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Comments for Trying Not To Feel Hopeless

Comments:  Trying Not To Feel Hopeless

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 1998-2002. 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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Thursday September 26, 2002
06:07 PM -0500

Thank you so much for your response. I really appreciate the thought to call an abuse shelter for a counselor, that was one of my biggest things. I know I needed someone to keep me thinking straight, but I have had such bad luck so far that the thought of trying again and again did not sound good. It's hard sometimes... And I sort of wondered if they weren't understanding, maybe I was off track. No. One guy told me "why can't you just let him get mad?" I think he was suggesting that you disengage emotionally from hubby, which is good advice. Problem is you can't do it just yet. First you need validation. My opinion is that though his reasons for getting angry are a little warped, getting angry, and feeling justified to act any way you want to because of it are not the same. Correct. That would have been an excellent reply to the person who suggested you "let him get mad," and if you continue to practice composing replies like this after the fact, eventually, watch them start rolling out of your mouth! Just when you need them! Also, about the shopping thing, I realized I had cut a part explaining how when I just went shopping the other day, telling my husband we needed meat, I also got my daughters some dance shoes which they did need for their class, as well as snacks for school, etc. Anyway, he threw a total fit, telling me I said I was just getting meat, why am I buying all these extras, and I had to have gotten more than that for the money I spent. He kept yelling for me to tell him what else. That's when it hit me that he had been doing all the shopping, which I hadn't minded, but I did mind the reason: to keep me from going. OK, now I get it. He likes to make sure everything is strictly and only what benefits him, and is to his taste. My phrase is "under his control." And that asking a partner about any money spent to me means an agreed upon amount, $20, $100, whatever is considered a major purchase. He has to know, and I mean very literally where every penny goes, or where I got a quarter I might have in my pocket. I have a hard time w/ this, as I talked about money for my business, having a right to justify this being separate from all marital money being "ours" not yours and mine. And because he uses this for control, can I just change the rules? Why not?  And not feel totally guilty of something? You've got to learn to deal with your guilt. Here's a good book to add to the other one: Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation and Guilt to Manipulate You   by Dr. Susan Forward and Donna Frazier.  

Anyway, thank you. He called me earlier to go out to lunch. It shocked the heck out of me. I guess it was his ESP letting him know I just happened to be looking at apartment ads. I was sure I was ready to get out, but I guess I am still a sucker. Please stop! Don't call yourself names... I think it's great that you're a little less hopeless! The best analogy I can think of is with quitting smoking. If you've ever smoked or know a smoker who's tried to quit, you see what happens: they quit - only to pick up a cigarette the next time the urge hits. But do you know who eventually succeeds? The smoker who keeps trying to quit. 

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Thursday September 26, 2002
06:56 PM -0500

Ariel, I identify with so much of your experience! My husband also says I decided he was abusive because I read certain books and "listen" to my "internet buddies," who, according to him, don't know HIS side of the story! You are in a very tough position due to your financial powerlessness and the fact that you have young children. But...there are ways to deal with these things. I'll tell you what I've done and maybe some of it will be useful to you. First, I began reclaiming my power. Little by little, I learned to respect and rely on myself and what I KNEW to be right. I was always scared of his reactions too (I can relate to hiding things or not telling him things) but I decided that I would not let what I did be ruled by the possibility of his irrational reactions. I realized that I was giving his anger more power than it had and he was very happy for me to do that! So he gets mad--so what? Sure, it's a pain to deal with, but I could walk out of the room, leave the house, blow it off--show him I was no longer going to be intimidated. (Now I realize that someone who reacts with violence needs to be handled differently, i.e., be gotten out of the house. My H was escalating to physical violence; he is GONE now). Secondly, I began paying more attention to what those who have my best interests at heart were saying about me. My therapist, professors, family and friends were/are supportive, encouraging, and let me know that THEY thought I was bright, intelligent, brave, talented and strong. Why listen to my husband, who more often than not called me a pea-brain, a leech; who dug holes under me rather than build me up? Even his so-called compliments were usually followed by a "but," or later an insult. As my self-respect grew, I found my situation more and more intolerable. I walked around with a hole in my spirit all the time. My H couldn't understand; he was angry that I couldn't *forgive and forget* instantly. How do you forget something that happens practically everyday; that you know won't change?  You don't  forget!

I have dealt with the religious conflicts too. This is my second marriage and I did NOT want another divorce. I held on for 12 years hoping and praying for change. I learned what God and the Bible says about marriage and abuse; I prayed long and hard some more, talked A LOT with my on-line support group (through this site) and finally just KNEW that nothing would change except to get worse, that my spirit was dying a slow death, and I needed to get away from the abuse. The decision is one I wish I hadn't had to make, but I do have peace about it. I agree with Doc. You need to start with getting support for yourself. If there is a DV organization in or near your town, give them a call. They will help you. I stopped at ours on impulse last winter and walked out a client. An advocate has gone to court with me, and I plan to start attending their support group. I'm sure they can point you to all kinds of resources. It's important that you build up your emotional strength and not do anything before you are ready (while learning to take risks too-:) ). Take one small step after another; a little each day. start with counseling, reading, posting on this board, etc. Another thought: my H and I didn't have children, but I have 2 from my previous marriage who were fairly young when he and I married. My youngest moved with me when H and I married (my oldest went to live with his dad). Part of my reasons for staying had to do with my kids, my youngest especially. I didn't want to put him through another upheaval. I'm wondering now whether it may not have been better for us to pack up and move back to our previous town as soon as I saw how things were going to be. But...I wasn't in a place (emotionally or financially) where I could do that. My point is, imo, it's better for kids to grow up in a nonabusive home than in one where they are learning dysfunctional behavior. Sure...dad is there, but what's he doing to mom...and the them. I believe that when a spouse abuses a spouse, he/she is also abusing the kids. So you know where I'm at in my *journey* I've filed for divorce, and am not financially in good shape. I have 2 part-time jobs one of which will not be there come December. I can't support myself and I'm looking for work. BUT--I have decided that my husband will not abuse me again; I like you, have spent too many nights crying in the bathroom. God bless you and your children Ariel...here's to laughter and smiles instead of tears! Becky  Hi Becky! Thank you.

For the record, Becky is our newest CatBox Administrators. She is a great source of comfort and good advice. Doc

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Thursday September 26, 2002
07:01 PM -0500

Ariel, I just read your response to Doc and I had to smile in a cringing sort of way. My husband was a master at "lets' go out to eat" after he'd been abusive. I talked myself into believing that a meal out (and usually a very cheap one-lol!) was compensation for being hurt so badly. Know what??? I'd rather take myself out to eat! Even a MacDonald's meal tastes like a gourmet feast when not eaten in the company of someone who doesn't respect me! Becky

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Friday September 27, 2002
02:31 PM -0500

OH MY GOD!!! You just do not know how engrossed I was while reading your insert. I feel like I am the only one in this whole wide world that gets treated and reacts so poorly. I get horrible panic attacks, feel totally worthless, feel like I will be alone forever, that all the horrible things he has said are true, even though people say they are not. My feeling of humiliation is so deep I truly feel like I will never recover. My situation is soooo very complicating and confusing. I have been in my verbally, emotionally and sometimes physically abusive relationship for 3 1/2 years. I had enough sense if that is what you want to call it, not to marry him, deep down I knew I shouldn't be treated badly and I didn't want to live like this for the rest of my life. I am SUCH A CODEPENDENT, it's terrible I can not stand to be alone, although technically I am not alone because I have a wonderful, beautiful, loving 6 yr old from my previous marriage. I would need hours to explain my situation, but I need you to know that I get very depressed and do not get out of bed. I just started a new job and I can barely concentrate on anything , my mind just spins. All I can say is get to counseling for yourself, and pray for strength to get better. I know there is nothing wrong with us it JUST FEELS LIKE IT!!! Please don't cry , wipe the tears and take action. I need so much help ,if somebody could please tell me I will be OK I am so scared , I do not know how to get through the days and especially nights without him--- How SICK is that?!!! BETH

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Friday September 27, 2002
06:53 PM -0500

Beth, You have already proven how strong and smart you are: you didn't marry him! Wish I'd have been as smart! I hope you are getting therapy and will consider an antidepressant if you aren't taking one already. Once things even out chemically, you'll be able to think more clearly. I know panic attacks and depression and they aren't easy to deal with, but counseling and a med will help. I have a real abandonment issue that flares up from time to time and have lain awake nights trembling and tossing and turning....but as time goes by (my H moved out in May) it's gotten better. I guess I've come to realize that for all intents and purposes, I've been alone these past 12 years anyway. Have you posted on the boards? Please consider it, as you'll find lots of people there who understand. Hang in there, Beth. Becky

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Friday September 27, 2002
08:06 PM -0500

" I fairly recently rebuilt our broken computer because I sold things on Ebay and it was my only thing to give me a sense of self-sufficiency. Good for you! Anyway, at the same time, my husband's checks weren't covering the bills, and I got a credit card with a business corp. name I got, to fix the computer and pay the bills we couldn't cover. I knew I'd be blamed no matter what. I thought I could make (and have) the payments by selling stuff. Anyway, he found the card, justifiably angry justifiably??? Why? and I turned our checkbook, bills, everything over to him. Yuk!!! You let him persecute you... Now it's constantly brought up, and I feel I have no rights to say anything about money. You most certainly do have the right to talk about money! In fact, you have the right to tell him you want the bills and the checkbook back! You have the right to tell him you don't want to hear more complaints about money, and you don't want to hear that you "snuck" trying to help the family out! You have the right to tell him he should thank you instead of scorn you! You have the right to tell him if you choose to go into business without his knowledge, that is not his business. It is your business and your business is not his business - marriage or not - unless you choose to make it his business! "

Dr Irene, I am a long time admirer of your advise and have been helped very much. Your input above confuses me, and bothers me, unless I have misunderstood. If someone goes out and gets a credit card to purchase things to sell on eBay, and to pay bills, that person has created a joint debt without letting the other person know. How is that okay? There is no guarantee of making a profit on eBay, but there is potential. Also using that card to pay bills that regular income do not cover is getting them both into deeper debt. I'm not saying it wasn't a good idea, I don't have enough info to have an opinion of the soundness of the idea. What I don't understand is why it's okay to go into debt that will affect your spouse? In community property states, debts and assets are equally the divided. In addition, if the eBay selling does not turn a profit, that means they are still relying on the income of the husband to pay the bills, including this bill he had no input into. How is that okay? I'm not saying she needed anyone's *permission* to start a business, I think that fantastic and a wonderful thing to go into. But the business was not started with her money, or his money, it was started on borrowed money that they could both be liable for. To me it seems disrespectful to financially obligate another person without their okay. I can see selling things at the house no longer being used. Or being creative with cooking for a month and use the saved money to go to garage sales to start the cash flow for the business. The library has computers that can be used until one can be fixed at home. The idea was a very good one, but saying if she wants to start a business it's none of his business, I don't understand. If she can't pay the debt, who will? Joint assets will. I lived with a man who thought that starting businesses was not my business. I paid the price with him when they didn't work. Will you please further explain the idea of her getting a credit card, without the means to pay for her charges (eBay is not a guarantee many lose money), not being her spouse's business since assets and liabilities are see as joint by many courts. Thanks, J Dear J, you make good points. But, I am a psychologist, not an attorney. My advise is meant to give ideas and to break down the emotional walls that prevent people from taking their freedom.

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Friday September 27, 2002
08:59 PM -0500

To Beth, I left a 2 year relationship with a very controlling, abusive person. I have been back and forth a few times and I know a big part of going back, is facing that alone feeling. I don't feel "okay" when I'm alone. Something that helps me is to remember that there was no security or safety with him. I have a lot more security taking care of myself and being alone for now. You could never trust him emotionally or physically. Feeling okay because you are with someone is just an illusion. As you get healthier, you can feel those "okay" feelings within yourself. I'm feeling them now and it is such a surprise to me that it was possible after all these years. The key is being nice to myself, respecting myself, and demanding respect from others. You'll be okay. Turn whatever love you felt for him toward yourself.

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Monday September 30, 2002
05:33 PM -0500

This all sounds familiar to me what Ariel has written. Although I was not married, I experienced the confusion and uncertainty of what was occurring. I couldn't quite put my figure on it but I knew something wasn't right. According to HIM it was my problem. I took things too personally. His problem isn't your problem. As I am beginning to see, you can't make him "get it" what is wrong in the interactions you 2 have. Get a counselor of your own.. be strong.. Take care of yourself. Once you become stronger of who you are and realize you don't need to be treated this way, you can make better decisions for yourself. Your feelings do count. Natalie

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Tuesday October 01, 2002
12:59 AM -0500

Hi Ariel, I have some advise for you. This pertains to all woman, no matter what the satisfaction or the condition of their relation is. A woman must never give up control of the money. Money is power and is to tempting not to ever be used as a weapon. It doesn't matter if you have 10 cents or $10K.. it must be watched over by the woman. Men view money differently than woman do. It's in a woman's best interest to believe that what's hers is hers and what's his is hers as well. If you want to feel safe and secure you have to take control of the money situation. You don't need to be a wiz with money to do it. Your basic 6th grade math education level is more than enough to be able to manage your money. You need to think...I can do this... and I will do this. His anger, his problem...that goes for all humans. When he starts in on you and is putting you down, tune him out. They are nothing but lies he tells you about yourself so he can feel better about himself. He plays mind games. Once you change your thinking, you will be able to tell him...you want to play games...then go play them all by yourself. As for being so hard on yourself. Don't be. No one is born knowing how to set boundaries and stick up for yourself. Some just had better teachers than others, but all still had to go through the learning curve. And it never ends, it just gets easier. You are not alone, anyone in your situation would be depressed and upset. Having money problems and getting picked on all the time is no kind of life. But I think you will prevail and have a better life. It's not easy to change, but then again it's not easy to live with the way things are right now either. You do have choices here, it's not like the fat lady has sung and there is no way out. Good luck and get going.

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Tuesday October 01, 2002
11:42 AM -0500

Ariel, I am in a VA marriage. I haven't found the strength to leave (yet), but every day I am a little closer. Each day I get a little more angry with how I've been treated over the past 6 years & how I continue to be treated. I make hypothetical plans in my head of what I would (or wouldn't) do given different situations. My 6 month old son has been my greatest blessing (& also my greatest "holdback"). His love is so unconditional, I've never known anything like that before. I don't want him to grow up thinking that it is okay to treat women like they are beneath him, but I don't want him to grow up without HIS Daddy either. Another poster made a good point though, it is better to grow up in a non-abusive environment than an abusive one. I suppose it would be far better to have no Daddy than the one he has. At any rate, I have been repeating the Serenity Prayer in my head like a mantra (especially when I am feeling confused or hopeless). God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can & the wisdom to know the difference. YOU cannot change HIM. Only he can change himself. However, you CAN change YOU. YOU CAN IMPROVE YOUR LIFE. And I can improve my life, too. And maybe we can be support for each other. You go girl!!! God bless you & your children.

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Thursday October 03, 2002
11:32 AM -0500

Desiderata Go placidly amid the noise and haste and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is. Many persons strive for high ideals and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disappointment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars. You have a right to be here. And whether it is clear to you or not, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul. With all its sham and drudgery and broken dreams it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy. Max Ehrman, 1927  Oh! How beautifully said...

Ariel, you still out there? How are you doing?  Dr. Irene

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Friday October 04, 2002
08:33 AM -0500

Hi hun, I just want to tell you that you should never feel guilty for not being ready to move on. You will get there eventually, and you'll start to take control of your life. Small steps, make plans work on the steps to make those plans concrete. I know its so hard to do much when you feel so limited, restricted because you have to do things in secret but believe me one day you'll look in the mirror and believe what you do in this world really does count. Your smile, just think if you stopped doing what you do, how many people would lose out? You go girl and believe me I thought to I'd never get to this point and now I've been working on my growth for a good few years. The catbox was a god send. You can see how you shine, Love Theressa Hi Theressa! Hope things are still going well with you! Doc

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Friday October 04, 2002
08:06 PM -0500

Ariel, I know exactly what u mean. I am 27 and have 3 children-8,6,4. I wont lie and say its easy, but i left my abusive boyfriend 2 months ago tomorrow. I was in a shelter for the first month and i met a very nice lady there and we moved intogether. But, i went back to him. Lasted 3 days. The do NOT change. We were together 7 years. 7 years couldnt change anything and neither did 2 months. But it is up to you. When u are ready, u will know. No one can tell u to leave, believe me. Just remember Ariel, he will not change, EVER. Get out while u can so u and your children can have a better life. Like i said, it wont be easy, but there is to much help out there to stay in an unstable, unhappy relationship. 

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Sunday October 06, 2002
02:28 PM -0500

Ariel dear Ariel, I have been married for 24 years until July 11th 02 when I showed my beloved husband the door. His verbal abuse became so bad after his business failed (My Fault) but I put up with an unacceptable amount of abuse believing I was helping. I felt really sorry. He had worked hard for nothing. Everything was my fault. The crunch came when he called me a slag. This is a highly offensive comment here in the UK. about women with loose morals. I have 4 lovely grown up children. I gave up a career and money to stay at home and bring them up. I returned to full time work as soon as I could. I was so offended by being called this that i literally threw my husband out of the house. My husband is my only sexual partner ever and i will never get over the persistent gnawing away at my confidence. Bless you and your children. Take heart. Love sue.

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Monday October 07, 2002
11:21 AM -0500

Thank you, thank you everyone for their posts, for some reason I didn't realize where to look for them until today. OH, for "J", the business credit card I got was under my business name, the company is an "LLC" (Limited Liability Company), cost about $50 where I live to get one. AND it is not under our personal credit. It is considered a separate entity and my husband would not be at all liable, I agree taking something out under his name wouldn't be necessarily a good thing, though I believe if it was a desperate enough situation, like a woman had no other source of money and had to get out, too bad for him. Also, in handing him the checkbook, I was planning to earn "my" money for all of the extras besides regular house payments and utilities, etc. But of course he used the it's not "your" money it's "our" money logic, which means that I should ask permission for every cent I spend, which he always says no to, or I get yelled at. And I am talking about basics, not spending sprees. (I'm trying to start a new paragraph, so if the html codes show, sorry).

Okay, the day after I wrote, I was down cleaning my basement, and he came down screaming at me, which I expected because I just did the checkbook. I had planned to leave the next day while he was at work. Get an apartment near by, take my necessities, my kids, but be ridiculously considerate in making sure they saw him as much as possible. I was even going to tell him I'd come clean or whatever. (I can't believe I thought that.) I knew it would not be at all pleasant for anyone, but hoped I could keep it as civil as possible for the kids.

Well, I made the mistake of saying (quietly) "You know what? I am leaving tomorrow anyway, so you don't need to worry about me spending your money." I had to repeat myself a couple times for it to register. I think part of me thought if I am so awful maybe he'd be relieved, but then I guess the point is to make me think I am so awful that I can't do anything on my own. Right.

 Anyway, he totally flipped out, grabbed 2 of my kids (thank goodness the youngest stayed with me, she was bawling, poor girl.) He took them, and I was surprisingly, amazingly calm. I was almost happy, except for wondering where he was going. I assumed it would be to his mothers 2 blocks away. Anyway, then he came back, grabbed a suitcase, and started throwing their stuff in. I asked where they were. He refused to tell me at first, said I didn't need to worry about it. Then he said they were at my parents. So I called there when he was leaving to make sure they were okay. They weren't there. I sat their bawling at my dad, going on and on....I am very reserved around them usually, and was angry at all these things he would say, that apparently my husband had told them. That I had taken over the finances (?) went and spent all this money on a vacation, etc. it was ridiculous. My husband came back, to get my son's homework. I asked him where they were, calmly, as my daughter was right there. He refused to tell me, he told me I didn't need to worry about it, I better get used to it, he'd have custody by the next day, the reason I finally got was because a counselor said I had depression and I refused to believe it or do anything about it, that I insisted I have ADD. His logic is totally ridiculous, isn't it? Any excuse to punish and intimidate you (by taking the kids!) as punishment for wanting to leave!

The truth is I have both, and am taking medication for both, but anyway, he let me know how everyone knows my "mental state". I actually laughed, as he happened to be the raving lunatic. Good! I'm glad you didn't get upset by that statement, clearly intended to make you feel insecure. Anyway, he went on and on while packing, being as hateful and cruel as humanly possible. I guess by the next morning he had decided I'd learned my lesson, and called and said the kids were at school, and wanted to know if his mom should get them. I said, "No, I'd like to get them." I then went to the YWCA to talk to a counselor, and hardly started the story before she finished it for me. Yep. No news... It was so amazing, finally someone who understands what I am saying. It was so wonderful! I go back today. Yippeee! In the mean time, my husband is at home, so am I, and he's just treating me like the Queen Of The World. Giggle!

But I give that, maybe 3 more days. I know he feels like he's got me where he wants me, I am trying to do everything I am supposed to do at home, while convincing myself it's because I want to, not because he has me trained. But it's not happening. I go back to the counselor in a few hours. I have no clue what to do at this point. I saw after that episode, my kids would be more than traumatized if I left, w or w/out them. And, my dad, who is over the whole southern part of my state at my church, is telling me (Oh I wrote them and my grandma a note telling them to please stop making things worse for me, detailing what's been going on a little more clearly, and how they are reinforcing his belief in his right to treat me the way he does. They have hurt me very badly.) Anyway my dad wants me to come over to talk after my appointment, because he wants to share some tips (as he does some "couples counseling" w/ no training besides what he's read himself) of what has helped him and my mother, etc. and how we need to communicate better, and to understand each other's point of view better, etc. He means well. I'm glad you went to that counselor!

I tried to tell him, first of all there is no way for him to be objective about this, and that I don't feel he has the understanding to really help, not to mention that he's tried this before, and I sat there taking the blame for everything, and there's always the "She's always done this, been like this" issues, again which justifies my husbands actions in his eyes. Basically it just makes me SO ANGRY. I don't WANT to try to understand his feelings any longer. You bet! I don't WANT to make him feel better. Certainly not at your expense! That is all I have been doing, and I have had it. Hallelujah! But saying this, refusing to go, will show me as uncooperative and selfish, etc. to my dad, and put everything back on me. My husband always sounds so reasonable during these conversations. I feel like I am talking to wall. You don't have the skills to defend yourself verbally yet. Many many walls. It's not about spending time together, we could go out together, have a great time, go home, I hardly realize the tons of rules I have followed, that are so ingrained by now. Great!!! (Don't insist on a certain restaurant, don't get desert, don't talk about this or that, don't get your own drink at the movies, share with him as he doesn't share your preference, don't ask for candy, etc.) Well, I will try to briefly state how all of this goes, any suggestions would be great. I just don't know, however, how to stand up for myself, when I usually feel wrong, guilty, whatever. No, you don't. You need to pick up some verbal and cognitive skills.  After he left, and came back it took 2 days for me to realize that I was carrying more guilt than if I had done it. Good observation. If I have no self esteem, how do I convince myself to listen to myself, when I tell myself I am not asking for more than I deserve? This is a question I have been asking forever, but have the hardest time putting it into words that make any sense at all. Thanks, Ariel You have to change the way you think. That's why I suggested Ellis' book, The Secret of Overcoming Verbal Abuse: Getting Off the Emotional Roller Coaster and Regaining Control of Your Life by Albert Ellis et al.  This one is also required reading for you: Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation and Guilt to Manipulate You   by Dr. Susan Forward and Donna Frazier.  You're doing great! Keep it up!

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Monday October 07, 2002
11:42 AM -0500

Oh, one more thing ""I think he was suggesting that you disengage emotionally from hubby, which is good advice. Problem is you can't do it just yet. First you need validation. ."" Yes, that would be wonderful, how? A counselor? And how do I answer, even if to myself, when I'm asked or told that I was just "looking for someone to agree with me"? Thanks Ariel Ariel, you need a counselor right now. And, right now, finding a professional to agree with you is exactly what you need. That's what I call the "validation phase." Right now, you need it. Later, you won't. Watch!

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Monday October 07, 2002
05:25 PM -0500

Get new friends. Tune out your parents and find a new church. Get a job. Use that to get training to find a better job. Disengage in your misconception that you are responsible for his mental state. Your only responsibility is yourself, and to guide your kids. But if you live in a community property state, alas, unfortunately he would be responsible for a joint debt, no matter what the people tell you (for $50). Dr. Irene is just generally indicating that you need your own space, independent from him. Great for your computer knowledge - betcha HE can't rebuild a broken box! Try taking a self-defense class, too. Gets your "ya-ya"s out.

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Monday October 07, 2002
06:36 PM -0500

Ariel, Up to now, your life has been all about coping with him and *making* him not want to abuse you. You haven't listened to yourself and what YOU need and want for so long you've forgotten how! His reaction to your statement about leaving shows he is a bully who believes all he need do is throw his weight around (using the kids, of course) and you'll back down. Don't believe his threats about getting custody; these guys like to exploit the love thier wives have for their children in order to keep them in line. It's a rotten thing to do! I'm glad you're getting counseling and I hope you continue. Your therapist can work with you on building up your strength and self-esteem. You'll learn things you can do and say to empower yourself. You WILL begin believing in yourself! Don't doubt the validation you are getting from your counselor or from us. If you tell him you are visiting this site and going to therapy, be prepared for him to work very hard to undermine the support you're getting. To hear my H, I'd never have thought I was being abused if not for the "sick women" with whom I correspond-lol! You are being validated because your experience IS an abusive one! Take things a step at a time; work on getting stronger; work on making a plan. Be safe, and please keep posting as you need to. Becky

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Tuesday October 08, 2002
01:37 AM -0500

Dear Ariel Heed the advice you are given and GET OUT You are lucky you have realised what is happening to you, it took me 27 years, better late than never huh! I am just one week away from my decree absolute, the last 9 months have been hell but at last there is some light at the end of he tunnel and I'm going to be free to be myself. I stayed with my husband because at times he was so good and i felt my kids were better off with a father but after talking to them in recent months (they are now 23+19) i realise what a bad judgment that was, some of their memories are dreadful. So give yourself a break and your kids, you ALL deserve it. I can't pretend things won't be tough but my motto is "short term sh*t, long term happiness. take care. jan

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Wednesday October 09, 2002
03:16 PM -0500

Hi, Thanks again for your postings. I saw my counselor, (I can never spell that word correctly Well, you just did!) and the main point was to let me know 5% of abusers actually change. Then I went to my dad who told me "I really think you guys have a good thing, you just need to learn to communicate" over and over. And I said over and over that it's difficult to communicate w/ someone who can feel justified in everything, typically by changing the past, changing reality, lying about things and actually believing it, etc. He needs to have some slight clue about what's going on, and if he does to QUIT IT." And then he apologized for a lot of stuff from years ago, and told me my mom (who started having panic attacks when I was 10, her first one when I was shopping w/her and developed agoraphobia, and according to her therapist, which I had to go to, both my parents were just nuts altogether) resented me because she associated her problems w/ me as I was with her the first time it happened. Yikes! Nutty lady, poor thing... I always felt something like that from her, but hearing it devastated me. Sure. It was always something wrong with her, not you... I couldn't tell myself I was just oversensitive anymore. He said she knew she shouldn't feel that way, and felt vastly guilty about it. Which made me feel guilty. Though of course I shouldn't.

Anyway, I am taking advantage of my hubby's over accomodatingness (made that one up probably) and told him we are starting over, at least as much as possible with living together w/ three kids and ten years history. And I am making a list of "rules", boundaries, whatever, that I will be expecting now. Good! And he may do the same. But they may be negotiated, and some things we will just have to agree to disagree. and if I do not agree to something, I will not do it. OK. Make sure HIS rules don't step on YOUR boundaries. Make sure you and your counselor review these rules until you learn how to control your own "over accomodatingness!" I am also making a list of all of the unwritten rules I will no longer be following. Great!!! He acted like this was a great idea. I realize that obviously this will not keep him from going back to his abusive ways. Correct. But boy have you set a nice set of limits!  BUT I will finally have something concrete to follow, that I (underlined) decided before hand.  YES! And if he doesn't like it TOO BAD. Giggle!

I need a lot more strength whether or not I do leave, and hopefully this will help. You bet! Please read those books. That will help too. The list is more for my benefit than his It should be!, but I'll request he sign it. I don't know what that'll do, but the thought makes me feel better. That's the best reason right there. I want to make it as if I was listing what I'd expect from a "future husband" and what I would expect from myself. (Re: money, housework, support (emotionally) and what I deem my "place" as a woman in a marriage.) OK! We did this before we were married. I had a long list. He wrote "you'll be a perfect wife" Then we got married, he saw I wasn't (which was far from hidden before we were married) and he hardly talked to me for weeks. Ugh! So I took the blame, the responsibility...and that was the beginning... Thanks Ariel PS Once I took a general aptitude test, and I got it back saying I could "put together a carburetor blindfolded and was most likely a man". That cracked me up, I'm not especially masculine, but I seemed often to relate more to men. Maybe that's what bugs him. I put our dining room table and chairs together when we were first married and he was at work one day. I thought he'd be happy. He through a fit. After all HE'S the man. Sigh... Dear Ariello, all this is excellent! Go go go!!!

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Thursday October 10, 2002
07:57 PM -0500

Hey....You'll get there. I finally got out of a bad marriage, myself. 1 1/2 years ago I left my home and husband of 17 years. My parents took me and my 2 sons in. Both boys are at a tender age, 13 and 15. My husband convinced the oldest to stay with him after a few days. I was determined that what I was doing would make him a better father. It took me all those years to finally realize that I wasn't as stupid as he wanted me to believe. I was also realizing that I was in fear of him from all the verbal abuse and physical intimidation. No matter what I said, I was the sick one and shouldn't be afraid of him because he never hit me. I should've been happy. I had everything I wanted. A house, vehicles, kids, boat and on and on. Funny though, I was always being told that I was getting dumber because that's what happens to stay at home Moms. Well...I did it. I got away and yes, I did look back for a long time. I even went to 14 marriage counseling sessions with him. It got to the point that he would not address any issues I had. He would dismiss anything I said as "reaching" or "making it up". The counselor finally 'got his number' and was able to help me and try to get through to him. He refused any suggestions from the counselor to go to anger management counseling. He denies all drinking problems. I proceeded with the divorce. I am now stuck in the middle of a nasty divorce. He has filed for full custody of both boys. Of course, I counter claimed. The man is still in denial. He believes that I am menopausal, messing around with someone else or just plain sick. It has taken over a year, but through personal counseling, family, friends, church family, web sites like this, and a few books, I am convinced I am doing what needs to be done. Not just for myself, but for my children. They should not have to grow up thinking that his treatment of us was okay. Yes, I have been depressed many times. I have fallen down into the gutter only to drag myself back out again. And, yes, it has been and still will be an emotional roller coaster. Each time, I come out a little stronger. I am finally getting to the point that I will not deal with him and what he does now can not hurt me unless I allow him to have that power again. I have a long way to go, but I know I'll get there! So.....Ariel......and anyone else stuck there, don't lose hope. And don't let anyone have that much power over you to bring you down. If I can do this, so can anyone else. The most important thing is to be good to yourself or you'll never be good to anyone else!

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Friday October 11, 2002
01:51 AM -0500

Ariel, I do hope you come to the "cat box" you will find so much support for the many things you are struggling to understand. YOU need validation from others who understand the daily struggles you face in this situation you are in at the moment. There is nothing to be ashamed of, we all know the place at which we all at one time found ourselves. The subject matter may differ from each of us....... but the bottom line remains the same. We get into a fog on not being able to see, sort out the truth for ourselves and NEED support. What you write about sounds like the normal "walk on eggshells dance" that is a direct result of being subjected to endless blame and being with someone who is hell bent on having "power over" another. And like you, most of us have had some abusive issue in our past that made all this madness possible. There is light at the end of the tunnel... step by step... it is a process, BUT so worth it. Take care.. xo

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Friday October 11, 2002
10:03 AM -0500

Dr. Irene, I had some other "issues" I'd love comments on, but I just posted it under "ADD as an excuse for VA" post, and didn't want to repeat it all here. Thanks Ariel Dear Ariel, please copy and paste it here. I'll answer when I sign in again tomorrow if it's here, or next week. Thanks, Doc.

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Saturday October 12, 2002
02:51 PM -0500

RE: The Do not post on the CatBox message: Which I deleted because I don't want people getting paranoid for no reason. This was an honest mistake that has been addressed and rectified. I am an administrator and my e-mail addy is available as is most if not all of the other administrators'. One need only go to my profile and click on "send an email" or click on my name when I post. E-mail addys are NOT revealed in people's posts! Becky. Thanks Becky.

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Saturday October 12, 2002
06:16 PM -0500

My email is jackalynann@hotmail.com and I have not noticed that posters have a problem emailing me as they do so often from the catbox-you just have to click on the email option there. Please refer any problems to admin in the normal way and do not interrupt the flow of interactive posts . This is unfair to people who have actually paid for Dr Irene's services. That's why I deleted it... Disruptive, provocative, and anxiety producing! Thanks.

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Sunday October 13, 2002
12:11 AM -0500

You could be me talking many years ago..before I realised how controlled I was. It is very hard to come to terms with and not easy to deal with. I want to tell you though that you can become strong and confident in yourself as a person. It takes pursuing your own life and stuff and learning that the stuff your h does is his stuff. I am glad you have religious leaders who do not just seem to be saying 'submit' Keep a clear head and look into the mirror every day and say "I am fearfully and wonderfully made and worthy to be on this planet!" Much love , Jay Thanks dear Jay.

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Sunday October 13, 2002
11:13 AM -0500

OOPs, I realized I didn't put my name on my last post, the one on Oct 9th at 3:15 was me, and here's my other post from the catbox. Thanks Ariel Got it.

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Sunday October 13, 2002
11:18 AM -0500

"Ariel" here. I just did a search for ADD in this forum, as now that I am dealing with my husband, and now that I am trying to think what it is that I really want and should expect, I am running into my old fuzzy-headedness, 50 million thoughts and distractions running through my head, ADD (extremely simplified) is basically having a sleeping brain filter, the meds are to "wake it up". Thus the stimulants. Anyway, I thought it was interesting to see ADD as an excuse for being abusive. (Definitely sp? is NOT!) When I first learned of my ADD, and did MUCH research and joined a group like this, I had one woman constantly remarking on little things I wrote (Like if I wrote I better get off before my husband gets home, etc.) and it woke me up or re-woke me up to the whole abuse thing. Apparently because of the hard time ADD people have with staying "on-task" thinking clearly, and following things through, etc. etc. they can often be drawn to one who represents structure, etc. Unfortunately this can often mean a control freak, and then things just go all to hell. (For lack of a better way to put it.) Now I am looking back into ADD coping skills, as I go for a while figuring I am making it up (Due to my Husbands many comments) or thinking it just doesn't matter. But I do need understanding, I have no desire to use ADD as an excuse for anything, but only want to know what I am working with, and just what things I am just going to have to accept as part of me, and what I can improve, though never conquer. (You know, I used to be a great speller). And I know that having everyone closest to me do nothing but constantly put me down and/or criticize me in these areas make things so much worse. Just one person around me that was the least bit encouraging would do wonders for me. I am trying to figure out how to do this for myself but don't know how yet. Thanks, Ariel  Ariel, having ADD makes it harder to do anything, but, honestly, the symptoms that make it hard for you to stay on task sound just like the symptoms any woman in your situation has. It is typically verrrrry hard to stay on task because you keep walking into old, familiar habits. ADD only makes it harder. So practice the ADD skills and realize you are in good company. You can do it!  I am very happy to see how far you've come in such a short time! Doc

For the record, I've deleted a couple of posts by a CatBox poster who was banned because she was provocative and constantly stirring up trubble. Plop, please go elsewhere. Ariel, I'm sorry for this constant interruption on your thread. Thanks, Doc.

 

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Friday October 18, 2002
02:19 PM -0500

Dear Ariel, I know how much pain you feel. I am so sorry for all of us out here in the world trying to raise our children with our husband's foot on our neck. The man I married over twenty years ago is addicted to porn in addition to verbally abusing me. He told me this morning that his life was perfect and his goal was to continue to be the kindest person...a person that lives in the present. His denial is overwhelming. Men like your husband and the man I married, beat us with their swords of self-hatred. What I am finding out, so slowly, is that their swords are made of cloth! You need support, validation and happiness. Don't we all!! Sincerely, Susan

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Saturday October 19, 2002
10:39 PM -0500

It was always so confusing to me when the man I was with cut me so deeply with his words and then he would tell me how much he loved me. If I said anything about how he had treated me, he would say that anyone would tell me that he is one of the most understanding, generous people they had ever known. He had trouble being that way with me, because of a few flaws I have that keep him from wanting to give to me. He couldn't give affection or kindness or respect. I have a new relationship now and it is the strangest thing that I had forgotten what normal was. This man I'm with now is kind and affectionate and doesn't seem to have any trouble with my "flaws". I sit back and wonder how I had gotten so lost and I thank God for helping me find my way back. This site is one of the places that he led me to, and I'm so grateful for everyone's stories. It has helped me more than I can say. I broke free and even though I still feel the tug and pull to some extent, I am moving on with someone who thinks I am a pretty special, worthwhile person. I think I found him, once I believed that I was a special, worthwhile person. Colleen 

(Snip snip snip)

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Tuesday October 22, 2002
07:08 AM -0500

Dear folks, Please ignore the poster who if she read her own email would see there is a way for her to get Google to remove whatever and be assured that the Doc is dealing with the problem. The fact that this 'Plop' person has felt she has to write with such venom on a problem that can probably easily be sorted out speaks volumes. I have alerted the Doc. Please be reassured that any problems are being dealt with. Please also note that this person may have a grudge as she was banned from the message boards a while ago. Love Jay 

Thanks Jay.

Meanwhile, Ariel! Where are you? What's up?

 

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Thursday October 24, 2002
02:37 AM -0500

Just to clarify! Colleen is NOT 'the above poster'. My post above refers to someone who has now been deleted from the board! Let's hope we can return to the purpose of this interactive email and I too would like to hear you are O.K, Ariel. love Jay

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Thursday October 24, 2002
12:05 PM -0500

Yesss....Ariel....I know exactly how and what you are going through. I also walk on eggshells on what needs to be done before husband comes home. Ive even now started prompting our daughter to do this or do that before he comes home cause you know how he is. He gets mad at me for having to spend money on medications I need or for not making him happy. And how he treats me is all my fault cause if i would just do what he says or if i would of done what he wanted years ago he wouldnt have to be so mean to me. I see all the patterns. Yet like you i have stayed all these 12 yrs cause of finances. Ive begged family for help etc. And they just really have there own lives and well the help i get is next to nil from them. I dont always back down now, I often get angry, I often find myself getting defensive and yelling back. It gets me nowhere. And other times i just go and hide and cry and feel my heart has been broken. I wish i could give you words of wisdom but i really have none. All i can really do is let you know you are not alone.

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Saturday October 26, 2002
05:30 AM -0500

Gee, I can hardly believe anyone would tout this attitude so brazenly: Quote: "I have some advise for you. This pertains to all woman, no matter what the satisfaction or the condition of their relation is. A woman must never give up control of the money. Money is power and is to tempting not to ever be used as a weapon. It doesn't matter if you have 10 cents or $10K.. it must be watched over by the woman. Men view money differently than woman do." Men view it differently from THIS, that's for sure! Quote: "It's in a woman's best interest to believe that what's hers is hers and what's his is hers as well." Not if he sees her coming, it isn't! With that grasping greed for money, power, and control? And worse, a "weapon" she's tempted to use on him? Any man with sense is going to take one look and vanish in a cloud of dust! Stopping only to make sure she didn't pick his pocket while his back was turned. What a hoot! :-)  Clearly the advice giver whose quote you single out has gone through a lot to be angry enough to think that money must be governed by a woman, but this board is intended to support Ariel, not to comment on any particular poster's  extreme position.

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Saturday October 26, 2002
12:23 PM -0500

Ariel, I was in the same situation and when I realized what was going on, I stopped telling this man I loved him when he didn't deserve it. I stopped going to other people looking for them to help me make a decision and did what I had to do before I went completely nuts. I started cleaning the house when I wanted to clean it. I started meals when I wanted to. I made him pick up after himself. I stopped getting his clothes ready for work. I stopped being at his beck in call. I stopped asking can I use the car to go to the store. I stopped letting his threats of taking our children away get to me. I stopped letting the children be a excuse as to why I was staying in this one sided relationship. I stopped thinking that I could never make it without him. I stopped thinking I would fail if it were just me and the kids realizing that we were failing together anyway! I stopped the excuses! I stopped feeling guilty! I took back what was mine from the beginning, ME, my life, my self and started thinking about what I want and I need! I went out and got me a job. Just got up one day without telling him anything and got me a job! I didn't need to ask his permission for this, I am a grown, intelligent woman already raised by her parents! I went out bought what I needed for the household. When he would ask me to do something for him and if I didn't feel like doing it, I'd say no! No he didn't like it, and there were many arguments, but enough was enough and I held my grounds! Just because he is your husband does not mean that he has the right to tell you what and how to think! The day I put my foot down, I told my husband the truth of every feeling that had built up inside of me, I even told him I no longer loved him as a husband and I wanted a divorce! Yes, he cried for the first time, even tried to make me feel guilty, but I didn't let his tears, his pleas, NOTHING turn me around! He decided that we get professional help. We did and when they sided with me he stopped going preferring to go to a pastor, thinking our pastor would side with him which he may well have, but I refused to go. So, every day and even now he asks me if I love him and I tell him the truth. NO! Not like I should. It didn't take a day, a week, a month for me to fall out of love with him and it will take time for me to heal; and I don't know if it will ever be as it was before. Yes, it sad, but I had to stop lying to myself! It has been almost four years since I took back control of my life and we have not had one argument. He is careful about what he says to me. He tells me he feels as if he's walking on egg shells around me and I tell him well you know how I felt for twenty years! Sometimes those old guilty feelings pop back in and I feel sad, but I push them out and go on and I go on. You too can do it. Just stop! If it gets violent, CALL THE POLICE! You are not his punching bag and you don't need to feel bad after you've called the police, he needs to grow up and deal with the issues in his life! He is the one with the problem and he's dragging you in and down with him. Take a stand for Ariel and STOP the madness!  

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Sunday February 16, 2003
09:53 AM -0500

Good luck Ariel. I finally woke up and realized that my 22 year old son is as verbally abusive and violent as his deceased father who I was married to for 10 years. I did not want to see it for so long. I am going to read the books and start my recovery. I too went to a counselor who told me that I should not be so stressed. She said my son was doing what he was doing because of my tenseness. She refused to call the behavior abuse even though my son has all the signs. She said it was up to me to stop the cycle by not "setting him off" with my tenseness!! I stopped seeing that "therapist" when she said I was "feeling sorry for myself". --Antoinette

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Monday March 31, 2003
11:49 PM -0500

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Monday May 19, 2003
10:53 PM -0400

Where does someone find help when they have noone to turn to for help? I just want to be happy and live a healthy life for me and my two kids, but I don't know where to start. anita

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Monday June 23, 2003
04:22 PM -0400

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Monday June 23, 2003
04:23 PM -0400

 

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