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Comments for Can She Get Over My Abuse?

Comments for Can She Get Over My Abuse?

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: Tuesday, April 25, 2000

S1

Dear Doug,

I think you should feel good your girlfriend was healthy enough to say no to the abuse.

If you have made changes she will see them. And I believe if she really loves you then she will return.

Trust takes time to be earned. Patience and persistence in being healthy should help her fear of you.

I am speaking from my point of view but what I really want from my partner is for him talk about what he did, how he did it and what he was thinking. Then validation from him about how much he hurt and scared me.

Then I like to just talk. He stops me every few sentences to mirror exactly what I said. He doesn't change my words he just repeats them back to me. It is amazing I feel heard just listening to him repeat my words. Then he asks me if there is more I want to say. He does this until I say no I am done. Having someone truly listen is a wonderful gift.

I hope you continue to get help and be proud of yourself for seeing what you were doing and turning your life around.

Be strong and best to you!

Faith

 

 B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 25, 2000

S1

Doug, After reading your letter, I wish my boyfriend had written it. You've been able to accept full responsibility for your actions. That is a huge step. After 3 plus years, my boyfriend has finally acknowledged that he has a serious problem. However, in almost every conversation we have about "us", it comes back to him trying in some subtle or not so subtle way to blame me. He tells me how much he wants to change, and has been doing a great deal of self-help stuff like reading books and starting to see a therapist. Yet he persists with the idea that by "having a victim personality" I bring abuse on myself. He likes to mock me, saying things like "Oh you are so innocent" in a sarcastic way. I've tried "showing" him that I know I have my problems too, by talking about conditions in my childhood, and things I've learned about codependence, what I've done wrong etc. It is never enough for him. He continues to wallow in the idea that he alone is being blamed, that somehow the rest of us don't have life as hard as he does. He has many good qualities, but I wonder if even with all this recent self-help, there is any hope for a good relationship. Good luck with yours!

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 25, 2000

S1

Dear Doug,

Change is hard work. Dr Irene said it won't be easy, you are still at the beginning. It is important not to be "pushy" with your former girlfriend. "Pushy" is controlling behavior.

If this relationship is gone forever, you still have much to be grateful for. Less pain in your life, and the chance for a happier you, in a healthy relationship. Be kind to yourself (but not at the expense of others.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 25, 2000

S1

Doug, I have a lot of respect for you admitting to your faults. You are on the right track regardless of whether or not you and your girlfriend get back together. I just got out of a very painful emotionally/verbally abusive relationship and the most frustrating part was that ne was NEVER wrong! He blamed me for everything, including his raging, cursing me, taking from me and having a hard time giving...I gave him a second chance. He was WORSE the second time around and came close to hitting me. My father was dying and he snapped out at me horribly and threw things at me for really, no reason. He flipped at me and cursed me on MY birthday because I was disappointed that he didn't make any time to see me. You don't need to hear all of this because I'm sure you'll get plenty of comments, but what I do want to say to you is, despite your current efforts, "how much is a person supposed to take". With all do respect, wasn't three years of that enough for her? Please remember that when someone has abusive patterns, it is very difficult for the partner to believe that they will ever change. She is going through this right now. Perhaps she deserves some happiness and peace in her life and the chance to have a relationship with someone more compatible. Once again, I respect what you are doing but you should let her go. Believe me, it is very hard for her too, but she deserves to seek out what she is looking for. Maybe someday when you have made progress you will have a chance with someone else. It seems that abusers, once they've already crossed the "lines" with their partner, they always will. I felt that way with my ex-boyfriend. I had to block his phone numbers from my phone so I wouldn't have to continue to hear how he loves me. It's is hard to believe that someone loves you and treats you that way...just let her go.

Good luck with your recovery, LHW

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 25, 2000

S1

Wow, yes I have a few comments. This is me. I am the one who verbally abused/controlled/was angry towards/distant from/disrespectful to my wife of 17 years. She "walked away" from our marriage. She has gone on with her life. We have joint custody of the children in an informal separation agreement. She has a new boyfriend and is restructuring her free time around exactly what she wants to do in life. She has no interest in reconciling at this time and is completely ambivalent towards me in general.

I am going to counseling and reading everything I can get my hands on regarding anger/controlling/healing relationships/spiritual/inspirational, etc. I even went to an anger management workshop. I am still in shock after several months that my wife left and that she has a boyfriend.

Dr. Irene: maybe this could be an occasion to address all the Dougs out there who are left "holding the bag" in their relationship. OK! Go here!

On the one hand, I am sure most of the abused women aren't particularly interested in what happens to these people, but on the other hand even the abusers have to live out the rest of their lives. What are you supposed to do?

Do you hang around and be available for your ex-wife, ex-girlfriend to change her mind? Do you move away and get on with your life? Do you hang around and get on with your life? I've read a lot about separation/reconciliation and when it does happen it can take many months or even years. It also seems that what either party does in the meantime has almost no effect either. When and if the abused spouse is ready then it will happen. You can always move back and end your interim relationships.

I am truly happy for the women who have left really abusive relationships, including verbal abuse, and who have gotten on with their lives. Good for them. However, what advice do you have for the abusive men who are in the "redeemable" category and truly want to repent for their sins and make things right in the world?

Peter

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 25, 2000

S1

BTW,

I thought LHW's comments were overly pessimistic. What if Doug really loves his girlfriend and wants to make things right with her and isn't interested in other women? Is that just too bad for him? Doesn't that mean that there is no such thing as forgiveness, redemption, reconciliation, healing, etc? Are we doomed to just go through life one relationship after the other until we get one right?

Peter

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 25, 2000

S1

Doug,

While you have taken a step in the right direction, you still have a long road ahead of you. Being aware of what you did wrong is just the beginning of finding the solution. What you abuse you lose....this applies to all living and man made things. And sometimes, we damaged things beyond repair.

What I'm hearing from your letter is that what you are really sorry about is having to pay the consequences for your bad behavior. I'm not hearing that you are really sorry for your bad behavior. For if you were really sorry for what you have done, your attitude wouldn't be focused on how to win your girlfriend back. Your attitude would be....woe...I can see it from her perspective...and I wouldn't trust me either after the way I behaved. I'll be damn lucky if I ever get a chance to rectify and make restitution for the damage I did. What you really want to do is impose your will on her again. And I hope for her sake as well as yours, she never affords you that opportunity. Because you haven't earned the right for a second chance yet.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 25, 2000

S1

Hi Peter,

I didn't mean to hurt you or anyone else with my comment, but realistically, if someone cherishes/adores/values another human being, do they continue to abuse them for three years? You are perhaps forgetting that this was probably three years of on again, off again behavior that ultimately ended in her just leaving. If this man wanted to make his girlfriend happy, he had three years to figure that out. If she never left, things would have remained the same. If you think I was harsh, check out the comment after mine (don't know the author) but it was extremely well said. "WHAT YOU ABUSE YOU LOSE". We learn about consequences as children. To put it bluntly, you can only treat someone like crap for so long, then they leave. No one on earth deserves to be treated poorly, not even for three hours let alone three years. Read more about domestic violence...we know for a fact that verbal abuse can often lead to physical violence. How many times are we supposed to reconcile, accept apologies, or believe that there will be change? Unfortunately, many of us end up black and blue with this type of thinking...please don't mistake our intelligence and self-preservation for harshness and insensitivity.

LHW

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 25, 2000

S1

Actually, I think many women and men are interested in what happens to abusers after on victim has left, those who are "holding the bag" for the relationship (he means, finally taking responsibility for their actions, I believe!) I expect that many find a new victim, but there must be some who really, really change. I think that you've totaled out that relationship, there's no salvage or blue book value, so learn your lessons well and move on and don't do it again! Don't try to find one "just like HER". Let go. Move on. Adios amigo, have a good life. I wish you well, but there's too much between us now to waste time un-doing and re-doing. Start fresh, and don't continue the bad habits you developed in your last relationship. Bon Chance!

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 25, 2000

S1

To LHW and Peter,

Hi you two, this is "Doug" the one who wrote the initial question. I would like to say on my behalf and also so other readers may understand the situation more, the abuse did not occur over 3 years. I know this because we discussed it. We had 2 beautiful years together, and at the start of the third, a couple major life decisions occurred (we'll just say they had to do with careers and relocating and such). I'm not blaming those changes, I'm just saying that they triggered something in me that neither of us knew was there. I am not saying "poor me" or "how can a get her back." I was curious as to the successes out there. I know I will be a better person for this, but I love this woman more than life, and she's said the same (even after this). My curiosity lies in experiences of success or failure at a similar situation, and if a person is capable of trusting a hurtful partner again? Thank you both for your comments, I've really taken both sides to heart.

Doug: Why not send her to this url and let her read your letter? Dr. Irene

 

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 25, 2000

S1

Dear Doug: My husband had done the same thing and I got to the point where "words are cheap and actions speak" because he promised me things before which were not sincere. When he finally did mean them and wanted to turn himself around I was very cautious. I was afraid that he was just manipulating me. It took time until I saw his change. In other words, normally when something would enrage him I was surprised to see him not even react. He was kinder to the children. Like Dr. Irene stated, only time will show your true colors and let her trust you again. She may think right now that this is just a ploy to get her back and that you would return to your old tricks once you got her. Be patient. Work on yourself and get yourself together. Perhaps in time you can start with just meeting for coffee and slowly reestablishing your relationship so that she can see your change is sincere. On a personal note, I am very happy to hear that you have owned up to your behavior and are making a change. It is a very hard thing to do and to me it is a very courageous and noble thing to do. I am so glad for you. You will see, in time you are going to be glad because you will be much happier and much more peaceful and will be very proud to look at yourself in the mirror. Keep up the good work and if there is a foundation of love I have no doubt that she will come around. God Bless you. Get to work. You have a long road to travel with great rewards at the end of your journey. Karen

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 25, 2000

S1

Doug:

As far as reconciliation after separation goes, here is my limited data sample:

Jimmy Buffett, reconciled after nine years;

Andy Summers, guitarist with the Police, reconciled after four years;

My wine broker's friend, reconciled after one and a half years;

Avis bus driver at Philadelphia airport, no reconciliation after a year or two;

Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet, no reconciliation after 5+ years;

Dr. Irene's "Can She Get Over My Abuse" thread: don't bother.

Regards, Peter.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 25, 2000

S1

Dear Doug,

You said the abuse went on for one year. Isn't it conceivable that the recovery may take a year also? If you truly want this woman back, stop trying to get her back and start becoming the man she would want to be with. Let her know how you feel and let her know what things you did that were wrong and how you will handle them in the future. Then, step back and let her see that these things you say are for real.

I don't know of any abused woman who left without many, many pleas for our loved one to change, and if that's true in you case, you will have to practice what you preach so to speak.

We can say anything - that doesn't make it so. She doesn't owe it to you to forgive you; if you love her, did her wrong, and want her to forgive you, you owe it to her and yourself to step back, read everything you can on the subject, talk with other victims, and see why you treated her like you did. Then, if you still can't get her back, be grateful that you won't have to deal with this in your next relationship.

Good Luck, DI

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, April 26, 2000

S1

Doug,

Life is full of change and adversity. An emotionally mature person deals with these things without abusing others in the process. There is no excuse whatsoever for using others as a whipping post due to your inability to handle these things. And you need to know that people do judge what you are made of by how you handle adversity. No one wants someone on their team that turns nasty and abusive when things go wrong. Behaving that way only makes the situation worse. Don't ever expect an emotionally mature person to ever tolerate such behavior.......cause they know better. They have no need for someone to make a bad situation worse...waste of time and energy. Would you want someone on your team who used you as whipping post when the going got tough? I seriously doubt it. So if you wouldn't want to be treated that way.....what the hell makes you think someone else would. Until you can learn to see things from someone else's perspective anything anyone tells you about your behavior will fall on deaf ears and you will find yourself in then same boat time after time.

 

 B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, April 26, 2000

S1

Dude stick with your own recovery. Date people if you want, but focus on you-- your past, who pissed you off. Work through the pain, and then you'll be happier. It'll take a couple of years, maybe more, maybe less, and you'll have to practice every day, but go for it! After your done, you'll accept your ex-girlfriend whether she wants you or not, and you'll want what's best for you both!!!

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, April 26, 2000

S1

Doug, I have a brief comment that pretty much mirrors the posts I've already read, but I want to say it again anyway...Focus on your recovery - work on discovering who you are - that is the most important thing you can do for yourself. If you and your girlfriend are meant to be, who knows, maybe some day down the line you two will discover each other again...Good luck and best wishes. RA

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, April 28, 2000

S1

Doug-

This is not meant to pick on you. Please consider what I am saying, and use your judgment.

In your follow-up letter, you wrote, "I love this woman more than life". I am curious as to whether you are being euphemistic here, or you really think you love her this much. I am having trouble here getting through my own crap to tell you what I want to say, so let me spare you the bullshit and tell you my underlying agenda----- I think you ought to focus on your recovery and forget about your ex as anything other than a benign friend, or an estranged sister if you will, for an indefinite time. I think you ought to look into journaling, meditation, 12-step groups, therapy if you have the means, to see if any of this suits you. I think you ought to be brave, and use your own judgment every day, even if you are incorrect, even if you "sound funny", even if certain of your friends don't recognize you any more.

I'll reveal my whole agenda, to you Doug. This is the road I took-- I risked everything, and it's paid off. Yes! I am a happy man now, because I've gotten rid of most of my bullshit ego. Yes!  I had to stop reading newspapers, and read the same self help books again and again--- well, sometimes 30 or 40 times. It's all about repetition. Yes!!! You go for it Doug. Figure out who you really are. Do you wanna be an image of someone else's making your whole life, or an image of your own design? You have so much more value to yourself and to all humanity than just being in a love relationship. You go for it, give her up, and see what happens. :) If this is all too radical, just remember the saying "If you love somebody, set them free. If they come back to you, they're yours. If they don't, they never were" I don't agree with the sentiment entirely, but look: You can't make anyone feel anything. You're either being yourself, or you're trying to coerce someone else because you have forgotten how worthwhile you are and are convinced once again that the keys to the kingdom lie somewhere other than you. They don't. :) :) They are within you, my friend. Congratulations. The only problem is, how to get there? The short version is, notice your actual reactions in the present, see how they link up to your past wounds. You'll be here a while. If you dare to stick with that long enough, feeling not thinking, you'll be surprised at the results and start to figure some stuff out. You'll still be feeling tremendously dissatisfied. Welcome to reality. D.  

By gosh, he's got it!  Dr. Irene

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, April 29, 2000

S1

I agree with the above comment from D. Work on yourself, just as victims work on themselves. Only then, will good things start happening to you. Your goal is you, not winning back your ex.

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, April 30, 2000

S1

I just broke off with my boyfriend of 3 1/2 years because he is a control freak and feels he should always be in charge of everything. He makes rash judgments and will not change his stand. He is verbally, mentally and has been physically abusive. I have reached my final stage of putting up with his abuse. I deserve better and even if I never date anyone again I don't want to be involved with a controlling person again. I am my own person and want someone to treat me like a lady and respect my wishes and feelings.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, May 03, 2000

S1

Doug, I think it's great that you were able to see that you were emotionally and verbally abusing your girlfriend. I would like to encourage you to continue to work on these issues. I wanted to ask if your realization came right away or was it a gradual thing?

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, May 04, 2000

S1

To the last submission,

this is doug again. the realization was kind of half and half. I did realize much of the problem right off the bat, but didn't realize how deep the rivers ran. everyday new realizations come to light. I could see how my behavior was wrong right away, but the reasons behind it came one by one. I was in denial about myself and the tools I was taught growing up on how to deal with adversity, and it took some stressful situations to bring those out in me. I have been seeing a counselor and reading MANY self-help books, and feel as though things are coming along for myself nicely, slowly but nicely. It has been 2 months now and I am very pleased to say that she and I have opened up some very new lines of communication, they feel kind of foreign to me, but they feel much better than the old ones. I am very pleased to say that she is now willing to work on this with me, although we are still separated and on very shaky ground, I think she can see that I am very committed to making myself a better and healthier person.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, May 04, 2000

S1

To the last submission,

this is doug again. the realization was kind of half and half. I did realize much of the problem right off the bat, but didn't realize how deep the rivers ran. everyday new realizations come to light. I could see how my behavior was wrong right away, but the reasons behind it came one by one. I was in denial about myself and the tools I was taught growing up on how to deal with adversity, and it took some stressful situations to bring those out in me. I have been seeing a counselor and reading MANY self-help books, and feel as though things are coming along for myself nicely, slowly but nicely. It has been 2 months now and I am very pleased to say that she and I have opened up some very new lines of communication, they feel kind of foreign to me, but they feel much better than the old ones. I am very pleased to say that she is now willing to work on this with me, although we are still separated and on very shaky ground, I think she can see that I am very committed to making myself a better and healthier person. :)

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, May 06, 2000

S1

There is a new movie " I dream of Africa" starring Kim Basinger. It has nothing to do with verbal abuse but it does have everything to do with healing. It is based on a true story about a young woman who loses a husband and son to Africa. Unlike Merryll Streep's character in Out of Africa, this woman stays and becomes a writer and creates a foundation to help the wildlife in Africa. She turns her grief and anger into a positive outlet. I have never met many women like this.

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, May 07, 2000

S1

Interesting comment from the individual above, about the movie - a woman who can find a positive outlet for sadness and anger. It makes me give some thought to my own situation, which I won't go into here. I would like to say to that person, though, that for some of us, being positive might mean just waking up and taking a walk before work or something like that. Being verbally abused for any length of time, especially when you don't understand what it is, can be incredibly depressing. Just making it through each day is a chore. Want to be with a woman (or man) who is a go-getter? Encourage her, validate her, believe in her, and never abuse her/him! SG :) Dr. Irene

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, May 10, 2000

S1

Hey Doug, It sounds like I'm in a similar situation. We are married though. We have seperated in the past and I always knew I needed to deal with self-esteem and anger management issues. I did not realize how serious they were however until she had enough and I stepped back and looked at our situation through her eyes. Jeez, I'd want out too if I had to live with me through those times! And I too now feel that I finally see my situation for what it is. The problem is, is there any love or even like left? Unfortunately not much if any. All we can do is fix us, we can't go wrong there. My wife and I are still together, but we are hanging by threads. If she stays and I don't follow through this time. I'm positive this is my "LAST CHANCE"! Hopefully I will get that chance. Time will tell. I too am interested in men who have fully recovered (if there is such a thing) and rebuilt there relationship from the brink of disaster. Tim

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, May 10, 2000

S1

Tim,

this is doug again. Things are going very well for me and my girlfreind, although still separated. I've been told it takes much time and much work, and I'm finding that to be very true, but with effort it seems like it is working. Although my perception of the problem changed right when we separated, everyday I find have new realizations about myself and past actions. Things needed to change between her and I as well as between me and everyone else I care about (family and myself). But the more I realize and the harder I work, the better I feel, really. I have recently read much material, and let me give you some recommendations. First one I read was "the Angry Heart" by Joseph Santoro. Then "the Verbally Abusive Relationship" by Patricia Evans. And another is "Getting Back Together" by Bettie Bilicki and Masa Goetz. I would read the first 2 a couple times before reading the last, and read the last very slow and one chapter at a time, because it jumps very quickly.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, May 10, 2000

S1

Tim,

this is doug again. Things are going very well for me and my girlfreind, although still separated. I've been told it takes much time and much work, and I'm finding that to be very true, but with effort it seems like it is working. Although my perception of the problem changed right when we separated, everyday I find have new realizations about myself and past actions. Things needed to change between her and I as well as between me and everyone else I care about (family and myself). But the more I realize and the harder I work, the better I feel, really. I have recently read much material, and let me give you some recommendations. First one I read was "the Angry Heart" by Joseph Santoro. Then "the Verbally Abusive Relationship" by Patricia Evans. And another is "Getting Back Together" by Bettie Bilicki and Masa Goetz. I would read the first 2 a couple times before reading the last, and read the last very slow and one chapter at a time, because it jumps very quickly.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, May 20, 2000

S1

Doug I can understand your girlfriends hesitation to reunite with you. My husband and I recently divorced under the same circumstances. He wants to some how prove himself to me and I want nothing to do with him, I know he loves me but I am afraid of him and don't want to become a statistic. I was told by my psychologist that an abusive man can change but not with the same woman. There has been a precidence set in your interactions.Respect her wishes, please.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, May 25, 2000

S1

My husband is a recovering abuser and he is still learning how to be a non-abuser----I do not totally trust him because of the many times he has promised not to hurt me and then lowers the boom, again and again.... I agree with Dr. Irene, that time is the best healer and teacher. Doug needs to give his friend more time to heal from the past abuse, the memories do not go away overnight, in fact, I have flash-backs which are just as bad as the actual moment of abuse. BUT, I have noticed that the flash-backs are getting fewer and farther apart---it is time and my husband's current and continuing behavior that has caused this to happen. I cannot change the way I feel or change the memories he left inside me---many of them quite unbearable and many that make me angry, sad and frightened too---frightened because I do not want to ever go through all of the past again. I have strength and have stood my ground to the point that my husband knows he can no longer abuse me--I WILL NOT STAND FOR IT! So, time is the secret. Time for Doug to continue to work on his new behavior and time for his friend to heal---give her space, sometning an abuser never does--if she relaxes enough to let you back into her life that will be great, but she has to relax and only time and space can do that. Good Luck---I admire you greatly for loving her enough to learn about yourself and change what hurts others. Just the fact that you are that much aware of your past behavior and that you sincerely want this new behavior, you've come along way---My husband is in about the same state of awareness about himself and I hope that it continues, but he too has had to give me space and time---its really working to heal my feelings about him--I've actually had to work on learning to love him again and its taken time to get to that point. Best to you and yours, Mrs. TBT

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, May 28, 2000

S1

Doug, If I read what you just wrote above and it was from my husband, I would be very very suspious. He would say all the "right" things to get me back and then abuse again. I'm also afraid of my husband so it would take a long long time to trust him again. Verbal abuse is so emotionally and mentally abusive. I began to feel that I had no reasoning ability. He always told me what I meant or what to think. So if he told me or anyone else what you said above, it would be extremely difficult to believe that now that I know what his motives are and know more about abuse. On the other hand, if you sincerely mean it, I would agree with what Dr. Irene wrote.

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, July 02, 2000

S1

To Peter who wrote "Are we doomed to just go through life one relationship after the other until we get one right?"

Yes. The only mistake is the one from which we learn nothing....

My ex was never physically abusive but has some control problems. They were very obvious to me - jealousy, inability to compromise,(sees it as weakness, or lack of integrity), and was completely self-absorbed. He couldn't seem to see my desires/hurts as important. They were "demands" to him.

The thing I don't get is that he doesn't appear to think he has a problem. He has created philosophies that, I believe, justify his dysfunctions and make them appear "logical". Do you think he knows deep down, or could it be that his family was so dysfunctional that these behaviours are normal to him? I'd like to hear answers from men or women that were controllers and decided to take a healing path. AK

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, January 17, 2001

S1

Dear Dr Irene,

I empathises with Doug. His story sounds familiar and could have been written by me, except my partner still talks to me and is supportive of my self-realisation that I have been controlling and abusice throughout our five year relationship (remarkable woman). I hope Doug finds the support and resources to reinvent himself. I know that this is what is required but am yet to uncover the appropriate counselling service here in Sydney, Australia. There is not a great deal in the way of assistance for abusive men here. I have read everything on your website and read some of the books you recommend. Like Doug, I don't want to live my life as a controlling person and nor sabotage any future intimate relationship in the same way as I have done to my recently finished relationship. I know that what is required is a fundamental shift in the way I view the world. I know that self-control rather than controlling others, is the key. However, I need help to unlearn my beleif systems and contruct lasting behavioural change, but, so far, I can't find it. I hope Doug has better luck. David.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, May 05, 2001

S1

Hey Doug, Recently I was thrown out of the house by my verbally abusive "fiance". It's taken me 8 months to appreciate simple things again like "sunshine". I thought I'd die without him, I also thought I'd die if I stayed with him. What I want to say to you is this; it is every victims dream that their abusive partner gets help and "fixes" the relationship. Your action to heal may seem like the miracle cure for your realtionship with your ex, but it is only the miracle cure for your own pain. It takes two to have a healthy "abuse free" relationship, and while you were aggressive she was too passive. She needs work too; so that if you do get back together you can speak your new language and understand each other. Good luck. I understand the pain is equal for the abuser and the abused. You deserve to learn how to be the best man you can be. A.

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, July 01, 2001

S1

Doug, I am recently getting out of a verbally abusive relationship. All I want is for my ex is to help himself. Unfortunately, he probably won't as you are. Your ex got over you because that is what you forced her to do. If you two are meant to be it will be. If not you will eventually find someone who cares for you like she used to but it will actually be a healthy relationship, if you have done what you needed to do in order to change. She is just scared of being hurt again. It probably happened many of times. Every time she thought it was going to be different and it never was. She must think why should I believe him this time. Good luck and don't get down on yourself because you will only end up back at square one...Stacey

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Date: Sunday, August 05, 2001

S1

The time and space is not only good for the abuser but it is good for the victim to obtain the communication and assertion skills needed to develop a mutual respect relationship. If you need another person to feel good about yourself then this is a sign that you are not ready for a healthy relationship. I am spending my time looking inside at my own "stuff" so that I do not repeat my past mistakes. I believe what Dr. Irene says that "it takes two to tango". There is no abuse if there is no victim. Now that I have developed boundaries and set limits I find that I am not open to abuse. I am learning how to be self-sufficient. My confidence and self-esteem has increased. I no longer need to look to my husband for validation. I am hoping in my next relationship (or even my reconciliation if he does his work) that I will be with someone that is self-sufficient, responsible, and lives with integrity so that we compliment each other. My therapist told me to think about the space and time as a gift to yourself. If you can take time out for yourself then you will be able to offer that same gift to another and learn to trust in yourself. The key is to be able to "stand on your own" or be comfortable being alone with yourSELF. LisaMM

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Date: Saturday, March 23, 2002

S1

I am in your shoes. I was with a guy who emotionally abused me for 4 years. I am now finding I am acting the same way he did, abusing my partner, with my current boyfriend. Someone who doesn't deserve what I am doing. I am trying to change, however, this baggage is weighing me down. With every step forward I take, I keep ending up doing something to put me another 15 steps back. I am going to lose him, and I am trying to accept that right now. And it's all my fault.

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Date: Thursday, May 30, 2002

S1

Dear Irene:

In reference to "Doug's" letter, I would like to say that I just walked out on a man because of emotional abuse, and if he came to me and just said he knew he was wrong (something he never admits to) and told me he was willing to take the steps you took to recover, I would (cautiously, and very gaurdedly) go back and give it a try. His was not verbal, but subtle, manipulative actions or non-actions. Deliberatly not doing something he knows would help/please me (Passive-Agressive). I'd like to believe that it was because I hurt him several months back, because it feels like a "pay-back". But I think it is due to his horribly dysfunctional homelife growing up and that he is a very wounded person who is too afraid to look at his demons and get help in healing. No matter what I have tried to say to him, he will not discuss it, but shuts me down, walks away, smirking when I call him on what I see going on. I believe he knows what I'm saying to be true, but fear of having to look at it keeps him blaming me for our arguments. I believe his emotional distance and manipulative ways are a product of what happened to him--and have nothing to do with me. I left because I lost 20 lbs in 4 months, am constantly sick to my stomach and my spirit has been broken (or close to it). I just don't trust that I am emotionally safe with him right now. My suggestion to Doug, with all due respect to you Irene, would be to drop his girlfriend a letter saying what he said in his letter to you, but making sure he says that he would eventually like a chance at reconciliation, but that he completely understands her distrust and is just leaving the invitation for her to contact him if she ever would like to--then leave it at that and most definitely, leave her alone. It's not over til the fat lady sings, so don't give up hope. Where there is life there is hope--but he should get on with his life. If there was true, honest love there to begin with (and I know about this), and she even thinks that he is changing--well, I happen to believe that love is synonomous with forgiveness and redemption. That's my opinion, I could be wrong--but I would give my fiance the chance while I continued to take care of myself. Thanks for the opportunity to share. I'm in a 12-step recovery program for substance abuse (several years sober) and am finding the support there has saved my life in this situation also. He might want to get a network of people, if he hasn't done so already. I'm alone in a hotel room right now and am being layed off from my job tomorrow, and without their help--I would be jumping off the Golden Gate. I also happen to believe in giving it to God or whatever concept one has of a power greater than themselves. Hope I helped some, because Doug's letter helped me by giving me some hope. My guy is a very good man too. Be Well. Susan

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Date: Tuesday, June 04, 2002

S1

Doug

I know the feeling. My wife of twenty years told me she wanted to seperate last week. I'm in hell on earth right now. My wife, at the counselors said she needed some time apart. I am now 1000 miles away and the distance is making it worse. I had know idea that I was this abusive and still can't beleive that I didn't see it. I have read a couple of books and already feel that I have changed sooo much in just a week. Like your girlfriend my wife is very afraid/disbeleiving about everything I tell her and I truly understand why now. I will go home in nine days and I just pray that we can work this out. I can't see my life without her in it. I can tell I have much to do in the future but it will be worth it. Hang in there! You're not alone!!

james

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Date: Tuesday, June 04, 2002

S1

Doug

I know the feeling. My wife of twenty years told me she wanted to seperate last week. I'm in hell on earth right now. My wife, at the counselors said she needed some time apart. I am now 1000 miles away and the distance is making it worse. I had know idea that I was this abusive and still can't beleive that I didn't see it. I have read a couple of books and already feel that I have changed sooo much in just a week. Like your girlfriend my wife is very afraid/disbeleiving about everything I tell her and I truly understand why now. I will go home in nine days and I just pray that we can work this out. I can't see my life without her in it. I can tell I have much to do in the future but it will be worth it. Hang in there! You're not alone!!

james

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Date: Sunday, November 17, 2002

S1

Hi Doug, I left my husband of 23 years 5 months ago. What Dr. Irene is telling you is true, the more you push for your woman to come see how you've changed the more she will pull away. I too have been given that line, yet everytime I visit him we fight so bad I cannot imagine ever living with this man again. He doesnt realize that by blaming me and the fact that "I LEFT" him as an excuse for his continued abuse of me is only driving me further away. My heart aches and Ive never felt such deep pain in my life, and you must accept the fact that your woman probably does also. I feel I may never heal from all the years of abuse I endured yet never even noticed because I made excuses for his behavior and blamed myself also. We had been together so long that I still have a hard time saying no to him, lest I hurt him more than I have already. I just do not know how to break free, how to let go, even though I know my sanity and my future depends on it, and depends on a life without him in it. I hope you really can change, for your sake, as well as hers. Thanks for coming here and thank you Dr.Irene...your site is helping me tremendously in staying focused and determined to stand my ground.

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Date: Tuesday, December 03, 2002

S1

Doug... I applaud your efforts to change your controlling behavior. It takes a very strong person to acknowledge that he or she has a weakness. I am getting a divorce after only 8 months of marriage because my verbally abusive husband refuses to take responsibility for his behavior and therefore will not change. Unlike my husband, you are strong enough to admit you have work to do, and you will be on your way to a happy and healthy life. Best wishes. ChewieCat