak to her counselors and they would say she seemed better and could safely be released. Then slowly it would start again. The last time was worse than ever. I ended up being told by my employer that I would be let go if I missed many more days of work, (stayed home with her a lot on her bad days..I was afraid to leave). One day I came home and she was gone. She did call later to say she was safe with a friend out of town, but she said she did not want to talk about her problems anymore. I still hung on for months, I missed her desperately (the old her) but finally at the urging of my employer, friends, parents and believe it or not, even her parents, I filed for divorce. We had no children and no real assets and it was over quickly. We were married 3 1/2 years. I understand that now, 21 years later, she is doing well, married with children, but we have not spoken since then. And yes, sometimes I still wonder, "maybe if I had just waited a little longer". After that, I was pretty depressed for awhile. Fortunately my family lives in the same town and they were all very supportive. This is when I got into exercise. It was the healthiest stress release I could find. Granted, drugs crossed my mind a few times but after seeing what they could do, I was more afraid of them than intrigued. Didn't date for years....just got busier at work. Finally about 9 years later, I did marry again. This one lasted about 2 years. She was beautiful and funny and warm hearted and I thought all my waiting had really paid off. After we married, she began slowly mentioning things about her childhood that she had left out of conversations before we were married. Her parents divorced when she was very young and her and her mother struggled for years. I felt very sorry for her. Over time the credit card balances slowly went sky high. We had constant arguements about her spending habits. She'd be remorsesful, then turn around and do it again. After awhile she was completely out of control and boy were we in debt. I always listened to her reasons and believed her (yes I know that was stupid!)so unfortunately it took being in deep debt before I stood my ground. As you may have guessed, she didn't like that too much. To rebel (I guess) she just up and quit her job one day and sat around the house getting more depressed. 3 months later an old friend felt he had to break the news to me that she was having an affair. She denied it all, said she loved me "dearly" and wanted to work it out and a month later, I saw them myself together. I filed for divorce the following week. All I know to date is she stayed with him for awhile, but married another man a few years ago, a corporate executive. I was 34 then and still could not see my part in any of it. I met my third wife, she became pregnant (while on the pill???) and I believed it was right to marry her. We had a quick, small wedding and 6 weeks later she miscarried. I still haven't quite figured this one out, all I know is she became very different all of a sudden. I assumed it was depression, rightly so, and tried very hard to be loving and kind. One day she went away for a weekend with her sister and a few hours later I was served divorce papers. I went a little bonkers myself after that......and ended up in counseling. The counselor helped me understand for the first time about codependency and that I was obviously trying to heal some hole inside of me by marrying woman with problems. I stayed in counseling about 5 months, and left with a lot of new knowledge but not much of a grip yet on where this "hole" inside me came from. To be honest, I still can't figure it out. My childhood was not rough at all, parents still married, no addictions (well except me)and we all get along fine. My counselor did say once that sometimes it turns out to be something that is not knowingly traumatic, (like incest, or physical abuse, etc) that causes the hole inside of us. Like having a working mom and just needing more attention than the others, or having a close relative die that we dearly loved and wanted to help but couldn't. So I guess I finally decided that I'd go crazy trying to figure out what it was so I just vowed to be very cautious at the start of relationships from then on. When I met my current wife I DID see, from the start, that she also seemed like a lost soul, still hurting from her past.....but I jumped right in again. It wasn't until recently that I learned this is actually a kind of addiction and I was hooked once again. I am still amazed at how I could justify in my mind that this time was going to be different. Then, things started to change right after she moved in with me.....and the more I thought of leaving, the more I dug in my heels. I seemed to have fear worse than ever before of hurting her feelings. You say I have not earned her love and trust, but I have tried to very hard, the best way I know how. I do not even look at other woman, magazines, catalogs...all removed from our house. She loves white daisies....I send them to her at work probably once a month. I have given more foot and back massages than I can even count, hold her when she crys,listen attentively to all her woes, keep my mouth shut when she is in a bad mood. When she wants to go somewhere we go. I do not complain, I just try to make her happy. I clean the house on the weekends, make 6 out of 7 dinners weekly, am nice and polite to all her friends and have done every "favor" she has ever asked. Also, in the beginning of our relationship sex was great. Then one day she announced "that romantic stuff" wasn't nessesary anymore. I asked if it was anything I did, she said no.....I asked if it brought back painful memories of her past, she said no, I asked if she was interested in someone else, she said no. I decided it had to have something to do with her past and vowed to be forever patient. I felt like one day she would see how patient and selfless I had been and want to show her love for me in a physical way as well. But that day has not come yet. And as much as I hate it, I have read that woman who were sexually abused as little girls sometimes grow up to be promiscuous so I have even resorted to telling myself that the cheating I know she has done (but can't prove) is something she can't help. As I said before, the main reason I wrote was to just try to be a living example of someone who still can't find the guts and hope it would urge others to NOT follow my example. Wayne, you mentioned counseling. We did do counseling (I think I put that in My Story)at my urging. She didn't even go the first 3 months (she said because our problems were not her fault and she didn't need counseling.) We went for a year and we finally stopped going when her and the counselor decided that she was who she was and I either had to put up with it or leave. I have endlessly told her that I want this marriage to work, I have tried "getting close" every way I can imagine, usually get pushed away. I support her hobbies and her dreams. I try to share every waking moment with her when I'm not at work. If I even hint going to the movie with a buddy or my brother, she has a fit, saying I don't want to be with her. So I stay home and try to plan something she would like. She freezes up then and says I'm only doing that out of guilt. I have tried long heart to heart talks hundreds of times. She's okay talking about herself, but when I start to bring up my fears or sorrows or dreams she becomes sleepy and says we'll continue tomorrow, which rarely happens. And lastly, I have endlessly asked her how I can fulfill her needs. She then says "I'm perfectly happy and don't have a clue what your problem is". My brother finally lashed out one day and told me "well of course you meet her needs, you do everything she wants"!! So....I guess I don't know how to become a "team". Like I said in My Story.....we pretty much just go through the motions now. We work, eat lunch and dinner together everyday, go grocery shopping together, sometimes go to the movies, sometimes visit her family for an evening, go to bed, get up the next day, repeat. I KNOW I am responsible for my own feelings, I know I have quite a problem, but if absolutely nothing else, I do believe I'm a nice and decent person and deserve better. But if I knew HOW to leave without feeling like I would literally die of the guilt, shame, and fear then I wouldn't have felt the need to write to this web site in the first place. I truly do feel stuck for life. My head knows I'm not but my heart seems to always rule and I am having a very hard time with it. I hope this helped explain things better. I'm sorry it's so long. And thank you for your replys and concern, Bryan

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Friday May 10, 2002

Bryan, You said, “I have to admit I was a little dismayed at Waynes reply. I don't know why you feel I can not be trusted when you don't know me personally.” True I don’t know you. So I must guess what the problem may be from HER eyes, not yours. You say, “She is a master at avoiding anything she doesn't want to do: talking, sex, going someplace I want to go, etc... She virtually ignores me when I am upset and want to talk about something that's bothering me. She will chat with me, but if or when it turns into a serious discussion, she just throws her arms up and walks away. She tells me all the time that I am selfish and mean and arrogant and a jerk and frustrating and hard to live with. Can't help but wonder if that's at least some kind of modified verbal abuse.” My point is she may not trust you. (Not me!) That she feels you cannot be trusted. (By the way, many women who have been abused when young girls have trouble trusting men when they grow up).

She may be testing you and your love. HERE ARE SOME POSSIBILITIES:

ˇ Fear that she is not lovable. ˇ Fear of failure. ˇ Fear of not being in control. ˇ Fear of not knowing. ˇ Fear of rejection. ˇ Fear that if you find out who she really is you will not want her. ˇ Fear of abandonment.

It’s very possible that she feel worthless, guilty and ashamed. I was physically abused as a little boy growing up. Then my father abandoned me when I was nine years old. The lack of a father to help validate me, to love me, and a man I could love, left a void and empty hole inside of me which I will never be able to fill. I have learned to live with it, but to be abandoned emotionally is to struggle the rest of your life to be validated. It also implants a fear that all those you will love in the future will also abandon you. I believe that those women who get angry and push their significant others away are subconsciously testing them to see if they will leave or if they really do love them and will stay. This is a self-defeating method that erodes the love of the significant other until there is no love left and he does walk away--another self-fulfilling prophecy.

You also said, “She has wanted to have a baby for several years now but so far we have had no luck. Of course, she blames me solely for this too”. Have you both been tested? If not, why not? If this is important to her (& it sounds like it from what you wrote) it should be important to you. If you wanted to work with her on this issue maybe she would “Trust” you more.

I was talking about her trust not anyone else.

Wayne L. Misner

Submit
Friday May 10, 2002

Bryan, You said, “I have to admit I was a little dismayed at Waynes reply. I don't know why you feel I can not be trusted when you don't know me personally.” True I don’t know you. So I must guess what the problem may be from HER eyes, not yours. You say, “She is a master at avoiding anything she doesn't want to do: talking, sex, going someplace I want to go, etc... She virtually ignores me when I am upset and want to talk about something that's bothering me. She will chat with me, but if or when it turns into a serious discussion, she just throws her arms up and walks away. She tells me all the time that I am selfish and mean and arrogant and a jerk and frustrating and hard to live with. Can't help but wonder if that's at least some kind of modified verbal abuse.” My point is she may not trust you. (Not me!) That she feels you cannot be trusted. (By the way, many women who have been abused when young girls have trouble trusting men when they grow up).

She may be testing you and your love. HERE ARE SOME POSSIBILITIES:

ˇ Fear that she is not lovable. ˇ Fear of failure. ˇ Fear of not being in control. ˇ Fear of not knowing. ˇ Fear of rejection. ˇ Fear that if you find out who she really is you will not want her. ˇ Fear of abandonment.

It’s very possible that she feel worthless, guilty and ashamed. I was physically abused as a little boy growing up. Then my father abandoned me when I was nine years old. The lack of a father to help validate me, to love me, and a man I could love, left a void and empty hole inside of me which I will never be able to fill. I have learned to live with it, but to be abandoned emotionally is to struggle the rest of your life to be validated. It also implants a fear that all those you will love in the future will also abandon you. I believe that those women who get angry and push their significant others away are subconsciously testing them to see if they will leave or if they really do love them and will stay. This is a self-defeating method that erodes the love of the significant other until there is no love left and he does walk away--another self-fulfilling prophecy.

You also said, “She has wanted to have a baby for several years now but so far we have had no luck. Of course, she blames me solely for this too”. Have you both been tested? If not, why not? If this is important to her (& it sounds like it from what you wrote) it should be important to you. If you wanted to work with her on this issue maybe she would “Trust” you more.

I was talking about her trust not anyone else.

Wayne L. Misner

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Friday May 10, 2002

Dear Bryan,

Thanks for providing additional information on your previous marriages.

It seems to me that there is a CONSISTENT pattern in YOUR choice of partners:

Wife # 1. substance abuser - emotionally UNAVAILABLE Wife # 2. spending addiction/ possible sex addict - emotionally UNAVAILABLE Wife # 3. emotionally UNAVAILABLE Wife # 4. incest survivor - emotionally UNAVAILABLE

As BOTH John Bradshaw and Robert Burney point out, unless I do MY family of origin work, heal from MY codepedency, address MY addictions...nothing changes. And if nothing changes, nothing CHANGES.

In AA it is called, " doing the same things over and over again, expecting different results." It is applicable to ALL things in my life. To learn this lesson, I substitute the word THINKING for drinking, THINK for drink, in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. My THINKER is BROKEN.

I choose emotionally unavailable women because I am emotionally unavailable.

Another wonderful axiom posited to me by numerous hardcore oldtimers was: " Two sickies do not make a wellie."

Submit
Friday May 10, 2002

...cont. (apologies to Bryan and Trubble, fishing buddy called, my attention turned to trout and I hit the submit button.)

What these people were teaching me was: that I must heal myself. Everything that I knew THEN was written on the inside of the cover of the Big Book... and it is blank.

Five months with a therapist does not a healing make. I will pose it to you Bryan the same way it was posed to me: How long did it take you to walk into the forrest? How long do you think it will take you to walk out?

There are support groups for partners of incest survivors.

There are 12 Step groups for codependents.

There are many useful book titles in this website's bookshelf.

Robert Burney's website is a warehouse of wisdom.

There is a GOD inside of Bryan who loves him and wants the best for him...there is a GOD inside of Bryan's wife who loves her and wants the best for her. Both of you are his kids.

There is no Chapter in the Big Book called "in to thinking". There is one titled "In To Action".

Chuck C., wrote a wonderful book titled: " A New Pair of Glasses. It was based on a series of talks he gave in Palm Springs many, many years ago. Find it,read it. Look for the section where he speaks to a friend (non-alcoholic) who tells him that he loves his wife, but is not "in love" with his wife. His friend asks him, " What should I do?"

Chuck C. begins his reply with, " You're not gonna' like what I'm going to tell you...

But then, I'd spoil it.

Best to you, join us on the path.

planettrout

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Friday May 10, 2002

Your wife sounds like my husband in many ways. She also sounds exactly like D's mother. You seem to me to be very codependent (takes one to know one). I think self-help is good but have you gone to counseling?

This woman is abusing and controlling you. You need to get help before you wear down anymore. I do know how you feel. You need to take responsibility for your own happiness. You are not responsible for hers. It is not your job to be her crutch to fulfill her or cure her problems. She is happy with the way things are because she is in total control. Gives with one hand and takes with the other. It helped me to move out. Without D there everyday wearing me down I started to get perspective.

She has been in therapy for many years. Do you think you your love alone will cure her? You have to decide if you want to live this way forever and then bring a baby into a non healthy environment. It doesn't sound good to me. I fell in love with a fantasy person, now I see him clearer.

I feel this will only get worse with time. If you do leave her make sure you get help and heal before moving on to a new love. You may end up just where you started with someone new.

Rissa

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Saturday May 11, 2002

Dear Bryan, Portia Nelson wrote, “ There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk”, Beyond Words Publishing, Hillsboro, Oregon.

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

I I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost…I am helpless. It is not my fault. It takes forever to find my way out.

II I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in. I can’t believe I am in the same place. But it isn’t my fault. It still takes a long time to get out.

III I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it there. I still fall in…It’s a habit. My eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.

IV I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.

V I walk down another street.

Wayne L. Misner

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Saturday May 11, 2002

The feeling of relief you felt when you imagined not going through with the wedding and the turmoil you now feel on a regular basis, tell me that it might be healthier for you to be on your own. Even if you have to be alone, you won't lose anything. You will gain a healthier emotional state of mind on a regular basis and you can use this to accomplish more in life and in your relationships with others. The amount of stress you talk about is just too sad.

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Saturday May 11, 2002

Bryan, Reading about what this woman has been doing to you, her selfish ways, is making me angry, but you are the one who needs to get angry at her mis-treatment. I understand that part of the appeal is that she is the supreme challenge- the challenge to get her to finally show that she loves you. You have tried so hard, invested so much, I can see why it is difficult to call it quits. But, wouldn't it be so much better to find someone who will return the love, who will listen to you talk about your day, who will not drain every drop of blood from you, who will fill you up, not drain you dry. Bryan, please, I know you have the strength. Don't give up on yourself. File for divorce. Find that relief your soul really craves.

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Sunday May 12, 2002

Bryan,

I was sexually abused as a child. I agree with Wayne that she may not be able to trust. I lived in a situation that I realized I did not trust myself eithor or my ability to assess dangerous situations. My perceptions were messed with as a child. I was living with someone that was not trustworthy. Once I learned to trust myself then trusting others fell into place. It was not so much that I could trust them, but that I could trust that I would be able to cope with what ever hand I was dealt.

I was married for 9 1/2 years trying to "make" him happy. It was like filling a bucket with holes in the bottom. He had this empty hole that only he could fill up. I was drained emotionally. Not to mention that I had my own hole that needed attention. I did not learn as a child how to cope and walk away from that which hurts.

Now that I have learned to take care of myself, and fill my own hole. The empty hole is still there but I can nurture it in healthy ways. I am able to cope with it. I know the feeling and can identify it. I am feeling more able to extend my love to another. As long as that person can allow me enough space to nurture myself.

I had to be separated from my husband since he was a narcissist. He needed me. He engulfed me. When I pulled away to take care of my own needs he flipped out. I had to do what was necessary to take care of myself. I felt like we were both drowning. One of us had to let go or we would both drown.

I have learned how to accept the powerlessness over others. Have faith in myself. I understand now that the only person that I can control or make happy is myself. Some people just can't be happy due to high expectations. Another person is icing on the cake. If that person is not whole or does not have the ability to stand on his own then I know I can't do it for him. He will forever be leaning on me.

What would it feel like to you to be happy or take care of your own needs? Let her cope with her own stuff. What do you do to nurture yourself?

Keep reading and learning...It's worth it :)

methinksfree

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Monday May 13, 2002

Dear Bryan,

I guess you know as well as any that the way your wife behaves is NOT OK. You find excuses for both her behaviour and the bad behaviour of your past wifes. Though I think it is good to try and find out why other people do what they do, it is not good to use that udnerstanding as an excuse. Every one is responsable for their own behaviour, no matter what the reasons are and finding excuses for them is typicaly codependent. But I think you already know that as well.

You say your wife claims theapy is not necesarry since whe does not have a problem. You have no sane option but to accepts that this for her is true (no matter how much you feel it would help). You an however continue to see a therapist for yourself, to help you sort out your codependent patterns. Knowing is not enough, it takes a lot of time and work to make a different live and live a different pattern (know that, been their, even though I am still in the same marriage). You cannot change her, only she can do that. You can change yourself however.

It might be wise to disatnce yourself soemwhat from her. I think you are just trying too hard and that sometimes can give people the feeling of being stiffled and anyway tells her that no matter what she does, you are still there and doing your best. It took me a long time to realise that this kind of behaviour sort of invites 'abusers' to be abusive. They are not able to control themselves and we, the 'victim's' don't even tell them to stop when they are hurting us.

Learn to take care of yourself, learn to love yourself, learn not to be too depedent on others for feeling good about yourself. And think hard about why you would want to be in a relationship that gives you nothing but hurt. There's more to live then that and you deserve it as well as any one else. You cannot help people who do not want to be helped and in trying to do so you will only help them to avoid the need to confront their own prolems.... Therefor, they will never heal!

Try posting on the Catbox or Trubble Yak to get some mor day to day help. Keep reading and don't run from your own feelings.

Good luck

AJ

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Monday May 13, 2002

Umm, Bryan...Grow a back-bone buddy!

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Monday May 13, 2002

"Grow a backbone..." Nice response! I have never seen such a hurtful, uncaring response to any woman posting on the Yak board. I've noticed that many of the responses to Bryan so far are extremely opposite of the caring concern shown to women posting similar repeated abusive relationship stories. Maybe the fact that Bryan is a man changes opinions. I agree that therapy to help with codependent patterns is a fabulous idea, but insults only further harm what must be an already damaged ego.

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Monday May 13, 2002

These posts are very interesting. I notice that being a man Bryan gets some responses without much empathy at all. Even the sidewalk response; I liked it but it was just in your face and nothing else. No support at all. Maybe that's guy speak!?

Bryan I can say this to you. You do have support on this page. You don't have children so you can be "selfish" and just think of yourself. Move on and take advantage of new opportunities. And by the way, which ever street you walk on there will always be holes in the sidewalk. I just think you should find a street where the holes are no bigger than tiddly-winks! You can't fall into those....just walk right on over them!

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Monday May 13, 2002

I completely agree with the sentiments of some of the most recent posters. There seems to some underlying assumption that if his wife is the abuser, it's somehow Bryans fault and he's not being understanding enough or he's suffocating her too much. I am a woman and was pretty suprised by the number of people who want to second guess Bryan. I take Bryans story at face value, regardless of previous marriages, this one is in big trouble and I feel for this man drowning in the difficulty he is having getting away from this very selfish abusive individual. She fits the profile of an abuser perfectly. Why that is not obvious to all shows us how much people see things through a very biased lense.

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Tuesday May 14, 2002

To all posters,

I noticed not everyone posting is signing their posts and I would like to ask you to do so, cause it will make it easier to respond.

As for the feeling that Bryan is not getting support, I would like to know how Bryan feels. I agree the first answer knocked me of my feet as weel, it felt rather agressive, but appertenly was not meant to be.

Sympathazing and validation are necesarry, but at the same time I feel that too much sypathizing gets too be victimizing the 'victim' even further. Sure Bryan's wife is behaving abusive and whatever the reasons for that, that is not ok. When I said something about stiffling and distancing and trying to be to good, I spoke form my own experience. I know I always tried just too hard and that did not help at all, neither me, nor my partner. I think, especially looking back on my own situation, that the best help you can get is the help that's empowering you, that's telling you you are not a powerless victim, but there are things you can do yourself to change the situation and to focus on those.

That's the help I got on these boards and which I in my turn will try to provide to others, male and female alike.

I do totally agree that just critizing will not do much good. Just sypathising will not either...

I suddenly realize I am sounding a bit defensive, sorry for that. I hope I have been able to express how I feel about this and I sure hope Bryan does not feel unsupported here. We wold welcome you on the otrher boards Bryan and I know you will get sympathy and support there!!!

AJ

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Tuesday May 14, 2002

To all posters,

I noticed not everyone posting is signing their posts and I would like to ask you to do so, cause it will make it easier to respond.

As for the feeling that Bryan is not getting support, I would like to know how Bryan feels. I agree the first answer knocked me of my feet as weel, it felt rather agressive, but appertenly was not meant to be.

Sympathazing and validation are necesarry, but at the same time I feel that too much sypathizing gets too be victimizing the 'victim' even further. Sure Bryan's wife is behaving abusive and whatever the reasons for that, that is not ok. When I said something about stiffling and distancing and trying to be to good, I spoke form my own experience. I know I always tried just too hard and that did not help at all, neither me, nor my partner. I think, especially looking back on my own situation, that the best help you can get is the help that's empowering you, that's telling you you are not a powerless victim, but there are things you can do yourself to change the situation and to focus on those.

That's the help I got on these boards and which I in my turn will try to provide to others, male and female alike.

I do totally agree that just critizing will not do much good. Just sypathising will not either...

I suddenly realize I am sounding a bit defensive, sorry for that. I hope I have been able to express how I feel about this and I sure hope Bryan does not feel unsupported here.

I am sure you would be welcome on the other boards, Bryan (sad lack of males there :-))and I know you will get sympathy and support there and it's agreat help to sort things out when you talk to other people in the same kind of situation.

Bryan hang in there and you will sort this all out. You made the first step by coming here and you can walk the rest of it as well!

AJ

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Tuesday May 14, 2002

AJ, I completely agree with you that sympathy is not enough. I am the first person to try to sort and suggest what the abused person could be doing to turn it around. But, what I noticed was that there was more critisism of Bryan from the get-go, more assuming that his pattern in marriage was the problem than I have seen when the woman is the poster. I have been reading these posts for about 2 years now. The Cat Box, Trubble. Where ever someone is posting I read it. I bring this up only because I think it's something people are not even aware of. How quickly they assume if the man is being abused he is bringing it on himself, he's a wimp, there's something wrong with him, he's not allowing for the pain she's been through etc.

Lee K

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Wednesday May 15, 2002

Hello everyone, this is Bryan. First, I want to say thank you to everyone, regardless of what your opinion was. I asked, you answered, you have every right to speak your mind. Second, didn't mean to start any debates, sorry guys. I got something from each and every one of you. Granted, it's not nessesarily fun to be told to grow a backbone, or to be seen as more of the abuser, but before I sent My Story I realized there would be some dis-connects because communicating by writing is never as good as face-to -face and really getting to know the person first. And lastly, it would be great for you guys to also sign your name because I did find I had a lot of things I wanted to respond or answer to.

So here goes:

Wayne: You had a lot of good points. Thank you. Yes, I know she doesn't trust me. (I guess her telling me that to my face frequently was my first "clue".) But it wouldn't matter if I flat out cheated on her or kept myself like a hermit in our home, she still wouldn't trust me. I realize WHY she has a hard time with it.........but sometimes I actually think THAT is what keeps me from standing up for myself. I feel terribly sorry for the abuse and betrayal she endured. As her husband, I feel I should just be more compassionate and patient, and then maybe, just maybe......... well you get my point. I realize she has a lot of fears, but what I need to know is....we've been together EIGHT years....when is it her turn to be a little compassionate? How long will she "test" my love? Eight solid years of faithful devotion hasn't been enough?? As far as being tested for fertility problems......we did recently (first round, simple tests).....doctor found absolutely nothing wrong with either of us. (Apparantly he didn't think the 50+ pills she takes per day could be hindering conception) I've done absolutely everything I can possibly think of. Just seems she's always "stressed" or "pooped" or "tired" or "aching" or "pissed". This past weekend we passed a young, female co-worker of mine in the grocery store. I smiled and said "hi". That was it. I heard about it for THREE solid hours when we got home. I am not kidding.

Planettrout: I just don't know how long it took me to walk into the forest. I suppose my whole adult life. You mentioned the book "A New Pair of Glasses". I can pretty much guess what Chuck C's answer was. Maybe something like, "change yourself and you will then see your spouse differently". I have honestly tried to change. Granted there has been numerous starts and stops. But I try to wake up every morning with a good attitude and looking at things more through her eyes. At the risk of sounding like a spineless wimp.......that good attitude I wake up with is often squashed before I even step out of the shower. So I shake it off and start again....then wham!!! I was VERY sensitive as a child (and get told this constantly by her), so I try to take that into consideration and forget it. I have had long drawn out explanations for her behavior both in counseling and reading A LOT on the topic. It doesn't/didn't help any to know the mechanics......and it doesn't make sense to someone who hasn't been through what she has been through. The counselor we saw together turned out to be an abuse survivor herself......and said I seemed to be a very supportive and loving boyfriend (before we married) and I needed to practice patience and "substituting" other things for the things I felt were missing from our relationship. Again, I think I just need to take a compassion pill and chill.

Rissa: Yes, I did have counseling (years ago) with 2 wives......and counseling with this wife too. And counseling alone once for 5 months. Needless to say....here I am again....and more discouraged than ever to try yet another counselor. Mostly now days I just pray for a miracle. I am so out of energy. I guess the one thing a counselor can't give you is your rock bottom. At least I realize (now) that this is an addiction......and if addicts could just up and quit their "habit" then we wouldn't have very many addicts in this world. I know......I just have to get sick and tired of being sick and tired. But like I said earlier.....I'm scared TO DEATH that I am in too deep, deeper than ever........and THATS why it's been 8 years and I'm still here!!!! Seems I get WORSE with time, not smarter....and this truly terrifies me. ANY ENCOURAGEMENT THAT ANYONE COULD GIVE ON THIS PARTICULAR FEAR WOULD BE VERY APPRECIATED!!!!!???? Am I REALLY just getting further away from ever having the courage to stand up for myself and demand better treatment or leave??? Or is this hopeless?

To the 2 people who submitted on Sat. May 11th: I look back sometimes (when I dare go there) at the question my friend asked me before the wedding. God, how I wished I had listened. We had already managed to stay un-married for 7 years....what in the world was I thinking??? Yes, I guess she is sort of like a challenge. I admit I would give almost anything if she would just SHOW her love, not just say the words (which usually has to be prompted anyway). This may seem like a stupid question.....but you know, I have read so many postings on Docs discussion boards lately and obviously see that the majority of abuse is directed at women. And it also seemed like most woman who finally had enough and were filing for divorce were the ones who were physically abused and also had children to look out for. Well I can honestly say she's never physically abused me (unless you count remote controls and sofa pillows flying past your head). She's never laid one hand on me...and we also don't have children....so I guess I'm also thinking that the emotional/mental abuse has been easier to justify/ignore, than visible scars would be and that is yet another reason why I stay. What do you think?

Methinksfree: You said you eventually became drained emotionally. Could you share with me how that evolved? I am (believe it or not) in a management position and have many employees who depend on me to hold it all together. I worry a lot about cracking at work. You also said your husband flipped out when you left. My wife has threatened suicide a couple times, (so upset over an arguement or something that she could hardly speak through the hyperventilating, sobbing and shaking). Right now....even the thought of leaving scares the living hell out me. I admit....I fantasize about her leaving me probably a lot more than I should. What do I do to nurture myself? Oh heck...I don't know. I work out every day and find it keeps me somewhat stable emotionally. I'd rather be shot than have to stop. I also read a lot...that is relaxing. I have many hobbies, but do very little anymore with family or friends. I have a feeling you can guess why.

AJ: I didn't think I was making excuses for her by telling that she was abused as a child and is still angry and hurting from that. I figured that was essential to telling My Story. I know she is responsible for her own happiness.......well my head knows that....my heart hasn't caught up yet I guess. But with her emotional and physical limitations, I guess I figured she's working at her problems about as fast as she can. I wish I could "distance" myself from her for awhile....God how I wish. But if I could, I probably wouldn't have the need to be writing here.

To the person who told me to grow a backbone: You're absolutely right. It's not that I don't know it. But how do I LITERALLY do that without feeling as if I will die? Like I said earlier, if addictions were that easy to walk away from, we wouldn't have many addictions in this world.

To the person who defended me against that comment: Thank you...that was very kind of you. It does sometimes seem like there is more gentle support for woman, than men. I accept that. I know woman are abused far more than men and I hate that. My mom and dad are still married after 52 years. They still hold hands and giggle. My dad taught us boys that there are NO exceptions for abuse. I don't know....maybe I was also taught to not make waves, I truly don't remember.

AJ and Lee K: I agree that just sympathy will not help at all. Granted, as a human, it sure feels good....especially when you feel your emotions are consistently beaten to a bloody pulp. I have a couple die-hard friends who still try occasionally to make me aware of my options, and how I really am not powerless, even though it feels so much so. I find it so strange how (at times ) I want to just lash out and tell them that they do not understand what my wife has been through or what I've been through in previous marriages and all the horrible, long-standing pain and turmoil that was caused spouses and families. I know I am not powerless.....but at the exact same time, I don't think I could bear leaving either. I know it seems weird to know both those things at the same time. It's a paradox that has me VERY confused.

My wife is away on business travel this week. Just talked to her on the phone. Said she was leaving to catch dinner with some girlfriends. She sounded in a very good mood. I told her I've had a weird headache all day....she said "me too" (nothing else). I asked her how she had been sleeping on the hotel bed...she said, "pretty good, nice to not hear you snoring" (then she laughs). We talked a little about an upcoming business trip that I have, what I had for dinner, about the dog chewing up a sprinkler head again......and I then tried (silly me!)...."so what are you wearing"? Dead silence, heavy sigh....then "whatever...I gotta go". And this was an average conversation!!!

Well folks......guess I better shut up for now. I THANK YOU ALL for your responses........your compassion, your advice and your honesty. I hope I hear back from all of you.

Sincerely, Bryan

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Wednesday May 15, 2002

Dear Bryan,

don't worry about starting a discussion, that's what these boards are for more or less anyway :-). You wrote: "AJ: I didn't think I was making excuses for her by telling that she was abused as a child and is still angry and hurting from that. I know she is responsible for her own happiness.......well my head knows that....my heart hasn't caught up yet I guess. But with her emotional and physical limitations, I guess I figured she's working at her problems about as fast as she can. "

It's something a lot of us codependents do: we are just too understanding. It's very sweet of you to understand, but understanding does not mean putting up with abuse towards yourself! That's what I meant to say and I have learned it the ahrd way too, believe me. My H (C) has had a very hard childhood, and had just come from another country with a vastly diferent culture and language to my country to study there. I understaood it was hard for him, I understood he would be sensitive on certain issues, would need time to sort things out. But understanding and excusing his abusive and agressive behaviour did not help him! And it made me feel bad for beeing yelled at and taken for granted etc...

C actually agrees helpig him all the time did not help him at all and says I should have put my foot daown much earlier. People with a difficult youth are sometime like children I guess: they crave boundaries and clearness..... They need to know they are responsable for theirselves even though they may of course ask for help.

Somewhere else in your post you say you are feeling you are only getting worse and getting in deeper. Do you think this might have something to do with being more aware of what is actually happening. Your eyes where more or less closed before, so it owuld be only logical to think things are worse now that that you can see more clear. Also, abusive people have a tendency to get more abusive over the time and continuous abuse leaves you feel drained and very insecure of yourself.

I think you did very well in taking the step of coming here, being open to what others have to say, being open to learning. You do not have to leave ritgh away, you do not have to leave ever, if you don't feel like it. But you do have a right to a more fullfilling live and I understand you would prefer it to happen with her, but changes are huge nothing will change, if you do not start changing yourself. It's not your fault your wife as abused as a child, it is great you are so understanding, but you need to stop putting your wifes needs and wishes always above yours.

Writing will help you distance, will help you get more clear what you need and want yourself. it's a slow process and it's one step forwards, two back some of the time. but in the end we all get there, and my experience is that once you take the first step on this road of selfawareness, there is no turning back. There maybe times you had not taken the first step, caus it is hard work. But beleive me, it is definitly worth it to regrain your sense of Self and have a Life, with or without you present wife.

One last question: would it be at all possible to ak her to come here and write as well??

Love and hugs, AJ

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Wednesday May 15, 2002

Dear Bryan,

don't worry about starting a discussion, that's what these boards are for more or less anyway :-). You wrote: "AJ: I didn't think I was making excuses for her by telling that she was abused as a child and is still angry and hurting from that. I know she is responsible for her own happiness.......well my head knows that....my heart hasn't caught up yet I guess. But with her emotional and physical limitations, I guess I figured she's working at her problems about as fast as she can. "

It's something a lot of us codependents do: we are just too understanding. It's very sweet of you to understand, but understanding does not mean putting up with abuse towards yourself! That's what I meant to say and I have learned it the ahrd way too, believe me. My H (C) has had a very hard childhood, and had just come from another country with a vastly diferent culture and language to my country to study there. I understaood it was hard for him, I understood he would be sensitive on certain issues, would need time to sort things out. But understanding and excusing his abusive and agressive behaviour did not help him! And it made me feel bad for beeing yelled at and taken for granted etc...

C actually agrees helpig him all the time did not help him at all and says I should have put my foot daown much earlier. People with a difficult youth are sometime like children I guess: they crave boundaries and clearness..... They need to know they are responsable for theirselves even though they may of course ask for help.

Somewhere else in your post you say you are feeling you are only getting worse and getting in deeper. Do you think this might have something to do with being more aware of what is actually happening. Your eyes where more or less closed before, so it owuld be only logical to think things are worse now that that you can see more clear. Also, abusive people have a tendency to get more abusive over the time and continuous abuse leaves you feel drained and very insecure of yourself.

I think you did very well in taking the step of coming here, being open to what others have to say, being open to learning. You do not have to leave ritgh away, you do not have to leave ever, if you don't feel like it. But you do have a right to a more fullfilling live and I understand you would prefer it to happen with her, but changes are huge nothing will change, if you do not start changing yourself. It's not your fault your wife as abused as a child, it is great you are so understanding, but you need to stop putting your wifes needs and wishes always above yours.

Writing will help you distance, will help you get more clear what you need and want yourself. it's a slow process and it's one step forwards, two back some of the time. but in the end we all get there, and my experience is that once you take the first step on this road of selfawareness, there is no turning back. There maybe times you had not taken the first step, caus it is hard work. But beleive me, it is definitly worth it to regrain your sense of Self and have a Life, with or without you present wife.

One last question: would it be at all possible to ak her to come here and write as well??

Love and hugs, AJ

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Wednesday May 15, 2002

Dear Bryan,

don't worry about starting a discussion, that's what these boards are for more or less anyway :-). You wrote: "AJ: I didn't think I was making excuses for her by telling that she was abused as a child and is still angry and hurting from that. I know she is responsible for her own happiness.......well my head knows that....my heart hasn't caught up yet I guess. But with her emotional and physical limitations, I guess I figured she's working at her problems about as fast as she can. "

It's something a lot of us codependents do: we are just too understanding. It's very sweet of you to understand, but understanding does not mean putting up with abuse towards yourself! That's what I meant to say and I have learned it the ahrd way too, believe me. My H (C) has had a very hard childhood, and had just come from another country with a vastly diferent culture and language to my country to study there. I understaood it was hard for him, I understood he would be sensitive on certain issues, would need time to sort things out. But understanding and excusing his abusive and agressive behaviour did not help him! And it made me feel bad for beeing yelled at and taken for granted etc...

C actually agrees helpig him all the time did not help him at all and says I should have put my foot daown much earlier. People with a difficult youth are sometime like children I guess: they crave boundaries and clearness..... They need to know they are responsable for theirselves even though they may of course ask for help.

Somewhere else in your post you say you are feeling you are only getting worse and getting in deeper. Do you think this might have something to do with being more aware of what is actually happening. Your eyes where more or less closed before, so it owuld be only logical to think things are worse now that that you can see more clear. Also, abusive people have a tendency to get more abusive over the time and continuous abuse leaves you feel drained and very insecure of yourself.

I think you did very well in taking the step of coming here, being open to what others have to say, being open to learning. You do not have to leave ritgh away, you do not have to leave ever, if you don't feel like it. But you do have a right to a more fullfilling live and I understand you would prefer it to happen with her, but changes are huge nothing will change, if you do not start changing yourself. It's not your fault your wife as abused as a child, it is great you are so understanding, but you need to stop putting your wifes needs and wishes always above yours.

Writing will help you distance, will help you get more clear what you need and want yourself. it's a slow process and it's one step forwards, two back some of the time. but in the end we all get there, and my experience is that once you take the first step on this road of selfawareness, there is no turning back. There maybe times you had not taken the first step, caus it is hard work. But beleive me, it is definitly worth it to regrain your sense of Self and have a Life, with or without you present wife.

One last question: would it be at all possible to ak her to come here and write as well??

Love and hugs, AJ

Submit
Wednesday May 15, 2002

Dear Bryan,

don't worry about starting a discussion, that's what these boards are for more or less anyway :-). You wrote: "AJ: I didn't think I was making excuses for her by telling that she was abused as a child and is still angry and hurting from that. I know she is responsible for her own happiness.......well my head knows that....my heart hasn't caught up yet I guess. But with her emotional and physical limitations, I guess I figured she's working at her problems about as fast as she can. "

It's something a lot of us codependents do: we are just too understanding. It's very sweet of you to understand, but understanding does not mean putting up with abuse towards yourself! That's what I meant to say and I have learned it the ahrd way too, believe me. My H (C) has had a very hard childhood, and had just come from another country with a vastly diferent culture and language to my country to study there. I understaood it was hard for him, I understood he would be sensitive on certain issues, would need time to sort things out. But understanding and excusing his abusive and agressive behaviour did not help him! And it made me feel bad for beeing yelled at and taken for granted etc...

C actually agrees helpig him all the time did not help him at all and says I should have put my foot daown much earlier. People with a difficult youth are sometime like children I guess: they crave boundaries and clearness..... They need to know they are responsable for theirselves even though they may of course ask for help.

Somewhere else in your post you say you are feeling you are only getting worse and getting in deeper. Do you think this might have something to do with being more aware of what is actually happening. Your eyes where more or less closed before, so it owuld be only logical to think things are worse now that that you can see more clear. Also, abusive people have a tendency to get more abusive over the time and continuous abuse leaves you feel drained and very insecure of yourself.

I think you did very well in taking the step of coming here, being open to what others have to say, being open to learning. You do not have to leave ritgh away, you do not have to leave ever, if you don't feel like it. But you do have a right to a more fullfilling live and I understand you would prefer it to happen with her, but changes are huge nothing will change, if you do not start changing yourself. It's not your fault your wife as abused as a child, it is great you are so understanding, but you need to stop putting your wifes needs and wishes always above yours.

Writing will help you distance, will help you get more clear what you need and want yourself. it's a slow process and it's one step forwards, two back some of the time. but in the end we all get there, and my experience is that once you take the first step on this road of selfawareness, there is no turning back. There maybe times you had not taken the first step, caus it is hard work. But beleive me, it is definitly worth it to regrain your sense of Self and have a Life, with or without you present wife.

One last question: would it be at all possible to ak her to come here and write as well??

Love and hugs, AJ

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Wednesday May 15, 2002

Dear Bryan,

don't worry about starting a discussion, that's what these boards are for more or less anyway :-). You wrote: "AJ: I didn't think I was making excuses for her by telling that she was abused as a child and is still angry and hurting from that. I know she is responsible for her own happiness.......well my head knows that....my heart hasn't caught up yet I guess. But with her emotional and physical limitations, I guess I figured she's working at her problems about as fast as she can. "

It's something a lot of us codependents do: we are just too understanding. It's very sweet of you to understand, but understanding does not mean putting up with abuse towards yourself! That's what I meant to say and I have learned it the ahrd way too, believe me. My H (C) has had a very hard childhood, and had just come from another country with a vastly diferent culture and language to my country to study there. I understaood it was hard for him, I understood he would be sensitive on certain issues, would need time to sort things out. But understanding and excusing his abusive and agressive behaviour did not help him! And it made me feel bad for beeing yelled at and taken for granted etc...

C actually agrees helpig him all the time did not help him at all and says I should have put my foot daown much earlier. People with a difficult youth are sometime like children I guess: they crave boundaries and clearness..... They need to know they are responsable for theirselves even though they may of course ask for help.

Somewhere else in your post you say you are feeling you are only getting worse and getting in deeper. Do you think this might have something to do with being more aware of what is actually happening. Your eyes where more or less closed before, so it owuld be only logical to think things are worse now that that you can see more clear. Also, abusive people have a tendency to get more abusive over the time and continuous abuse leaves you feel drained and very insecure of yourself.

I think you did very well in taking the step of coming here, being open to what others have to say, being open to learning. You do not have to leave ritgh away, you do not have to leave ever, if you don't feel like it. But you do have a right to a more fullfilling live and I understand you would prefer it to happen with her, but changes are huge nothing will change, if you do not start changing yourself. It's not your fault your wife as abused as a child, it is great you are so understanding, but you need to stop putting your wifes needs and wishes always above yours.

Writing will help you distance, will help you get more clear what you need and want yourself. it's a slow process and it's one step forwards, two back some of the time. but in the end we all get there, and my experience is that once you take the first step on this road of selfawareness, there is no turning back. There maybe times you had not taken the first step, caus it is hard work. But beleive me, it is definitly worth it to regrain your sense of Self and have a Life, with or without you present wife.

One last question: would it be at all possible to ak her to come here and write as well??

Love and hugs, AJ

Submit
Wednesday May 15, 2002

Bryan, this is food for thought in the form of a question. How long did you know your current wife before you got married, is this a rebound situation?

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Thursday May 16, 2002

When the timing is right for YOU - when you have had enough grief - when you are tired of just existing - it will happen and you can move on despite a "fear of change". Change and the possibility of making wrong choices are very scarey! Don't be afraid - life is very short and if you have been unhappy for some time --make some changes. Good luck to you - So many of us know these "life changing" decisions are dreadful (you want to run and hide). But if the relationship doesn't change and you are miserable - there is no where to run or hide, -- only you can make a decision to change the course of your life. You can do it - life will never be perfect but you may smile and have a laugh again!

Submit
Thursday May 16, 2002

When the timing is right for YOU - when you have had enough grief - when you are tired of just existing - it will happen and you can move on despite a "fear of change". Change and the possibility of making wrong choices are very scarey! Don't be afraid - life is very short and if you have been unhappy for some time --make some changes. Good luck to you - So many of us know these "life changing" decisions are dreadful (you want to run and hide). But if the relationship doesn't change and you are miserable - there is no where to run or hide, -- only you can make a decision to change the course of your life. You can do it - life will never be perfect but you may smile and have a laugh again!

Submit
Thursday May 16, 2002

When the timing is right for YOU - when you have had enough grief - when you are tired of just existing - it will happen and you can move on despite a "fear of change". Change and the possibility of making wrong choices are very scarey! Don't be afraid - life is very short and if you have been unhappy for some time --make some changes. Good luck to you - So many of us know these "life changing" decisions are dreadful (you want to run and hide). But if the relationship doesn't change and you are miserable - there is no where to run or hide, -- only you can make a decision to change the course of your life. You can do it - life will never be perfect but you may smile and have a laugh again!

Submit
Thursday May 16, 2002

Bryan, I'll give you my very subjective impression based on your story here and my own experience with my exbf. My ex told me all the time that he was such a good guy, that he could offer me opportunities, that he was better than my previous boyfriends. I have suffered emotional and physical abuse as a child which results in sometimes feeling rather lethargic or angry. I accept that of myself, in general I function well, and I don't want to take any medication for it because I've tried that and it makes me feel horrible. Besides, why would I take medication if I can function in a satisfying way? I am however seeing a counselor that works with EMDR. Exboyfriend decided that I had a major problem and that it needed to be fixed. Tried to convince me that I had a serious depression, that I should take medication. I felt more pressured than I had ever been, felt much more angry and depressed before. I had enough of his talk and I resented him for it. I just wanted him to give me the time and space to deal with my problems my way. That never happened and in the end I felt so suffocated that I had regular anger outbursts. I was extremely stressed because on the one hand I was convinced that my way of dealing with my issues was the best way for me, and on the other hand I felt so much pressure that he would leave me if I did not do what he wanted me to do. In the end he broke up with me after another outburst of mine. To this day, he has absolutely no clue how he has contributed to this break-up. He just thinks he has been so good and that I have been so ungrateful. He thinks I am a verbal abuser, whereas I think that he was one, with his controlling ways (starting unfair fighting whenever I did not agree with him). I've once read that leaving someone alone is maybe the best way you can love someone. I think that is not the whole truth. I think it is about being close when it is necessary and about taking distance when it is necessary. Why don't you get off your wife's back? Why don't you appreciate her good qualities and be grateful for the attention that she gives you? Why don't you let her deal with her issues the way she prefers? I can tell you that if you have someone telling you all the time what you should do, you don't want to be around that person anymore. In the end I did not tell my boyfriend anything personal anymore. I did not want this, but it was the only way I felt I could protect myself from his remarks. You see, I wanted nothing more than to be close to him and do things with him, but in the end I preferred to be with my friends because at least they were not strangling me with their remarks. As I said in the beginning of my post, I'm not saying that my story is your story, but I offer it to you because it might shed another light on the reactions of your wife. Kind regards, EH

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Thursday May 16, 2002

Hi Bryan,

Having an odd evening to spare, I put it to what I hope was good use by writing down everything that came to me about your problem. Since this is long, I'll post it in three parts.

If you surf over to Willard Harley's site at www.marriagebuilders.com you'll see he says (though he doesn't make the ranking clear on the site) that the top five emotional needs cited by men in marriage are, in order: (1) Sexual fulfillment; (2) Recreational companionship; (3) Attractive spouse; (4) Domestic support; and (5) Admiration. These needs and their order do vary among individuals, and they can include other important ones such as "Conversation" and "Honesty and Openness," but that's the general pattern.

You can't even have an ordinary chat with your wife without her putting you down. It sounds to me as if the only one of these needs you're getting fulfilled is #3--and even that's merely frustrating if you don't have #1 to go with it! And that's just a list of positive needs you're missing. That's before anyone even starts on the long list of negative things you don't want but you're putting up with anyway, from restricting your social life and tearing you down to jealous raging, lying, and infidelity. No wonder you're feeling at the end of your rope. You've been giving everything to this woman and getting nothing back except grief. The spirit dies without nourishment.

Are you "getting worse over time"? No, you're not. I don't doubt you're feeling worse right now, but anyone would be feeling worse if they were suffering from a disease. If you had the flu you'd feel bad, but you'd take a couple of days off work, wrap up warm and look after yourself, and you'd soon be feeling better. Most diseases can be cured. The body does a lot of the "curing" itself, though often it needs medical treatment from outside to help it fight diseases, which are usually caused by the invasion of some parasitical germ.

You just feel especially bad at the moment because you're presently suffering from two diseases at once. The first of these is codependency, which you've had all your life. Codependency is like AIDS--except that fortunately, unlike AIDS, it can be cured with time and treatment. Having any disease is bad enough, but AIDS itself doesn't really kill you. What it does is knock out your immune system and make you prone to all kinds of other diseases people wouldn't normally get, all the way up to weird things like Kaposi's sarcoma. These are "opportunistic infections"--they take advantage of the body's lack of normal defenses--and they're what kills you. The disease of codependency does the same. It knocks out your natural defenses and makes you emotionally prone to other diseases, and they hurt you worse still. The second disease you've been infected with for the past eight years is the one you married.

But that doesn't mean you yourself are "getting worse over time," not as a person, and your primary disease of codependency hasn't been getting worse. In fact you might have been getting slightly better over the years. You just haven't been getting better anywhere near fast enough yet, and the irony is that if in fact you did, it's hindered rather than helped you.

Why? The first three diseases you married, Substance Addiction, Spending Addiction, and Nonspecific Unavailability Syndrome, were acute enough that the first and third of them blew up on you spontaneously and the second one blew you up. As painful as that was at the time, this ended those marriages so that you didn't go on getting wasted by these diseases for eight years. You had time to recover in between.

The disease of codependency made you vulnerable to accepting three bad mates. These were three predators. A predator chews you up and spits out the remains, but then the feast is over. Then you accepted a fourth mate who didn't seem quite so bad, so you may have been slightly more selective. This time you married the disease of Sexual Abuse Complex, Toxic Type (so to speak). But the reason she didn't seem quite as bad is that she's a parasite rather than a predator to you. The successful parasite is able to feed off its host body and keep draining it of sustenance for as long as it can without actually killing the host. That's what this woman has been doing to you, and the fact that the damage has gone on for eight years is what's making you feel so bad now.

So if the other diseases you married were more like a flu virus that runs its course and goes away, or even syphilis that needs treatment to get over it, this one is more like a tapeworm. It's lodged in your gut and you haven't been able to get rid of it yet. You've made a pet of this tapeworm, and as long as it's there it's hard to put nourishment in your own mouth without feeding the tapeworm at the same time. Meanwhile, the tapeworm goes on draining nourishment that belongs to you while putting out nothing except toxins, debilitating you and causing you to waste away. A healthy relationship is symbiotic, but this one is parasitical.

I'd say one thing you need to do is what we do to our dogs and cats now and then when we "worm" them. Stick some medicine down your throat to get rid of that tapeworm and flush it out. Maybe the medicine tastes nasty and gives you a nasty tummyache yourself for a time, which is why people are reluctant to take it. But in the end it's essential for health. If anyone thinks this is brutal, that's just tough. Maybe you don't need to "grow a backbone" so much as a thicker skin. The advice you're being given about how "you can only fix yourself" is advice to look after YOU, and stop feeding that tapeworm.

As for the disease of codependency itself, one symptom of it is minimizing what's been done to you. So for instance your wife tells you you're "selfish and mean and arrogant and a jerk," when you're bending over backwards to please her in every way. Then you "wonder if that's at least some kind of modified verbal abuse." That's a whole sentence larded with qualifiers to tone it down. That's minimizing. You can stop wondering. This IS verbal abuse, period, and your wife is a verbal abuser, among other things.

One significance of this is when we get to your childhood, which we've heard little about yet. When you say your childhood "really wasn't particularly bad." I'm hearing it "damned with faint praise" at best. It sounds a lot like minimizing to me.

If you were ruthlessly critical instead and spared nobody, Mom, Dad or whoever, might you not find some abuse or neglect of you back there that could help you understand how they steered you into this caretaking habit? If there was emotional abuse, that can be subtle and hard to pin down. And it might well be emotional neglect. The problem with that is that if we never had something in the first place, we don't miss it consciously, because we never knew it existed. We learn to get along without it. When I was a kid I never had a Nintendo. But I didn't complain, as some kids do today, that I didn't have a Nintendo. I didn't even know what one was, for the simple reason that there weren't any back then! So I learned to amuse myself with lots of other things instead. So what? None of us "needs" a Nintendo. Life is rich with other things. But suppose what you were missing was a thing every child really does need, such as attention, praise, warmth and affirmation? What if you learned somehow that the only way to get a precious scrap of it now and then was to look after the "problems" Dad or Mom or someone else was constantly preoccupied with, so they had little time for your needs and feelings, or you as a person?

I'm hearing about two parents who seem lovingly wrapped up in one another. But were they concerned enough with YOU? Or did one or the other do the opposite and smother you, a form of emotional incest? How far did they pass their needless guilts, fears, and insecurities on to you? Was it a sense of confidence, or of AUTONOMY, that you were missing?

If you still can't see anything "wrong" back there, at least do one thing. Look at your mother, how she treats your father, and how she treated you. If she did this in a genuinely loving way, there's your model of a good woman. I know any mother is unique, but there are millions like her. Why should you put up with the poor example you've got?

Anyway you have been taking way too much responsibility for others on yourself, downgrading your own worth, feeling that the only way to redeem yourself is to rescue these "wounded birds" (or cure these incurable diseases), and if you can't do it for them you feel guilty. Guilt itself is the problem to work on and discard. It's no use trying to allay it by pouring out excessive help to others at your own expense, while enabling their diseases to rage on unchecked. If you build yourself up instead, you can learn to attract a better partner. There are many better women out there for you than this one.

I think it's valuable to understand an abusive partner, but what we do with that understanding can be good or bad. Many people are bewildered by what's going on in their relationship, and understanding why their partner acts the way they do can help them see that "it's not my fault and I'm not crazy; it's my partner who is." Understanding can also indicate how to cope better with that partner, or help predict what the partner is likely to do in the future. This is all useful. The danger comes when we process the understanding in other ways.

One fallacy is to assume that understanding why something is wrong means we can fix it. It's not necessarily true. We understand AIDS pretty well--but we can't cure it yet. Understanding that your wife is the way she is because she was sexually abused doesn't mean you can fix her either. She's happy enough the way things are, she doesn't want to change, and she's said so.

A related fallacy is to assume that damage can be reversed by reversing the original cause of the damage. If somebody is abusive because they were abused in the past, we can't cure them by loving them to death. If your wife is messed up because her trust was violated in the past, you can't cure that by bending over backwards to be trustworthy. That would be like saying that if I left a CD in the car and it warped in the hot sun, then if I put it in the freezer it will straighten out again. It doesn't work that way.

And of course, it's the emotional processing of the understanding that's really killing you. If your reaction to knowing your wife was abused is to feel sorry for her, that's perfectly normal within reason. Any abuser is a tragic figure; they destroy what they "love." But if you're so desperately sorry for her that you ignore yourself, that's the disease of codependency. You wake up in the morning and try to see things through her eyes? You're living through her instead of through yourself. Start looking at things through your own eyes instead, and see what you're letting her do to YOU.

The fact that she was abused is no reason for you to feel guilty. You didn't abuse her. Somebody else did that. You're not responsible for what they did, or for fixing the damage they caused. You don't owe your wife a thing. Actually she owes you for all the blood, sweat, and tears you've put in over the years. But don't imagine you're going to get that back either, because that's only another trap for you. Keep telling yourself that over and over, and dump that guilt.

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Thursday May 16, 2002

You've read that some girls who were sexually abused grow up to be promiscuous. Fair enough, but how do you use that information? You can use it to explain your wife's affairs, yes, but you go further and use it to excuse her behavior. She "can't help it"? Yes, she can--if she wants to. But what if she can't? If you use it to predict her behavior instead, what does that mean for YOU? It means YOU'RE going to get cuckolded, that's what. Why should YOU put up with that? Cut her loose, let her be single and screw around as much as she likes, as long as it doesn't hurt YOU. Her last husband dumped her because she cuckolded him, though being the way she is, I expect there was more to it than that.

It's fair to say abstractly, as Wayne did, that you "haven't gained" your wife's trust. But that's not because you yourself can't be trusted. It's because she refuses to trust you. Putting it otherwise sounds like what Warren Farrell, in "The Myth of Male Power," called "Understand the Woman, Blame the Man." In the end we could probably understand how any abuser came to be the way they are, and how they feel about it all. And lack of trust in their partner, or in others, is a central element in their problem, along with their anger. But as far as lack of trust may be a problem on your wife's part, the question is, can you gain her trust? No, because nothing you do will induce her to give it. As far she's "testing" your love, that's what's called in the quality control business a "destructive test": stress you until you break. To you she's withholding, manipulative, controlling, abusive, and thoroughly untrustworthy herself at every level. She's broken, you can't fix her, and she won't fix herself, though she's the only person who could.

While I'm on this topic, we should all appreciate the remarks of the last few posters who can see the anti-male bias that tends to operate on forums like this. It's not that men get no support, but the bias toward trying to excuse a woman and blame a man is unmistakable and pervasive. This is important to you because of the needless guilt you carry around, and also because you're trying to minimize what's been done to you.

What can we learn from a forum like this about the role of gender in abuse? You said: "I have read so many postings on Doc's discussion boards lately and obviously see that the majority of abuse is directed at women." I hope you'll be more critical than that. Assuming the people there are a reasonably representative sample, which I think they are in many ways, what you see shows nothing of the kind, any more than your reflection in a mirror shows there's another man like you behind that glass. It's an illusion. All the board does show, prima facie, is that the majority of people who COMPLAIN about being abused, seek help for it from therapists and others, and talk about it with others in depth, are women. You only went to a therapist when you fell clean apart.

What can we see beyond that if we read the content of the board over time? The ratio of women to men on the board is around 20 to 1, hence that misleading first impression. Many women there are definitely getting the worst of it in their relationships, but some describe having a longstanding anger problem of their own, or doing outrageously abusive things themselves. Whoops, there are two abusers in that relationship, both abusing one another--though at least the one on the board is trying to change. But how many aren't? And where's the man in that relationship to complain about what's being done to him? He's almost never there.

Far more important, there's plenty of conversation there about families in which fathers abuse sons as well as daughters, and mothers abuse daughters and sons too--or a woman's brother is being abused by his wife. It's clear from this background talk that abuse is far more gender-equal than that 20:1 ratio suggests. But where are all these husbands and brothers and sons to complain about being abused? They're not there, certainly not in representative numbers.

Just as interesting, since the board welcomes gay people too, as it should, there are a few gay women, in about the proportion we'd expect, dealing with being abused by other women in their relationships. We know perfectly well that just as many gay men must be abused by other men in relationships. So where are these men to complain about their own plight? They're almost never there.

All this does prove, beyond reasonable doubt, is that vast numbers of men who are being abused, by women as well as men, aren't there to complain about it. We can't say how many from the board, of course, granted that most people there are very properly trying to deal with their own problems rather than someone else's. We have to turn to serious research for that. But that's the only gender difference in abuse that counts. As Warren Farrell put it, "MEN DON'T COMPLAIN." And when they do, they're more often discounted, as we've seen here.

For this and other reasons, there's a widespread myth, pushed in recent decades through outlets of all kinds, that it's mostly women getting abused, and mostly men who are doing it. Too many people actually believe this myth and propagate it, some for political reasons, some because they prefer to believe it, and many just because they've bought it without investigating. Now apart from the fact that "men don't complain," another major factor contributing to the myth is this. If a man and woman get into a serious physical fight, the woman is--according to a truly reliable source--around 7-8 times more likely to be injured than the man. That's not surprising given that men are stronger--if the man really does "let go," and if weapons are not used, which they all too often are. This doesn't mean men are more often violent to a partner, not at all; only that when they are, women are more likely to get physically hurt. And even when partners murder one another, the ratio of who kills whom is far more gender-equal than that. But this has two vital ramifications.

One is that physical injuries, unlike emotional ones, are visible, so as far as visible bruises go it would look as if "men abuse women" more than the other way round. The second, which is so much more profound that evolution has actually embodied it into human instinct, is that women are more vulnerable to PHYSICAL risks than men are. Hence the attitude many people have to "protect the woman more than the man"--which at bottom means from PHYSICAL risks. That "knight in shining armor" you mentioned is above all a PHYSICAL protector.

Yet physical abuse is only the ugly tip of a far larger iceberg of abuse of all kinds, against which serious physical injuries are pretty uncommon. They're far from the biggest problem. The forces that drive abuse (and also restrain us from it) are not physical forces, but EMOTIONAL forces. And the damage we're concerned with is not physical damage, but EMOTIONAL damage. What's more, insofar as there is physical abuse, it's only EMOTIONAL conflicts and hurts that cause it. The physical, such as it is, is merely an extension of the emotional. Or as Clausewitz put it: "War is a mere Continuation of Politics by other Means." Anyway how often do we bash our heads, burn our fingers, bark our shins, stub our toes, or hit the nail on the thumb? That hurts--probably more than it would if you or your wife slapped one another--but that goes away. We shrug it off.

I don't care that I've got a scar on my thumb from a slipped chisel, and neither would you. Most physical hurts in themselves don't matter in the long run. A bruise goes away, a cut soon heals. Emotional damage by contrast can linger all your life. I've heard people say "I'd rather my partner hit me than say what they said to me." That makes sense. If someone is slapped, the sting goes away in a few minutes. What people say or other things they do to hurt a partner can go on hurting long afterwards--especially when verbal and emotional abuse, unlike physical abuse, can be constant. And the constant, incessant putting down you're suffering from is just as damaging as a few towering rages every month.

In this emotional arena, men have no advantage at all over women. Women are just as capable of abusing men--and do--as the other way round. Don't forget, your wife has ground you down as badly as anyone--or rather, you've let her--without ever hitting you. There's no reason for you to minimize that, or to put up with it.

Anyway if you want to educate yourself about some of what goes on in the world of abuse, here are a couple of sites well worth looking at to blow those myths away:

http://man2man.themenscenter.com/

http://www.vix.com/menmag/batsewel.htm

The rest of the "menmag" site is worth reading too. Do bear in mind that there are some honest differences of opinion among researchers, as opposed to public "statistics" that are deliberately misleading. One of the best sites is Murray Straus's pages at the University of New Hampshire, which do much to sort out why so many statistics we see appear different, from a serious researcher's viewpoint and not a politically-motivated one. This is one of his papers showing the equality of verbal and "symbolic" aggression between couples:

http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2/VB35S1.pdf

The bottom line is that as far as anyone can truly tell, "abuse" is a gender-equal proposition: simply a human problem. In recent decades there have been wanton attempts to dump blame on men as a sex for domestic abuse. This is a monumental fraud, in itself a form of verbal abuse of men collectively, and it's guilt that you more than anyone don't need to carry. Dump it in the trash where it belongs.

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Thursday May 16, 2002

About that book you were reading: I'm no connoisseur of self-help books, and I've hardly read any of those listed on the site, so what I'm going to say is shooting from the hip. If anyone more knowledgeable tells me I'm don't know what I'm talking about, I'll have to plead guilty. Just the same, I do have some impressions. I noticed the Doc said she thought you were confused right at the point you mentioned "Addicted to Love." I was just as skeptical of what the book was saying. I'm sure some people turn to drink or some other addiction to smother the pain of bad relationships, but I don't see anything inevitable about it in codependency. It sounds as if the book is only depressing you by telling you you're bound to fall into some other "addiction," which you're not. More important, I have the secondhand impression that while this book might help some people understand what they're doing, it may not tell them enough about what to do to change that.

So I'd take a look down the Doc's book list if I were you. Lots of people recommend Melody Beattie's "Codependent No More," and while I haven't read that one either, many people say it's helped them a lot, from people on this site to a neighbor of mine. What did strike me as useful, which I have at least looked through, is the book right on top of the list, Ellis and Powers's "The Secret of Overcoming Verbal Abuse" (which you are suffering from), and also David Burns's "Feeling Good" books. These are very much about replacing the negative self-putdown messages you may have been hearing (and replaying to yourself) much of your life, which induce all that useless guilt and other bad feelings, with positive self-affirming messages. That makes a lot of sense to me.

Obviously it's up to you whether you leave your wife or not, but I'm hearing you say that's where you're headed--slowly. You're not in love with her any more. You're withdrawing from her now--which is natural, out of self-protection. You're fantasizing about leaving, and getting emotionally ready for it. That can take a little time. Don't tell yourself you "shouldn't"; keep on fantasizing until you make the fantasy become reality. And keep on with those hobbies and that exercise. They're a healthy way of looking after YOU, and separating yourself from your toxic wife. So what's stopping you from leaving?

That you've only given your marriage a year? No, you've given the relationship eight years, and it's been getting worse for you all the time. You didn't truly want to marry; it was something you just gave in to, perhaps in the hope that it would make the relationship better. Instead, it made it worse. The wedding was a mere step along the way that permitted your wife's control over you through guilt to increase.

The guilt needs work. Keep reminding yourself why you're leaving. Write it down and keep it in front of you. That's where don't need a "backbone" so much as a thicker skin to make the fallout bounce off when she dumps it on you.

What else? Fear of loneliness if you leave? Don't forget, you're desperately lonely already in this marriage. You have a wife who may "want" you but doesn't really care about you--not about you as a person--and does as little as she can get by with just to get what she wants, which includes dumping her spite on you. You can't be any worse off on your own. You'll be able to keep yourself company without her acting as a drag on you all the time. You did before, and you'll have space to heal from your codependency as well.

Then there's the difficulty of cutting your losses. That's a big one, and it's always hard, whether it's a business investment or any other kind, including an investment of time and emotion in a marriage. You have to tell yourself that what's gone is gone, that you can't get it back, and trying to do so is only throwing good money after bad. Acknowledging the loss does call for grieving though. You can move forward.

How about fear of failure? The best way to deal with fears is to face them. Anybody leaving a relationship might be fearful of what will happen to them. It helps to ask "What's the worst thing that could happen?" and then "If it did, how would I deal with that?" There's always a way. But as for fear of failure, I think, sad as it is, you have to face the fact that YOU ALREADY FAILED. You're not "struggling to avoid failure" now. You already failed eight years ago by picking this woman as a partner in the first place. It just took eight years to find out for sure.

That "feeling of emptiness," as painful as it is, is your friend, in a way. It's telling you it's the end of the road. Maybe what you need to do first is simply make a decision to leave. The details can be worked out later. Maybe, once you've made the decision and you know where you're headed, you can feel more at peace, instead of wasting so much energy worrying over "should I or shouldn't I?" Maybe then you can detach better from your wife's behavior and stop "trying to make it work" because it just won't matter any more. Then you'll have more mental energy to work on yourself, plan how to leave, and get your courage up to drop the bombshell.

It's true that you have alternatives. Suppose you told your wife you've had it up to here, you're getting nothing you need, so one of you has got to go. And make sure that happens. Might she then get down to some serious work this time to avoid losing you, while you do the same for yourself in counseling (also to avoid losing "you")? Possibly. But even with her best effort, it would take considerable time for her to become the wife you need and deserve. In that same time, you could make a new life for yourself with a new partner. If you don't like the cards you've been dealt, chuck them in and draw some more. You know you've got dud cards as far as a partner goes. Even if you made another pick at random, the chances are you're going to improve your hand--as long as you learn to avoid these "wounded birds" who won't heal themselves.

It's far more likely that she'll go through the motions but keep dragging her feet, and in a couple of years you'll still be sitting in the same place, having done nothing but wasted two more years of your life. It's what she's done all along. Why should she change? Is it worth trying for a little while anyway? It could be--EXCEPT that further loss of time is far from the worst thing that could happen.

You don't have any children to hold you there now, but your wife says she wants a baby. The longer you stay in this marriage, the greater the chance she'll get pregnant. Then she's got you trapped, or anyway seriously hampered. She can pretty much give up trying to do much for you; and you've brought a child into the world with an abusive mother. You're in fairly deep emotionally, but not so deep that you can't extract yourself. DON'T RISK GETTING SUCKED IN DEEPER!

After all, it's largely her fault that she's not pregnant yet, if she limits sex to once a month. Calling that "your fault" while depriving you of sex is a nice touch in "blaming the victim." But taking a firm line with her, or even noticeably withdrawing from her, could well lead her to respond the way so many abusers do, by "making nice" for a while and trying to "reel you back in"--in particular, luring you in with more sex. Then she could get pregnant faster.

And don't forget, you can't trust your wife. It might be that she's "allergic" to your sperm. But if she's having affairs, she could end up dumping another man's baby on you instead. Being married, I expect you'd be legally responsible for it, even if there's no etymological relationship between "cuckold" and "cuckoo."

In view of all this, I think you'd be better off deciding to get out as soon as you can and not look back. That may take a bit of emotional work to get ready--but it's worth it. Flush that tapeworm before it poisons you to death!

Best of luck to you,

Java

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Thursday May 16, 2002

Bryan, I think maybe this is your rock bottom. You just need to start climbing. I know it is scary to think about giving up on your relationship but if she is not ready or willing to work on it, I feel you need to work on yourself for your own sake. I know talking about it with others in similar situations does help me. I don't want to give up on D either; I do have two children to provide a stable home for. I think that is why I had the courage to leave, for them. I think it is harder to leave only for yourself. Talk to yourself like your best friend. Then take your own advice. You would never want anyone to go through what you are experiencing. You need to start climbing even if it is only one inch at a time. You can do it! :) Rissa

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Thursday May 16, 2002

Dear Bryan, I understand your point about feeling guilty. I have felt exactly the same. My first relationship took place when I was only 15 and I did not manage to shake him off until I was about 20. He always "tried to kill himself". To cut a long story short, 8 months ago I ended a four-year relationship, which really was a black hole. We lives together for almost two years and the days before we moved in together were filled with a dread difficult to swallow; yet I still moved in. One week later he beat me up when he was on coke and alcohol. I almost killed him in order to get away. He always wanted a child and I had a miscarriage. He never let me forget it. He accused me of provoking it. I left him and went back (I have a young daughter, so imagine what danger I exposed her to). Then one day I realised I would die of pain and stress and fear if I did not leave. If I didn't die physically I would die emotionally. In fact, I was almost dead inside before I left. And now I feel great. I have been tempted many times to call him and go back. At the beginning he came round after a few weeks and I slept with him. I saw him at times. Then I started to understand that it wasn't him I loved really, but the idea of what he could be. That's crazy. I might as well have a relationship with a monkey in the hope that it might turn out to be the ideal man in disguise! But what about the guilt? This ex partner always, always accused me of being unfaithful and always said that one day I would leave him. He justified his abuse with my "shameful" past. He said I was cheap and promiscuous. I dreaded the guilt I would feel when I left him. When I do feel guilty I say to myself "OK, honey. So you feel guilty. Well pick up the phone and say you want to get back, that you'll marry (his ultimate control fantasy) him and have kids." But you know, the idea of doing so is so hideous (a few months ago it was terrifying but it took me sometimes hours to dispel the temptation, so I toyed with it, without fear, until it went away), and lately so nothing-to-do-with-me, so disconnected, he is becoming a stranger!!! I'm so glad!!! I know that I must now concentrate on my feelings, not his. I look at myself from above and I see my body, my life, my feelings, not his. Try it. See yourself as a human being that has the right to live in peace. You are not her, she is not you. And let me tell you one thing. This ex partner was right. I did leave him. He never trusted me. But for a long time he should have trusted me. I had no intention of leaving during a couple of years. I moved in with him for God's sake! All I wanted was for him to trust me. I, and you, Brian, need to be trusted also. If you're with someone who can't trust you, then they'll break you down until they are eventually proved right! But by hen you're not breaking any trust in reality because the relationship is over. I said that to him a few weeks ago. He knew I was right. I said "sooner or later you were bound to be right". And I have come to my personal conclusion that this is what he wanted. For crying out loud, he has called me to let me know how sad and deeply sorry he his. And he hasn't even paid the two thousand dollars he owes me. To me that's a hell of a lot of money. I took a loan out for him and I am paying it! And he says he loves me. No bloody wonder he loves/loved me. I would have loved me too but I would have taken care of that love and that partner, who massaged my body, my feet, who cooked me lovely food, who looked after my daughter so I could go out when daughter came to visit, I ironed his shirts, I pandered to all his whims. I listened to him rant on about how great he is for hours on end. I even used to back him up on that because it kept him in a great mood! It was the most absurd relationship! He never massaged me, he never cooked for me (maybe a couple of times when his daughter came to stay!), and he never looked after me when I was ill. He never ironed my clothes, he never lent me money, and he was only loving with me as a prelude to sex, which we had to have all the time.

Phew!!!! I am so relieved I got out. So happy. I have bad moments, of course. But they no longer last very long and I have so much to look forward to. Your family and friends are telling you, letting you know that you are harming yourself. Listen to them. They see what you see. But they don't "love" her so they don't understand why you stay. You have loved her enough, Bryan. You have done your hardest and she hasn't cared enough for you to open up that space which would allow the relationship to blossom. Just walk out, man. Stop thinking about it. Get someone who does love you to keep you company while you get your things out. Don't engage in any verbal fights, or any fights at all. Lean a little on your family and friends. Just relax. You must learn from this repeated action that you've done enough. OK. You paid the price. No more guilt. Stop. Lots of Love and best wishes. Ayti

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Friday May 17, 2002

Hi everyone, it's Bryan again. Just wanted to answer some of your questions for you.

AJ: I would be thrilled if my wife would agree to write here. But......she'd flip out if I told her I was writing here. She'd say I was writing to a bunch of nutty strangers, and frankly I just don't want to hear it. She is big on "appearances" and would be afraid of revealing herself too much. In fact, I'm sure when she sometimes went to see our counselor alone (because I was on travel) that she did not always tell whole truths.

To the person who asked if this was a rebound situation: We lived together 7 years and have been married about 1 year, so I guess that doesn't qualify for a rebound situation.

EH: Sorry didn't mean to ruffle any feathers. I don't really feel I'm on my wifes back. Quite the contrary. I do everything she asks. I seldom complain. I do not verbally or physically abuse her. I am always right there to give her a back rub or hear about her lousy day (she never asks me). I am grateful for her good qualities, but giving me "attention" is virtually zero. Work, friends, parents, dogs and school take presedence first. I have tried gentle talking, sharing my feelings and fears....she just blows up. She "deals" with her issues by not dealing with them at all. She told our counselor numerous things thatshe would try and I have never seen even one materialize. I can remember driving home from a meeting once and her even saying, " she's really starting to get on my nerves with her "suggestions". I have a few suggestions of my own I'd like to tell her". This is the 3rd counselor in her life that she has seen.....she's read books and had endless talks with family and friends. She has no intention of changing anmd I realize thats because as long as I'm around, she doesn't have to. Trust me, I have been extremely patient for 8 years now, but as an adult, she has responsibilities and vows to live up to also. I sympathize greatly with her past....but it is over and has been for over 25 years. I rarely tell her what I think she should do, I have learned it goes in one ear and out the other anyway. I understand what you mean about distancing yourself from constant nasty remarks....it's just that I'm the one getting them not her. Thanks for your input and best of luck to you. Sounds like your on the right track.

Java: Wow! What can I say?? Thank you for taking the time to write so much. You sound VERY knowledgable. Are you a counselor or anything related?????

Your examples (codependency/AIDS/parasites/tapeworm) were very helpful for me. You said you don't feel I'm getting worse. It was interesting how you explained that. I'm still a little confused about this part though. As I said in my first post, my wife and I have been together longer that all 3 of my previous marriages put together. Doesn't that mean something??? Like I'm getting weaker??? Or more fearful? Or filled with guilt?? I tell myself that I just plain love her and thats why I'm still here, but then...........AAGGGHHH!!!!! it gets very confusing. You said I may actually be getting slightly better.....then why am I still here??? As far as my childhood goes. I'm the youngest of 4. No addictions in our family, attended church regularly, had a lot of good family times. I don't remember any neglect or abuse, I really don't. Sure there were little things ( I hated being the youngest, now I love it : ) I have been told I am extra sensitive though so maybe I just blow things out of proportion too much, I don't know. I do know that I have always been idealistic....desperately wanting a simple quiet life, with a woman who dearly loves me as much as I love her. I have read Codependent No More, as well as about 9 others dealing with the codependency/abuse issue. I felt they all had something to offer. But I truly do feel this (codependency) is a type of addiction......why else would I keep at something I hate doing? Isn't that what addictions are like? I don't mean I hate my wife....just our relationship. Oh btw, you said I am not in love with my wife anymore....I have NEVER been in love with her, but I do love her. Sometimes lately I wonder if I've ever even known true romantic love. Tell me more about this emptiness I have? I can honestly say I've never quite felt this bad, even in the worst, saddest parts of my other marriages. It's hard to explain....just kinda feels like a dead feeling inside of me. I still function obviously, but feel emotionless sometimes. I feel like a part of me has died. Maybe that is good, in a sort of way.....it has kind of numbed me to her anger/coolness/disregard. Maybe I would have gone crazy if I hadn't gone numb.

Rissa: So this might be rock bottom???? I always imagined it feeling worse....like an alcoholics rock bottom for instance......lost job, lost wife, lost kids, lost friends, in jail, no money, etc... Did that make sense???

Thanks EVERYONE!!! Bryan

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Friday May 17, 2002

Bryan,

What Chuck C. suggests in his book, " A New Pair of Glasses", is changing ourseleves so that we FIRST see ourselves as who we really are.I am attracted to and attract what I am, water seeks its own level. That is the ONLY thing that I am able to do something about.

Bryan's self discovery may, in time, lead Byran out of a marriage that is rife with verbal and emotional abuse and neglect.The poster who wrote about Bryan's childhood certainly grasps the impact of the past on our current choices.That is also what Chuck C. suggests with " uncover, discover and discard".

My own experience demonstrates to me my attraction to women who are incest/molestation survivors, addicts, and emotionally unavailable, verbally and emotionally abusive. It was ME, however, who picked them..."HELLO MOM, YOU'RE BACK!". "This HURTS so good, I must be home."

I am with you my brother...ALL of the the FEELINGS that are part and parcel of your reality were/are mine. There are no differences. What I have LEARNED to with those fellings is what has made a difference.

If it doesn't feel like love (and I mean in a reciprocal sense), it isn't. Doesn't make the other person a bad person - just someone who's is on God's path at THEIR own pace, worthy of my love and respect - just not an investment of MY time. I had to learn THIS and learn it the hard way: " Tim, ya won't find oranges in a hardware store." Tim spent too much time looking down every aisle before HE got it...they were right.

My thoughts are with you,

planettrout

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Friday May 17, 2002

Bryan,

What Chuck C. suggests in his book, " A New Pair of Glasses", is changing ourseleves so that we FIRST see ourselves as who we really are.I am attracted to and attract what I am, water seeks its own level. That is the ONLY thing that I am able to do something about.

Bryan's self discovery may, in time, lead Byran out of a marriage that is rife with verbal and emotional abuse and neglect.The poster who wrote about Bryan's childhood certainly grasps the impact of the past on our current choices.That is also what Chuck C. suggests with " uncover, discover and discard".

My own experience demonstrates to me my attraction to women who are incest/molestation survivors, addicts, and emotionally unavailable, verbally and emotionally abusive. It was ME, however, who picked them..."HELLO MOM, YOU'RE BACK!". "This HURTS so good, I must be home."

I am with you my brother...ALL of the the FEELINGS that are part and parcel of your reality were/are mine. There are no differences. What I have LEARNED to with those fellings is what has made a difference.

If it doesn't feel like love (and I mean in a reciprocal sense), it isn't. Doesn't make the other person a bad person - just someone who's is on God's path at THEIR own pace, worthy of my love and respect - just not an investment of MY time. I had to learn THIS and learn it the hard way: " Tim, ya won't find oranges in a hardware store." Tim spent too much time looking down every aisle before HE got it...they were right.

My thoughts are with you,

planettrout

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Friday May 17, 2002

Bryan,

What Chuck C. suggests in his book, " A New Pair of Glasses", is changing ourseleves so that we FIRST see ourselves as who we really are.I am attracted to and attract what I am, water seeks its own level. That is the ONLY thing that I am able to do something about.

Bryan's self discovery may, in time, lead Byran out of a marriage that is rife with verbal and emotional abuse and neglect.The poster who wrote about Bryan's childhood certainly grasps the impact of the past on our current choices.That is also what Chuck C. suggests with " uncover, discover and discard".

My own experience demonstrates to me my attraction to women who are incest/molestation survivors, addicts, and emotionally unavailable, verbally and emotionally abusive. It was ME, however, who picked them..."HELLO MOM, YOU'RE BACK!". "This HURTS so good, I must be home."

I am with you my brother...ALL of the the FEELINGS that are part and parcel of your reality were/are mine. There are no differences. What I have LEARNED to do with those feelings is what has made a difference.

If it doesn't feel like love (and I mean in a reciprocal sense), it isn't. Doesn't make the other person a bad person - just someone who's is on God's path at THEIR own pace, worthy of my love and respect - just not an investment of MY time. I had to learn THIS and learn it the hard way: " Tim, ya won't find oranges in a hardware store." Tim spent too much time looking down every aisle before HE got it...they were right.

My thoughts are with you,

planettrout

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Friday May 17, 2002

Bryan,

What Chuck C. suggests in his book, " A New Pair of Glasses", is changing ourseleves so that we FIRST see ourselves as who we really are.I am attracted to and attract what I am, water seeks its own level. That is the ONLY thing that I am able to do something about.

Bryan's self discovery may, in time, lead Byran out of a marriage that is rife with verbal and emotional abuse and neglect.The poster who wrote about Bryan's childhood certainly grasps the impact of the past on our current choices.That is also what Chuck C. suggests with " uncover, discover and discard".

My own experience demonstrates to me my attraction to women who are incest/molestation survivors, addicts, and emotionally unavailable, verbally and emotionally abusive. It was ME, however, who picked them..."HELLO MOM, YOU'RE BACK!". "This HURTS so good, I must be home."

I am with you my brother...ALL of the the FEELINGS that are part and parcel of your reality were/are mine. There are no differences. What I have LEARNED to do with those feelings is what has made a difference.

If it doesn't feel like love (and I mean in a reciprocal sense), it isn't. Doesn't make the other person a bad person - just someone who's is on God's path at THEIR own pace, worthy of my love and respect - just not an investment of MY time. I had to learn THIS and learn it the hard way: " Tim, ya won't find oranges in a hardware store." Tim spent too much time looking down every aisle before HE got it...they were right.

My thoughts are with you,

planettrout

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Friday May 17, 2002

C'mon guv, u really think that after all u have gone through, she's really worth the F***in' trouble(sorry to be so intense). Get ur act together man. I dont call ur feeling for her anything like love. It is more probably an epilepsy due to a weak spine. Man ,when will u learn that u gotta use the toilet paper to put the shit where it belongs and use it on something else rather than tearful eyes. See incompatibility is not such a bad thing as long as u have the income and she is pattable. But when u end up being used like something she can turn on and off when she wishes, then u gotta throw the shit right back at her. No more sentiments should be allowed. Live by ur head ,not ur heart. u may never know when she might leve u in the gutters and run off with the guy of her kinky dreams, the FRIGID B***H. So get ur life back man. dont use the pill. instead use the headache toget rid of the pill.

a guy who really cares Kumar (csk316@yahoo.com)

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Friday May 17, 2002

C'mon guv, u really think that after all u have gone through, she's really worth the F***in' trouble(sorry to be so intense). Get ur act together man. I dont call ur feeling for her anything like love. It is more probably an epilepsy due to a weak spine. Man ,when will u learn that u gotta use the toilet paper to put the shit where it belongs and use it on something else rather than tearful eyes. See incompatibility is not such a bad thing as long as u have the income and she is pattable. But when u end up being used like something she can turn on and off when she wishes, then u gotta throw the shit right back at her. No more sentiments should be allowed. Live by ur head ,not ur heart. u may never know when she might leve u in the gutters and run off with the guy of her kinky dreams, the FRIGID B***H. So get ur life back man. dont use the pill. instead use the headache toget rid of the pill.

a guy who really cares Kumar (csk316@yahoo.com)

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Saturday May 18, 2002

Bryan,

I just want to give you my support and encouragement. I am ending my 11 year marriage (my second one, btw) and while I am grieved, I am also at peace with my decision. It wasn't a difficult one to make once I understood, on a deep deep level, what planettrout so wisely said: You can't find oranges in a hardware store. My husband, for whatever reasons, just can't--or won't--change his thinking and behavior. And I can no longer beat myself bloody against the brick wall he has built around himself.

I think that once you become committed to focusing on yourself, and the work you need to do, you will find it easier to detach and become more objective about her abusive behavior. It will still hurt, but you will more easily be able to understand that her behavior is about her, not you. You will give up trying to "change" her because you realize that you are not that powerful. Ultimately SHE is responsible for what she does with what life has dealt her; YOU cannot fix her or make up for her childhood. This is a hard lesson I had to learn, but I'm glad I finally did because now I feel like such a load has been lifted!

I feel guilty too, sometimes, but that is less and less, and it will be for you too. Just feel it, recognize it as false guilt and keep doing what you are doing. As you work on your own erroneous patterns you will gain a healthier perspective. Living with abuse turns our thinking upside down and sideways! We have to get some breathing space so we can become centered and gain a more normal vision. Takes some time!

Keep up the good work, Bryan. You seem very willing to work hard on yourself, painful as it will be. I'm very sorry you are experiencing such a painful marriage, but if you use it as an opportunity to start down a new and better path, it won't have been for nothing! I don't say this lightly; I know how hard this is!

Becky

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Saturday May 18, 2002

Dear Bryan,

I agree with Dr. Irene - you are not that confused. You know exactly what you need to do, you choose to stay miserable.

Yes, you are in a repetitive cycle where you choose mates that are abusive and blame you for it. Get out now. And then, find a supportive counselor who will help you learn why you make the choices you do and help you break the cycle.

It may help you to understand my remarks if I sign this:

Been there, done that

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Saturday May 18, 2002

Bryan, I think you've given this relationship the fairest shot you can. I'd like to suggest an anology which I think illustrates the nature of your relationship with your wife right now. Perhaps this will help you to see what you need to do a little more clearly.

How I see it is your wife is in the ocean and she is drowning, you see her, see her drowning, and being the heroic person that you are you immediately decide to go in and save her, so you jumped in too. Now you are out in the water with her, you are trying to get her to relax into you, you are trying to get her to trust you and let you pull her in, but she can't do that, she refuses to trust you, instead she is flayling about and pushing you away and pushing you down all the while you are trying to help her stay afloat. You talk to her calmly, try to reassure her that you will save her, that everything will but alright, but, she doesn't seem to hear you, in fact she takes no notice of you at all except as something to fight against. Somehow she has gotten confused and thinks you are trying to drown her. She is flayling and screaming at the same time that you are trying to hold her up. All of this is becoming so very tiring for you, so very exhausting. Now you are drowning, you are getting weaker, you are going down, and still she takes no notice of this, she is so caught up in her own drowning. You see, it doesn't matter what you do. She will drown no matter what. But Bryan, you know what to do, you know what needs to be done, you can do it. Save yourself Bryan. Let her go. Save yourself before it's too late.

Lee K

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Monday May 20, 2002

Thank you everyone who offered support and/or advice to me, I will continue to read posts as I get encouragement from reading all of them, not just mine. I have to be honest and say I doubt I will be leaving her tomorrow. I have learned so much in recent weeks and feeling a little overwhelmed right now trying to process it all in my head. I believe I know in my heart what I need to do and desperately wish I knew when I will gather the courage. Can I ask one last question? I know I kind of asked this earlier but I would really appreciate opinions and/or insight. For some reason I can't seem to quit thinking about the time my wife and I have been together and I wonder all the time why this relationship has been so much longer than all the rest. I fear that the time has made me more worn down than ever before...but is that actually good?....or bad?? Does it make me less likely or more likely to leave? I can see it both ways. Today was a particularly bad one. She came home from being away on travel last night. She was gone 8 days. I got a quick peck on the lips and that was it. She then started in about her tired feet (walking through airports) and asked why the house wasn't picked up. Then today, I've been home since noon .....got a flu that's going around work....I told her I didn't feel well. She said, "then go to bed". Believe it or not, I refused to make dinner tonight. She just konked out on the couch watching TV and here I am. I read a few older posts in Trubbles Yak a little while ago. One person had been married 32 years to a VA.....another 21 years. I actually felt terror run through me as I read those and prayed I would not be as paralyzed as them for too long. But I admit I am terrified. I feel empty. It has been 8 years. Will I ever hit bottom?

Sincerely, Bryan

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Monday May 20, 2002

Thank you everyone who offered support and/or advice to me, I will continue to read posts as I get encouragement from reading all of them, not just mine. I have to be honest and say I doubt I will be leaving her tomorrow. I have learned so much in recent weeks and feeling a little overwhelmed right now trying to process it all in my head. I believe I know in my heart what I need to do and desperately wish I knew when I will gather the courage. Can I ask one last question? I know I kind of asked this earlier but I would really appreciate opinions and/or insight. For some reason I can't seem to quit thinking about the time my wife and I have been together and I wonder all the time why this relationship has been so much longer than all the rest. I fear that the time has made me more worn down than ever before...but is that actually good?....or bad?? Does it make me less likely or more likely to leave? I can see it both ways. Today was a particularly bad one. She came home from being away on travel last night. She was gone 8 days. I got a quick peck on the lips and that was it. She then started in about her tired feet (walking through airports) and asked why the house wasn't picked up. Then today, I've been home since noon .....got a flu that's going around work....I told her I didn't feel well. She said, "then go to bed". Believe it or not, I refused to make dinner tonight. She just konked out on the couch watching TV and here I am. I read a few older posts in Trubbles Yak a little while ago. One person had been married 32 years to a VA.....another 21 years. I actually felt terror run through me as I read those and prayed I would not be as paralyzed as them for too long. But I admit I am terrified. I feel empty. It has been 8 years. Will I ever hit bottom?

Sincerely, Bryan

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Tuesday May 21, 2002

I can't help this but reading all these posts saying that your wife is a horrible person, I kind of feel pity for her. I think you offer us a biased image of your marriage. If you wife is as bad as you tell us she is, then you would not stay. I will be very honest and straightforward with you: I get the impression you stay in this marriage because you like to find fault with someone and your wife with all her flaws is a dream target for that. When you will leave your wife, you will have to learn with yourself and notice that you have flaws yourself. Does your wife want you to stay in the marriage, or is she indifferent about it? If she is, then you clearly have no reason to stay. Maybe you should try to find out why you are still staying if all is so bad. The fact that you are still hanging on means that this marriage does somehow offer you something that you need, whether that is about a healthy or unhealthy need.

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Tuesday May 21, 2002

I'm beginning to wonder if writing here maybe wasn't such a good idea. I do not mean to make my wife sound like a "horrible" person at all. I have only tried to tell my story the best I can the way everyone else has. I see very few posts that don't look somewhat "biased", but isn't that normal when only one person in the relationship is doing the writing? I came here for support but the more I read the more I'm thinking maybe the support only comes AFTER a person makes the decision to leave. Maybe not, I don't know. It seems I saw many posts where the person was also still with their abusive partner and just needed someone to talk to. You say if my wife was so bad I would have already left....but isn't that what codependency is about? Feeling stuck?....or not deserving enough?....or ambivalant?.....or scared to death? I think having support to NOT go back after a person leaves their abusive partner is crucial, but having support and encouragemnt to first find the courage to leave is also important. You are probably right that this relationship serves me in some way but I doubt it is a healthy way. I don't know what it is....that is what I have been trying to figure out. As of right now,I just know I am overwhelmed with the thought of the pain I would cause her and others by yet another divorce. Most of me feels this relationship, after 8 years, is not going to be getting any better, but I guess there must be a tiny bit of me that still holds out hope. I am MORE than aware of my flaws.....I have had them pointed out by every wife and I am working on them the best I can. You asked if my wife wanted to stay in the marriage or was indifferent about it. That is where a lot of my confusion comes in. She says yes she wants to stay and work things out but her actions show just the opposite. Here is an example....someone asked me in a previous post if my wife would be willing to post her story here too. I told them I'd be afraid to even ask because she'd have a fit when she found out I was already writing here. But last night, I asked, "you know there's lots of discussion boards on the web now and what's nice is that you can stay annonymous. Why don't you find one concerning relationship issues and see what they have to say"? She just looked at me (it looked, for a second, like she was processing what I had said and was thinking about it)....then she broke into a sarcastic grin, and said "sure... when pigs fly" and walked away. So anyway....sorry if my postings have been too one-sided. I am fully aware that it takes two to tango and I accept responsibility for my parts. I wrote only to get encouragemnt, advise and support, nothing else.

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Tuesday May 21, 2002

I'm beginning to wonder if writing here maybe wasn't such a good idea. I do not mean to make my wife sound like a "horrible" person at all. I have only tried to tell my story the best I can the way everyone else has. I see very few posts that don't look somewhat "biased", but isn't that normal when only one person in the relationship is doing the writing? I came here for support but the more I read the more I'm thinking maybe the support only comes AFTER a person makes the decision to leave. Maybe not, I don't know. It seems I saw many posts where the person was also still with their abusive partner and just needed someone to talk to. You say if my wife was so bad I would have already left....but isn't that what codependency is about? Feeling stuck?....or not deserving enough?....or ambivalant?.....or scared to death? I think having support to NOT go back after a person leaves their abusive partner is crucial, but having support and encouragemnt to first find the courage to leave is also important. You are probably right that this relationship serves me in some way but I doubt it is a healthy way. I don't know what it is....that is what I have been trying to figure out. As of right now,I just know I am overwhelmed with the thought of the pain I would cause her and others by yet another divorce. Most of me feels this relationship, after 8 years, is not going to be getting any better, but I guess there must be a tiny bit of me that still holds out hope. I am MORE than aware of my flaws.....I have had them pointed out by every wife and I am working on them the best I can. You asked if my wife wanted to stay in the marriage or was indifferent about it. That is where a lot of my confusion comes in. She says yes she wants to stay and work things out but her actions show just the opposite. Here is an example....someone asked me in a previous post if my wife would be willing to post her story here too. I told them I'd be afraid to even ask because she'd have a fit when she found out I was already writing here. But last night, I asked, "you know there's lots of discussion boards on the web now and what's nice is that you can stay annonymous. Why don't you find one concerning relationship issues and see what they have to say"? She just looked at me (it looked, for a second, like she was processing what I had said and was thinking about it)....then she broke into a sarcastic grin, and said "sure... when pigs fly" and walked away. So anyway....sorry if my postings have been too one-sided. I am fully aware that it takes two to tango and I accept responsibility for my parts. I wrote only to get encouragemnt, advise and support, nothing else.

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Tuesday May 21, 2002

Bryan,

I hope it helps you to know that I DO identify with your feelings of being stuck. I spun my wheels for so many years, afraid to make a move of any kind for fear he would end the marriage, which he threatened to do whenever I got the courage to speak up for myself.

I finally (after a lot of therapy)realized that I was giving my h way too much power and he was having a grand time exploiting it! I realized that I was more afraid of continuing to live in an abusive marriage than I was of him leaving me. That's when I gained some perspective and understood that I am in charge of how he treats me, not him!

The unexpected happened: I decided to end the marriage. I think he is shocked: the threat he always kept me in line with is what I am going to do!

This didn't happen overnight. as I said, I've been married going on 12 years,and as recently as a year ago, I still had at least SOME hope that I was hanging onto. Giving up that hope was extrememly painful, but not as painful as living in a relationship that literally made me sick.

You are just beginning, Bryan. Your main task, as I see it, is to learn as much as you can about the dynamics of abuse and codependency. As you do this, your focus will gradually shift from her and her behavior to yourself and what you need to do to help YOU. You will have good and bad days but you WILL get there.

There is no magic timetable to follow. That's why I don't (unless someone is in physical danger) tell a person "Just leave!" It's not that simple, not that easy. We each have to follow our own path.

Please keep posting and reading this site. Have you joined the message boards or support lists? Please don't feel that you have no support here. If nothing else, we are hear to listen; and you are right: just venting and talking things out is very valuable, and we all do it.

Take care, Becky

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Tuesday May 21, 2002

Bryan,

I hope it helps you to know that I DO identify with your feelings of being stuck. I spun my wheels for so many years, afraid to make a move of any kind for fear he would end the marriage, which he threatened to do whenever I got the courage to speak up for myself.

I finally (after a lot of therapy)realized that I was giving my h way too much power and he was having a grand time exploiting it! I realized that I was more afraid of continuing to live in an abusive marriage than I was of him leaving me. That's when I gained some perspective and understood that I am in charge of how he treats me, not him!

The unexpected happened: I decided to end the marriage. I think he is shocked: the threat he always kept me in line with is what I am going to do!

This didn't happen overnight. as I said, I've been married going on 12 years,and as recently as a year ago, I still had at least SOME hope that I was hanging onto. Giving up that hope was extrememly painful, but not as painful as living in a relationship that literally made me sick.

You are just beginning, Bryan. Your main task, as I see it, is to learn as much as you can about the dynamics of abuse and codependency. As you do this, your focus will gradually shift from her and her behavior to yourself and what you need to do to help YOU. You will have good and bad days but you WILL get there.

There is no magic timetable to follow. That's why I don't (unless someone is in physical danger) tell a person "Just leave!" It's not that simple, not that easy. We each have to follow our own path.

Please keep posting and reading this site. Have you joined the message boards or support lists? Please don't feel that you have no support here. If nothing else, we are hear to listen; and you are right: just venting and talking things out is very valuable, and we all do it.

Take care, Becky

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Tuesday May 21, 2002

Sounds like a pretty classic case of he-codependent and she-controller/abuser. He should read Patricia Evans' books "Controlling People" and "Verbal Abuse".

But until he decides enough is enough, he'll have to live with it.

Jaartee

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Tuesday May 21, 2002

Hi, Bryan.

Wow, I think I know how you must be feeling...

I just got married last fall (I'm 44 and this is my 2nd marriage.) Right before we met two years ago, both of us had some personal losses in our lives and were both in an emotional hole rather than emotionally whole, you know what I mean? This exaggerated the "in-love" intensity and we were both sure we had found our "right person".

After the marriage, a very controlling, angry and irrational part of this man has emerged. On my part, I kept thinking I just needed to try harder, or I just wasn't understanding him.

It wasn't until finding this site and reading "The Verbally Abusive Relationship" by Patricia Evans, did I finally see what was really happening. We are not living in the same reality at all. He does not seek to appreciate or understand me. He wants to be "one up" in order for him to feel safe or comfortable. This type of mentality goes against my grain so I was in denial for a long time and couldn't see it. Owww! This is painful.

I am trying to raise my self-esteem (it's lower than it's been in years.) I am not in any kind of illusion of trying to keep the marriage together. I'm increasing my boundary-setting abilities as much as I'm able under the circumstances. That feels really GOOD, though very unfamiliar and sometimes awkward and inconsistent. Even though I can't get my emotional needs met from my husband, at least I am not abandoning myself emotionally. By taking steps to not tolerate his crazy-making, guilt-trip laying, etc., I am reinforcing respect of MYSELF, though it doesn't really change the relationship with him much.

This site is great. Thank you for sharing your story, Bryan. I hope that you can see that as much fun as rescuing seems (well, it's familiar, if not fun), it is incredibly draining. Walking on eggshells is not a relaxed way to live... My in-love feelings are kind of gone, but I'm still emotionally bonded or enmeshed with my husband. My disappointment at having to give up the illusion of what I thought we had is excruciating at times. I had very unrealistic hopes and thought that "this time it would be different."

A lot of what you described about your attachment to your wife sounds like codependency or over-enmeshment. I know that my husband and I both grew up in families where our boundaries were violated and so in the present as adults we tend to merge too much with another, and that "feels more like love" to us. But it leads to heartbreak because it is not "more like love." It is the attempt to have needs met which cannot be met by a partner, which need to be healed in self-love and probably individual therapy.

These are my thoughts. I'm not assuming your situation is like mine, but I can relate to your feelings. I encourage you to take some steps in the direction that you know is taking care of YOU. :-)

My last relationship before this lasted 4 years and was much less enmeshed but I was tolerating anger and verbal abuse, just less often, so I let it slide until I really had a hard time leaving due the investment of time. I have an illogical part of me that just "hangs in there" even in when I've already decided "there's no way I'd spend the rest of my life with this person."

For me part of it's guilt because I didn't successfully rescue my partner yet. Exactly what that would look like, I don't know.

Best wishes to you, Bryan, and to all here.

--Kelly

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Tuesday May 21, 2002

Hi, Bryan.

Wow, I think I know how you must be feeling...

I just got married last fall (I'm 44 and this is my 2nd marriage.) Right before we met two years ago, both of us had some personal losses in our lives and were both in an emotional hole rather than emotionally whole, you know what I mean? This exaggerated the "in-love" intensity and we were both sure we had found our "right person".

After the marriage, a very controlling, angry and irrational part of this man has emerged. On my part, I kept thinking I just needed to try harder, or I just wasn't understanding him.

It wasn't until finding this site and reading "The Verbally Abusive Relationship" by Patricia Evans, did I finally see what was really happening. We are not living in the same reality at all. He does not seek to appreciate or understand me. He wants to be "one up" in order for him to feel safe or comfortable. This type of mentality goes against my grain so I was in denial for a long time and couldn't see it. Owww! This is painful.

I am trying to raise my self-esteem (it's lower than it's been in years.) I am not in any kind of illusion of trying to keep the marriage together. I'm increasing my boundary-setting abilities as much as I'm able under the circumstances. That feels really GOOD, though very unfamiliar and sometimes awkward and inconsistent. Even though I can't get my emotional needs met from my husband, at least I am not abandoning myself emotionally. By taking steps to not tolerate his crazy-making, guilt-trip laying, etc., I am reinforcing respect of MYSELF, though it doesn't really change the relationship with him much.

This site is great. Thank you for sharing your story, Bryan. I hope that you can see that as much fun as rescuing seems (well, it's familiar, if not fun), it is incredibly draining. Walking on eggshells is not a relaxed way to live... My in-love feelings are kind of gone, but I'm still emotionally bonded or enmeshed with my husband. My disappointment at having to give up the illusion of what I thought we had is excruciating at times. I had very unrealistic hopes and thought that "this time it would be different."

A lot of what you described about your attachment to your wife sounds like codependency or over-enmeshment. I know that my husband and I both grew up in families where our boundaries were violated and so in the present as adults we tend to merge too much with another, and that "feels more like love" to us. But it leads to heartbreak because it is not "more like love." It is the attempt to have needs met which cannot be met by a partner, which need to be healed in self-love and probably individual therapy.

These are my thoughts. I'm not assuming your situation is like mine, but I can relate to your feelings. I encourage you to take some steps in the direction that you know is taking care of YOU. :-)

My last relationship before this lasted 4 years and was much less enmeshed but I was tolerating anger and verbal abuse, just less often, so I let it slide until I really had a hard time leaving due the investment of time. I have an illogical part of me that just "hangs in there" even in when I've already decided "there's no way I'd spend the rest of my life with this person."

For me part of it's guilt because I didn't successfully rescue my partner yet. Exactly what that would look like, I don't know.

Best wishes to you, Bryan, and to all here.

--Kelly

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Wednesday May 22, 2002

Brian, you tell us that you wrote here to "get encouragement, advise and support, nothing else". And if you don't get those kind of reactions, you tell us that you wonder if it made any sense to post your story? Am I the only one who thinks that that sounds controlling? It makes me in any case think of my exbf who once told me: "Stop using the word BUT; you have to contribute to what I say, not contradict it." So we can post here if we tell you something you want to hear? And we shouldn't if it is something else. That's the way it comes across. Are you sure that you don't have a very finely defined idea of how your wife should show her love for you? What would you say if your partner told you to post your story on a message board? In a relationship, both partners have wishes, dreams, opinions, issues. You can't expect your partner to make you happy. If you don't feel treated fairly, then you simply have to say "Stop" and leave the relationship. It's as simple as that. Either you work on it, or you get out. But to stay stuck in the drama so that you can complain about the bad treatment you receive, becomes really pathetic if it lasts too long.

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Wednesday May 22, 2002

Dear Bryan, I am on a journey right now to find myself like you are. I am in a verbally and emotionally abusive relationship and I am presently seeing a counselor. My husband grew up in a dysfunctional home with an alcoholic father. My husband experienced a sexual abuse situation when he was a kid and he was also neglected by his parents. On day as I was walking in a bookstore I came across a book titled, "For the spouse of a sexually abused partner." It caught my eye and I leafed through the pages quickly, but what caught my eye was a paragraph that said if the spouse ever feels like they want to change their sexually abused partner or find themselves acting in any controling way to consider checking out Alanon. It went on to say as the spouse of the victim we are left out and not experiencing a healthy relationship if the victim has not dealt with things or has not gone through the healing process. I reflected on what I had read for a long time. I called someone from Alanon, and explained my situation. Even though there isn't drinking in our home the 12 steps and trying to gain serenity back was very appealing to me. I have attended 2 meetings to check out the material and what it is like. As I listen to the people in the group share I hear stories of people that are trying to find themselves and set up healthy boundaries. THe whole process and the materials resonant with a wonderful way to live and take control of ones life again instead of living on a roller coaster of pain. It is just a suggestion, in terms of first finding healing for yourself so that you have the strength to do what you must. Also, I think it will provide you with a discovery of what is healthy and how to live that and how to be happy and at peace with that. Check out Alanon on the internet as well as your local library. Most communities also have a contact person. I know that for myself I need to do something about my situation, especially because I have children witnessing the abuse but I have lost who I am in the process. I am hoping to gain that back again and a strength that will help me make and carry through some hard decisions. God Bless you in your journey, naturegil

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Wednesday May 22, 2002

Boy, This is a tough one. In reading your story, one word comes to mind, self-care, period. This woman sounds extremely needy and spoiled. Spoiled in all caps it should read - SPOILED. I'm sorry about her abuse, but there are very competent therapists that can help with this. She says she has dealt with this (sexual abuse), and is not too open to change. Recovery from childhood sexual abuse is an ongoing on and off thing. If this is the case, why is she still sooo very angry. You fix six out of the seven meals. Why not try cutting back. Try cooking three per week, and split the chores. Let her take responsibility for her living quarters. Ask her to go out with you for a little rest and relaxation. If she refuses, find a good friend, relative, or dog and go with them. You need your own mental space and privacy for healing. I don't see this as much as a therapy problem if you are not yet ready for change. You can implement self-care in your daily life in little phases. Try doing little things for yourself, maybe by adding a little extra cream in your coffee for better flavor, a new pair of sneakers, your favorite soda. You don't have to constantly give, give, give. After you give her a foot massage, during your lunch break, why not pay for a deep body massage at your favorite gym. Again I say self care is the issue.

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Wednesday May 22, 2002

Boy, This is a tough one. In reading your story, one word comes to mind, self-care, period. This woman sounds extremely needy and spoiled. Spoiled in all caps it should read - SPOILED. I'm sorry about her abuse, but there are very competent therapists that can help with this. She says she has dealt with this (sexual abuse), and is not too open to change. Recovery from childhood sexual abuse is an ongoing on and off thing. If this is the case, why is she still sooo very angry. You fix six out of the seven meals. Why not try cutting back. Try cooking three per week, and split the chores. Let her take responsibility for her living quarters. Ask her to go out with you for a little rest and relaxation. If she refuses, find a good friend, relative, or dog and go with them. You need your own mental space and privacy for healing. I don't see this as much as a therapy problem if you are not yet ready for change. You can implement self-care in your daily life in little phases. Try doing little things for yourself, maybe by adding a little extra cream in your coffee for better flavor, a new pair of sneakers, your favorite soda. You don't have to constantly give, give, give. After you give her a foot massage, during your lunch break, why not pay for a deep body massage at your favorite gym. Again I say self care is the issue.

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Wednesday May 22, 2002

For this morning's poster who thinks Bryan "sounds controlling," I take it you're the same person who pities Bryan's wife and thinks he offers us a biased image of her. Do you think Bryan may not be pitying her enough yet? It must be miserable being one of these messed-up abusers and controllers, otherwise they wouldn't be so angry all the time. With all their complaints, many of them must be looking for pity. If Bryan gave his wife more pity, do you think she'd behave better? Do let us know how well pity worked on your controlling ex-boyfriend.

Even if it didn't, I must say you have a novel approach to helping people, and some interesting insights too. This deserves a wider trial. Maybe you should post on the Yak board and the Catbox and tell all the people there how pathetic they are for staying too long in relationships where they're not treated fairly. They may not have realized that. Once they do, they won't want to look pathetic, so they may just get up and leave.

As you said, they can't expect their partners to make them happy, and maybe they all have much too finely defined ideas of how their partners should show their love for them. Take all this criticism, calling someone "selfish," "mean," and a "jerk" all the time as Bryan's wife does, or maybe a "b!tch" or one of those four-letter words. They're only trying to say "I love you so much that I'd never want you to be one of those awful things, and I know you wouldn't either, so I'll point it out so that you can improve." If they didn't love the person, they wouldn't care enough to criticize. It was the same with your ex-boyfriend. When he said "you have to contribute to what I say, not contradict it," he was only asking for more teamwork so that he could feel closer to you because he loved you. There are so many ways of saying "I love you" that people just don't see.

Your best insight, I felt, was that people stay in these marriages because they like to find fault with someone, and their abusive partners with all their flaws are a dream target for that. It distracts attention from their own flaws, and none of us can expect to be loved or treated decently unless we're perfect, can we? If you go to the message boards and point out to everyone that they're only staying there (and in their marriages) to find fault, a lightbulb may come on. Maybe it hasn't occurred to them that that's all they're really doing it for, and once it does, they'll stop right away. All they have to do is leave. This promising new approach to counseling could save them all a lot of time.

sdw

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Wednesday May 22, 2002

For this morning's poster who thinks Bryan "sounds controlling," I take it you're the same person who pities Bryan's wife and thinks he offers us a biased image of her. Do you think Bryan may not be pitying her enough yet? It must be miserable being one of these messed-up abusers and controllers, otherwise they wouldn't be so angry all the time. With all their complaints, many of them must be looking for pity. If Bryan gave his wife more pity, do you think she'd behave better? Do let us know how well pity worked on your controlling ex-boyfriend.

Even if it didn't, I must say you have a novel approach to helping people, and some interesting insights too. This deserves a wider trial. Maybe you should post on the Yak board and the Catbox and tell all the people there how pathetic they are for staying too long in relationships where they're not treated fairly. They may not have realized that. Once they do, they won't want to look pathetic, so they may just get up and leave.

As you said, they can't expect their partners to make them happy, and maybe they all have much too finely defined ideas of how their partners should show their love for them. Take all this criticism, calling someone "selfish," "mean," and a "jerk" all the time as Bryan's wife does, or maybe a "b!tch" or one of those four-letter words. They're only trying to say "I love you so much that I'd never want you to be one of those awful things, and I know you wouldn't either, so I'll point it out so that you can improve." If they didn't love the person, they wouldn't care enough to criticize. It was the same with your ex-boyfriend. When he said "you have to contribute to what I say, not contradict it," he was only asking for more teamwork so that he could feel closer to you because he loved you. There are so many ways of saying "I love you" that people just don't see.

Your best insight, I felt, was that people stay in these marriages because they like to find fault with someone, and their abusive partners with all their flaws are a dream target for that. It distracts attention from their own flaws, and none of us can expect to be loved or treated decently unless we're perfect, can we? If you go to the message boards and point out to everyone that they're only staying there (and in their marriages) to find fault, a lightbulb may come on. Maybe it hasn't occurred to them that that's all they're really doing it for, and once it does, they'll stop right away. All they have to do is leave. This promising new approach to counseling could save them all a lot of time.

sdw

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Wednesday May 22, 2002

Well said, SDW!

I always found it extremely UNHELPFUL to be told "Get some gumption and just leave!" Okay....HOW? I didn't know how, and I didn't have the inner--or external--resources to do that.

When I first began posting on this site, a couple of years ago, I spent a lot of time talking about "him," what "he" said, what "he" did, and how awful I felt about it all. I was validated, listened to, and empathized with. Because of this, and my own hard work in therapy, I was gradually able to focus less on him and more on myself. I became less codependent and more respectful and trusting of myself, and that is where I found the strength to decide to not be abused anymore.

Yes, I had to face some hard truths, and hear some things I didn't want to hear. But those here who responded to my posts and supported me allowed me to make my journey at my own pace.

I believe that this is what you are asking for, Bryan.

Becky

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Wednesday May 22, 2002

Well said, SDW!

I always found it extremely UNHELPFUL to be told "Get some gumption and just leave!" Okay....HOW? I didn't know how, and I didn't have the inner--or external--resources to do that.

When I first began posting on this site, a couple of years ago, I spent a lot of time talking about "him," what "he" said, what "he" did, and how awful I felt about it all. I was validated, listened to, and empathized with. Because of this, and my own hard work in therapy, I was gradually able to focus less on him and more on myself. I became less codependent and more respectful and trusting of myself, and that is where I found the strength to decide to not be abused anymore.

Yes, I had to face some hard truths, and hear some things I didn't want to hear. But those here who responded to my posts and supported me allowed me to make my journey at my own pace.

I believe that this is what you are asking for, Bryan.

Becky

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Wednesday May 22, 2002

Becky and SDW, Thank you both very much for saying what I couldn't. I'm sitting here at work kind of stunned at being told I stay stuck in my drama so I can complain about bad treatment. Fact is, I've been told I don't complain enough. Writing here was hard for me, I kept feeling like I was being unfair to her, but this has been about the extent of the complaining I do. In fact, we have some friends and acquantances who probably think we are very happy because neither of us do any complaining to them. Becky, you really hit the nail on the head, for me anyway, when you said "HOW" does one leave. I remember one time with an ex-wife, she was holding a bottle of scotch and I was begging her to just put it down and walk away. I will NEVER forget the pain in her eyes. I realize now that it wasn't that she didn't know she should quit drinking, she just didn't know how. I know what to do also, I honestly and sincerely just don't know how. Thats why I said in my very first post that my feet won't move and that I literally feel paralyzed with fear when I start to leave (or she does). That's why I've asked so much if ANYONE has even the slightest inkling how close or how far I might be from becoming un-paralyzed, after reading my posts, and from your own similar experiences. Leaving has always been hard, but NEVER even close to this hard and it scares me to death that I will never leave. To whoever told me I stay in order to complain, I really don't agree. I stay because I'm terrified and as stupid or spineless or un-manly as that might be, it is the truth. If it were so cut and dried to "just walk away" then there would be no addictions in this world. I am trying the best I can. And no I don't have finely defined ideas of how my wife should show her love....but I do have a general idea of how I think anyone should show their love to a partner they have chosen to be with. I try very hard to back up my words of love with my actions, although as yet, it has not seemed to help much. And if she asked me to post my story on a discussion board I would not have thrown out a sarcastic remark and walked away. I would have sat down with her and talked about why it was important to her, and if I still chose not to, I would have told her nicely.

Bryan

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Wednesday May 22, 2002

Bryan,

Unless I missed it, I don't see anything in your story about your going to therapy. I think you would really benefit from it. You already show a good awareness of the problem (you recognize your rescuer tendencies, and my feeling is that you DO want to make some kind of a move, you just don't know how to overcome your fear.

You need to find out what you are so afraid of. (I'm terrified of abandonment, but I'm getting over it). Once you've identified what you're afraid will happen if you leave, and why, you can learn strategies for dealing with the fears.

Is there a DV shelter you could call? Explain your situation and see if they will refer you to a counselor who knows abuse issues. Or call a mental health clinic. If your employer provides EAP services, that is a good place to at least start.

And don't let your wife stop you. My husband ridiculed me quite a bit for being in therapy, but I went (am going) anyway.

Take small steps. Those are the ones that will get you there.

Becky

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Thursday May 23, 2002

Bryan,

Again, I am floored at the number of posters who continue to try to find some flaw in your story, some fault that you have that would explain why your wife is abusive and you can't leave her. I have never seen as much mistrust of a person's story when the poster was a woman. I am a woman, not a man with a bias against women.

Now, with that said, I want to say that one of the things I was suprised about was that you answered these people. You defended yoursef when you didn't need to and I would say shouldn't have wasted the time doing. You do not have to defend yourself at all. You have been very clear about what's going on. These people just do not want to believe that a woman can be the abuser PERIOD. That is their problem. Your defending yourself is not going to change their position.

I have a question for you regarding why you stay. Could it have something to do with the fact that you have invested so much time and effort, pain and suffering. That you hate the idea of walking away with nothing after all of that, after giving so much, it comes to nothing? That you want something positive to show for all your efforts, some light at the end of this dark tunnel? Some recognition from her for all of your efforts. Like Dorothy who goes to kill the Witch of West so that the Wizard will give them all the things they want and she won't go back to Kansas until the Wizard does all these things and recognizes them for all of their wonderfull qualities?

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Thursday May 23, 2002

Mmmm, I think that he feels very sorry for himself. I do not want to be mean, but how old is he and how come all his marriages do not work? So, why is he convinced she is sheating? Any reason, besides the fact that she is goodlooking?

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Thursday May 23, 2002

Mmmm, I think that he feels very sorry for himself. I do not want to be mean, but how old is he and how come all his marriages do not work? So, why is he convinced she is cheating? Any reason, besides the fact that she is goodlooking?

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Thursday May 23, 2002

It's me Bryan again,

Okay whoever asked about my reasons for staying. Your analogy was very good. YES, I do hate the idea of giving up 8 years with nothing to show for it. And recognition would be great....and I (stupidly) keep thinking I may seem some light at the end of the tunnel. But the biggest thing is......I just keep thinking of the pain I'll cause her. Like I said before, she has some medical problems (none that keep her away from working or hobbies, but chronic pain stuff and I know life must be awful when you know you'll probably live like that forever, she has seen many doctors, is on many medications, as is told this is pretty much as good as it gets.)She keeps saying she is happy and I'm not sure (yet) that I coud live with the guilt. My wedding vows said, "for better, for worse, in sickness and in health"......right??? (I get "friendly" reminders of this regularly). You said I should have not defended myself. You are right. It's hard to not feel defensive when you know you're being honest and people are deciding I'm not by simply reading my posts and not knowing me. The last poster asked some interesting questions that I am going to answer though.

In my first post I mentioned that I am 44. In my second post I talked about my 3 previous marriages and why I believe they failed. No, I do not believe my wife has cheated before because she is beautiful. That would be sort of stupid, don't you think? I said I had many things to go on but no SOLID proof and without it she would never confess anyway. For starters: Extended business trips, at the last minute. Business trips that START on Fridays through Monday. Continuous hang up calls. Jumping out of her skin when she's packing her luggage and I walk in, closing it quickly. Cell phone bills never seem to show up at our house. Asking if I can come along on one of her business trips and watching her face turn white and mouth hit the ground. Not being in her hotel room MANY times in the middle of the night. A lot of new clothes shopping before travel. Being EXTREMELY nice right before she leaves and just the opposite when she comes home. Talking in code to friends while I'm in earshot. No sex for months at a time. Numerous "suspicions" reported to me by friends and coworkers, but never anything solid.

Is that enough?? Or am I just worried for nothing? Bryan

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Thursday May 23, 2002

My opinion only: Bryan- Do not blame yourself. Do not become a 12-step cult member. Do not read Melody Beattie books. Do not listen to anyone above define your personal "problem". I think you're a good guy who accidentally got mismatched with a person who doesn't know how to care about anyone. Get to know yourself. Get to know people who like you for who you are. It ain't your fault.

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Thursday May 23, 2002

It's me Bryan again,

Okay whoever asked about my reasons for staying. Your analogy was very good. YES, I do hate the idea of giving up 8 years with nothing to show for it. And recognition would be great....and I (stupidly) keep thinking I may seem some light at the end of the tunnel. But the biggest thing is......I just keep thinking of the pain I'll cause her. Like I said before, she has some medical problems (none that keep her away from working or hobbies, but chronic pain stuff and I know life must be awful when you know you'll probably live like that forever, she has seen many doctors, is on many medications, as is told this is pretty much as good as it gets.)She keeps saying she is happy and I'm not sure (yet) that I coud live with the guilt. My wedding vows said, "for better, for worse, in sickness and in health"......right??? (I get "friendly" reminders of this regularly). You said I should have not defended myself. You are right. It's hard to not feel defensive when you know you're being honest and people are deciding I'm not by simply reading my posts and not knowing me. The last poster asked some interesting questions that I am going to answer though.

In my first post I mentioned that I am 44. In my second post I talked about my 3 previous marriages and why I believe they failed. No, I do not believe my wife has cheated before because she is beautiful. That would be sort of stupid, don't you think? I said I had many things to go on but no SOLID proof and without it she would never confess anyway. For starters: Extended business trips, at the last minute. Business trips that START on Fridays through Monday. Continuous hang up calls. Jumping out of her skin when she's packing her luggage and I walk in, closing it quickly. Cell phone bills never seem to show up at our house. Asking if I can come along on one of her business trips and watching her face turn white and mouth hit the ground. Not being in her hotel room MANY times in the middle of the night. A lot of new clothes shopping before travel. Being EXTREMELY nice right before she leaves and just the opposite when she comes home. Talking in code to friends while I'm in earshot. No sex for months at a time. Numerous "suspicions" reported to me by friends and coworkers, but never anything solid.

Is that enough?? Or am I just worried for nothing? Bryan

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Thursday May 23, 2002

This is not a very clear, 'cut to the chase' type of gentleman. I say gentleman for the endurance he portrays. But - he has 'chosen' to be with her. Maybe out of sympathy for her health problems. But the fact that he stated that he would be "relieved" if she called off the wedding - well, he is just as much at fault. He KNOWS that there is an abusive pattern - justified or not. By making that absolute statement in stating there would be 'relief' in his life if they did not get married - I think that he is wasting his and her time. It is either 'Stupid Chivalry' that some men often do - or it is another factor that we will never know about. Sometimes, and I am not referring this point at all to make an assumption to this gentlman, people stay together for reasons that we do not discuss that often on the boards. For example: Let us say that there are two people in a relationship that has a VD - warts, herpes ... Something that at least one of the partners is very ashamed and sensitive about - to where only there SO knows of it and shares the experience. I have the feeling that many people in this position might feel "How could I ever date again? How could I approach someone with this hinderance without the risk of a horrible rejection or outcome?" These are things to consider. For, otherwise, drugs and money - they too can have a person linger on in an abusive relaitionship - especially if the 'host' has another characteristic (sexual, popularity, good looks) that could be taken as a 'plus' - and hence make one feel they need to rough it and take the bads with a good. LaconicJD

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Thursday May 23, 2002

Bryan,

Lee K here. I'm the one with the analogy about drowning and Dorothy and the Wizard. I have another question to ask you. Why are her needs/feelings inherently more important than yours?

Why are her needs/feelings more important than yours when she cares more about her needs/feeling than your needs/feelings?

Why are you feeling guilty about leaving a woman who is so totally unsuited for you as someone recently so aptly posted?

Would it help you if you could just realize you two are unsuited for each other, not compatable and leave it at that. Let her find someone she can have more respect for and you look for someone who can love you for the great guy that you are.

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Friday May 24, 2002

Holy Moly, Bryan! When I read your letter I thought the evidence of her cheating was SUBTLE! LaconicJD is right. You don't exactly cut to the chase, do you? This woman is BLATANT! How much evidence do you need? Does she have to show you videos of her banging some john in a hotel room before you tell everyone outright that she's screwing around on you, not that you might be imagining it? You married a whore, and she's cheating you blind! That's not a dirty word, it's the truth! Oh boy, are you in denial!

Seriously, you're worried about YOUR marriage vows, "for better, for worse"? Why should you care? She's made mincemeat of her vows, every one of them, not just the Sixth Commandment! If you'd married her in Old Testament times they would have taken her out and stoned her. Still would, in some Islamic countries right now. After what she's done to you, even Jesus, being the only one without sin, might have changed his mind and cast that first stone! Of course she was truly sorry and heartbroken when her last husband gave her the boot for adultery! She was sorry because she GOT CAUGHT, that's why. She lost all the subsidies from him that she never deserved. Hey, Bill Clinton was sorry when he got caught too. So was Ted Bundy. That's too bad, but it didn't stop us from sticking him in Old Sparky and giving three cheers of "Good riddance!"

As for "in sickness and in health," come on! The woman's nothing but a hypochondriac, and that's at best. She's always well enough to do what she wants, never what you want. What are all these drugs she's sticking in her body, all from different doctors? Painkillers? She might be addicted to them. That makes her the medical equivalent of a crack whore. More likely it's just about her neurotic focus on HERSELF, me-me-me-me. All this whining about her ailments is a load of bullpucky to pull the wool over your eyes and keep you feeling sorry for her.

All these dirty weekends she keeps going on can hardly be legitimate business trips, and they can't be bringing in any money from legitimate business. So who's paying for all her air fares and hotel rooms and her wardrobe, eh? Are you buying her clothes so that she can roll in the hay with some fancy boy? Or is she running an "escort" service, and is that where she gets the money from? Hey, if you're putting up with the indignity and the health hazards of living with a hooker, the least she could do is subsidize you instead! If this woman needs a man to live with, she doesn't need any knight in shining armor. What she needs is a pimp. Why would you want to sully your own good name by associating with someone like this?

I'll tell you one thing. If you're complaining that she doesn't give you much sex, I'd stop complaining right now and thank your lucky stars instead that she doesn't. YOU DON'T KNOW WHERE SHE'S BEEN, from one week to the next, and you don't know what you might catch from her. Never mind that guy up there talking about AIDS, or what if she gets pregnant by some other man. That's bad enough, but you might get REAL AIDS from her. Then you're dead, before your time anyway. The way you're living now, and with all this agony too, you might as well stick a gun in your mouth and pull the trigger, and end all the agony now. No, DON'T DO IT, you've got lots of better choices. But she might bring you herpes. Anyone remember herpes, back in the Sexual Revolution of the 70s? Most people forgot it because of AIDS. All right, LaconicJD didn't. Good for him or her. But if you get herpes you can't get rid of that either, and they all say it's miserable. Then would you want to marry a lady who didn't have it, and give it to her too? You're not just infecting yourself, but cutting down on your life options too. I'll be honest with you, buddy. I don't mean to be offensive, but I wouldn't touch this wife of yours with a ten foot pole, and I don't think you should either.

If you want sex, you might as well go down your local redlight district and buy it there. OK, you'd have to pay for it, but you'd get hotter sex from some than a cold five minutes, and it wouldn't be any riskier. But why would you want to contaminate yourself that way? Your body is a holy temple of the Lord. Beware of the harlot, and keep it clean! There are lots of decent ladies out there who are worthy of you.

I dunno about all this psych stuff you have to work on, but you've got some other work to do. If I were you I'd start by going straight to your doctor and getting yourself checked out for STDs. Can you afford to hire a private detective to have your wife followed on one of her "business" trips? She's so flagrant about what she does that she might be easy to get evidence on. This isn't to get proof for YOU that she's an adulteress. You already know that. It's to get evidence you can use in court in a divorce, to protect YOUR interests. If she uses a PC, ten to one there's evidence on there of what she's up to, her e-mail, reservations, everything. If you can get at the PC while she's not looking, try http://www.spectorsoft.com for some spy software you can install to record what she does. You can get software to e-mail you records of what she's doing on that PC too. Don't stay in denial. Get the facts. And for your own health, get rid of her fast!

Lieut. P. O'Reilly, NYPD Vice Squad

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Friday May 24, 2002

Bryan, Lee K here. I know the the previous poster went a little hard on you, but I have to say, I agree with the gist of his arguement. I will say that based on what you have told us about this woman you live with, I have absolutely no doubt that this woman will land on her feet and find some other poor fool to fool if you leave her. Let go of the guilt. She doesn't need it. She's a survivor who has used he "weaknesses" to get what she needs. Right now, she is probably working on finding that new person who will unquestioning in his view, who will only see the fragile flower and not the selfish B that you have come to know. If you have intimated that you are not happy and you want her to change- be a nice person, EEEE gads she thinks, this is getting too hard, be nice? - No way, I'm going to have to find someone else I can take advantage of - someone who won't make me be nice and think about their needs, GOD what torture this guy has turned out to be.

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Saturday May 25, 2002

Bryan,

After reading the "clues" that your wife "might" be having an affair...a high level hum went through my body. Having experienced many of those same actions by my X and hearing, "You will NEVER find out if I'm having an affair!", I chose to ignore the obvious. What else did I need to know?

That light in the tunnel referred to in an earlier paragraph is attached to an oncoming train..it will be you're choice WHEN to step off the tracks.

planettrout

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Saturday May 25, 2002

Bryan,

After reading the "clues" that your wife "might" be having an affair...a high level hum went through my body. Having experienced many of those same actions by my X and hearing, "You will NEVER find out if I'm having an affair!", I chose to ignore the obvious. What else did I need to know?

That light in the tunnel referred to in an earlier paragraph is attached to an oncoming train..it will be your choice WHEN to step off the tracks.

planettrout

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Saturday May 25, 2002

Bryan,

The "clues" that you mention that your wife "might" be having an affair(s) sent off high level hums through my body. Saw all of that and heard, "You will NEVER find out if I'm having an affair!"

The light in the tunnel referred to in an earlier paragraph is attached to an oncoming train...it WILL BE your choice WHEN to get off the tracks.

planettrout

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Sunday May 26, 2002

To answer a couple questions: The company my wife works for has always paid for these trips of hers and this I know for fact. Granted the Fri-Mon trips have been weird.... but paid for. The few extended business trips were the ones I was more concerned with I think. One of the times, for instance, that I called her hotel room at 1:00 am and she never answered the phone, she later told me she was downstairs in a casino with coworkers. (She was in Atlantic City). So how am I supposed to know if that were true or not??? As far as buying new clothes goes, she bought them with money from our joint accts. I asked her about the time she was talking in code to a friend and she said it was because of what the friend was sharing with her and she was asked to not tell anyone else, so thats why she had to talk in code. Again, how am I supposed to tell if that was true or not? It gets so incredibly frustrating I can barely sleep when she's gone. Everything is so circumstantial and I can't ever seem to find anything else!!! Maybe I'm just paranoid because she cheated on her last husband. I really fear that she will never slip up and I will never really know. I can say that when she is not on travel she is ALWAYS home, evenings, weekends, we spend together. (Which makes this all the more confusing). I have often thought about STD's, AID's, etc......but I know she would be smart enough to be thoroughly safe. She's a well-educated, well-liked, well -respected, corporate consultant. She's way too smart. The Lieut. who suggested spy software had a good point. Problem is, if she's comminicating with anyone by email, she is doing it from work ONLY and there is no way I can access her office when she's not there. This all makes it feel all the more hopeless.

LeeK.......My head knows that I deserve better, I know she cares little about showing me her love, and I am trying to learn to care about myself more. Unfortunately my heart won't seem to catch up. I can't seem to get past the hurt I would cause her and others. I wish you could actually experience her for just 5 minutes. If I just blurted out that I fear she cheats on me, and may be bringing me STD presents, etc....she would literally fall apart at the seams. She'd tell me to talk to every friend and co-worker of hers...to search her office.....you name it. She'd have a reasonable-sounding reason for every single suspicious thing I've ever seen. And then she'd cry herself to sleep, saying she's just never going to live down her past....and the guilt I already have would quadruple. I thinks thats why I feel so empty and paralyzed right now. Just seems that I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't and it's just better to do nothing.

I'm sorry I couldn't give all of you better news. You have all been very kind and supportive,

Bryan

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Monday May 27, 2002

Ah Bryan, I understand. When you bring the truth to her her defense is so very very credible. She shows that fragile, breaking in pieces side and you don't have the heart to break her any more. I understand completely your dilemma. Bryan, the problem is what she is showing you is what we call displays of emotion. It is not really her core feelings. These are reactions that are used to manipulate your feelings. The problem is she is so good at it and has used this so often to manipulate you, she probably believes it all herself when it's happening. The key thing thoughh is she is not consistent in her responses to you. As long as you are catering to her and doing what she wants she feels she can afford to be pretty much herself cold, flippant, sarcastic uninterested in what's going on with you self. But, the moment it looks like you might actually be serious about pulling the plug, she is suddenly the most feeling, wonderful, innocent, sweet, how could you think that of me that way yada, yada, yada, person. I know that being in the situation, its harder to see the pattern, but I can see it from these posts. When you see that fragile flower come out, it gives you hope. It makes you think, she is a person with deep and sensitive feelings. What was I thinking? How could I hurt someone like that? And you doubt yourself anew. Bryan, as I said before, she's a much tougher cookie than she is letting on. I want you to trust me on this. I hope you can see that these scenes are displays of emotion, not core feelings. They come out just at the right time, just when it looks like you might really be considering calling it quits. As long as you believe she needs you, because she is this weak thing, you will stay. You will continue to try to be her hero, because that is the fantasy you want to play out with her. She senses this, she knows this, and so she acts accordingly. She plays right into that fantasy when and only when it looks like you are getting fed up. The thing you have to ask yourself is, if she were for real, wouldn't she be for real 24/7 and not just when you start getting suspicious? You are still, at those critical moments, when it's time to say I've got to leave her, seeing the fantasy woman again. That fragile flower that needs you so much. You have got to change the picture and see through this illusion. The strength you need is to see her as she really is and not as you would like her to be or as she pretends to be when you scare her enough to think your patience have run out.

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Monday May 27, 2002

Bryan, Sorry I didn't sign the post. That last one that starts "Bryan Ah, I understand ...." was from me, Lee K.

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Monday May 27, 2002

Bryan,

1. Frank Pittman: "Private Lies: Infidelity and Betrayal of Intimacy"

2. Marianne Williamson: "A Return to Love"

3. Charlotte Kasl, PhD.: " Women, Sex and Addiction"

4. Patrick Carnes: " Out of The Shadows"

I did not know, that I did not know, that I did not know.

Tim B. planettrout

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Monday May 27, 2002

Ps.,

What I also heard: "If you don't believe me go ask....(fill in the blank)". It's called TRIANGULATION.

The underlying motive - the person saying this doesn't believe it either...get hooked in and take a journey down the yellow brick road, it is CRAZYMAKING!!!

Friel and Friel go into this in detail, check the Bookshelf.

Best,

Tim B, planettrout

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Tuesday May 28, 2002

OK Bryan, here's my take, for what it's worth.

I think that since you happen to be of the male gender, and surely one who is capable of love and commitment, there are too many people writing in here and trying to shift blame to you.

I would not buy into it for a second.

After reading your hints and "clues" about your wife's suspected infidelity, in my opinion she is keeping you from the truth, a truth that is so ugly that you may be in denial of its reality. In a way, it almost seems to me like she *wants* you to find out without coming right out and saying it (again, making you responsible). While others will certainly disagree with me, I feel too many people who have posted are thinking that since you are a man, you must be at fault somewhere, and I honestly think you have tried everything a normal, loving person would do; I do not believe you are some spineless "codependent" (god, what a horrid, blame-shifting catch-phrase) that needs to join the Stuart Smalley generation of marked individuals. I believe this is a cheap attempt to make you responsible for your wife's terrible behavior.

I'll bet you never thought this woman of your dreams would act so awfully, and perhaps you are having a hard time admitting that to yourself. One could hardly blame you. Could happen to anyone. It doesn't only happen to people who have "issues" to "fix".

Judging from the contents of your story, I think you are a good man. Perhaps your wife's pathology has distracted you from remembering this. Take it easy, take care of you, and I'm sure that in time, all will be fine. I think you're taking steps in that direction, and I encourage you to keep going that way. Hang with your friends. Be cool.

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Wednesday May 29, 2002

I can really relate.

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Wednesday May 29, 2002

Gosh, whomever wrote what I cut/pasted below, I agree with you 100%. Pouring through the posts it is blatantly obvious that there are a bunch of really angry female "victims" here who are so biased against men that they don't find it abusive in the least to challenge Bryan's story, accuse HIM of being the abuser, blame him, criticize him, debate with him, et al. Yuck. I am a woman even and I find it very unsettling.

Then these same women are the ones who always profess, "Look! Almost all the victims here are female! That proves that men are more abusive than women!" No, it only proves that most men avoid sharing their stories because they know they are going to treated like the rape victim who is asked, "But WHAT were YOU WEARING that night when you were assaulted?"

I am sure Bryan has some issues - which would make him fit in with all of the other victims here who have issues, too. Sorry, but ALL victims have something they need to work on. Too bad about Bryan's wife. My ex BF was molested as a child but that did not give him the right to hold a gun to my head when we were together.

It's not Bryan's fault his wife was molested, mistreated and is mad as hell at men still and, subsequently, an ABUSER. Nor is it his responsibility to repair her wounds or fix her life for her. The only thing Bryan is responsible for is his choice in partners and what course of action he takes once he understands he is being abused.

It seems to me that that is precisely what he is working on currently; sorting out his ambivalent feelings, his options, etc. Good for you Bryan. Welcome. Because you are a typical, "normal" victim no different than any others here and on your way toward recovery!

"Submit Thursday May 23, 2002 Bryan, Again, I am floored at the number of posters who continue to try to find some flaw in your story, some fault that you have that would explain why your wife is abusive and you can't leave her. I have never seen as much mistrust of a person's story when the poster was a woman. I am a woman, not a man with a bias against women. Now, with that said, I want to say that one of the things I was suprised about was that you answered these people. You defended yoursef when you didn't need to..."

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Wednesday May 29, 2002

Thank you everyone. The last few days have been real *hitty....forgive me for not writing much.

Bryan

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Wednesday May 29, 2002

Thank you everyone. The last few days have been real *hitty....forgive me for not writing much.

Bryan

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Wednesday May 29, 2002

Thank you everyone. The last few days have been real *hitty....forgive me for not writing much.

Bryan

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Thursday May 30, 2002

Lee K here. I didn't sign my last post but just wanted you to know it was the one about how your wife becomes the fragile flower.

It was nice of you to let us all know you are not feeling good and why you haven't posted recently. You are a very considerate person to tell us that. Especially so since you don't know any of us personally and have no obligations to us.

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Thursday May 30, 2002

Thanks LeeK. You guys have become friends to me and I enjoy coming here. Gives me something to look forward to. Here's a (probably weird) question.....why is it that it drives me NUTS when someone says I have low self esteem? Is it possible to have fairly good self esteem and still be.....well....doing what I'm doing. Thanks, Bryan

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Thursday May 30, 2002

To clarify something: being codependent does not CAUSE someone to abuse me, but it may cause me to tolerate abuse far longer than I should. In fact, I know that is what kept me with my husband going on 12 years; it's what kept me hoping and trying and carrying the marriage.

Suggesting that Bryan may be codependent in his thinking in no way places blame on him for his wife's behavior. As a recent poster stated, it is Bryan's responsibility to decide how long to endure. That is an individual decision. Since Bryan is unhappy and frustrated, I take it he wants some kind of change: either in his wife and/or in himself. I think he's doing a good job of thinking this through and articulating his feelings and needs.

As much as we would all like to make our issues and problems simple (Oh well, I just chose a bad one!) when a pattern exists, as Bryan indicates exists with him, it's worth considering and thinking hard about. Otherwise we keep repeating the pattern until we finally learn.

Sorry to talk about you like you're not here, Bryan. I just get the sense that some here feel that you are being blamed for your wife's abusiveness because some of us have suggested that you look within, and break your own unhealthy patterns. I've had to do that; am STILL doing that, and I in no way feel responsible for the abuse my husband has dished out to me. You are responsible only for yourself, Bryan.

I'm in your corner,

Becky

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Friday May 31, 2002

Bryan- I'm a believer in the power of positive thinking and that we create what we focus on. I can share from my own experience that I lived breathed abuse and it was always in my thoughts. For years, I concentrated my thoughts, energies and time on my husband's treatment - why was he like this, how could he treat me like this, what is wrong with him etc, what is wrong with me to put up with it - I was stuck! I finally learned that I was remaining powerless by not making some needed changes in my own thought processes. Example: reality is that I am married to a man who is abusive and doesn't see it - he will not take responsibility and me pointing it out to him doesn't work. I was in a "victim" state by choosing to concentrate on my powerlessness to change him and staying there. I decided to work on changing that by concentrating on learning to fix me and learn to love myself.

You and I have a choice to leave an abusive relationship or one that is hurting us. As the author Robert Burney stated "Any time we do not own our choices, we are empowering victimization. We will then blame the other person, and/or blame ourselves. It is a vital part of the process of learning to love ourselves, and taking responsibility for being a co-creator in our life, to own all of our choices".

"It is essential to own that we have choices in order to escape the codependent suffering victim martyr role - or the other extreme, which is being abusive in order to try to make others do it "right" (that is, do what we want them to.) Both, the people who appear to be victims and the people that appear to be abusers, are coming from a victim place in terms of blaming others for their behavior. "I wouldn't have to hit you if you didn't talk to me that way" is a victim statement. Both victim and perpetrator are coming from a victim perspective, blaming their behaviors on others - or on themselves, "I can't help it, that is just how I am."

When we look outside for self-definition and self-worth, we are giving power away and setting ourselves up to be victims. We are trained to be victims. We are taught to give our power away".

Reading this gave me a lightbulb moment. In concentrating on my husband's treatment and disrespect, I was remaining stuck and remaining in victim mentality. It also kept me from looking deeply at myself. I needed to start sending myself positive messages of love to myself that would lift me up and empower me to make decisions for my own caretaking. I had to stop my automatic negative thinking I was doing everyday. I am still in the work in progress stage ( I have alot of inner issues to work through) and I don't know if I will stay or leave, but in the meantime, I am not being hard on myself. I am not ready to leave my husband but I am working on healing me so that I won't allow this type of treatment ever again because I love myself too much to allow it.

Bryan, you already suspect your wife of being unfaithful to you. I believe your instincts are probably right on (need to learn to honor what your body is telling you - usually it is right) considering her previous marriage and by some of her suspicious actions. You know she will deny it and it is pointless to dwell on it any longer if she is set on hiding it from you. You don't like the way she treats you and when you try to get her to change it doesn't work. Believe me, I understand too well the pain and frustration of this. Begin to focus all your thoughts on just you and learning to love all aspects of yourself. Stop pressuring yourself for not having the courage to leave her or not making decisions that you feel you should. You need to build up love for yourself by taking care of you! Send yourself constant positive messages of love to you. Believe me you will then feel the power to make the decision to leave or stay and feel good about it. You will accept responsibility for whatever you do and be able to live a life free of disrespectful treatment. You too will not be tempted to be abusive back in retaliation because you will honor yourself too much to do so. You will not be filled with guilt, fear, anxiety because you will trust you to take care of you and know that you are making a decision that is in your best interest. I hoped this helped some. FEM4000

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Friday May 31, 2002

Bryan- I'm a believer in the power of positive thinking and that we create what we focus on. I can share from my own experience that I lived breathed abuse and it was always in my thoughts. For years, I concentrated my thoughts, energies and time on my husband's treatment - why was he like this, how could he treat me like this, what is wrong with him etc, what is wrong with me to put up with it - I was stuck! I finally learned that I was remaining powerless by not making some needed changes in my own thought processes. Example: reality is that I am married to a man who is abusive and doesn't see it - he will not take responsibility and me pointing it out to him doesn't work. I was in a "victim" state by choosing to concentrate on my powerlessness to change him and staying there. I decided to work on changing that by concentrating on learning to fix me and learn to love myself.

You and I have a choice to leave an abusive relationship or one that is hurting us. As the author Robert Burney stated "Any time we do not own our choices, we are empowering victimization. We will then blame the other person, and/or blame ourselves. It is a vital part of the process of learning to love ourselves, and taking responsibility for being a co-creator in our life, to own all of our choices".

"It is essential to own that we have choices in order to escape the codependent suffering victim martyr role - or the other extreme, which is being abusive in order to try to make others do it "right" (that is, do what we want them to.) Both, the people who appear to be victims and the people that appear to be abusers, are coming from a victim place in terms of blaming others for their behavior. "I wouldn't have to hit you if you didn't talk to me that way" is a victim statement. Both victim and perpetrator are coming from a victim perspective, blaming their behaviors on others - or on themselves, "I can't help it, that is just how I am."

When we look outside for self-definition and self-worth, we are giving power away and setting ourselves up to be victims. We are trained to be victims. We are taught to give our power away".

Reading this gave me a lightbulb moment. In concentrating on my husband's treatment and disrespect, I was remaining stuck and remaining in victim mentality. It also kept me from looking deeply at myself. I needed to start sending myself positive messages of love to myself that would lift me up and empower me to make decisions for my own caretaking. I had to stop my automatic negative thinking I was doing everyday. I am still in the work in progress stage ( I have alot of inner issues to work through) and I don't know if I will stay or leave, but in the meantime, I am not being hard on myself. I am not ready to leave my husband but I am working on healing me so that I won't allow this type of treatment ever again because I love myself too much to allow it.

Bryan, you already suspect your wife of being unfaithful to you. I believe your instincts are probably right on (need to learn to honor what your body is telling you - usually it is right) considering her previous marriage and by some of her suspicious actions. You know she will deny it and it is pointless to dwell on it any longer if she is set on hiding it from you. You don't like the way she treats you and when you try to get her to change it doesn't work. Believe me, I understand too well the pain and frustration of this. Begin to focus all your thoughts on just you and learning to love all aspects of yourself. Stop pressuring yourself for not having the courage to leave her or not making decisions that you feel you should. You need to build up love for yourself by taking care of you! Send yourself constant positive messages of love to you. Believe me you will then feel the power to make the decision to leave or stay and feel good about it. You will accept responsibility for whatever you do and be able to live a life free of disrespectful treatment. You too will not be tempted to be abusive back in retaliation because you will honor yourself too much to do so. You will not be filled with guilt, fear, anxiety because you will trust you to take care of you and know that you are making a decision that is in your best interest. I hoped this helped some. FEM4000

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Friday May 31, 2002

Beautifully said, Fem!

Becky

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Saturday June 01, 2002

Bryan, I came to this site because I am an abusive wife. I have been married to my third husband for 12 years. Most of it is verbal although I have hit him a couple times. He does have some frustrating habits but nothing compared to the horrible verbal, demeaning & intentionally spiteful words I have hurled at him for most of our marriage. Yes, I was the same way to my first two husbands. Yes, my mother was and is still like that to my father. Anyway, our 12th anniversary was this past Sunday (May 26) and the following day he told me that he wanted more out of life - like to be happy. That he has finally realized that he hasn't really been happy in so long that he can't remember the last time. Pretty sad, huh? Anyway, women like me don't change. I could say I hope to do better next time because I have never been so completely sad as I have been for the past three days yet I still hurl it at him now and then just for good measure. So, Bryan, call it a day, admit you tried, and move on to someone who can make you happy because you will never be happy in this marriage. Julie

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Saturday June 01, 2002

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Thursday June 06, 2002

It may seem hard.. yet ask her is she happy sexually with you, and if so.. Explain.. listn and the next day buy her some flowers.. for one solid month.. send her a card through the mail.. buy her an out fit .. take her along to pick it out.. lil things.. comb her hair.. or ask to wash it.. Make her month.. And after the month.. Watch... She should miss you.. and rekindle those moments and start... to show you affection as you so.. deserve... OH at night.. whisper/ I MISS U, soooooo much

skip a few days.. whisper.... I love U ... next couple of days.. rub her feet.. heck ask to paint her nail..

GET INSIDE HER WORLD>> an dyou shall explore.. her entering into YOURS.. and with patients.. YOU BOTH will have resloved your own.. situtions...

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Thursday June 06, 2002

It may seem hard.. yet ask her is she happy sexually with you, and if so.. Explain.. listn and the next day buy her some flowers.. for one solid month.. send her a card through the mail.. buy her an out fit .. take her along to pick it out.. lil things.. comb her hair.. or ask to wash it.. Make her month.. And after the month.. Watch... She should miss you.. and rekindle those moments and start... to show you affection as you so.. deserve... OH at night.. whisper/ I MISS U, soooooo much

skip a few days.. whisper.... I love U ... next couple of days.. rub her feet.. heck ask to paint her nail..

GET INSIDE HER WORLD>> an dyou shall explore.. her entering into YOURS.. and with patients.. YOU BOTH will have resloved your own.. situtions...

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Friday June 07, 2002

Obviously the last poster has NO IDEA what it's like to live with an abuser. Yes, I should just cater to my abusive husband's incessant demands for more affection and attention. The fact is, I tried to cater to his insecurities for 7 years, and it didn't work. Why? Because the problem is not me, it's him. Wait, to clarify that - the problem with his need for more affection and attention is his. I had my own codependent problems that needed attention. Funny thing, since I've started doing what I need to do to be happy, it has forced my husband to take a look at himself and his problems. Besides that, I'm now NOT holding his hand for fear of a verbal attack, I hold his hand when I want to! What a huge relief it is to do what you want to do when you want to do it! No, my husband isn't happy about it, he whines a lot, but it's actually starting to sink in that maybe our problems are not all because of me. Bryan, ignore the last post! I'm not saying that displays of affection are bad, I'm saying that showing affection we don't feel is codependent and dishonest, and will only serve to create resentment on our part.

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Friday June 07, 2002

Hello, this is Bryan.... I wish I could convey to the 2nd to the last poster how much I have already tried these things....for years. With the exception of her gladly accepting foot rubs and back rubs and running her errands and cooking dinner all the time, she freezes when I do much else. Whispering anything into her ear will get me a dirty look.....bringing her flowers more than 2 days in a row would make her very suspicious and she'd nag for hours. Washing her hair?? That would mean I'd have to be in the shower with her..and she'd rather be shot than do something that sexy. She will sometimes snuggle up to me in bed and when I then ask if she'd like to make love, she says no, and I mean everytime. The only time we do is when she says we "should" because we're trying to have a baby. I have tried everything I can think of and thats why I feel I'm at the place I'm at today....I feel empty, go through the motions but there is little joy in it anymore. She continues to say she is happy and reminds me that I "said" I'd learn to accept things and be happy....and "thats just the way it is".

Like I said before, I fear (terrified) that I am actually getting farther away from leaving......instead of closer to it. I know that takes tremendous strength and I just don't feel real strong right now. But I do thank you all for your support and suggestions. I hope someday soon something will click in my head but I'm afraid it just won't.

Bryan

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Saturday June 08, 2002

Lee K Here Bryan, I feel so bad for you. You sound like a prisnor of war who has resigned himself to this horrible fate. No sex with another person for the rest of your life! Living with a selfish difficult woman forever! Allowing your spirit to be slowly snuffed out!. What kind of a hell you are agreeing to. How horrible. I wouldn't be able to stand it more than a year, let alone a lifetime. I don't understand how you feel further away from leaving her except maybe an overwhelming feeling of the fruitlessness of it all coupled with an intense fear of change is stronger than the desire for a more pleasurable existence.

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Monday June 10, 2002

yes, I do, First run, not walk, from this marriage. Second, get into some counseling for yourself. Be by yourself for a change. Don't get involved with anyone. Do what you want to do for a change. You will feel a lot better. I'm in a abusive (verbal) marriage for the last 5 yrs. So I can relate to Bryan. I have never felt so alone in all my life. This marriage has been the biggest MISTAKE of my life.

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Monday June 10, 2002

Bryan, I'm in the mist of leaving my 2nd verbally abusing female (didn't marry this one, thank God). She tried to manipulate me into marrying her within two months of meeting her, but it sounded ridiculous to me at the time. However, it hasn't been easy for me to just up and go, although I know thats best for ME. But now I'm doing it. One thing that helped me was a reality check idea from my sister. She said; "Imagine you and her old and in an old folks home. Would you enjoy sitting on a porch side by side with her during the final years of your life?" Good luck and prayers. Gerry

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Monday June 10, 2002

Bryan, I'm in the mist of leaving my 2nd verbally abusing female (didn't marry this one, thank God). She tried to manipulate me into marrying her within two months of meeting her, but it sounded ridiculous to me at the time. However, it hasn't been easy for me to just up and go, although I know thats best for ME. But now I'm doing it. One thing that helped me was a reality check idea from my sister. She said; "Imagine you and her old and in an old folks home. Would you enjoy sitting on a porch side by side with her during the final years of your life?" Good luck and prayers. Gerry

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Tuesday June 11, 2002

More thoughts. Bryan, one interesting thing I learned recently, through therapy and attachment theory group, was how we, through our emotional developement period (6 - 18 months old) create a "template" which we require in all our relationships we have subsequent to our first true love, our mothers (usual primary caretaker). This we reinforce as we grow older ----- unless, that is, we do something to change or interupt that. What amazes me the most is that even if our prospective mates are, at first, somewhat compassionate and caring, that, for those of us used to and needing (or "programmed") an unhealthy scenario in our emotional and intimate lives, we create or virtually demand them to blossom as abusers. I realize that many abusers are already predispositioned to be that way and early in the relationship they either hide it or we choose not to see it. However, when I am truly honest with myself I can remember how I insisted and practically demanded, subconciously, that they change and treat me the way I'm used to (all my life) being treated. Like, I DON'T MATTER. Sick, isn't it! But until I redirect my emotional pathways in my brain I will keep repeating this scenario or "template". An uphill battle for sure but I find it much easier now that I'm aware of what is really happening. The thinking brain can, with lots of attention and effort, affect the emotional brain and its routes. I live by myself now. I love and really like myself and who I'm becoming. I'm happy now. You, Bryan, can do it too!! Good luck to you and God bless you. Gerry

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Saturday August 10, 2002

Get a piece of paper and a pen. Draw a line down the center of the page. Write good on one half and bad on the other. Sometimes seeing your thoughts in black and white helps you sort them out. Also question yourself and answere yourself honestly, even if your answeres sound selfish. You'll learn alot about yourself and may get your answeres? Especially if there is more bad then good! Should you stay or should you go? Is she willing to work it out with you? Do you need to change some of the things that you could be doing wrong? I hope the both of you can find enough love in your hearts to focus on a solution instead of the problems! That's all that really matters! God bless!

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Tuesday August 13, 2002

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Sunday August 03, 2003

I suspect that Bryan attracts or is attracted to narcissists just as I have. Bryan, do you honestly believe that your wife will change if she has behaved this way for your entire marriage? She won't. I agree with those who have advised you to end this marriage, figure out why you have chosen this type of woman consistently and then make a conscious decision not to try to rescue any others. Read http://samvak.tripod.com/npdglance.html to see if the women in your life fit the profiles of any of these disorders. It wasn't until I got involved with a man who was seriously mentally unstable that I recognized the symptoms in prior relationships that weren't as bad. Good luck. Rose

 

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