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4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

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

6/12 Interactive Board: Unintentional Abuse

11/7 Interactive Board: Is This Abusive?

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

11/4 Interactive Board: A New Me!

10/8 Interactive Board: Seeming Impossibility

9/8 Interactive Board: My Ex MisTreats Our Son

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

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

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

4/7 Interactive Board: Too Guilty!

Doc@DrIrene.com

Comments for Tough Love

Comments for Tough Love

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

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

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, December 10, 2000

S1

test

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, December 10, 2000

S1

Elizabeth, you're absolutely right. Some folks have known no other feeling. For others (like me) it takes getting through a lot of pain and anger to get to this point. Thank you.

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, December 10, 2000

S1

Some people can stay in it and stay healthy and focused. I could not do that. I had to leave. I was not strong enough to be in one battle after another. I just could handle being around the negative hate stuff. I forgive him. He is in counseling and I am glad. But since I have been taking care of myself I have the strength to reach out to others. A year ago I was left homeless. Today I have a beautiful apartment, a great job and a great life.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, December 11, 2000

S1

Elizabeth,

You said: "You will learn to ignore and fight back."

No, I am going further than that. I won't ignore and fight back. I have walked away.

I'd like to pat you on the back for detaching yourself from your spouse's abuse, but it sounds like you are merely shutting down and putting up a wall to shield yourself from it, rather than not tolerating it in the first place.

Personally, I don't need to learn to ignore my spouse's verbal abuse and manipulative behavior. I don't want to be strong enough to ignore such antics. First off, it takes too much of my energy. Second, his abuse and his behavior is HIS problem, not mine. I don't need to deal with it at all. I've got more important things to do with my life.

You said: "I'm still in a marriage but I have enough strength to ignore and remember that I'm special and so the abuse is almost over. He can't abuse me anymore and now we can work on a healthy relationship." The abuse is almost over? You mean he continues to be abusive? Elizabeth, are you fooling yourself? It sounds like you are setting your boundaries, and he has responded to some degree, but I wonder if you are using boundaries to control his behavior.

Elizabeth, it sounds like you've found a somewhat effective coping method to steel yourself against him --- instead of using your newly built strength and energy to nurture and build up YOURSELF. That's not freedom, Elizabeth, it's just a more attractive prison.

You deserve better. -S.

 

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, December 12, 2000

S1

Elizabeth, We each have to do what is right for us, you chose to stay and learn to ignore. For me that was what was killing my soul. I left three months ago and yes he is in counseling and very apologetic in some ways but he is still trying to make me feel sad for his loss, what about my loss and all the hurt he caused me. I hope you are not just learning to ignore your hurts as well, because to allow someone to hurt us is not loving ourselves. I wish you the best in whatever you choose. Nuts

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, December 12, 2000

S1

You have had a taste of the appetizer, but you need a full meal. YOU MUST love YOURSELF. You need that before you can reasonably deal with anybody. Your abuse is "almost" over? Many posters here may have had the same experience. Almost over- for years! I must ask what kind of example you are setting for your children- still small enough to be taken to school- that they should tolerate someone who is abusive? Is he mean to them, too? Or does he try to be the good guy always, leaving you to be the normal parent responsible for discipline? (a pattern I've seen in abusive relationships with smaller kids) He's setting you all up for conflict later. Maybe that's what he thinks is a "normal" relationship. On the other hand, I believe in marriage, and perhaps your strength will show him the proper way to mature. Hang in there, gal! Keep going. Think- the greatest love of all is right inside of you.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, December 12, 2000

S1

I'm still in my marriage, too, but it strikes me that being the primary caretaker for the children, taking care of yourself, and then still have energy to fight back is a tall order! I don't have that kind of energy. I choose to stay disengaged, take take care of kids, and I work. It's even difficult for me to have quiet time until after kids are in bed! As it is, I'm tired all the time, and have difficulty sleeping from time to time.. I don't know how you can do it. Maybe your kids are older. I just can't imagine life forever fighting back. I get worn out thinking about it. Maybe you didn't tell us enough about how your husband accepted responsibility for his stuff and is working on it. So, I agree with one of the earlier posters. Life walking away is more peaceful than fighting back all the time. Do you really want to spend all your life's energy on this, or do you have other things you'd like to be doing, but don't because you are still in your relationship?

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, December 12, 2000

S1

i so want to believe that there is still a chance of a healthy relationship in a marriage once you decide that there will be no more abuse .has he decided there will be no more or is it just you? i want to believe you can ignore .but if you still have to ignore then im guessing that there is still something going on . i thought i could ignore too .but it eats away at me .my kids don't just ignore any more so neither can i. I hope that you are strong enough and your kids are too .

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, December 13, 2000

S1

Is it really possible to become immune - there are always new ways to hurt you. Like completely ignoring my 40th birthday. Not forgetting - just ignoring. No present, no card - just excuses. 'Perhaps I didn't feel like it', 'Perhaps I didn't have any time', 'I didn't know it was important to you'.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, December 13, 2000

S1

Oh this hit very close to home with me. I am divorced and met someone before my divorce was even final and have been seeing him for a year and a half now. I thought God brought this person right to me in the beginning and he was my soul mate. I have never felt Love like this before. Three months into the relationship I started to see changes. Things did not add up and I suspected he was using drugs. He then started to push me around and then hitting on me. My friends tried to get me away from him but did not succeed. I have been trying to get away for the past two months. It is very hard , he makes me feel like it is my fault. My friends finally got tired of the constant turmoil with him and have stepped back from my relationship with them. I have heard my boyfriend was physical with past girlfriends and has a history of bad relationships. I just cannot understand why I am having a hard time breaking away. I have gone to counseling , I am on an antidepressant, and at times, have no desire to live anymore. I am so angry at myself for getting in this mess. He makes me feel like the crazy one for calling people checking up on his stories he tells me. I keep thinking just one more lie I catch him in , this time I will leave. My friends I do have left are tired of coming to my rescue after he hits on me and I am draining them. What should I do when I feel this helpless? I have considered trying to find some kind of intense counseling Program. I am open to any suggestions. Please Help. Kelly

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, December 13, 2000

S1

Kelly is your ex husband better or worse or the same as your boyfriend?

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, December 14, 2000

S1

Elizabeth,

Like most of the other posts, I agree that it is to much energy being sap from me to always be on guard and looking for the covert stuff that is happening. I am 32 and have 5 children and work full time. I am planning my escape as I talk. He used to have the overt abuse, almost to the physical side. I left him for over a year, he quit drinking went to anger management classes and saw a marriage counselor with me before I moved back. Life was good, or so I thought. As soon as I felt safe the covert abuse was there. I didn't see it at first, small things were said that slowly tore me down, I didn't see any of it until I realized that I was extremely depressed and didn't know why. I went to a counselor again this time by myself, I was diagnosed with depression, and she told me to start writing down things that made me feel tense. At first it was only a few things a week that I saw, but now that the light has been shown on what is going on, it happens everyday, almost all the time, no wonder I was depressed. Also, my children is receiving the same covert crap that he does to me. Now I beat myself up for being so shut down, and not protecting my children the best I can. I don't believe that anyone can be in an abusive relationship without it affecting the children to some degree. God is also helping me and answering my prayers, because now I know that the true peace that I feel knowing that leaving is the option I need is God telling me it is ok and please take care of my children. You can see a post that I left at "Ask the Doctor" Just read the posts. My name is Tree.

I pray for and with you Elizabeth. Email me if you need to. Take Care And God speed. Kerberst@msn.com Tree

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, December 14, 2000

S1

Kelly,

You need out!!! It is never your fault and you don't need to find an excuse to leave him (Catching him in an other lie) Maybe the lie wont be "that bad". You are still alive and kicking (it is good you are feeling angry you should) You should read the book "Are You The One For Me". Problem one with this man is that you went for your ex-husband into a new relationship right away. (hopefully when you leave this jerk you will take some time to be happy with you and to build yourself up) I know you will leave him because you beat the odds with you ex. I know you have the strength to get threw this. I don't suggest you get this book and have it at home or any where you boyfriend might see it. In the book there are some test that you can do to see the patterns that you do with relationships and why we make the wrong love choices, it also has an area that states "are you ready to be in a relationship. There is NEVER a time that being hit or abused is ok. You will also need to work on the "calling his friends to check up on him". If this is what you are doing, (I have done this) You need to stop. At first it is very hard but once you work threw the "panic of needing to know". Why do you feel the need to know? What do you think is going on behind your back? And if something is going on, if you are not ment to find out, you won't. I used to be that way, Scared if he did anything without me, and checking up on him. I didn't like this about my self, I didn't like how I felt about myself after I did it. I also didn't like the power it gave him over me. When I first started to not "check up" and not get upset at him (showing it to him). It was very hard. But now I don't do it anymore (haven't for 6-7 years). And the "panic" that I once felt slowly has dwindled to sometimes just a thought in the back of my mind. But guess what, my husband is still abusive to me and the kids. So please know that it is no way your fault, work on you and only you, you are the only one you can change. The hard part is the wisdom to know the difference (sound familiar?) Take Care and I will also pray for you. Let Go and Let God handle some of your emotions that is what he (or she: )) is there for.

Tree

 

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, December 14, 2000

S1

Hi Elizabeth - If he is really changing, then good for you and for him. Yes, of course, you couldn't ever "work on" him, could you? But you imply that the abuse only happened because you took it. I certainly hope that he doesn't believe that, too! Are you certain that he is not just in a quiet period and that he won't find new ways? That happens, you know. The quiescent period when you show a little bit of personal power, followed by the next emotional whack. What has really happened with him to make this change? And how do you "cope" with abuse? Where is the line?

Not knowing more, I have just one small piece of advice - stay open and aware. You say "He cannot abuse you anymore", but of course he can. Abuse is not simply believing something is happening - it is real. I know that you believe that he will not, and I hope that is true. But stay open. As one therapist told me - keep your center of gravity low. We women tend to get up on our emotional toes, to stretch as far as we must to reach someone, and it's easier to knock us over that way.

I am in a marriage that is sexually and emotionally dead due to abuse that I thought I could "cope with", and after so many years of coping I can hardly remember which way is up, far less figure out what I must do to take care of myself. Perhaps Jesus Christ himself could consistently turn the other cheek, but it's no way to build strong relationships, which must be based on trust. I just don't have his level of faith! I need a partner who truly respects me, not uses me. I got into this through a very well-meaning therapist (see above) who saw the whole thing as a power difference, a common mistake, I believe, and a very painful one.

I would like to know if you have found a way to cope with all your anger toward him. Where has that gone?

A friend in Alaska

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, December 14, 2000

S1

I feel and know that once you get to the place she is in mentally-emotionally - spiritually... the anger subsides and the pain....especially when you realize the abuse has nothing to do with you . In a way I now see the abuser as a mentally ill person or a child that won't or can't grow up..or someone who is disabled or retarded.... The more we disengage in their illness and engage in our own nurturing and growth... the less of an effect that illness has on us..Though it may still effect us negatively at times but not to the degree it once did and it is easier to let go of it more quickly. kim.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, December 14, 2000

S1

I feel and know that once you get to the place she is in mentally-emotionally - spiritually... the anger subsides and the pain....especially when you realize the abuse has nothing to do with you . In a way I now see the abuser as a mentally ill person or a child that won't or can't grow up.. or someone who is disabled or retarded.... The more we disengage in their illness and engage in our own nurturing and growth... the less of an effect that illness has on us.. Though it may still effect us negatively at times but not to the degree it once did and it is easier to let go of it more quickly. kim.

 

 

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, December 18, 2000

S1

Dear Elizabeth,

You can set boundaries and may get temporary peace! BUT are you happy? Will you ever be able to be totally honest with your husband? So honest that he won't rage? Will you have to continue to protect him by not saying anything hurtfu? Elizabeth his is control less obvious now - like in the form of don't leave me I can't cope without you?

YOU see the sad thing is sometimes we set boundaries and get some peace BUT the control becomes less obvious but it is still there in the form of GUILT, FEAR or obligation. READ Manipulation Fear, Obligation and guilt.

REMEMBER UNLESS two broken people get fixed in therapy there is NO healthy!!

BE HONEST abuse may look invisible but its there lurking in the background check it out!!! NO ONE GeTS cured over night.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, December 18, 2000

S1

I understand what you are saying about loving yourself. You had to matter enough to yourself to make it uncool to be abused. Totally agree.

But when you say things like " Keep yourself busy" and "Be glad the day is almost done" it makes me a little sad. The thing is Elizabeth, when you let go of the pain you won't have to keep busy. You will be peaceful without having to close your eyes. Escapism is very attractive. It's not fullfilling....just filling. Fills the day up so we don't have to think about it.

Get a piece of paper. Write down the 5 most important things you need in your life to be happy. Not materially. Emotionally, spiritually, personally.

One of mine was : I want to be treated respectfully by my husband and my children. To do this I must show myself respect, and take care of myself.

So every six weeks I get my hair cut, and spend time in the city by myself. And at least twice a month I go out with my friends and get a bite to eat and/or a movie. I buy tickets to concerts that I want to see, regardless of what he thinks about the band. I buy two tickets, and he can go, or I will bring one of my girlfriends instead.

Another was that I wanted to show my children that they are lovable, and capable. Capable of showing and receiving love, making the right decisions and making their own breakfast once in a while (LOL). Capable of giving their father and I time alone to talk about important things without being interrupted. To do this, he had to give them choices instead of orders, and I had to hold them accountable. Which helped my first need...to have them respect me.

Ok, enough. But I really hope that we meet each day as a beginning instead of waiting for it to end. I am totally enjoying my life now. I feel like a real person for the first time in ten years......maybe longer.

 

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, December 18, 2000

S1

Sorry, before ending the above post I wanted to say that I had to stop the abuse not only from my spouse, but from my family also. It was very confusing before I realized that more than one person was causing me to doubt myself. So do a thorough cleaning from the beginning, and it will all fall into place quicker. :o)

Laura

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, December 19, 2000

S1

Yes I can and that pain and anger is what I am trying to get rid of in my life. I am tired of living like that. I don't feel that it indicates someone who loves themself if they are walking around feeling that way. I know I don't. I also I know I haven't always felt this way(at one time I questioned even that...had I ALWAYS been like that I wondered, well now I know!). I want my children to grow up seeing a happy mother, not a crying, mournful one.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, December 22, 2000

S1

I am happy for her and I am glad for that encouragement. But frankly, from my experience its reall tough to ignore a verbally abusive partner unless you numb yourself and that strips away the passion and fire that I used to have in me! I think you should have faith, but you should always be planning, learning and strengthening yourself. And one day hopefully you will have enough strenth to walk away from it all and STAY AWAY! D-(ID name OceanFaith)

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, December 26, 2000

S1

Does there come a time when the only thing left to do is end the relationship? How many tries (to make it work) is enough?

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, January 03, 2001

S1

Elizabeth,

If you can really do this, great. I can't help but think, however, that you are killing off part of yourself in the process. I've run the gamut from fighting back to ignoring to begging(yuc) him to stop the verbal assaults. All any of these things did for me was lower my already questionable self esteem. Sure, ignoring it sounds good, but it seeps in-and then what are you supposed to do with all that? It doesn't just go away. Begging? No more! I will never humiliate myself that way again! And I think we all know where fighting back(their way)gets us-NOWHERE.

I believe Patricia Evans says(I have the book, but loaned it out to a friend) that we live in different realities. It's true. Yes, everyone IS capable of exhibiting abusive behavior. But the(main, because there are a ton of them) difference lies in the aftermath. Looking back, I can see where I have not always acted appropriately, where I have snapped at someone or hurt someone's feelings or whatever, but I knew it when it happened and would try to mend the situation if possible. I was genuinely sorry, and it hurt ME to know that I had hurt someone else. Abusers may show remorse, but it's the manipulative "I'll do anything to get you back so I can continue bullying you" kind. The "I'm sorry BUT" kind. Totally unacceptable.

Take care of yourself!

Anne

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, August 13, 2001

S1

Yes, I can and it's the "ignore" part I'm a bit worried about.That sounds like a lot of buried anger and frustration.How can one live like that without a valve blowing somewhere?

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, February 15, 2003

S1

I pray that the abuser has not modeled abusive behavior for your children. I was married to a verbal abuser for 10 years and we divorced because he left me for another woman who was pregnant with his child. My son was eight years old at the time. Now I am horrified that my son (now 22 years old) is behaving in the same verbally abusive manner as his father did towards me!! I feel so hurt and disappointed. Antoinette

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, May 25, 2003

S1