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4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

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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 to Blackbelt

Comments to Blackbelt

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: Thursday, May 11, 2000

S1

Dear Terri:

It seems to me like you are settling. You have come so far leaving your first situation and getting your black belt and stopping the physical abuse, why do you stand for the rest? You had enough courage to stop the physical and I am sure by now you know that the verbal/emotional abuse is just as bad. Why did you stop there? You and the children do not deserve to be treated this way. Especially since you care about the children so much, own your own home, have drive enough to get your black belt. Don't give up when it comes to him. Stop waiting on him hand and foot and laying out his clothes. You are giving and giving and all he is doing is taking and you know it will not stop because you continue to do it and feel resentment afterwards. Over time this will do so much damage to your self worth. Continue to take control of your life as you started to do and then stopped. Personally, verbal abuse is bad enough...how can you live with a man and sleep with him next to you at night comfortably when he THREATENED TO KILL YOU? Yes, I know that was a long time ago but anyone who has had it in them (the feelings) to go so low as to want to kill you...this would scare me! Many people get mad but the feeling of wanting to kill you???? How can you love a man like this? Understand I am not being critical.. I am just trying to understand how you can stay in such a damaging and perhaps dangerous situation when you hold all the cards. Maybe you should try some therapy and find out why you would settle for someone who treats you so bad and has wanted to kill you. I mean, what is it that makes you feel so bad that you feel you do not deserve a man who loves you and would never want harm to come to you. I know you deserve this and I think somewhere inside you can find out what it is that makes you feel unworthy. Even if you are staying with him for the kids or convenience sake, this is a real trade off of you self esteem and happiness. I am sure deep down inside you feel that if you get him mad enough he may flip out again and that is a terrible way to live. I would hold off on jumping into another relationship so quickly. You must resolve one, get your thinking straight and then decide who is best for you at the time who can offer you real love. One which offers respect and makes you feel good about yourself. Time is the best healer. Start by feeling good about yourself. If you are leaving him then I would make the move as soon as possible while you have it in you. You didn't mention love in your letter so I am guessing that you no longer feel for him. This will make it easier for you to leave. I hope the best for you and the children. See about talking to a counselor so you can get your thinking straight. Then get your life together where you feel good and safe. Then worry about someone who can love you the way you should be loved. Good luck to you. Let us know how you make out!

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, May 12, 2000

S1

Please listen to Dr Irene. You're moving way too fast regarding the new man. How can you say he is wonderful? You don't really know him after one week. Get a job, get your own place, put your life in order FIRST! Read something every day on Dr Irene's site. Take care of yourself. You can do it. Good job on getting the black belt! Wow.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, May 12, 2000

S1

I agree with Dr. Irene. Terri, you gotta take time out for Terri. The new guy, who's to say, but it sure is easy to be the hero in this type of situation. Find yourself first, through dealing with whatever past issues led you to seek out abusers in the first place. I am willing to bet the issues are there. Very good luck to you! -D

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, May 12, 2000

S1

Dear Terri, There are womens' support groups for...

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, May 12, 2000

S1

How DARE you let him treat you this way? Have you no self respect? Are you just too lazy to get a job? Why did you NOT press charges? What on earth are you doing with this FELON? Raising three more to be JUST LIKE HIM? Does he call them names and hit them too? Is that OK? Do you think I want your kids in MY kid's school? Come on, Gal, be responsible. Hit the trail. Ouchhhh! Love yourself - you deserve it!

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, May 12, 2000

S1

Whoever posted the last message has some of their own problems. She's very, very angry... Probably been through a real tough time... Deal with that before you begin tearing someone down - no matter their situation. I'm not defending Terri's position over the years or her choices, but she certainly doesn't need more beating up! Yes.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, May 12, 2000

S1

I agree with the previous poster about the "How Dare You.." message. Terri is on the right track - let's encourage her, not threaten her. Yes!

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, May 12, 2000

S1

To the "How Dare You" poster--You have some serious work to do on yourself. Terri, please come back to this site for support. 

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, May 12, 2000

S1

Dear Terri,

Getting a job and getting yourself independent is essential. Another thing to do is sit with your feelings. It is so easy to medicate with someone else and if you don't feel the sadness, pain and hurt from this relationship you may relive the problems again.

Another big thing and I am looking back on my life. I allowed my boys to see me getting mistreated. You are allowing your children to be imprinted with abuse. They could grow up and either tolerate way too much or grow up and be abusive. Save yourself and your kids too. Show them a Mom who has power and doesn't all people to treat her with anything less than respect.

I was married to a man for 20 years and I thought I could do better. I got involved with a man who was brutal and sadistic. No one but the women he has tortured knows about him.

Don't jump to the next guy. It will be the hardest thing to do but go be with you and your kids.

Be free and be alone and think about what you want and why.

Good Luck to you,

Faith

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, May 13, 2000

S1

Terri,

As a master of martial arts I am glad to see that you know that OUT is the way to safety rather than your Black Belt.

I myself, am an antisocial personality who was married to a Bipolar woman. I have been in counseling ever since I was discharged from the United States Army in 1994. I never once abused my wife but I did not offer her the kind of support she needed during her depressive episodes and she resented it. She warned me that she "sometimes had the urge to hurt me". She told me she also had the desire to leave me to pursue a "new thing". When she told me that the "new thing" was to join the circus I immediately called her doctor and refused to speak with her about it. I knew that my own personality would only lead me to say something abusive or hurtful. I was trying to help and I thought I did the right thing. I secretly lit a silent fuse.

I refused to let go of the relationship even though I knew neither of us were capable of maintaining it. I tried to force it and in the end my wife attacked me with a steak knife in my sleep. I should have got out while the getting was good.

This happened nearly a year ago. We've been separated since then and legally divorced only a few months. Several times I have also though I met the most wonderful girl last week. The truth is I'm not sure what wonderful is. I'm not sure about anything at this point. Please, be careful you don't end up back in the same mess.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, May 13, 2000

S1

Dear Terri,

In many ways, verbal abuse is worse than physical abuse, because the scars last much longer, and the wounds often go even deeper. Please don't think that you are any less deserving of support and help than someone who is being struck with fists; you are every bit as important, and even more in need.

I agree with Dr. Irene that you need to change the situation. But--the most dangerous time for an abused woman is the period after she leaves--or throws out--her abuser. You need to start making plans for your safety, NOW. A good place to start is the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-799-SAFE, where you can learn about resources in your own community. Even a black belt isn't necessarily enough to protect you and your children from a really angry-scared abuser who sees he's losing control over you.

Things you need to find about about RIGHT NOW include your and your kids' rights to financial support, your legal right to safety, your right to get him out of the home (since it's in your name).

If you can, find a temporary help agency and sign up to do temp work while you are looking for a fulltime job. BE CAREFUL about signing your kids up for daycare, though--make sure that there is NO chance they will be released to him.

And look for a support group in your community so that you can meet sister survivors and learn and heal.

Best wishes, Gayla

 

 

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, May 14, 2000

S1

Terri, congratulations on earning that Black Belt! Are you in the mood to appreciate a joke? Old cartoon from back in the 70s. Guy and his girlfriend are walking past a martial arts studio, where several women can be seen through the window practicing karate. Guy shakes his head and says disapprovingly, "I don't see anything attractive about a partner who could beat me up." His girlfriend looks at him and says: "Neither do I."

And to be fair, what the guy said wasn't entirely true. Think of all the fans Diana Rigg won for herself as Emma Peel. :) Probably before your time, but what the heck.

Getting serious though, I can only repeat what everyone else has said. Do be careful about that new man. There's a strong chance, given your history, that he's not the right partner for you. Even without knowing the first thing about him, I'd lay a reasonable bet on it.

I'll say a bit more, and tell you why. I've just been looking through this site, and I keep seeing commentaries about "trust your feelings," "sit with your feelings," and so on. With all apologies to Dr. Irene, I find that a bit off kilter, even dangerous. I'd rather say something like "learn to interpret your feelings accurately." If you've been abused, sure, you need to give value to your feelings of hurt, not squash them down as if they didn't count. But when it comes to this new man, feelings are a different matter.

I know you're in a situation of fear and uncertainty, and the last thing I want to do is suggest you can't trust *yourself*. Instead, I have a little idea--don't know what it's worth, but you might find it helpful to try anyway. Think back to when you first met your husband. I'm assuming you "felt in love" with him at that time, with all the excitement that goes with "being in love"--*whatever* that means to you! If you had similar problems with your first husband, you might do the same for him as well. Now, take a look at your feelings about this new man. Ask yourself if they're the *same* kind of feelings you had before. If that's true, then however good, however exciting or reassuring it feels to be with this man--might that not mean that this is the *same* kind of man? That eventually he's going to turn out the same as your husband?

I'll be more specific. Suppose what's great about this man is that he seems to you so strong and confident, a Knight on a White Horse who's come to rescue you and solve all your problems. That's all very well, but did your husband seem the same? Suppose what you perceive as "strength" is in fact an excessive need for control, just as your husband has. Don't forget that you feel in a very vulnerable position right now. That doesn't mean you don't have power--more than you realize, a lot of power you can exercise--but I'm guessing you come across as very vulnerable, in spite of that Black Belt :) so be careful. Ask yourself why a man is attracted to a woman who seems vulnerable, very much in need of "rescuing." Could it be that he only feels confident with a woman he senses as "weaker" than himself? It's not that your attraction to "strength" is "wrong"; it's only that your interpretation needs shifting a bit in terms of what "strength" means to you.

Suppose what's great about this man is that he seems so loving toward you. That's all very well, but did your husband seem the same? Suppose what you perceive as "lovingness" is in fact excessive dependency such as your husband has, a person you can feel rewarded by looking after. That is, until his neediness becomes too great for you to fulfill--more than any woman could fulfill--and he becomes enraged with you because nobody can fulfill it. Again, it's not that your attraction to "lovingness" is wrong--heaven forbid!--only that you must learn to discriminate between love and desperate dependency.

And suppose what's great about this man is that he seems exciting, a challenge. That's all very well too; was your husband like that? If you like taking on challenges--as anyone capable of earning a Black Belt surely does! :) --there's nothing wrong with that, but you may need to "fine tune" what a "challenge" means to you, and learn not to take on challenges that give you no possible chance of winning against.

Maybe this man really does seem wonderful. That's suspicious in itself, because none of us are perfect. We build romances around one another, that's all. And make no mistake: I'm all in favor of romance. That's how we maintain love for one another. As long as it's with the right person, somebody capable of returning our love. And that's the scary thing too. One thing that marks the abusive personality is inconsistency of behavior. He (or she) might seem convincingly wonderful to begin with, and only reveal the real self later. Just the same, it's my belief that we can tell what people are like, however unaware we are of the meaning of our feelings. People like yourself often have a way of hooking up with abusive partners time and again, however unintentionally. But if feelings are so capable of singling out abusive partners and distinguishing them from others, aren't those feelings capable of being reinterpreted to avoid making those same mistakes?

As I said, these are only my ideas; maybe they mean nothing, but I hope they'll help. It's not a bad thing that you met this man, not at all. One thing it did for you was to wake you up to what you'd been missing in your marriage: a feeling of love, warmth, and hope. That's a motivating force, one that can get you to move and make a change. Just pick out of that what's useful to you, and be very careful about the rest. Anyone who can earn a Black Belt can look after herself. You can get a job. The only reason you haven't got one, I'm hearing, is that your husband objects to your daughter's being in daycare. So get a job and put her in daycare. What's your husband going to do about it? Beat you up? :)

There are lots of things you can do with your life, I'm sure, especially if you rely on yourself. I'm looking forward to seeing you in the near future: starring in some great martial arts movie, "coming soon to a theater near me." In the meantime, I hope you have a happy Mother's Day. :)

- Gordon

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, May 25, 2000

S1

Dear Terri, Wow! I think you read my mind because your story is so similar to mine. I was never hit as badly as you were, but I was hit a few times by my husband, including when I was trying to get pregnant (Pow! in the stomach!). I thought it was getting better when he had only verbally abused me since Thanksgiving, but when he hit me again two months ago I decided that I'd had enough. I too had strong feelings for another man, my boss, who seems to be an asused husband himself. I suspect that he is also a Controller, so even though I thought about him night and day, I was not able to reach out and take his hand and start the ball rolling between us. But seeing him every day made me see my husband as more of a stranger, and his behavior looked more and more clearly out of line. So when I started using birth control again, I realized that I really did not want to stay with my husband. He refused to give me a divorce, so I just walked out of the house when his back was turned and didn't call until the next day. Here is how I did it. 1. I had lots of money saved up. You won't need much if you plan, but you have to be able to come up with a permanant place to live. If you can't stay with relatives, you have to have security deposit and one or two month's rent. See, Terri, once you go away from a violent man you have to be prepared for a hurricane. My husband too used to say he 'saw me as a man' when he got mad. He is now on psychiatric pills. And I learned the hard way not to stand up to him. 2. You have to have money for gas, car repairs, etc. or have help from friends so you never have to go back. 3. You job is your lifeline. Treat it with kid gloves. Make very few problems for your boss. Get to work on time, put in unpaid overtime if you have to. Everything depends on your job- health benefits, salary, etc. Most likely you will love working because you will quickly love how decently people treat you. It is very addictive. But watch your own emotions and control any anger that you might feel starting to leak out of your wounds once you get away. Don't bite the hand that feeds you. 4. Once I moved out, I stayed in a motel for a week. Each day I put one or two things down on a list for things I had to do. But I didn't make myself plan everything the first night. I just watched tv in the motel. 5. E-mail is good for communicationg with you ex about bills, etc after things have cooled down. You can print out the crazy stuff he will send you and show it to your lawyer. But don't stoop to his level. With e-mail you don't have to talk on the phone. 6. Get ready to feel bad for about two weeks. Then you will start feeling better, and you will feel better than you have in years. You will wonder why the hell you waited so long. 7. Use the momentem of your attraction for the other guy to get you away from your husband, but don't commit to the other guy for at least six months. Just enjoy the charge you get out of being around him. If it never works out, the least that happened was that he helped save your life. 8. Are both of these guys a lot older than you are? How did I know that? 9. Call your local coalition for battered women and talk to a counselor. She will surely agree that you need to get out, especially for your child's sake. Verbal abuse it very destructive. And the fact that he said he was going to kill you is terrible. Forget about your black belt, he could shoot you! 10. NEVER FORGET WHY YOU LEFT. If it felt like abuse, it was. Check out some library books about abuse, especially Men Who Hate Women And the Women Who Love Them and Should I stay or Should I Go and Walking on Eggshells- Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Love has Borderline Personality Disorder. I read these books in the motel after work the first week I left and they really opened my eyes to what I was going through. 11. You might even find a place to live at battered woman support group. I did, with another battered woman who got the house. 12. All in all, I was surprised by how smoothly the whole thing went. It's been a month now. 13. When you get your own place, the remote is yours! (I never got to use ours, either!) GOOD LUCK TERRI! WE LOVE AND SUPPORT YOU! GO-OOOOOO, TERRI!

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, June 12, 2000

S1

 

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, July 07, 2001

S1

terri,,,,,you are a knucklehead