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4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

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

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1/14 Interactive Board: My Purrrfect Husband

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

10/23 Interactive Board: Quandary Revisited

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

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

6/12 Interactive Board: Unintentional Abuse

11/7 Interactive Board: Is This Abusive?

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

11/4 Interactive Board: A New Me!

10/8 Interactive Board: Seeming Impossibility

9/8 Interactive Board: My Ex MisTreats Our Son

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

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

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

4/7 Interactive Board: Too Guilty!

Doc@DrIrene.com

Comments for Look What Happens

Comments for Look What Happens...

Material posted here is intended for educational purposes only, and must not be considered a substitute for informed advice from your own health care provider.

Courtesy of Dr. Irene Matiatos  Copyrightę 2000. The material on this website may be distributed freely for non-commercial or educational purposes provided that author credit is given. For commercial distribution, please contact the author at Doc@drirene.com

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, July 16, 2000

S1

What I'm hearing from you is that your heart and body want out of this marriage...but your mind is giving you the guilts. Listen to your heart and body.. cause the mind can play tricks on you. Anything that makes you physically ill.. is never a good thing....and stress is the #1 human enemy and killer. It's better to be divorced than chronically ill all the time.

Try having him move out for a year.....I bet your health improves a lot...and if so...don't take him back. Instead celebrate for curing what ails you. :)

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, July 16, 2000

S1

Susan: you are a wonderful, compassionate person -- who can still feel for this man after all he has done to you and your children. You deserve someone just as wonderful. Stand firm, and set a good example for your children. I'll bet that a lot of your physical illnesses will improve and you will boost your immune system once you are a healthy distance from this man. Good Luck, and God Bless You.

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, July 16, 2000

S1

Susan, I hate that you have gone through this. I have verbally abused my wife for years until she would not take it any more (just over a year ago).

It has been very painful to understand how bad I was (and what is required to change), but the journey has been worth it so far. We had a set back recently, but that helped to show me I need to keep going (my wife is a compassionate soul also).

My wife and I attended a few therapy sessions and they helped. I understand I must attend more alone (strongly recommended by my wife and understood by me that I need it whether we are together or not).

I can't speak for your situation with knowledge, but you should listen to your gut. My wife did (along with prayer which has been helpful to both of us). She decided to not take it anymore (at any cost). I decided our relationship would be better if I got help and tried to be a better husband and father (I now understand this is a life-long journey).

I hope you both get what you need and deserve. If you are not true to your convictions and demand that respect, it will be difficult to get. :)

Doug

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, July 16, 2000

S1

Dear Doctor Irene,

I'm Susan's husband. I am not at all proud of what I have done. I failed miserably at our marriage. I failed to show her how much I love her. I let my inner demons control my actions without realizing what I was doing. I hope I'm not too late with Susan. I am willing to do whatever it takes in order to earn back her trust. 

I know I have helped set a pattern of behavior that has destroyed our marriage. With this realization comes learning. I have learned that my behavior for whatever reason was unacceptable. I have learned, through therapy why I was angry. I am not making excuses for my behavior just explaining why. My dragon stems from a fear of not being "good enough". I was told by my Dad that if my accomplishments didn't reach perfection, then I was not doing good enough. I know my Dad did the best he could and I have discussed these issues with him. But I failed to realize the pattern of behavior and I repeated his mistakes. I let my anger dictate my behavior. I let my frustrations dominate my life. I let my fear of rejection dominate my being. I know that I was wrong. I know what caused the anger and I have tried, usually, successfully to act rationally instead of angrily when I feel rejected. Do you have any suggestions for me to help me earn back Susan's trust. I don't want to lose her. She is my one true love. Thank you. Sincerely, Sorry

Dear Susan's husband,

There is nothing that makes me happier than when two people are able to fix this kind of problem. Because what that tells me is that each of them have done what they have to in order to be more whole.

Good for you for looking inside. Stay there because you're not done yet. All the stuff you have discovered about yourself, you will find operating at subtler levels just beneath your awareness. Each time you discover a new level and think you're home free, you will find another. Maybe one day whatever levels are left will be insignificant, but you're not anywhere near there yet.

Let Susan pull away from you, without making more of it than it is. Understand she has scars that will take time to heal. Understand that the only way her scars can heal is if do not resist her pulling away. If you can begin to accept (i.e., tolerate without an attitude) that she needs space, distance, no sex, perhaps no marriage, and allow her to go in that direction - simply because she wants to - you are working at winning her back.

Love yourself enough too - so that you cannot accept a partner who truly does not want to be with you, sad as that may be.

Live life this way, and watch time heal. It will take every ounce of strength you don't think you have. You need every lesson letting go and caring for yourself will bring. You need these lessons for yourself, not for Susan, though they will benefit Susan. You need to know there will be many times when you feel fed up, hate where your life is, etc. Just keep loving and letting go. Getting through those times over and over again without acting out is the essence of your recovery.

Best wishes, Dr. Irene

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, July 16, 2000

S1

To Susan's Husband,

If it's her trust you want to earn back you need to ask her what she needs from you. Then get busy working on it...without looking to her for constant feedback and reassurance. And you will also need to respect that sometimes it's a lot to little a lot to late to repair the damage.

I think sometimes people expect results to quickly and give up before they should...they want and instant fix...no such thing when it comes to peoples emotions. Yes.

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, July 16, 2000

S1

Susan, dump Him Now, it hurt at the time ,but you well look back and ask, Why didn't I do it sooner. I dump mine 11 yrs ago going through the same things as you, not knowing it is abuse, but knowing I could not take it any more. My ex. blamed me for everything that went wrong with anything and then some. I have been on my own and am better for it. take care of Yourself, so you can care for your sons. (have two boys) Rayola

Rayola, when the hurtful, angry partner does nothing but blame and hate and is stuck in that place, the only sane option is to dump them, as you did. But, when a partner, who is also the parent of your children, begins to take responsibility, move away if that is what your body tell you, but do so with an open mind. Keep an eye on that person and how they are progressing in their recovery. Most are too impatient and won't stay on the recovery wagon long, or for whatever reason, will be unable to pay their recovery much more than lip service. Perhaps these people are too manipulative or just too plain sick. 

But others, well... It's not always a smooth road, but you begin to see a different person emerge. Love is a wonderful thing with infinite power. Mr. Susan may love her enough that he overcomes how much he hates himself. Susan's job is remain skeptical and self-protective and not to jump the gun. This is very, very important! (Jumping the gun jeopardizes both people's tenuous recovery.)

In time, Susan's body will tell her how she feels.

 B1: Submit
Date: Monday, July 17, 2000

S1

Susan - We seem to be going through the same thing. I hope you stop and listen to your body. It is speaking to you and it, beyond anything else, has your best interests at heart. For three years, I went to doctor after doctor trying to find out what was wrong with me. I was constantly fatigued, felt like my body had aged 15 years in the span of 5, had joint/bone pain, chest pain, dizziness, was constantly sick (colds, sore throat, flu-like symptoms), etc. My doctors went through possible diagnoses such as lupus, arthritis, early menopause, etc. and ultimately, after every test in the book was run, sent me to a psychotherapist. OF course, it angered me - after all, this was not all in my head. But, I came to realize that, in a way, it was. Sure, my body was feeling physically ill and they were very real symptoms. But, there is truly a connection between your mind and body and stress and SHEER UNHAPPINESS can make you feel like hell!  Yes! 

I realized that my body was sending me a message - I was slowly dying - my body was withering away under the weight of my unhappiness! I also took a good look at my search for a diagnosis and realized that I almost WANTED something to be physically wrong with me so that I could point to that instead of my life! Now I see that my husband and my relationship with him was like a drain - pulling energy out of me. Think about how much energy you have devoted to trying to make your husband happy with you!! I have recently told my husband that I want a divorce but have agreed to put off officially filing for awhile. He too is doing some very good introspection and I think will ultimately make some very good changes. But, it is no longer about me. I hope for his sake and the sake of my kids that he does change and is able to have a healthy relationship in the future. But, after finding my self again (a long lost friend who I know I can count on), I could never trust him enough again to enter into a relationship with him. 

I have found something that is too precious to take that kind of a chance with and I don't want to lose it again. Susan, I hope you listen to your body . . . IT IS YOUR SOUL TALKING! I hope the very best for you. Lori

Good advice Susan. Listen to your body. Move away. When and if things change, your body will let you know... I wish I remembered the link I posted on the home page a few weeks ago. There was a study that demonstrated a relationship between abuse and ill health in women.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, July 17, 2000

S1

Dear Susan...I am currently going through the very same thing. It could have been me who wrote this letter. I too have confronted my husband about the abuse and how I am feeling - though he says he is sorry and he is trying to not be abusive - I just don't love him but I am having difficulty telling him this directly because I hate - hurting him (even though he hurt me for years). Something Dr. Irene mentioned in her response to you - really hit home for me. He has been doing this for 20 years to you (me too!!) - maybe too much damage has been to allow us to be open to loving this person again. I know that I am currently staying in the relationships because I feel feel sorry for him and for my youngest child. And I know intellectually - that is not a good reason. Dr. Irene's response was excellent - and its helped me understand why I feel the way I do.....good luck Susan!  Never forget that it is perfectly OK to feel how you feel. If you feel no love, you feel no love. The interesting thing I've seen over and over is that when you let your partner know how you feel and your partner accepts that you feel the way you feel, the way you feel may change... Go figure...

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, July 18, 2000

S1

Hi Susan,

I wish you every bit of luck in the world.

Stand firm.

 

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, July 19, 2000

S1

Dr. Irene,

Thank you for your response. I know that This won't be short, easy or painless. Like I said I will do whatever it takes on my part to reconcile, including letting go if necessary. I just don't want that to happen too fast. I hope Susan can allow me the time required so we can come to a decision that we can accept without hurt feelings or regrets. I don't want her to be unhappy and I hurt deeply every time I think about the things I said that hurt her. I am so ashamed that I have a hard time looking at myself in the mirror. I know I need to forgive myself but I don't know if I ever will. I need to understand why more clearly before I can say "your forgiven. Thank you, Susan's husband

Let go; respect her feelings no matter how much they threaten you. Mastering the ability to put her needs ahead of yours is your best hope of winning her back - and of leading a more fulfilling life yourself. Good luck!

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, July 25, 2000

S1

It is almost eerie. . . . Susan was telling my story. My first husband treated me so badly, and was so angry and hateful all the time, I thought he'd be thrilled when I offered to let him out of the marriage. He wasn't. He tried to change, but it never seemed to be about taking responsibility for his abusive behavior, or being willing to meet and vanquish his own demons, it was always about getting me to be satisfied with what he offered. The first divorce "offer" was in the fall of 1994. Things got worse and worse. I told him in early 1995 that I had had enough. He begged for a chance. We worked on the relationship some more, entering counseling in May. I left in October, 1995, again sure it was hopeless. He asked for more time. Six months later he still acted like he disliked me and disapproved of me. He was alternately hostile and avoidant. I kept asking, "how would you be acting if you liked me?" He didn't like that question, but also never answered it. So in April 1996 I gave up. He signed the divorce petition as "co-petitioner" but testified at the hearing that the marriage wasn't "irretrievably broken." He was already with the woman who became his next wife. He had started working on his issues (he has a lot of them) but when I "pulled the plug" he decided he didn't have any problems that hadn't been caused by me. I really cared about him (still do) but was so tired and sad and hurt. I spent all that time trying to "wean" him of the marriage, trying to help him see his part in it so he could learn. It did no good (other than giving me time to get over my obsession with him.) Some interesting things have happened since the divorce. I now always tell him the truth, no matter what I think he will think of it. I see now that trying to humor him and giving in to him all those years were both self-destructive and destructive of the relationship. He didn't know how often I only had sex with him to appease him, or faked orgasm, or wanted more but didn't ask for it. I resented him for those things, but I had chosen to do them. Now that I understand that, he's off the hook. I don't hate him anymore, and I don't blame him for the choices I made that led to my unhappiness. My lack of boundaries, my giving away of my personal power, were the source of my misery. I allowed him to abuse me. I wasn't willing to deal with the consequences of standing up to him while we were married, but since we have children I still have to deal with him, and I have gotten far enough into recovery that I can stand up to him now. I'm not afraid of him anymore (it helps a lot to be under different roofs.) I also have a lot more compassion for him. Another interesting thing is he seems to have given all of his personal power to his new wife. He seems afraid of her, and seems to want her to run his life. Maybe that's the best he can do so far with what he learned from our divorce. Maybe he thinks he should have let me overpower and abuse him! Good stuff!

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, July 28, 2000

S1

Susan, you just told my life story. It blows my mind. I was divorced a year ago after 16yrs. of marriage. Thinking about it was worse than doing it. My husband (x) tried? or wanted me to think he tried to kill himself the day I decided enough was enough. My life is much better now. My kids are much better now. Sometimes I miss him and then other times I fear him. I don't know where either one of the feelings come from. He has done nothing lately to make me feel this way. If it needs to be done, do it. You will have mixed feeling at times but in the end you will know you did the right thing for everyone. Especially yourself. Yes.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, July 29, 2000

S1

I feel the same in my position. I left my husband & stepchildren one year ago. I miss them, but not the tension or arguments. My trust has always been a problem for the 10 years of our marriage. I have felt that I have made excuses for his lax behavior toward childrearing and especially working. I've now been dubbed "breadwinner" by the courts and have lost all funds in "our" accounts. Ugh... I want to see him, but feel if I let him know where I am & how I feel, I'll be back in that subservient position. I am in counseling, but he sees no need for same. Do I see positive signs from him? Oh. yes! But is it just a manipulated technique to get the "golden goose" back or is there real love at the core? I don't know. Unlikely that this person knows how to love the way you do. I miss the children and the comfort he deigns to grant at times. It just never seems it is consistent. I've explained my need for security- emotionally & monetarily, but I gave up. Is this fair for the family as a whole? My older children from a former marriage feel I have been a "turkey." That certainly hurts to hear. His erratic emotional behavior has effected them also at various times during the past 10 years. Please respond. Thanx! Arlene

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, July 30, 2000

S1

Dear Susan, so much of what you said has struck a chord with me. The very way you think through your relationship and evaluate his behavior are so similar to my own thoughts it is scary. Reading your words have helped me see my own dysfunctional way of thinking. I torture myself with guilt.....I make excuses for my husbands behavior. We are separated right now and for the first time ever, I have seen him cry, not just cry, but sob and beg. I do not love him anymore and I feel so guilty for this. Please don't. You have the right to feel how you feel. It is OK to no longer feel love for him. 

I hate being the cause of so much pain. You are not the cause. Had your husband done a reasonable job of taking care of himself (and not requiring excuses), you two would not be where you are. It hurts so much when my children beg me to take their dad back. I just cannot take it anymore. It is driving me insane. Pay attention when the body speaks...

So when I hear others feeling like I do it helps me to know that these feelings are normal. I just wish I was stronger and that I could learn to put my needs first. I feel so selfish when I do. Think of it as self-caring. You really need to dump that guilt! My parents divorced when I was a teenager. I took it really hard and begged my mom to give my dad another chance. It put a strain on our relationship and at the age of fourteen I went to live with my grandmother in another state. All that is going on in my life right now has kicked up a lot of old memories and guilt. You're acting as though you have the power to single-handedly fix your marriage? You can only take care of you! Save the guilt for negligence in areas where you really have control.

My dad tried to commit suicide on several occasions when he and my mother were going through the divorce and me and my brother were there to stop him. You guys should not have never had to be in such a position; not a kid's responsibility... No wonder you are still over responsible. Now when I see my husband cry like he never has before, and he threatens that he cannot go with his life and that he is going to kill himself, I feel so bad and selfish. I relive those memories. You are letting him manipulating you. YUK! Look here: Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation and Guilt to Manipulate You

But if I do not start living for myself, I will die inside. Correct. What does all this have to do with you? I don't know, I just wanted you to know that you are not alone.. There are many of us feeling guilt and shame and regret. But what we need is hope and faith in a better life. I am willing to be broke and poor living in a shoe box with no support and I still feel like I would be living a better life. I will have to learn to deal with the guilt. God help me.  He already has; you've come quite a way from the little girl whose job it was to keep daddy alive. Keep it up.

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, July 30, 2000

S1

I sure wish I could help!!!!!! I am sitting here thinking that I can not believe that someone else is living my life. I am in the same type situation myself and have been for 15 years. Considering divorce now. Mae

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, August 05, 2000

S1

Dear Susan

What an amazingly brave woman you are.

Do not feel bad about being exhausted, sick, and mentally worn down and have decided to stand up for yourself. Thankfully, you can see what a blood sucking worm he is. Let him pay someone to fulfill his sexual needs. God gave us two hands, if you know what I mean. You are not his servant. Good luck. 

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, August 08, 2000

S1

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, August 08, 2000

S1

susan. sounds like you might be isolated. find yourself a support group if you don't have one - for codependents.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, August 17, 2000

S1

Dear Susan, Thank you for writing, as it illuminated so much of what has gone on in my own marriage. Regarding the demands for sex, my husband has the same attitude--in fact, until I insisted that his wanting sex every day was unreasonable (I had to back it up with actual research, of course, and he still refuted it), it was a constant battle. I have spent the past several years feeling like the stereotypical "frigid" wife, until I paid attention to just how sexual and sensual I really am, and I'm sure this is true for you, too: I still find other men sexy, I still get turned on by other men, I still like to dress up and look sexy, whether my husband will be there or not, and I still have great, erotic dreams (but, again, never about my husband). I've realized that I AM sexy, and sexually healthy; my husband isn't, and THAT is why our relationship is sexually unhealthy! I love making love, but not to someone who thinks he "deserves" it--for ANY reason. Stay true to your self, and know that you aren't alone!

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, June 30, 2001

S1

Dear Susan, I understand exactly what you are going through. I have left my husband of 30 years , three times in the last five years. Aside from the verbal and emotional abuse,he was also physically abusive. I can't tell you how many cuts and bruises I have suffered at the hands of this man. To make a long story short, each time I left, he suddenly became remorseful and convivced me that he loved me and had changed his behavior. For a short time he acted differently but then things went down hill quickly. This is now the third time i have left and have been away for nine months. He has seen some counselers from the church and had one vsit with a psychiatrist, two months ago. Now ,once again, he claims he has changed and wants to go on a vscation with him fo a week to rekindle our relationship. I truly do not want to have sex with this man. I feel compassion for him, but I have no feelings for him. He said tht if I don't go with him, we will get a divorce. He doesn't understand that it took 30 years of abuse to get me to this point. If he would just repect my opinions and continue with therapy maybe i might change. I feel that once again he is using sex to try to manipulate me. He claims that a man can't go this long without a relationship and that that this prooves his love for me. I like you am sickened by this. Stay strong! A.B.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, June 30, 2001

S1

Dear Susan, I understand exactly what you are going through. I have left my husband of 30 years , three times in the last five years. Aside from the verbal and emotional abuse,he was also physically abusive. I can't tell you how many cuts and bruises I have suffered at the hands of this man. To make a long story short, each time I left, he suddenly became remorseful and convivced me that he loved me and had changed his behavior. For a short time he acted differently but then things went down hill quickly. This is now the third time i have left and have been away for nine months. He has seen some counselers from the church and had one vsit with a psychiatrist, two months ago. Now ,once again, he claims he has changed and wants to go on a vscation with him fo a week to rekindle our relationship. I truly do not want to have sex with this man. I feel compassion for him, but I have no feelings for him. He said tht if I don't go with him, we will get a divorce. He doesn't understand that it took 30 years of abuse to get me to this point. If he would just repect my opinions and continue with therapy maybe i might change. I feel that once again he is using sex to try to manipulate me. He claims that a man can't go this long without a relationship and that that this prooves his love for me. I like you am sickened by this. Stay strong! A.B.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, June 30, 2001

S1

Dear Susan, I understand exactly what you are going through. I have left my husband of 30 years , three times in the last five years. Aside from the verbal and emotional abuse,he was also physically abusive. I can't tell you how many cuts and bruises I have suffered at the hands of this man. To make a long story short, each time I left, he suddenly became remorseful and convivced me that he loved me and had changed his behavior. For a short time he acted differently but then things went down hill quickly. This is now the third time i have left and have been away for nine months. He has seen some counselers from the church and had one vsit with a psychiatrist, two months ago. Now ,once again, he claims he has changed and wants to go on a vscation with him fo a week to rekindle our relationship. I truly do not want to have sex with this man. I feel compassion for him, but I have no feelings for him. He said tht if I don't go with him, we will get a divorce. He doesn't understand that it took 30 years of abuse to get me to this point. If he would just repect my opinions and continue with therapy maybe i might change. I feel that once again he is using sex to try to manipulate me. He claims that a man can't go this long without a relationship and that that this prooves his love for me. I like you am sickened by this. Stay strong! A.B.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, June 30, 2001

S1

Dear Susan, I understand exactly what you are going through. I have left my husband of 30 years , three times in the last five years. Aside from the verbal and emotional abuse,he was also physically abusive. I can't tell you how many cuts and bruises I have suffered at the hands of this man. To make a long story short, each time I left, he suddenly became remorseful and convivced me that he loved me and had changed his behavior. For a short time he acted differently but then things went down hill quickly. This is now the third time i have left and have been away for nine months. He has seen some counselers from the church and had one vsit with a psychiatrist, two months ago. Now ,once again, he claims he has changed and wants to go on a vscation with him fo a week to rekindle our relationship. I truly do not want to have sex with this man. I feel compassion for him, but I have no feelings for him. He said tht if I don't go with him, we will get a divorce. He doesn't understand that it took 30 years of abuse to get me to this point. If he would just repect my opinions and continue with therapy maybe i might change. I feel that once again he is using sex to try to manipulate me. He claims that a man can't go this long without a relationship and that that this prooves his love for me. I like you am sickened by this. Stay strong! A.B.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, June 30, 2001

S1

Dear Susan, I understand exactly what you are going through. I have left my husband of 30 years , three times in the last five years. Aside from the verbal and emotional abuse,he was also physically abusive. I can't tell you how many cuts and bruises I have suffered at the hands of this man. To make a long story short, each time I left, he suddenly became remorseful and convivced me that he loved me and had changed his behavior. For a short time he acted differently but then things went down hill quickly. This is now the third time i have left and have been away for nine months. He has seen some counselers from the church and had one vsit with a psychiatrist, two months ago. Now ,once again, he claims he has changed and wants to go on a vscation with him fo a week to rekindle our relationship. I truly do not want to have sex with this man. I feel compassion for him, but I have no feelings for him. He said tht if I don't go with him, we will get a divorce. He doesn't understand that it took 30 years of abuse to get me to this point. If he would just repect my opinions and continue with therapy maybe i might change. I feel that once again he is using sex to try to manipulate me. He claims that a man can't go this long without a relationship and that that this prooves his love for me. I like you am sickened by this. Stay strong! A.B.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, February 21, 2003

S1

this is 2 years after you post and i dont know what is going on in your life now but. This sounds alot like my marriage now. After so mnay years of the name calling and threats to leave me. I do not want to have sex with my husband and he does not understand why and I have told him why but it dont make sense or is not a good enough reason for him. He says if I dont want to have sex with him I dont love him. And he thinks that I should at least once a week thats not to much to ask (he thinks) and most of the time I do just to keep the peace. Because if it goes over a week He starts to build up until there is a blow out. ex ex its like a circle I dont have sex it gets mad so I end up giving in just to deep the peace and then he is happy live is grand. And I should be able to forgive and forget him calling me names in front of our girls. (He was mad and thats what he does when he is mad) and he dont do it all the time so whats the big deal?? he ask I could go on and on but I will not. Any advice?