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4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

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

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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!

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Comments for Relationships Ugh 2

Comments:  Relationships Ugh! Round 2

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

Courtesy of Dr. Irene Matiatos   Copyrightę 1998-2004. The material on this website may be distributed freely for non-commercial or educational purposes provided that author credit is given. For commercial distribution, please contact the author at Doc@drirene.com

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Monday, January 05, 2004

Faith and Dr. Irene, you have described my last relationship, which lasted about 6 months longer than it deserved to. Like Faith, I am empathic and sensitive to others' needs more than I am to my own. Like Faith, I attracted a man to whom I became responsible for his every mood and behaviour. Ah, you are English! After three months, I noticed the tendency to verbally abuse and the narcissistic behaviour. This is not my first experience with a verbally abusive partner so I noticed the signs much earlier. And like Faith, I tried to set boundaries...communicate my needs...ask for change. But to no avail. Right. In the vast majority of cases, it won't work. Eventually, I ended the relationship. In my opinion, this man had an extremely limited capacity for understanding and change. My ex-partner simply could not comprehend the issue or manage his moods or behaviour. He, however, was very much attracted to me because he intuitively knew I would try to take responsibility for him. Exactly! While I have great compassion for this man and the childhood that led to his behaviour, I did not feel I was willing to be with someone who was unable to build a healthy relationship. I continue to develop empathy for myself and build my ability to ask for what I need and deserve. I need to be different so I can attract someone who is different than the person I attracted before. Only you can decide what is right for you Faith...but consider that past experiences can turn an asset like empathy into a set of values that lead you into relationships that do not serve you. The trick is to think and act differently so you can experience different results in all your relationships. Donna God bless you Donna. Good work!

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Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Hi Dr. Irene, It’s Faith. Hi Faith! I haven’t actively looked for therapist yet, but I plan on researching tomorrow. I’ve joined the Catbox forum and find it very helpful. I'm very glad for you. I liked what you said Dr Irene, if I’m disappointed in myself for spending time with Gregg, then stop seeing him. Gregg called me New Years Eve and asked me if I would go by his apartment to pick up the money he owed me. When I got there he wanted me to go inside to see how he decorated his apartment; he was having company (his family over) for New Years Eve. I said that I couldn’t stay. As I was walking to my car, he came outside and said that he loves me. Predictable. He does not want to lose you. But what does he really have to offer? When I went home, I was cleaning my room and found Gregg’s ring, I thought that I had lost it, I was really excited, so I called him and left a message on his voicemail. You're lonely and are not ready to let go. Two days had gone by and he still hadn’t called me. Push / pull, part of what attracts you. So, I called him on Saturday and asked him if he got my message about his ring. Gregg said that he was really busy and didn’t have time to get back to me. He was acting really cocky and sarcastic on the phone. Now I feel like, I’m the one who keeps calling him and wanting to spend time with him. Part of the manipulation. We always want what we can't have. These people are excellent at dangling the carrot.

BUT when I’m with him, I ask myself, why do you want to spend time with him, he’s nasty, sarcastic and he has no respect! Exactly. Then I remember that saying: when in doubt “DON’T”. Good! He was being nice to me, but than he goes back to being his nasty self again, and tells me that I’m the one who is too sensitive. Predictable, isn't it? The good stuff just doesn't last. How he treats you is a function of his current mood. You deserve better young lady. I guess, my wishful thinking makes me hope for the better and I forget about all the bad times. Yes. You and countless others who hang around this site.

Gregg tells me that he loves me but he just wants to be friends, and he tells me in a very cocky way! Good that you recognize there is a problem when his actions don't match his words, and when his words don't match the delivery. I just got off the phone with him today, (Tuesday) I called him this morning because it’s his birthday. I was just being nice.  He asked me where I was yesterday, because when we spoke to each other over the weekend I said that I would go by his house to drop off his ring, but if I didn’t go by his house, than I would mail it to him. I decided not to go because I didn’t like his attitude. Good! Gregg said, "I thought you were coming over yesterday?" I told Gregg that I decided to mail him his stuff instead. What do I do next? I go and ask him something really stupid. I ask him if he wanted me to take him out for his birthday (dumb idea) and he said that he needed to get back to me on that! I said forget it! You need to get back to me! I don’t think so……

He’ll probably call me when he needs to borrow money again. Or if he's lonely or needy. I get this overly anxious feeling of wanting to call him again, so what do I do, I call him again Your codependency is sticking it's cute little neck out again..., this time he’s really nice. He said he was about to go in the shower, and asked if he could call me back, I said, "No that’s ok."

Dr. Irene, I know this sounds crazy! It does sound nutty, and it is nutty! Your feelings are a function of your automatic (in the very back of your mind)  thinking that you need to be with somebody!  The reality is that you do want to be with somebody, but you need to wait until you meet somebody who does not live on an emotional roller coaster!  But I know, I don’t want to be with him, but I can’t seem to get him out of my head and heart. You are needy and you think it's no fun to stand on your own. Just when I think I'm strong and I have my head together, all I need to do is hear his voice and I end up having these feelings that I don’t want to have. You have some emotional habits that hurt you. When the object of your affection does a push and pull, you are infatuated. But, I remind you, infatuation is not love. Infatuation is pitter patter of the heart. It is mediated by the limbic system, the ancient reptilian brain we share with animals. Love, on the other hand, is more about friendship and trust. Love takes time. Love is mediated by a separate biological system, the frontal cortex, the thinking brain - the part of us that makes us uniquely human.

Now I’m so anxious, I want to scream. Ok, scream and get it over with! I think Gregg is playing games. Clearly he is, though he's probably not aware he is. I think he likes the idea that we hang out every now and then, and also has is options open! Probably. It's time to let go before I end up wasting more of my gifts on him and that’s my time. YES! I noticed that when I’m involved with someone and they’re pulling away, it makes me want them more. Exactly. The push and pull is a trick that works with many people. I end up making myself sick and giving that person power over me AND I know, I’m the only one that can change that. Go Girl Go!

Dr. Irene you mentioned, sometimes we need to repeat situations a few times before we can trust our senses. You bet. My senses are telling me to stay away from him, I hope that I will do that this time around; I’m tired of feeling this way, I’m just tired. Thanks Dr. Irene, Faith. I hope you do Faith. I hope you see the game very, very clearly. Stay away from him for a couple months. I bet his hold over you will diminish. This man is not good for your emotional (or physical!) health. See ya next week lovely lady. Dr. Irene 1/8/04.

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Thursday, January 08, 2004

I draw so much strength from this website. My divorce from my abuser is nearly final. Visiting this site again and again has helped me recognize what happened to me. It has also helped me stay away from my abuser and not buy into his "baby come back! I've changed!" routine yet a fourth time. Your comments to Faith really hit home for me. Every story I read strikes a nerve in me. I recognize my own patterns now, too. You know, those patterns of behavior that draw abusers like flies to honey? I really love that you also include the writings of (former) abusers. I think the contributions of those folks really flipped on the light for me. I am floored that some are completely aware of what they are doing. In my own situation, I've finally called my abuser on the carpet for his behavior when he cuts loose on me. He ADMITS what he's done, but not without pointing the finger back at me for all my reactions to his actions. Hey, I'm responsible for reacting. I'm responsible for NOT setting boundaries early on. BUT...I refuse to believe that I'm stupid or inadequate. You know this jerk has the nerve to say "Janna, you're just not the woman you represented yourself to be." Boy does he have THAT right! I also love that victims aren't treated to the "poor pitiful you" reception that some folks seem to crave. I'm glad the light of information shines equally on both parties. I am no longer embarrassed about my situation. My head is up, my shoulders squared, and my freedom is assured. Good site, Dr. Irene. Very good site. Janna  :) !!!

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Friday, January 09, 2004

Hi Dr Irene, Faith situation sounds just like mine, I've been living with this person for 7 years (being together for 10) and have two little girls with him. Since the day we started living together, I felt that something was wrong but I decided to stick around waiting for him to change because I loved him. 10 years after, there is no love and no change....but I am still with him. As Faith describes in her story...I know in my heart I don't want to be with him...but something in me (fear??) doesn't let me end up this relationship. This is a guy that is emotionally abusive and blames all her emotions and actions on me, he doesn't take responsibility for anything in his live so that I feel I am Like Faith's partner this guy changes his mood in seconds... if in his opinion I say something that doesn't sound right to him he can make my life miserable for it...but the more distant he is towards me the more I want to be with him...once he tries to be nice I don't believe his attitude and want to be as far away from him as possible...confusing right???...well ..that's just my life. Thank You for this site Dr Irene. It is wonderful. Mila.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Hi Dr. Irene, It’s Faith. I found a new therapist; my first session with her is next week. Good! I was supposed to go yesterday, but I decided to cancel because I wasn’t in the mood. Next time, go even if you're not in the mood. Sometimes not being in the mood to be there is the best time to be there! Actually, I printed out my forum with you, and I’m going to ask her to read it, instead of repeating myself all over again. Besides I feel like you’ve helped me in more ways than one…. so thanks…:0) NOW it’s up to ME!

I noticed that when I first meet someone, I always think the worst. That's an excellent observation. You are likely to test your therapists in this way... I always think that the person is going to talk about me when I walk away; or the person is going to be mean to me, so I put my guard up. That's an excellent means of keeping relatively healthy men away! (A healthy guy would think: who needs this!)  Once I start talking with the person (could be anyone) I tell myself, you see that wasn’t so bad, this happens to me all the time. Excellent that you remind yourself that YOU are bringing this baggage with you instead of believing that those silly thoughts are actually true! It happens when I e-mail you. I get nervous each time I’m ready to read your comments; I brace myself because I think you’re going to say something bad about me. So what if I did? If I said something like, "Faith is an awful non-person, blah blah blah, that negativity would be a reflection of who I am, not who you are!  Think hard about this one because it is true! You want to get to where you don't give other people so much power over you because you trust in yourSelf instead. Dr. Irene, do these feelings I have go back to having low self-esteem or my “trust” issue? Growing up had to be very hard for you Faith. The people who you should have been able to rely on were not trustworthy. You could not rely on them, nor could you count on them for consistent esteem-building feedback.

Dr. Irene. When you said that I feel like I “need” to be with somebody! You are absolutely correct! All my close friends/family are married and with children, something that I really want. When I was growing up, the important thing was to be married and take care of your husband and kids. I’m so blessed with a loving, supportive family; My Dad tells me that I don’t need a husband to make me happy; He tells me if you’re going to end up with someone like Gregg than I would rather you be alone; He says that Gregg would make me miserable; My Dad said that he regrets all the heartache he put my Mom through, and if he could take it back he would. Sounds like Dad has learned from his mistakes. God bless him. He's giving you some very sage advice. My family was worried about me when I was with Gregg; When my sister found out that I was thinking about giving it another try; she started crying and asking me not too. Yes... Having such a wonderful family, plenty of nieces and nephews that shower me with so much love, makes me feel guilty for feeling lonely sometimes, because I know God has blessed me beyond measure; I feel it’s nice to have a significant other to do things with. Hey, no sense in wasting time feeling guilty! Allow yourself to be human and mess up, and allow yourself to learn from the stuff that doesn't work (like Dad did), and instead focus on being grateful for the wonderful, loving people you have in your life. Joy feels much better than guilt!

It’s no fun to stand on my own. I also think it goes back to what you said about me being taught to rely on others for protection, I don’t want to live alone, so I choose to live with my brother and sister-in-law. So thanks for bringing these issues up because I totally feel that way! Do a search and read up on "internal locust of control" as opposed to "external locust of control." That's just another way of looking at your tendency to place your trust outside the Self. The original work was done by Dr. Martin Seligman, a noted, scholarly psychologist who has now moved on to the study of happiness. :0) I also liked what you said about infatuation not being love. I haven’t spoken to Gregg in a week. I mailed him his ring and asked him to call me when he got it. He hasn’t called me and I don’t plan on calling him. No contact is the best way to go! Probably. I know that I deserve better. Yes! I also know I have issues to work on; But I’m glad that I’m moving forward and slowly I will get rid of all the baggage! :) I know that what you said to me is true. If I stay away from him for a couple of months, my feelings for him will diminish. I pray that God continues to bless you with wisdom and knowledge; even though I have never met you, I feel like you are my guardian angel… so thanks Dr. Irene, Faith  Thank you Faith. (I'm happy to accept all the blessings I can get!)  But I'm going to frame this a little differently and put you in control: I've been out here in cyberspace for a good while, with the same message. You're the one who turned me into your guardian angel (and I'm happy you've let me help.) But make no mistake, the help has all come from you Faith! You are the one who reached into the Universe and asked for and accepted exactly what you needed, at the very time you needed it. You are the one who helped yourSelf. See how this puts you right smack in the seat of power? Not me, you!  "See" you next week! Dr. Irene, 1/15/04.

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Sunday, January 18, 2004

I am a re-married, intelligent person, who is so frustrated I don't know where to begin. I feel my job is not to disappoint my husband, and when I do - I get the divorce threats, the shut ups, the hang ups. I was reading your previous response on the sight. A lot of the things he does is on there. I know I love him, I've been through enough in my life to know not everything is "Perfect", but I keep thinking - we'll get through this stressful situation, and he'll be better. He MAX'S out when he's stressed. He has a cell phone, work cell phone, and home phone - I am not allowed to leave more than 1 message on 1 phone, and sit and wait for him to get back to me. Even when he's not working, or even the weekends. He went out to eat, and sit at a bar and drink, with 20 men and women, but I'm not allowed to take up friends or relatives to go to ANYTHING that has men I'm not related to, or alcohol, and I'm told to decline the invitation saying WE DON'T GO TO BARS. He just retired, but we are a military family and live in different states. He was in New York, and we built a house in Nebraska waiting for him to come back. He wanted to get a job in Florida, and build a house there, now he doesn't like the neighborhood, or his job. I started court proceedings to modify my Ex's visitation, so we could move down there. When we visited over Christmas and New Years, we had to call the police on the neighbors 3 times. We were drowned out by the very loud music and parties with our neighbors behind us, he went over and (politely?- I wasn't there) asked them to turn it down, they turned their back and said it wasn't loud to them. (It was REALLY loud to me too) Now it seems everything I do or don't do irritates him. He says he's selling the house and coming back for me, he got upset when I submitted a job application, by his request on another screen name that doesn't sound professional (removed name@yahoo.com) Its the same one I used for myself. I listen to him, even when he asks me 5 questions in a row, I specify which one I'm answering then he tells me I don't answer it right, and harps on over and over repeating the same thing, asking me to see if I answer it different. If I modify my answer thinking he's not understanding me, he tells me I'm lying, and now I'm changing my answers. I just don't know. Di This is love?

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Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Hi Dr. Irene, It’s Faith. Hi Faith! Hope all is well at your end. I feel like corresponding with you has helped me with some of my issues. :) I know it’s going to take work, time and effort but I will change my patterns. I’m going to try and be less defensive when meeting someone, because not everyone is out to get me. I want to be the kind of person that gives people the benefit of the doubt until they prove other wise, and most important ……I’ve decided to look for a Christian Therapist because I believe that would be best for me. Sounds good to me. I’ve been trying to keep busy, I joined the gym; I plan on taking some on-line courses and I’m doing charity work for the church that I attend. Good!

Gregg called me on Monday; he was off from work, I almost didn’t pick up the phone, but I let curiosity get the best of me. He said that he was calling me because he wanted to go to the movies. He asked me to leave work early for him. I said "No" because I had already taken 2 days off last week. Besides I had a lot to do after work and I didn’t want to change my plans for him because normally, I would change my plans (not just for him, for anyone), but I figured this was a good way to start changing my ways. Excellent!

What was weird to me was, he calls me out of the blue. I haven’t talked to him in two weeks and he calls to ask me to go to the movies? Of course I start with the wishful thinking, but than I thought about something that you said, "Gregg is not good for my emotional or physical health." I do not think he is. But what I think doesn't matter. What do you think?

I have Gregg programmed on my phone at work. In order to change it I have to do it through the computer, and I keep forgetting. Hehehe. Still need to make sure you're doing the right thing, I think. That's fine! It's good to be sure. Today, I just hit the programmed button and I heard it go through, so I hung up. Ooops! Gregg called me back (I forget he had caller ID) and asked me why I had hung up on him. I tried to explain about my phone, but he didn’t believe me. He said that I’m always hanging up on him. This was the first time. He accused me of calling his house and hanging up on him, I don’t do that either. But, I have to admit: I’m glad he called me back because once again he annoyed me and it was over something stupid. Yep. You're becoming more and more sure of yourSelf. Good for you!

He told me that he joined the same gym that I did. I asked him how it was going, and he said he hasn’t gone because they charged him more than he wanted to pay. Gregg said that he’s joining a different gym, so I asked him how often did he plan on going. He said 2 times a week. I told him, if you’re trying to lose weight, 2 days is not going to be enough. Especially since he doesn’t watch what he eats. Gregg said, "Are you trying to tell me how to work out?" I said, "Yes, I’ve been working out for a long time, and 2 of the guys that I dated were trainers." Gregg, said, "Yeah… so what!" He said they probably didn’t know anything about working out! I said, well they had to know something, because they also competed. Gregg was getting so mad at me! Giggle! I asked him, "Why are you getting so defensive?" He said, Because YOU DON’T KNOW ANYTHING!" He said, "I have to go." and he hung up! Sounds like you're not being the nice, compliant girl he used to know!

At first, I was upset, but than I started laughing because I thought it was so silly. Yes! I noticed something about me, even if I know the relationship is NOT going anywhere, it takes time for me to let go,. The more I talk to the person, the more I start letting go. I know, it sounds strange, but that’s been one of my habits. I’m glad, I’m noticing more about me. Thanks Dr. Irene. God Bless Faith That's a good mindful observation Faith. And it doesn't sound strange to me at all. It sounds as though you need to make sure you are letting go of someone who is not right for you. You challenged him. Instead of going along, as you used to, you challenged him. And unfortunately, he did not react very well...

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Thursday, January 22, 2004

Hi this is Faith. I just want to thank Donna, Janna, Mila, and Di for taking the time out and reading my forum, and I also want to thank them for sharing. It really helps knowing that you're not alone. God Bless You... Faith Yes it does. God bless you Donna, Janna, Mila and Di. And God bless you Faith! See you next week for the last time. Dr. Irene 1/22/04.

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Saturday, January 24, 2004

thank u for sharing the complexities of such over a period of time; this stuff is hard for me to understand and this story was a great start......:)

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Thursday, January 29, 2004

Hi Dr. Irene, It's Faith. I'm happy to report that I haven't had any contact with Gregg. Yippeee! I was tempted to call him but decided against it. It's not worth the roller coaster ride. Every time, I get lonely and think about wanting to be with Gregg, I think of all the nasty, mean things he did and said to me. Excellent. Expect days when the going gets real tough. Expect lots and lots of temptation to establish contact with him. Stay strong instead Faith. You deserve better. Much better. Stay strong and always remind yourSelf of the nasty mean things he said and did. Keep a little written log. That will help you when the going gets tough.  My life will go on and I will be much happier without Gregg in it! I believe that God gives us the gift of healing, just when we think we are at our wits end, God opens a new door. I feel like I get irritable at stupid things, but I catch myself and ask myself questions, why? I think this is a great website, I come to it everyday, it gives me strength to know that I'm not alone and I know that I'm not the crazy one, like Gregg always use to say; God Bless you Dr. Irene/Faith. God bless you Faith! Dr. Irene 1/29/04.

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Monday, February 09, 2004

I desparately need some advise, so I hope you can help..I have been married almost 16 years and it wasn't until I read a magazine article about verbal abuse that a lightbulb went on..the feelings of depression, fear to speak what is on my mind, social isolation from family and friends are all part of his game. There are days he will follow me through our home for hours on end and relentlessly question me about our relationship, to the point that I just break down and cry. I answer his questions but with every answer I give it is never the right answer he wants to hear and more interrogation continues. I have reached my breaking point, I don't know how much more I can take mentally or physically. Please I beg you or anyone with some advise.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Faith, Your story sounds so familiar. My husband of three years is an emotional infant for sure. If things don't go his way everything blows up. He is a pro at the blame game. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING is my fault. He is never to blame for anything. If he is in a good mood, life is great. If he's in a bad mood, and it can absolutely nothing to do with me, my life is a living hell. He can be so sweet one minute and love me SO much...and then the next minute, he wishes he never met me. According to him I'm stupid, lazy...you name it. I cannot disagree with him about anything or things go bad quick. I can't have an opinion of my own. The house is his castle, his domain as he calls it. I'm just lucky enough to be the girl who gets to live there. He likes to be popular with the ladies and has a very, very high opinion of himself. If we go out, he likes having all the girls attention...he's not so worried about having mine. He says I'm jealous, but after a long time of this, can you blame me? 

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Thursday, February 19, 2004

hi; just wanted to share information about how i am feeling. my guy makes me drive the car on the freeway , then yells at me because i am not doing it efficiently. he is a truck driver and i am terrified of driving on the freeway lately, especially with him, yesterday he was mad that his car did not start, so i took him to work, and he yelled at me the whole way, i was going into a primal therapy on the freeway, crying and shaking, he said pull over and deal with it. but i went home and cried allnight, i am still feeling bad about it. i see him now as abusive and befor e i did not think of that. we have been together 3 years, no kids, living together, he is a charmer to all others, but when alone, he lets me have it, not all the time, but once a month or sohe gets on this kick, all other times he is ok. i try to walk on the eggshells too. and be quiet, i do nto argue, i might say but, but, once in awhile, and he goes off on me. i am feeling drained and low today. worn out. he will be home tomorrow, of course this is all my fault because my dad who is deceased was a rage o holic and and alcoholic, and a groper. thanks for listening, diane