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4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

3/23 Interactive Board: He's Changing... I'm Not...

3/1 Interactive Board: D/s Lifestyle

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!

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Comments for What Am I Missing?

Comments:  What Am I Missing?

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

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Friday, April 30, 2004
01:32 AM

Holy cow. This is incredible. You're telling my story! My marriage is so unhappy and for the last few months I've been reading and researching almost everyday, even if just a little (it helps to feel validated that *I'm* not the crazy one!) and I have YET to read something that so exactly describes what I've thought indescribable: the experience of trying to live in a spousal relationship with someone who can be so inhumanly lacking in empathy. We have been/are seeing a counselor (we currently alternate seeing her separately as there is too much anger/conflict right now for joint sessions--although that is her usual preference/goal) and thank God she mentioned the possibility of him having characteristics of "narcissistic personality disorder" and gave me a starting point from which to expand my world beyond the engulfing box of insecurity and confusion that results from living with someone like this. In all my surfing (and it's totaled a LOT) this is the first time I've been so struck by the similarity of someone else's situation to actually interact with a site. My husband is very, very successful in his sales/marketing related position and he comes across as SO charming, professional and NORMAL that it seems like no one could ever believe how cruel he can be. I know EXACTLY how high your level of frustration is--not only at how mind-boggling his lack of compassion can be--but that you waste so much time and emotion on trying to get him to understand how his behavior hurts--and his response is just to hurt you more. The confrontations are so bizarre that it seems too hard to try and explain to anyone; like I'LL end up looking like the lunatic because it's so unbelievable. I frequently feel like I'm reading someone else's life rather than living my own because prior to him, I was so confident and self-secure. I "knew" *I* was too smart and good at reading people to end up with anything less than a "quality" mate. So much of my self-esteem is gone now not just from his put-downs, but from the respect I've lost for myself at realizing something I "knew" to be true has now turned into me eating my words. I feel so gullible and stupid for letting him convince me to ignore all the red flags that are so clear now in hindsight. I finally learned of MORE deception that was the straw that broke the camel's back about 6 months ago (he's been cheating on me w/multiple women over the course of our ENTIRE relationship--even through the supposedly "good" times, including pregnancies and births of our two other children) --two weeks before learning I was pregnant again with our third. Since then, I feel like my world and sanity is hanging on by a spider's thread. It's overwhelming to imagine how I could've spent 4 years loving someone only to learn that the entire time I was just a gullible role-filler that he really had no SINCERE feelings for. If it were just me it'd be so simple to just basically say f. you and move on past the anger and indignation. But being pregnant and responsible for children multiplies the complications exponentially. And of course the emotions and anger at being so needy and vulnerable, yet trapped in such a draining situation are magnified in pregnancy as well. At one point I was sobbing and saying I was scared because of thoughts of wanting to die... His response was acting impatient with my "drama". I asked him, "what about the kids?" if I were gone. He exasperatedly yelled, "I guess I'd have to hire somebody!" I repeated back what he said with shock. And his response then was to tell me, "I'd still have to work!" in a tone that clearly implied how stupid I was for not seeing that of COURSE he'd have to hire someone.... I am SO SORRY for what you are living right now. I wouldn't wish this kind of treatment on my worst enemy! No one can understand the devastation unless they've walked in the shoes...  I'm glad you're here too.

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Friday, April 30, 2004
01:11 PM

Dear Dr. Irene: Janha here. I started crying when I started reading your responses to my story. You see, I had let him twist my world into so many million pretzels, I was convinced you were going to say that I was abusive to him by demanding that he pay attention to me when he wasn't ready to, and that it was his prerogative to say what he wanted to do (see real estate instead of driving me home), and that it was my "demandingness" that has driven this man to want to shut me off this way because he has no other choice, because, you see, in my mind, I must be so awful that he must take extreme measures to control and contain my sickening neediness. WOW!!!! And, as I apologize for my tardy reply, I will also tell you that when I replied to your question, I felt for you since I was concerned that I felt I needed to be very "to the point" with you.

Reading your post has been such a relief, and, at the same time, has made me uncomfortable Yes.: the kind of discomfort that tells me: "you can no longer sit here in this stinking pool of denial because this is sick." I knew this would hurt... Growing pains perhaps, but still painful... I am on your site every day, and every time I read your comments to people, it rings true, and resonates with that part of me that's in touch with the Truth, with that something that's hard to describe that feels right and connected. And when you tell me what you tell me about my situation, it breaks my heart, for me, for my first daughter, and for my second daughter about to be born. Wouldn't your heart break even more knowing that otherwise your two children would be subjected to a marriage that teaches them - minimally - that their mother is, well, "nothing" so to speak.

I see that my husband had choices along the way. He could have said: "I am sorry you are not well. I really wanted to see some real estate, but I understand you need to rest. What is wrong, and can I do anything for you?" More importantly, if he thought I was an out of control lunatic when I was sobbing, why did he come down WITH OUR DAUGHTER to cut me down??  Now you're seeing things clearly.

He had choices, he could have taken daughter out for a walk, he could have stayed upstairs until I stopped, he could have tried to comfort the lunatic for convenience’s sake. Correct. He could have done all the ordinarily thoughtful things we do for each other as human beings; that you would have done for him. That he needed a confrontation at that moment in time is suspect to me now.

I want to leave him, and I fear that the whole divorce process and thereafter will be yet a different forum for him and his poisonous self. Does it every stop? When he sees you no longer care... Harder with kids, he's likely to put them in the middle. But you can deal with it. Make sure you get an excellent attorney.

I swear to you that I had not seen or experienced evil so starkly until I married this man. I believe you. How does one trust oneself to follow through? You will follow through. What other sane choice do you have? I swore to myself I would never go through the life my mom had to go through, divorced from an angry, controlling man with two daughters and having to make it on her own. Look at me now. Yes. Look at you now, at a different place and time. In this generation, if you look (as you have), you will find support in leaving your abusive husband. Maybe my worst enemy, as you say, is wishing to rewrite history by wishing that this man would change. The goose, I think, is already cooked. Thanks for being there, Dr. Irene. Janha

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Friday, April 30, 2004
02:16 PM

Janha, I too was married to a man who lacked an shred of empathy, felt controlled when I needed assistance during my pregnancy and after our daughter was born. He refused to stay home from work if our daughter was sick-telling me to get a substitute (there are no substitutes for university classes), refused to see her the night she was hospitalized for asthma-telling me it wasn't worth his time and effort to make an hour drive to see her. His lack of career success was my fault, and my success was because I'm in a "trivial field, little better than babysitting." The list goes on. He just wasn't there whenever I needed him-and even the least little consideration that one expects from their partner was an imposition. I divorced him when our daughter was 2.5 years old and have never regretted the decision. Within weeks her vocabulary and sentence length jumped, so even as young as she was she was feeling the tension. He's tried to tell her I'm too emotional and that he's sorry she's turning out like me (at the same time her counselor is working with her to acknowledge and deal with her emotions rather than burying them). As a teen, she is seeing through her father and wants very little to do with him. I wish you luck, and I can assure you that your life will be more peaceful when you don't have an unfeeling, mean, self-centered partner to deal with. Being the single parent of two babies will be much less stressful than dealing with your h. Yes!

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Friday, April 30, 2004
02:48 PM

Hi Everyone: Sorry. I made a mistake and submitted the above twice! Is there any way to erase it? Janha. Sure is! It is G O N E!

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Friday, April 30, 2004
07:44 PM

Dear Pregnant Friend with Similar Husband: I am so sorry to hear that your situation is similar to mine. It’s a horrendous feeling of being dazed from all the blows and too beaten down to make a move. I agree with you that the very difficult part about this is their incredible, out of this world lack of empathy. I could not imagine I could ever be faced with such evil. I would have thought that the coldest person would at least partially warm up to such raw pain from another human being, especially if the pain has been caused by their behavior. The amazing thing is: they feed off of it, only to get more vile. I knew of the Hitlers of the world, but I thought of those people as being extremely, extremely rare. I am now convinced, because I have directly experienced it, and because I keep reading about it now, that there are many people in this world who are completely missing what makes people human. I am sorry for your pain, and I can relate to it, and I can relate to the wish to make it work, and to the wish that, maybe if you reached out to them enough times, they would hear you out. It will NEVER happen. My husband too is, I guess by external standards, successful in his profession, and makes good money. He is kind to his patients. According to him, his nurses and techs think the world of him. He regularly buys the whole lab lunch and eats with them. He sees indigents for free (or so he tells me). I think they CHOOSE the people they will abuse. The more vulnerable you get (married to him, children with him, pregnant, depressed, wanting him, needing his love, etc.), the more they have you. I don’t want to have to leave a husband with a child and a pregnant belly and lots of painful memories. We’ve tried couple counseling, couple seminars, etc. He never follows through completely. The only way out for me and my kids is to leave. I’m going to have to replace one dream (a happy family life with H) with another (a happy family life with ME and my lovely girls). I hope this helps you on your journey. Janha.  If you two ladies want to email each other privately, I will swap your email addresses. Janha can request this by email but anyone else must call me with at 845-774-4393 with that request.

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Friday, April 30, 2004
08:03 PM

Dear Divorced Friend: Janha again here. I know I am blabbing on this board but I can't stop myself. Good! No need to stop yourself; it's what this board is for! It's my only link to sanity. Thanks for your words of encouragement. I admire your courage to leave. Does it really get better? See, in my case, H is super controlling with our daughter, and needs to direct most things related to her. He has already told me I can leave, but that I will be leaving without her, since the mother-child bond is over-rated. Well, let's see what an attorney has to say about that.

Never mind that his umbilical cord is still attached to HIS mother who has managed to raise a narcissistic loser all the while singing his praises in MY ear. Do you have any advice for surviving during the divorce process? How about for his alienating efforts against you with your daughter? Does he harass you? Does he try to control you through your daughter? My daughter, just tonight, was asking for me, saying "where's Mama" repeatedly. I went upstairs to reassure her. She reached out for me to hold her. He pulled her away from me. I told him I will give her her bath (since she kept reaching out for me). He pulled her away forcefully as she was crying. I did not want to put her in the middle, so I backed off. This is the kind of jerk I'm dealing with. Do you have any advice for me for divorcing a complete jerk? Please also tell me how much better your life is now than before. Your input is much appreciated. Janha.

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Monday, May 03, 2004
05:40 PM

First of all, Janha, my heart started racing when I read the part of your husband forcefully pulling your daughter away from you. This is incredibly abusive, to both you and your daughter, and I am absolutely appalled. This guy is a monster, plain and simple. I don't know what to tell you on that, except that you must get your daughter, your unborn child and yourself out of that situation somehow. Stay safe. Talking about "Safe," Janha, there are Safe Houses out there specifically for mothers and children in marriages such as yours. Look in the Yellow Pages and find your city's domestic violence hotline. Call them. See what resources are available to you. I relate to everything else you say, as well, because my current soon-to-be-ex was the same way you describe your husband. Very cold and unfeeling, at times when I would need him the most. I could never rely on him for any emotional support whatsoever. He would lavishly praise other women, women he worked with and was friends with, but when it came to praising me for anything, generally all I heard was comments like, "What have you been doing all day?" When I would confront him on this, he would tell me I was insecure and jealous. I got pregnant about a year into our marriage, and when I told him the pregnancy test showed positive, I was almost a little joyful, because I hadn't had kids before and thought it would be nice - challenging but nice to experience it. All he could do is sit and yell insults at me and try to convince me to have an abortion.

The only feelings he concentrated on were his own - how his first wife became pregnant and trapped him into becoming married and into parenthood. He didn't want to feel trapped again, yada yada yada. Well, I eventually miscarried within the month anyway; otherwise, I was scheduled to go have an abortion. I let him bully me into it. About five years ago, he told me to just get out of his life, he didn't want me in it any longer. Wouldn't tell me what was going on, just wanted me gone. Miraculously and unbelievably, I went back to him, not recognizing at the time that how he treated me was abusive. Things only deteriorated further and we are at a point now where we are separated and it looks like divorce paperwork will be drawn up soon. Some other poster here said her husband is in sales/marketing, and mine is, too. He can appear so funny and suave to anyone else he works with or deals with in the business world. Some of the sales techniques that work in business are tools and abuser uses to lie and manipulate, in my opinion. I think I could write a book describing all the cold things he would say and do to me.

 Many times I would walk about from him feeling scolded, and feeling like a little kid. I always felt shameful around him. I know part of that was me, but that's just how he treated me. He would tell me to not talk when we went out shopping, because I might say the wrong thing or I would screw something up. If I would try to tell him a story, his body language (the way he looked at me, his face scrunched up impatiently, and waving his hands) would immediately make me stop. He would even say things like, "All right, get to the point." I would never want to finish my story after that. The feeling I had was one of humiliation. In addition, he was a rager - which was the most frightening thing for me. I have lived with this man for the past few years who is constantly make me doubt my sanity, so when I read your story, I got goosebumps, because I've been there. Dr. Irene is right when she says you deserve a partner who returns the love and consideration you give. My wish is that you can get away from this man sooner than later. I hope you will keep us updated on your story. Sorry this got long. Your story just simply resonated with me. I hope you know my thoughts are with you.

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Wednesday, May 05, 2004
03:17 AM

My story is so very similar! I have Systemic Lupus with Kidney involvement, so my pregnancy was difficult, and I didn't know if I would be able to carry the pregnancy through without getting deathly ill myself. Stress is the biggest factor with my illness. When I get stressed out too much, I get very sick and fatigued. I sometimes get migraines and stress can make me stay in bed for a couple days feeling fluish. Needless to say, during my pregnancy with my son who is now 2 years old was the worst time of my entire life. I can relate so strongly with your feelings of being vulnerable and needy. It is pregnancy that does this to us, because we need more help from our spouses, and when they refuse to give anything to us at all, of course this feeling can get exaggerated quickly! I had never felt more dependant on someone especially with my failing health and blood pressure going through the roof. Several times I cried for hours and days on end. Several times I thought I may loose the baby. Several times I almost vomited from crying so hard, as he raged at me and abandoned me basically through the entire pregnancy.

He had told me things like "Just wait! Me and my father will treat you like a QUEEN when you're pregnant! You won't have to do anything for yourself!" You see, he was the one who wanted a child so badly. I had already had a child and didn't really want to marry again, even! He talked me into both, as well as pressure from my family, and my pastor. I am now getting a divorce, and I can see that marriage is not the issue.

It is because of my first marriage (also abusive) that I didn't want to marry this man (second abuser). But now I know very well the red flags, trusting your intuition more than anything, and looking for baggage like troubled upbringing, anger, addiction problems, looking closely at his other relationships like family and friends, and moving too quickly in the relationship. It isn't just in how a man treats me that tells me how he is, OR my feelings toward him in the beginning. You've really got to pay attention to the other stuff first. Good advice! How successful is he is retaining a job/career? How is he with money? How is he with other female relationships including his ex's? I know now that any man that goes on and on about his ex being a B***H is NOT a good sign. I never thought about that before, but I don't go on and on about what an abusive jerk my ex's are, I just simply tell the truth calmly.

Anyway, this site has helped me in tremendous ways, and its not just Dr. Irene, it's all of you women here that are truly God sends! Thank you all for sharing your stories! Thank YOU!

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Wednesday, May 05, 2004
11:23 AM

Jahna, I'm the one that is divorced. My best advice to you is to get a good lawyer and one that is familiar with abuse. Yes! They're used to abusers trying to gain custody, trying to control everything, etc. Talk to your local domestic violence center and see if they have a list of lawyers that they recommend or have experience with domestic violence (most do know which lawyers are experienced with abusive spouses). Excellent advice. Failing that, if you have a women studies center on a nearby campus, talk to them-many of the women's centers have good networks in the community and may be able to refer you to a lawyer. Tell them about your fears about custody. His threats about custody are very common. Expect him to try all sorts of games and you will not be disappointed. Most judges will not give a father sole custody or even insist that the children spend equal time with him when they are as young as yours. They will recognize that very young children need their mothers! It might be good to begin documenting things now More excellent advice. Also, print out these web pages., so that if need be you can show your lawyer and if necessary a custody evaluator his threats.

It would also be a good idea to begin copying a bunch of your tax returns-if he has his own practice, he might try to claim that the practice isn't making any money and therefore he owes you or your children support. Right. If you have copies of several years returns, a good lawyer will be able to spot his games and impute income to him.

Enough of the legal stuff-it's important but not nearly as important as the well-being of you and your children. My life has truly been much better since divorcing him-I don't get told that I'm selfish, that I'm expecting too much, that I'm spending too much on our daughter, etc. I make my own decisions and don't have to deal with someone who wanted to run our marriage like a business partnership. No one tells me that I'm not being logical when I get angry about something or not being logical because I love my home and decided to buy it because I liked it rather than it's potential to appreciate. I can use logic when it's appropriate and feelings when they're appropriate. It's been almost 12 years since we've divorced and in that time, I've been promoted and tenured, doubled my income, bought a home I love, raised my daughter and been able to travel and recently re-acquainted myself with something I enjoyed in high school (playing in band and orchestra). In contrast, Mr. Dark Cloud stayed has stayed in the same position without advancing for 15 years (and in fact notified me this week he was going to discontinue paying child support because his "company no longer required his services"), owns a small home in a dumpy neighborhood, and has done nothing but work and watch TV the evening. He may be a very bitter (and angry) man, but I don't have to deal with him anymore. I wish you much luck! Way cool for you!

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Thursday, May 06, 2004
03:07 AM

Dear Jahna, I have been married to my husband for 9 years. The night our first daughter was born he went dancing with a stripper. The day he was supposed to pick me and my second daughter up from the hospital he left us at the hospital because he said I was being a bitch. His son needed to get to Kindergarten and he didn't want him to be late. I had to call my mom to pick us up. Of course he had left my first daughter with me because he only cares about his son that he had with his first wife.

The awful thing is I helped him gain custody of his son. I will never forgive myself. Even though his mom was on drugs at the time my husband is no better for him. He is an alcoholic. He is abusive to me in front of my children and does nothing for them except go to work. Of course if you met him you would thing he was the kindest and most charismatic man on the face of the planet. I don't know how someone can be so mean. I'm so sorry to read about your situation, but believe me I know what it feels like to be the crazy one. Nothing is ever their fault because they do nothing wrong. My daughters like the idea of living in a house with their father but I really don't think they would miss him because he rarely spends time with us anyway, unless his son is visiting his mom's house. i hope you don't waste as much time as I have wasted. I should have run when my children were babies. It would have been so much easier for them. Good Luck to you. Run!!!!! And good luck to you!

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Friday, May 07, 2004
06:21 PM

Janha, I have been married 22 years to a man with anger problems. I want to tell you that I saw signs in the beginning of our relationship, but like you, I rationalized them away and thought he had reasons for his behavior. It is a slow, insidious process, the eating away of your self-esteem, the slow doubting of yourself and your perceptions of things.

If you choose to stay, and he does not get help, you will be caught in a web of depression that in time will rob you of who you are. The longer you stay, the more difficult it is to leave, as after you have invested so much of your time, energy and love it is absolutely wrenching to break free.

I am now in the middle of a divorce and believe me, it was very hard at this point to make this decision. I have two little girls under ten years old. I did not want them to grow up seeing a joyless marriage. I do not want them to have a marriage like their parents. I hope they will, in time, see how respectful and kind a man should be to a woman. I will tell you this. The peace of mind I have since making the decision to divorce, has lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. I feel happy and myself again! I feel FREE!!!!! :)

No one to call me a name or say they are too busy to spend time with me or give me attention! I have started to go out and live again and it is wonderful!! Sitting home alone on a Saturday night after working all week with my girls by my side sleeping on the sofa is heaven compared to being home with an angry man that makes me feel unimportant, worthless, and insignificant. Yes, it not only gets better, it gets great!! I feel a man like your husband and mine need to WANT to get help and make changes for themselves. Mine says he is fine the way he is, nothing is wrong with him, and he is too old to change. If your husband will not seek serious help to look at his issues, there is nothing you can do but waste time. It will not get better and if it does, it won't be better for long before the same pattern starts again. Listen to Dr. Irene. Her reply to your first letter says it all. Ask yourself: When your little girl grows up, if she had a husband like yours and he was treating her like he is treating you, would you want her to stay with him?????? Probably not. You would tell her she deserves better. So do you!! And your girls deserve seeing a happy, confident mom that enjoys living. You must give this gift to them. Skye

I'll be back by next weekend Janha. Hang in there. Dr. Irene May 9, 2004.

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Monday, May 10, 2004
02:35 AM

Jahna, I'm the "other pregnant one" :) I've been visiting my parents for a brief break from the stress and insanity at home so have not had the chance to return sooner. I would be happy to email privately (thank you, Dr. Irene for your welcome and thoughtfulness) as for me just feeling some relief from invalidation and ostracism seems to contribute exponentially to my ability to cope with everything else. It's encouraging and enlightening to read Dr. Irene's and others' comments and your own unfolding realizations since for me, regardless of whether my own story mirrors it, things generally seem so much more obvious when it's "someone else's." I'll keep this short as I'm just up briefly due to a good old, pregnancy-mandated, middle-of-the-night-few-minutes-upright-'til-the-Tums-kick-in session. Kind wishes, Tammy

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Monday, May 10, 2004
03:36 AM

Wow. I am so sorry to read this, and so happy I found it. I have been in a similar relationship for 11 years now & until tonight, I never knew what was going on. This letter was almost like hearing my own thoughts, and the incidents described seemed very familiar to me. I hope that Janha finds the strength to move on from this relationship, it is so hard when you have a child/children (which is my situation) - I do not know how we would make it on our own, which is why I have just stayed. Going through pregnancy and birth during this process must be terrifying. I was already planning to begin therapy soon (Ironically, to try to find out why my husband is always so upset with me, why he calls me names & why I can never please him) But now I think I will have a new focus. As I am sure Janha does, I feel scared when I explore the thought of leaving ...( better the Devil you know, right??? ) But I see that sometimes it is the only answer

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Tuesday, May 11, 2004
03:02 AM

Janha! *What he says or does in kindness is writ in water. What he says or does in anger is etched in stone*. He is attacking you while you are in a VERY vulnerable state. Pregnant. You are basically trapped, he knows this, hence, he feels can get away with being his *true self*. He told you he needs space? NO. He needs to be RESPONSIBLE for a family and he wants to blame YOU for the fact that he is just NOT a responsible man. He's a colossal infant. Tallulah

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Tuesday, May 11, 2004
01:42 PM

Wow, reading about you pregnant with a young one sure brought back really old memories for me - 30 year old memories. At the time I wasn't educated enough (nor were there support groups like this that I was aware of) to see that it wasn't "me". I defied society to leave my husband and "happy home" to be a single mom with only the explanation that I just didn't want to live with him for the rest of my life. Thanks for sharing and letting others see that their situation is not as unique as our abusers would like us to think. Diane

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Thursday, May 13, 2004
10:14 AM

God Bless you, Jahna. I mustered up the strength to leave my verbally abusive husband when I was 3 months pregnant. I took my 2 older boys and made plans to leave for 10 days, until the separation agreement and custody could be filed and marital residence could be ordered in my name. We were scheduled to be home on the evening he was to be served (he had no idea, and that is what you need to do- leave WITH YOUR DAUGHTER without him knowing)- I did not hear from my lawyer to confirm that he was served, and I felt it necessary to call to make sure he was served and that he knew we weren't coming home so he wouldn't worry. He sobbed on the phone and begged me to come home- he manipulated me back and of course the abuse has continued. I have read a lot of books and I am dealing with his abuse better- please read "Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men " by Lundy Bancroft. Excellent book. And get support from a group. If I had the support of a group, like I do now, I never would have had to call him that night and I might have been gone for good. You need a help so that you will not have to communicate with him once you leave. Also, the court will know by your involvement with a domestic violence group that your husband was abusive- he might make a convincing case against you in custody court because he is so manipulative. Get someone else on your side- someone who has experience and will be an advocate for you. Good luck to you- put your blinders on and do what you know you have to do.

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Friday, May 14, 2004
08:20 AM

Oh boy do I have comments...... Please listen to the blue pencil. It could have been me and yes I did have all the effects of all the things in the blue pencil. I can tell you from experience that there is no blood in a rock. I wasted a lot of time trying to get blood out of one. Janha this will not change because you are the only one in the situation who can change. Please listen and spare yourself a lot of heartache love Jay

Wow! Janha... Your story touched so many women... So many who have been there or are there. You certainly are not alone. Thanks Jay and thanks to all of the readers who commented... I just wonder where Janha is? Dr Irene May 15, 2004.

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Saturday, May 15, 2004
05:43 PM

Get rid of him by Dr. Joyce Vedral

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Monday, May 17, 2004
07:40 PM

I felt like I was looking at myself reading this letter. My husband and I are separated (for the third time)and he is really pressuring me to let him come back. We had a very bad episode on the phone last night and I lost it again emotionally (sobbing uncontrollably)and I am angry at myself because I promised myself I would not let him do that to me anymore. I, too have hit myself out of complete frustration. I know exactly how you felt--all this pain and no where to go with it. It is especially difficult when you are pregnant, not only because your emotions are so "hormonal" but because this is the time when your husband should be treating you in a very tender and special way. My husband did the same thing to me when I was pregnant. This was a second marriage for both of us. He was Mr. Wonderful before the wedding and turned into a monster 2 weeks later. He was horrible to my 2 older children. I was ready to leave him when I found out I was pregnant. It was totally unplanned. I felt like this was God's way of telling me that maybe I should stick it out. I could write a book on the things that have happened in our marriage. He left me for the second time when my little girl was almost 2. We were separated for 9 months. About 3 weeks after he left, he decided he wanted to come back. I still loved him, I wanted to make my marriage work for my little girl. I had already been divorced. We went for counseling (and I made him pay for it) and he promised to go on medication so he would stop losing his temper so much. He did everything the counselor told him to do. I let him come back, but lost my older daughter. She refused to live in the same house with him. After about a month, he stopped taking the medicine. He didn't need it. I was the one with the problem. There is a whole lot more, but about 3 months ago, I gave him an ultimatum--either get back on the medicine and stay on it, or get out. He chose to leave. I am sad that I gave up another two years of my life for someone who does not love me, who cannot love me. I could have been divorced by now and moving on with my life. It is so hard to let go--I know--I am still struggling with it. Even now, we're not even living in the same house and I end up feeling like I want to blow my brains out after I get done trying to talk to him because I feel like I am going crazy. Read the Evans books, especially the second one. You will see that IT IS NOT YOU!!!!! You are not wrong, not crazy, not the problem. I know that you are very frightened because you are pregnant. No one wants to be alone during a time like this. But you will feel alone even if he is in the same room as you (at least I did). It is hard at first because of the big hole they leave, but enjoy the peace and the lack of tension, anger, criticism, contempt, etc. Forgive yourself about the hitting incident. Isn't it funny how victims turn their pain inward while abusers spread it on everyone else. Don't let him have the power to do that to you again. I understand why you did it--because what is normal to you, he makes seem abnormal and you can't make sense of it. They drive you to it. Normal men don't treat the woman they love like this. It is not wrong for you to expect to be treated differently. The reason you don't feel loved is not because you are an emotional bottomless pit. It is not because no matter what he does, it is never good enough for you. It is because he does not treat you with love and may be incapable of it. Don't make the mistake I did. If he leaves, don't let him come back.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2004
11:22 AM

Reading this has made me see I am not alone. I am verbally abused by my husband constantly. I decided to leave 3 months ago, told him, he begged for another chance. I gave in... now 3 months later he's back to drinking and being unhappy. This weekend he physically hurt my 4 year old. He doesn't consider it abuse, he grabbed her arm and leg, shook her and accidently dropped her on the floor. He was so mad because she was arguing with her 7 year old brother. My husband then began to swear loudly using f-this f-that... Said loud enough for the children to hear that he wanted us out of his life. Today he is acting like nothing happened that I need to forgive and forget. He wants to make up with sex and I don't want him to touch me. This verbal abuse has been happening for over 6 years. I should leave. I don't know why I stay other than feeling guilty to keep the marriage going for the sake of my children. Everything you have listed as being missing is my life story. I'm trying to get the courage to leave for good. I know it's the best for me and my children... but I'm scared. Of what, I'm not entirely sure.

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Sunday, May 23, 2004
05:58 PM

All of these posts made my heart pound, especially the one with Janha's husband grabbing their daughter. This is exactly what was happening in my life. Yes, Janha get out, but do it safely. I've made so many mistakes in my journey, I want to tell you how to avoid the nightmare I'm currently experiencing. and don't even know where to begin. The fact that you, Janha, and at least one other poster are pregnant broke my heart. My husband was most scary and threatening at a time when I was most vulnerable, brand newly pregnant with our second child, hormonal as heck, seriously sleep deprived and depressed about his response to my prenancy. When I told him I was pregnant, he sneered at me and said, "Oh fantastic, I have sex once a month and get a f-- kid." A few days later when I tried to say that maybe this child would be good incentive to rededicate ourselves to our marriage, he said, "Don't start on me again with that sh--." I was newly in graduate school, teaching high school part time and still essentially a stay at home mother and wife, responsible for all household duties including my husband's bookkeeping for his lobster fishing business. I felt completely overwhelmed and terrified that I would have to flee my husband with a newborn in tow because the first physical abuse he meted out was when our son was six weeks old. I tried for weeks to figure out how I could move out and afford to hire a nanny to help me in the last weeks of pregnancy and with the new baby. It all seemed simply impossible and I decided to have an abortion. It was the worst thing I've ever done and the moment I said I was ready for the doctor, I wanted to scream, stop, stop. Needless to say, I have regretted it every day since and loathe my husband all the more for frightening me enough that I thought it was a reasonable alternative to up my own little baby. Unfortunately, that was just the first of many mistakes. I filed a protection order against my husband, but was persuaded to vacate it because my attorney at the time didn't want to go head to head with his attorney. In fact, hiring an attorney may have been a mistake.I might have been better off with an advocate from the women's shelter. They are often much better versed in abuse cases than lawyers who usually handle divorces with no abuse present. Our son was two when my husband was removed from the house. My husband said during every argument that if I was so unhappy, I "go ahead and leave. (our son) and I will be fine." If your husband is threatening to sue for custody, watch out. Stay on the offensive and vigilant. I made the mistake of taking the high road, not saying more than I had said in my protection order complaints, complying peacefully in mediation, cooperating when my husband wanted extra time with our son. It got me in the neck. Only when the mandated guardian ad litem recommended that my husband have primary residency did I learn that my husband and his cabal of a family had accused me, without a shred of evidence, of Munchausen's by Proxy and Borderline Personality Order. Now we have to go to trial and engage in the most horrible kind of war. We have to discredit the guardian, discredit the "witnesses," and prove I'm sane. These people have sunk to a kind of low I can't even imagine, but I'm prepared to go there myself if it means protecting my son from this family bent on my destruction. I'm fairly certain there was incest and completely certain there was abuse in my husband's family. I say that not because I think if forgives them, but to reinforce how important it is that I have custody. My state's committment to joint custody and willingness to allow lay people--not judges--do the "investigations" in contested custody cases adds up to a punishment for women who try to escape their husband's abuse. It seems to me that just when I think things can't get any worse, they do. Though I have a smart attorney, even she was blindsided by my husband and his family's evil tactics. Thanks for being here, all of you. Leola

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Monday, May 24, 2004
10:45 PM

Hi, I'm just reading all these posts in awe. The same observation keeps glaring through that all of us are experiencing (or have experienced) incredibly similar situations. I too, am struggling with having left someone I'm sure has BPD. I'll never know for sure though because I'm the problem, not him. Sound familiar? We do not have children together, but have been together for five years. He was the most wonderful, supportive, sweet person I had ever known. He was a terrific father figure to my children. I thought I had truly found utopia on earth. That is what makes it so difficult. I can never quite grasp why this wonderful relationship turned 180 degrees and became miserable. Over the last 2 years he has become impossible to make happy. He resents my children, nothing I do is ever right. The rules and desire of today may be totally different, even exactly opposite, tomorrow. I care so much about him. He has no family around (neither do I), and I hate for him to be alone. He does not deal with lonliness well at all. There is a great deal of alcohol abuse, but he does not fit the criteria for a true alcoholic. He used to be really sweet, romantic, and loving after a couple of drinks. Now he is mean, cruel, and cold. He has been violent (not towards people) after heavy drinking also. He also abuses tranquilizers while drinking. Not a good combination. I have such trouble with the being on a pedastal one day, and the next I'm the scum of the earth. Same for my children. When I told him I was going to move out, he begged me not to leave. He wanted me to consult him on every decision I made, no matter how small. I didn't see this as a solution, but a breeding ground for resentment from me and my children. I had an older daughter (would be 18 now) who was severly disabled and passed away a couple of years ago. She was in the hospital in a deep coma from which she never awoke. The doctors were telling me I needed to decide when to turn of the life support so she could die peacefully, and he was telling me that if certain members of my ex-husband's family came to the funeral, that he would not go. I'll never forget the incredible stress that created for me. He got angry with my son recently (we moved a couple of months ago) and called him the most awful, unforgivable names. When he begged me to stay, even then I had trouble getting him to agree to not treat my son that way ever again (he is 12). He has issues with my daughter who is 14. She is a straight A student and has really never been a problem in any way. She is respectful, obediant, sweet, loving, and a pleasure to raise. I have come to the conclusion that he is just jealous of any attention I give them as it must seem to him that it is directly taken from him. Help with the isolation issues. I have lived in this town for a few years. I have friends at work, but do not know a single person in town that is just my friend. I have not been permitted to have friends of my own. He hates anyone I am friends with before he meets them, and does not tolerate my family. I only have siblings left as my parents are deceased. I feel so alone. I have found a new church I am attending, and am looking for a class to take in the community. I have emailed a couple of old friends just to re connect with them. The lonliness is the hardest part. I still see him, and don't feel strong enough to just leave and not look back. I really do love him. He has meant the world to me, and due to isolation, truly has been my world. I hope this gets easier. I understand the lack of empathy. He makes a point of making me feel inferior. I understand the unreachable phantom when you need him the most. that is time I can count on him getting mad and claiming I am just a "drama queen", which I know I am not. I have ordered the "Stop Walking on Eggshells" books, and look forward to them arriving and put lots of hope in them to help me understand. I know I can never tell him about himself because he would never believe me and it would be just one more reason to get mad at me. A day or so ago, he called me and asked me to do something for him right that instant. I was on my way somewhere and couldn't do it. It is the first time in 5 years that I have refused flatly. I was on my way to do something for me that I really needed to do. He is still not really speaking to me and is trying really hard to make me feel totally insignificant in his life. We have separated, but still get together frequently. I think he is still trying to punish me for having the audacity to leave him. When I left, I didn't really understand what I was dealing with and wanted to just separate so that we could start fresh. I wish so much that we could do that, but reading all of your responses, I have really lost a lot of hope that it will ever happen. Sorry this has gotten so long. This is the first place I have been able to vent and feel like it is falling on ears who have been there and understand. If anyone has any advice for me, I'm sure ready to listen. I really appreciate you having a site dedicated to people who are living a different version of my life. Patti

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Tuesday, May 25, 2004
12:39 AM

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Tuesday, May 25, 2004
08:59 AM

It sounds as if you are young. I was you 20 some odd years ago. I covered for my husband and allowed him to act in any way he chose with no consequences (enforcing consequences only made the given situation worse and potentially dangerous). The episodes originally occurred only 2 or 3 a year. His outbursts only resolved by me showering him with affection and attention suitable for him to "feel loved". In the mean time, we had 2 wonderful children who remained for the most part in the dark. The worst was always behind closed doors involving emotional and mental manipulations -- nothing overt. Outsiders would occassionally feel uncomfortable around us, but, again, I covered for him very well. About 15 years into the marriage the episodes became more frequent and more out of control. 18 years into the marriage, I became pregnant with our third child. He never showed excitement during my other two pregnancies, but with this pregnancy he was particularly cruel. He told everyone we were too old to start again (we were 39 and 40) and that he did not want another child. He accused me privately of imagined affairs and became increasingly suspicious and controlling of my every move. 2 weeks before I was due he told me he would not raise another man's child (I have never had sexual relations with anyone but my husband). My life became a nightmare that was becoming harder and harder for me to disguise. I thought I was going crazy, too! The "straw that broke the camel's back" was when my father died. My husband actually stepped up the abuse! When I needed him the most, he kicked me when I was down and never let me back up. I remember feeling as if I were drowning in a pool of water and he was watching. Each time I would come up for air, he would push me back down. All I wanted to do was to reach the side of the pool and to hang on -- to catch my breath -- but I never got there. In the meantime, all of us went into counseling. 5 separate counselors (mine, my son's, two couples counselors and a referring counselor - even my husband's counselor) and a priest all saw the situation as hopeless and were concerned for my safety. My husband had not become violent yet, but the signs were all there. Still, I tried to keep my head above water. At this time my children's ages were 4, 16, and 19. My husband had a "melt down" on a weekend when we had gone to my oldest child's college town to celebrate her 20th birthday with she and her friends. It required crisis intervention to diffuse the situation. This was the first time my oldest child had witnessed this type of behavior from her father. For the other two, his bad behavior had become a daily reality as they were still in the home. I moved out the day after we returned from that trip. It took the encouragement of my family, my friends, my counselor and a priest, but I did it. I was scared to move out, but even more scared to stay. It has been 9 months. I have had (and have needed) incredible emotional support from God, my faith, counselors, friends and family. My children and I are healing. I am actually able to come home to a safe and peaceful environment free from the dark cloud that was my husband. I am finding myself again (did I mention that I had lost my identity?) and am learning to like me -- to become my own best friend. I was my own worst enemy for too many years to count. I am free to practice my faith (catholicism) which I missed so much more than I realized. My husband is on a crusade to encourage me to come back, but the thought of re-entering that relationship is more frightening to me than living alone and being celebate for the rest of my life!!!! I actually welcome celebacy. There is absolutely nothing about our relationship that I miss. My priest offers the hope of anullment, however I rather cherish the idea of not having a man in my life at the moment. I will be able to file for a no fault divorce in 3 months. Never again will I allow myself or my children to be so totally controlled and manipulated by another person. I guess the moral of the story is -- please don't be me. Don't wake up years from now to realize that your life is really a nightmare and not the dream you pretend it is. Listen to the professionals. I had wonderful advice from my oldest brother who has "been there" on how to leave my relationship. The first step is the hardest and can appear impossible but you just take a deep breath and step out. Each step gets easier and easier. Don't look at next week or next month or next year or you'll never take the necessary first step. Just take care of today and tomorrow. God bless you.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2004
09:00 AM

It sounds as if you are young. I was you 20 some odd years ago. I covered for my husband and allowed him to act in any way he chose with no consequences (enforcing consequences only made the given situation worse and potentially dangerous). The episodes originally occurred only 2 or 3 a year. His outbursts only resolved by me showering him with affection and attention suitable for him to "feel loved". In the mean time, we had 2 wonderful children who remained for the most part in the dark. The worst was always behind closed doors involving emotional and mental manipulations -- nothing overt. Outsiders would occassionally feel uncomfortable around us, but, again, I covered for him very well. About 15 years into the marriage the episodes became more frequent and more out of control. 18 years into the marriage, I became pregnant with our third child. He never showed excitement during my other two pregnancies, but with this pregnancy he was particularly cruel. He told everyone we were too old to start again (we were 39 and 40) and that he did not want another child. He accused me privately of imagined affairs and became increasingly suspicious and controlling of my every move. 2 weeks before I was due he told me he would not raise another man's child (I have never had sexual relations with anyone but my husband). My life became a nightmare that was becoming harder and harder for me to disguise. I thought I was going crazy, too! The "straw that broke the camel's back" was when my father died. My husband actually stepped up the abuse! When I needed him the most, he kicked me when I was down and never let me back up. I remember feeling as if I were drowning in a pool of water and he was watching. Each time I would come up for air, he would push me back down. All I wanted to do was to reach the side of the pool and to hang on -- to catch my breath -- but I never got there. In the meantime, all of us went into counseling. 5 separate counselors (mine, my son's, two couples counselors and a referring counselor - even my husband's counselor) and a priest all saw the situation as hopeless and were concerned for my safety. My husband had not become violent yet, but the signs were all there. Still, I tried to keep my head above water. At this time my children's ages were 4, 16, and 19. My husband had a "melt down" on a weekend when we had gone to my oldest child's college town to celebrate her 20th birthday with she and her friends. It required crisis intervention to diffuse the situation. This was the first time my oldest child had witnessed this type of behavior from her father. For the other two, his bad behavior had become a daily reality as they were still in the home. I moved out the day after we returned from that trip. It took the encouragement of my family, my friends, my counselor and a priest, but I did it. I was scared to move out, but even more scared to stay. It has been 9 months. I have had (and have needed) incredible emotional support from God, my faith, counselors, friends and family. My children and I are healing. I am actually able to come home to a safe and peaceful environment free from the dark cloud that was my husband. I am finding myself again (did I mention that I had lost my identity?) and am learning to like me -- to become my own best friend. I was my own worst enemy for too many years to count. I am free to practice my faith (catholicism) which I missed so much more than I realized. My husband is on a crusade to encourage me to come back, but the thought of re-entering that relationship is more frightening to me than living alone and being celebate for the rest of my life!!!! I actually welcome celebacy. There is absolutely nothing about our relationship that I miss. My priest offers the hope of anullment, however I rather cherish the idea of not having a man in my life at the moment. I will be able to file for a no fault divorce in 3 months. Never again will I allow myself or my children to be so totally controlled and manipulated by another person. I guess the moral of the story is -- please don't be me. Don't wake up years from now to realize that your life is really a nightmare and not the dream you pretend it is. Listen to the professionals. I had wonderful advice from my oldest brother who has "been there" on how to leave my relationship. The first step is the hardest and can appear impossible but you just take a deep breath and step out. Each step gets easier and easier. Don't look at next week or next month or next year or you'll never take the necessary first step. Just take care of today and tomorrow. God bless you.

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Friday, May 28, 2004
10:18 AM

My husband was that way too. About 3 years ago, I tired of playing his games and turned my ears (and heart) off to him. I just ignored his rantings and ravings. He needed somebody to pick on so he just switched victims. He started going after my then 11-year-old daughter. He screamed. He threatened. He was horrible. I told him he was abusive. He laughed in my face. I finally gave him an ultimatum...clean up your act or I'm gone. He chose to leave me for another woman who "understands" him. I left. I had wanted to leave for a long time, but I was scared (of being alone, of being unemployed, etc) My point is this. He will eventually go after your children. Don't let him hurt them. It is hard to end a marriage even if you know it's the right thing to do. But do it NOW and cut your losses.

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Wednesday, June 02, 2004
05:53 AM

I was reading this tread. But I start questioning this "Dr. Irene" from being very subjective. Seems not really professional though. Just a remark.

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Wednesday, June 02, 2004
07:19 PM

Hi Janha, I left my bf 2 years ago now. I think I possibly left it too late. I wish I had been able to recognise my own feelings in the way you have. Please listen to your gut, get out, get every possible bit of support you can lay your hands on. Forget about the material things, the price of staying with one of these men is too high. You owe it to yourself and your children. I had a complete mental and physical breakdown having been with a man very like yours. The cruelty sounds very familiar. I have since had to admit to myself that although he initiated the abuse, I not only took it but went back for more after we broke up. As I get healthier I now recognise a number factors which made me a readymade victim waiting to happen. My mother was a narcissit, and my father was weak, but a perfectionist (wrapped himself up in dotting the eyes and crossing the tees) and though present in body at home, never took much to do with his kids, and spent most of the time trying to avoid his wife. As the only girl and youngest child I learned early on that in order to get my fathers elucive attention (cause there was no way you got any of mums attention) I had to be interested in his interests. I was regularly deceived and then beaten up by one of my brothers. You might think so why give that brother the time of day? When you're a child and hungry for the merest bit of attention as a substitute for the warmth and love that should be coming from your parents and siblings you learn to accept crumbs and not expect anything better for yourself. When my mum died while I was in my early teens, I felt devestated not for me but for my father who had lost 2 wives. I then over responsibly deceided to always make my father happy. But a perfectionist will never be happy and to even try is a futile task, its taken me 25 years to learn that lesson. I was preprogrammed to take it and take it, finally it broke me. I have lost what little confidence I had,the majority of my past life, my health, my friends, the chance of a university education and the possibility of having children to the needs and wishes of others. And all through my childhood and all through that horror of a relationship there was the smallest of voices that said 'this can't be right'. As a child I never learnt to listen to that voice, I never learnt to trust it. Please Janha, listen to your little voice, get out now. Lots of love to you, stay safe. TCP

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Thursday, June 03, 2004
04:18 AM

Hi Janha TCP here again. Sorry about the last post I kinda went off on a tangent. I suppose my point was that these men are like the erosion effect of water on rocks. If your personality has any cracks, which mine clearly does, they seep in, freeze and rip you apart. I have come to this website for a long time now and hadn't posted before, it's just that your tale and that of the person who mentioned Hitler reflected my own story so very closely. I too was astounded and incredulous of the nastiness that would appear when I was most vulnerable. I think he thought in his little world that I was trying to manipulate him, he does it and thinks everyone else is the same. But quite frankly these days I dont give a sh.. what he thought. I just feel sorry for his next future survivor. The swimming pool analergy was perfect, your always just treading water never able to quite catch your breath. The only predictable bit of him was his unpredictability, I never knew which way was up. The bizarre bit about going to see real estate, happened here too. After a screaming session from him in the car, where I kinda went into a wee world of my own (for mental survival probably)he says (happy voice now) Lets go look at that house in ....... Doc i honestly can't find the words, how does someone scream and yell at another human being and then 2 seconds later, be happy happy. At this point I was cowering in the corner isolated and broken are the only words for how I felt. You have kids, please cherish them and yourself enough to get out now. TCP

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Friday, June 04, 2004
10:49 PM

I see so much of my own relationship in this letter. My partner has never raised a hand to me but the verbal abuse continues and I always walk away with him making me feel that somehow it is my fault. I blame it on the fact that he grew up without a father, his mother was 41 when he was born. I think that if he would have had a male role model in his life then he would have known how to be a father and a husband. But even so I wonder if he will ever realize what he has with me and our children or if he will always make me feel like he belives that there is more out there for himself? I am so confused. I love this man with all of my heart. We have been through so much together. His mother recently died and it has been so traumatic for us all. I don't know who to talk to or what to do?

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Friday, June 11, 2004
12:26 AM

It is very difficult to make the decision to leave. There is the fear of the unknown. As bad as what we have at home now - who knows how much more difficult it will be. I cannot stand my husband - when he travels or works late i am in heavan because i can spend quality time with my children. Janha - please believe everyone when they tell you that your husband will turn on your children. Mine did! He hardly gives our daughter any attention, if he comes home from work late and she is still up he doesn't even say hi to her just tells her to get upstairs to bed. She is 7 1/2 and is as responsible as a ten year old because she sees how little her father does and she helps me. I work full time, and take care of our two kids - he could be in the same room as us, but if i need to give my son medicine - it is my daughter who helps - not my husband. My son is two and very very active - my daughter helps me with everything. She was outside with her brother and father last weekend, she is not allowed in the street, whenever i'm with them i see how responsible she is. The baby ran in the street - she couldn't catch him and called to my husband. He went and got the baby from the street (fortunately there were no cars), came in the house and yelled at my daughter telling her how irresponsible she was, he punished her, and put her down. She felt so bad, this is a girl who does not leave little things on the floor of her room so her brother can play in there (if she can't find a pony holder that she had on her nightstand she panics because she thinks that he might have eaten it). I did not allow him to do this anymore. I told her that it was not her fault daddy is the adult and should have watched them more closely. I told her that he yelled because he cannot control himself and blames everyone else - she cried and told me that she didn't know what to do because she knows she's not allowed in the streed and didn't want to get in trouble. I went to him and told him that he was the asshole. He tried to reason with me but i looked at him and asked him "if something had happened - what would you have told the police - would you have said officer it wasn't my fault my 7yr old was watching him? and what if she had run out after him without looking and a car came - you would have two children hurt instead of one. I need to find the strenght to leave the jerk i've been with since i was 15. I'm in counseling to figure out why i'm afraid to leave him. I don't even tell him about the counseling because he doesn't think i need it he's perfectly happy with our marriage. Maybe thru this website we can all find the strenght together. SMC

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Friday, June 11, 2004
12:29 AM

It is very difficult to make the decision to leave. There is the fear of the unknown. As bad as what we have at home now - who knows how much more difficult it will be. I cannot stand my husband - when he travels or works late i am in heavan because i can spend quality time with my children. Janha - please believe everyone when they tell you that your husband will turn on your children. Mine did! He hardly gives our daughter any attention, if he comes home from work late and she is still up he doesn't even say hi to her just tells her to get upstairs to bed. She is 7 1/2 and is as responsible as a ten year old because she sees how little her father does and she helps me. I work full time, and take care of our two kids - he could be in the same room as us, but if i need to give my son medicine - it is my daughter who helps - not my husband. My son is two and very very active - my daughter helps me with everything. She was outside with her brother and father last weekend, she is not allowed in the street, whenever i'm with them i see how responsible she is. The baby ran in the street - she couldn't catch him and called to my husband. He went and got the baby from the street (fortunately there were no cars), came in the house and yelled at my daughter telling her how irresponsible she was, he punished her, and put her down. She felt so bad, this is a girl who does not leave little things on the floor of her room so her brother can play in there (if she can't find a pony holder that she had on her nightstand she panics because she thinks that he might have eaten it). I did not allow him to do this anymore. I told her that it was not her fault daddy is the adult and should have watched them more closely. I told her that he yelled because he cannot control himself and blames everyone else - she cried and told me that she didn't know what to do because she knows she's not allowed in the streed and didn't want to get in trouble. I went to him and told him that he was the asshole. He tried to reason with me but i looked at him and asked him "if something had happened - what would you have told the police - would you have said officer it wasn't my fault my 7yr old was watching him? and what if she had run out after him without looking and a car came - you would have two children hurt instead of one. I need to find the strenght to leave the jerk i've been with since i was 15. I'm in counseling to figure out why i'm afraid to leave him. I don't even tell him about the counseling because he doesn't think i need it he's perfectly happy with our marriage. Maybe thru this website we can all find the strenght together. SMC

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Friday, June 11, 2004
12:30 AM

sorry i didn't hit submit twice - i refreshed and it came up again. Dr. Irene please delete the duplicate.

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Saturday, June 12, 2004
08:54 PM

Alot of your story brings back memories for me. I lived 18 of the first 22 years of marrage the wife of an abusive alcoholic. I would pound my head aginst walls many a times and beat myself up too. The only advice I have is to deal with this NOW. Don't let it continue like I did. Its been 4 years now since my husband had recovered did a total 180 in his ways and realized what he had done to me all those years. Many women are not as luck as me, but, as a result of not getting help or doing something, I am now struggling with PTSD, depression, and social anxiety. I am seeking help now, and my husband understands I just need time, but you may not be so lucky. I would hate to see you go through what I am now.

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Sunday, June 27, 2004
01:27 AM

I don't know what to say, but what I have just read from so many people confirms my feelings that my husband is an abuser!!!! But when I try to write it down, I feel like a fool because how could I ever think otherwise? I guess, I have been brainwashed all these years......I have been married for about 13 years, and 12 years ago, when our first baby was being born, he was not there, years later I found out he was with his singer girlfriend, who was my friend. At the time I did not know they were in a relationship, as we often went to see her sing. But because I had a baby, I needed to go home early, and he often stayed out later, but I always trusted him. When I found them together at her house one afternoon, he denied that anything was going on. He has humiliated me so badly. He even brought his girlfriend (a different one) to a big convention party where I was. At the time I had no idea - what a fool I am. I beleive myself to be an intelligent woman. I own a successfull day-spa company, and come from a beautiful family of college graduates. My husband began to use sex as a method of controlling me. If I didn't provide the sex, he said I didn't love him, he would made me feel guilty. And then he began behaving as though it was my good fortune to be able to have sex with him. He would lay back and just wait for me to initiate the sex. And then at the end, he would complain about some aspect of it. This sounds so horrible, but it may help someone elso who is in my situation. I am still trying to make my decision on what to do. When I write it down, it seems like the ONLY thing to do is divorice, but I have five beautiful daughters. I am still confused, and I cry alot. I pray everyday for Gods guidance. I know that I will find the answer of what to do.

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Friday, July 02, 2004
01:30 AM

This is such a sad story. I feel for this woman. I can say I have been there and done that. Sounds like your husband is going through a Midlife Crisis. You didn't say how old he was but sure sounds like it. If that is the case there is nothing you can do but except him the way he is or get on with your life with your children. You don't need this kind of stress while being pregnant. It won't do you or your husband any good. The children mostly, don't need to be in this drama. If he is not going through a midlife crisis, Look up the word Narcisist, you could be dealing with this also. If that is the case I would say your better off with out him. I hope you have a church you attend. I pray God will lead you to do the right thing. Think of your Children. Though they are young, it could still cause mental problems with all the yelling he does. Seek help. Good luck and God Bless. Joy

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Wednesday, July 07, 2004
02:22 PM

It sounds a lot like my marriage, with the exception that I have no children. My spouse will twist things around and tell me that I said things I didn't say, he call's me names and tells me that he is only trying to teach me - so I can become a better person. I think I am a pretty good person to begin with - but he does nto see that.

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Thursday, July 08, 2004
11:38 PM

I feel alot like the young lady above. The only difference is. My husband is always correcting me when I know that he is wrong. He ask my opinion on something and then does opposite leaving me to pay the price for his mistakes. He spend most of his time at his parents then he comes home and yell at the children for very remedial things. H ealways want me to give up what I'm doing to go with him places that I don't want to go. The only time my opinion counts is when he is making money off of it. Other wise there is no love unless he wants sex. I let him do what he wants to do in bed and I just pray it does not take long. I get sick when he wants to kiss me. I feel nausea so I asked him to get what ever he wants out of this and leave me alone. I hurt so bad. But it does not matter to him. My health problems are building from the stress of him. But I try to keep my children in mind. I don't want to deprive them of a father. I jsut wish thinks would change. I am so tied.  

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Sunday, July 11, 2004
12:31 PM

I don't have a lot of time right now to respond the way I'd like, but I want to say a couple of things quickly. I was married to a man very similar to the men described here. I ultimately left with my two daughters, ages 3 and 9. At the time I left, my oldest said *I have been being yelled at my WHOLE LIFE! It's not fair!!!*, and all I could say was that she was right. It wasn't fair. Single parenting is hard some days. The discipline and time for oneself issues can be exhausting. But it is MUCH easier than living with an abuser. The worst day as a single parent is better than even a good day (it's a fake good day anyway) with an abuser. My only regret is that I didn't leave sooner. But, if I had, I wouldn't have been ready to stay gone. This site saved my sanity. Thank you sooo much Dr. Irene for having the vision to create this site. No contact with these men is so very peaceful. It gives one the chance to reconnect with the person they want to be. The other thing I wanted to add is that control during/over/around sex is also very common, either in withholding or excess. We have a section of the Catbox Forum for members who wish to have support and validation for this type of abuse as well. It is password protected and moderated, so privacy and safety is assured. I send you all 20/20 vision in the present, and trust in your rights to an abuse free life. Rock4mykids[rocky]

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Wednesday, July 21, 2004
09:34 AM

HI! This is for the girl who wrote a post on July 8: You said you" didn't want to deprive your children of a father". Don't you realize how the stress from this is affecting YOUR health???? You may be depriving them of a mother if you stay in this abuse much longer!!! Your children will grow up to have the SAME KIND OF MARRIAGE or RELATIONSHIP that YOU HAVE with your husband now because that is what they know and are comfortable with, even though it is NOT HEALTHY!! Sorry if this Dr. Phil "in your face" style offends you, but get REAL and think of your children and yourself!!!!!

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Friday, July 23, 2004
11:57 AM

Janha, My heart broke reading your story. It also confirmed that my sister was right to leave her husband and I was right to support her as she did. She waited over 20 long years to leave. I hate to think of you doing that too. Your children will suffer in that environment because they will see you suffer and never comprehend a man who can behave that way. God bless you and guide you!

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Friday, July 23, 2004
11:58 AM

Janha, My heart broke reading your story. It also confirmed that my sister was right to leave her husband and I was right to support her as she did. She waited over 20 long years to leave. I hate to think of you doing that too. Your children will suffer in that environment because they will see you suffer and never comprehend a man who can behave that way. God bless you and guide you!

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Tuesday, July 27, 2004
04:22 AM

Thankyou very much Dr.Irene for this site. Reading this heartbreaking story and others is helpful in order to understand what is going on in my own life. I have been denying and lying to myself for so long, and that is realy distressing. However, gradually I have come to realise the terrible truth that I am definately living in an abusive relationship. For 18 years there has hardly been one day without critical remarks, complaints, shouting etc. In the beginning I tried to turn myself inside out to satisfy all needs and demands. With two small children and always tired, I was working outside home too, I did not have the strengt to support myself in the right way. Now I can see that I did not manage very well. Any attempt from my side to change the imbalance in the relationship was immediatley turned down. Hours of discussios would follow, especially painful with loads alcohol involved, focusing on me, my past errors and current mistakes. Main topics being my inability to change and become a better person, more loving and caring, less egocentric and stupid, more intelligent, imaginative, creative, helpful, less of a cow and imbecile, not earning enough money and parasiting, too much caring for relatives and friends, I should realise that they were using me and so on to name just a few of them. English is not my first language. It has been a tremendous struggle to communicate,I always end up feeling frustrated for not making myself clear enough. Of course, not being able to express ones wiews in an elegant way is also a source a problems when the husband can not stand bad English language and can not listen for more than 30 sec. Interupting with the words "God you are boring! dontīt you ever have anything interesting to say" and then continuing lecturing me.It is such a mixture of feelings and so incredibly stressing never being able to do good enough. Not to mention the errosion of good, loving and warm feelings. Everyday is a step forward and the determination to create a better, more human life i growing stronger. Sharing is a great comfort. Rut

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Wednesday, July 28, 2004
09:04 AM

Dear Janha, I've been married for 18 years. My husband supposedly adored me, and I worshiped him, when we first got married. I had a child from a first marriage. Well, I can't even tell you teh whole story, there's too much. I think I read somewhere that once an abuser feels they "have" you, it comes out. Whether that is through marriage, your first child, your second, maybe even illness? I spent the first few years wondering how somebody who loved me so much could be so hot and cold, why he would jerk away if I touched his arm or tried to be affectionate, how he could just not be affected at times when I was so upset about our relationship. Then I realized that the reason we never could make any progress in an argument, and the reason we argued so much, was because he was drunk a lot more of the time than I realized. So I started on a crusade to get him to stop drinking. That has lasted at least 15 years. (never worked, by the way) He has been totally unfair to my son from my first marriage. About two months before my first child to him, a daughter, was born, I started having really bad headaches. I was always afraid that once we had another child, it would be worse for my son. It has been. I had bad headaches every day, all day (this is not an exaggeration) for 15 years. I've seen every kind of doctor imaginable for them. My children were robbed of a mother. I was sick all the time. The only time I remember not having headaches was one summer I went up to visit my family for about three weeks. The longest time I had been away from him! I joked that I was allergic to him, but I didn't really believe it. I have prayed over the years to get a terminal disease, because I couldn't stand living. I thought there was something wrong with me. I'm a Christian, and our church taught that you should never get a divorce under any circumstances unless your spouse is unfaithful, and even then you should try to forgive. I wanted to please God. I also read in the bible that if you do divorce, you can never remarry unless your ex spouse dies. So - instead of getting a divorce, i prayed that he (or I)would die! Last year, our family suffered a trauma involving one of our children. It was the worst kind of tragedy you can imagine, othr than a child being kidnapped. My husband reacted by starting to sleep on the couch, and then moving out. Then he moved back in when he realized he could lose everything for abandoning us. But while I was grieving, and I mean screaming and sobbing and rocking and pulling my hair, he never once came and put his arms around me or tried to help. Not once. He cried once over the whole thing, and i couldn't help but try to comfort him, even though I have so much resentment for him. Many times, I have been upset and crying about our marriage or an argument we had, and he could not even ask what was wrong. I have heard over and over that I am crazy. HE EVEN HAS MY KIDS THINKING SOMETIMES THAT I AM CRAZY. When I was preganant the first time with his child, he was kind of happy and treated me pretty good - not doting or babying me by any means. When I was pregant with our second daughter, he acted like he was mad at me, was drinking a lot, and I remember during the delivery feeling totally unloved and uncared for. When I was pregnant with our fourth, another son, (which we had been trying for all along, becuase he needed his "own" son), I was treated like nothing. WE moved when I was 32 weeks pregnant. I was 30, and it was a really rough pregnancy. I was expected to do everything except put the furniture on teh truck and remove it. I packed, cleaned, moved boxes, etc. until I was totally exhausted. I remember standing in a mess in our garage, at 11:00 the night we moved in, screaming how much I hated him for doing that to me. When I was 34 weeks pregnant, my water broke, and i had to spend 10 days in the hospital until my son was born prematurely. (It was actually wonderful being able to rest! And my son was okay.) Can you tell I have some resentment? 18 years! If anybody else on this post thinks they are stupid, take heart! There is someone more so. I could go on and on and on. I've lived through four bad divorces (my parents' and my own), and did not want to put my kids through that. My stubborness has hurt them and me. My point is - I TRIED EVERYTHING. IT NEVER GOT BETTER, MY KIDS HAVE BEEN ROBBED, AND NOW I AM GETTING DIVORCED ANYWAY! I still have a hard time believing my husband is all bad, because in between all the stuff I mentioned, he can be nice. He helps around the house, buys me nice gifts, is supportive sometimes, and he isn't always abusive. I feel right now, that I've finally made the decision, like I'm in a bubble, or I'm squinting to keep focused on one thing, because I am so so unsure of my own perceptions. My oldest son is 21, my daughters are 17 and 14, and my youngest son is 12. I am hoping to give them at least a glimpse of peace in a home before they leave to make their own lives.

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Friday, July 30, 2004
09:02 AM

Are there too verbal abusers who do not hit or shout at their wifes? My husband constantly criticizes me, I never know in wich mood he will be when I come home, and I, my family, my son and my two cats canīt do anything right. He never shouts or calls me names, he only vibrates with anger and ignores all I do to reconciliate him. Iīm in constant alert to make things right. My hairīs too short, the house is not tidy (Iīm working 9 hours a day and he is out of employment), I spend too much money... If I try to explain that he has hurt my feelings he stops speaking at me and I have to build up his wrecked selfconscience. Meanwhile, I have stopped to see most of my friends. When he breaks a cup, I apologize for being around. I would be thankful for an explanation. Regina PS. Please pardon my bad English, Iīm no native speaker.

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Friday, July 30, 2004
09:06 AM

Are there too verbal abusers who do not hit or shout at their wifes? My husband constantly criticizes me, I never know in wich mood he will be when I come home, and I, my family, my son and my two cats canīt do anything right. He never shouts or calls me names, he only vibrates with anger and ignores all I do to reconciliate him. Iīm in constant alert to make things right. My hairīs too short, the house is not tidy (Iīm working 9 hours a day and he is out of employment), I spend too much money... If I try to explain that he has hurt my feelings he stops speaking at me and I have to build up his wrecked selfconscience. Meanwhile, I have stopped to see most of my friends. When he breaks a cup, I apologize for being around. I would be thankful for an explanation. Regina PS. Please pardon my bad English, Iīm no native speaker.

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Saturday, July 31, 2004
02:33 AM

Dear Regina! I m not a native speaker and have had to put up with a lot of rubbish. The verbally abusive partner use the fact that we canīt always express what we think and feel. But the language is not the main cause for abuse. The abuser have no interest in what you say anyway, he does ot listen to any reason. To ask him why he is doing or saying nasty things or treating you with disrespect makes him more abusive. According to "my abuser" I brought this on to myself. Verbal abuse is the only way to communicate with me. "I have tried everything with you, to reason and be nice, but you donīt listen to that. Shouting is the only language I have left when it comes to you". You see, It is my fault, EVERYTHING. That is his wiew, of course, and it is very very narrow. My friends and family are very uninteresting for him. In the beginning of our relationship I invited my friends and family, but that had to stop. He did not want to participate in or pay for any of these activities. That was clearly demonstrated by his way of treating friends and family when they visited us, not speaking to them, going to bed , acting sour etc. Dear Regina. Try to stay intouch with friends. Having people outside home who cares about how you feel and understand your situation is vital. Listenig to only one voice, or two voices, one who is critical and mean and your own voice asking why this is happening to you is not leading anywhere. Our lives are valuable and we have to decide how much it is worth living in relationships drainig us on all fronts. I am on your side, totally. Ruth

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Saturday, July 31, 2004
04:21 PM

Hello. I too find myself relating so much to these posts. I recently underwent a coerced abortion (I've been with my boyfriend for 2 years). Before the procedure, he was kind and concerned (all the time, of course, asking me if I had booked the appointment). Immediately after what was a brutally painful experience, both physically and mentally, he turned into an absolute monster. We've had problems throughout the duration of the relationship - he has been verbally abusive, distant, and really excels at gaslighting and attempting to trick me into thinking that all conflict originates with me, when I know intellectually (If not emotionally at times) that he is incredibly abusive - putting me down with backhanded compliments ("I think that your being smart and beautiful is your worst problem" "None of your friends really care about you" "You're filled with anger", etc.), abandoning me when I need him the most, using me for money and sex, and so on. It so ridiculous and I hate myself for staying with someone who so obviously cannot really care about me. He broke up with me the day after the abortion after promising that he would be there for me and see me through everything. He chose the day after to tell me that he didn't love me (a drastic change of tune from the week before) and to call him "in a week or never". Who could do something so heinous? I was so vulnerable, crying, and in real pain from the procedure, which was essentially botched. How can he have no conscience at all? I really see in him someone who has no feeling, cares only about themself ("What about me?"), and tells me I'm "complaining" if I try to raise any issue about the relationship - I've tried so hard to be kind and constructive, but it is obviously a losing battle. I really feel like he is killing me. It's like I've been left holding the bag and there's nothing inside. I'm so sad to wake up in the morning. Since we met 2 years ago, I went from being a well-respected dynamic young professional to a painfully insecure unemployed mess. These type of men can do real and serious damage to your life. Dr, is this indicative of a personality disorder like Antisocial Personality Disorder? I think that his behavior is worse than irresponsible and deceptive, it's downright sociopathic. I'm sorry to ramble, I'm so confused.

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Monday, August 02, 2004
08:14 PM

I'm sorry to hear that she is in such an abusive marriage too! I am in one, and is becoming worse each day due to my husbands anger. Of course, he somehow blames me for everything he is angey about,turning the tables on me, or making excuses. He is angry on a constant basis w/ outbursts of rage. Due to the fact that he has caused us to live in utter chaos for 12 years, my 24 yr son has picked up his behaviors and mimicks him. This makes me sick!!! In addition to the physical ailments I've endured because of this. YES LIVING WITH THIS TYPE OF PERSON DOES MAKE YOU PHYSICALLY SICK!!! It will only get worse.(I was a single mother until he was 12, then a brief period of dating and we married.When I was a single mother my bills were paid on time or EARLY every month, and there was PEACE & STABILITY!)Now he's caused such turmoil, destruction and chaos that we don't even have a checking acct, live in a camper, and I WAS considering going back to school: but realized his support was deceptive and short-lived. I don't want to be set up to fail, or have my efforts sabotaged. He goes out of his way to cause trouble for me. I printed up Dr. Irene's Signs of Verbal & Emotional Abuse in a realtionship and he does all but 1 thing. I highlited theem and sat him down and talked to him. He says he'll get help, but we'll see. I hope she does GET OUT NOW!!!!! (for her sake as well as her childrens' sake)

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Wednesday, August 04, 2004
01:38 PM

Hello! Does any anyone have experience of aggressivity in relationships and have som good tips on what to do about it? I donīt any longer know what to do. The problem is escalating. We are in a cul se sac and itīs really dark. Whatever I do, or dontīt do, there is reason for anger, from minor irritation to full rage. My husband canīt be alone with me without nagging and complaining about this and that. Have tried not to be defensive, but that is making the situation worse. He is his real self with other people, he say. But with me he can not be "normal" because of how I am. When we met he said to me. Iīm so happy I donīt have to be angry with you. Oh, lucky me! What else should I expect. Now I know better. When I asked him about that statement the answer was. I have never been angry before, you maid me angry.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2004
01:43 PM

Oh dear God. Janha's situation was very similar to mine. I had to leave, too. Fortunately, I was not pregnant, nor did I have any children with my ex-husband. He acted the SAME WAY as Janha's husband did: the crazy-making, verbal violence, outrageous and public shaming of me, ignoring, withholding, namecalling...everything. There is no other way but to leave someone this abusive. In this case, it might be wise to look into what options are available to protect this woman physically should she decide to leave. My ex-husband and I were divorced this past March and he still tries to insert himself in my life. He hasn't tried to harm me physically, but he still swings from being sweet to being the monster that he truly is. And unless it's a business matter, I never speak to him. From one Janna to another...look out for yourself and for the example you are setting for your children. Run from this man as fast as you can. He could be deadly. There's hope, though. Ernest Hemingway wrote in A Farewell to Arms: "The world breaks everyone and afterward some of us are strong at the broken places." It's true. I'm a survivor. You can be too. Janna

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Thursday, August 26, 2004
06:24 PM

I just want to say I know the pain. My decision is to live with it. I do not have anyone else. My husband cares for me more than anyone. Unfortuntely several bad and sad things have happened. Many people stay in abusive relationships because they donīt have the strength or courage to leave. Some people live with it because without the relationship life would be worse. The best thing right know is that he is trying to change to be more attentive, but will it be enough before I am dying. Isnīt it strange. People seem to think I am the bad one. The one whoīs lying...

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Thursday, August 26, 2004
06:58 PM

Last night I through the telephone into the wall. It is now a small hole. Strangely enough, I have sympathy and empathy for Janha. It seems like she is making the right desicion. I am happy I do not have any children. My in-laws and my husband want me to, but I am better off without. Lucky me. And lucky is she — who has the strength to continue on her own. One day I hope I also will have the courage, fighting off negativity that surrounds us. Not only that is near and dear. It isnīt that clear. Does Love or friendship ever excist. Not as far as my eye can see. Without it, what will you be. I bird or a tree? All my Love and encouragement goes out to Janha and all the other people in similar challenging situations. Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glimt of light on broken glass. ~ Anton Chekhov

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Thursday, August 26, 2004
07:12 PM

If anyone has any recommendations of how to stop abuse from just about anyone. People in general. I am also talking about legal and professional situations. It seems like the neglect from my husband and his family is rubbing off. Emotional intolerance and problems are ignored or denied... I need assistace: xiasangjuchongji@msn.com

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Thursday, August 26, 2004
07:12 PM

If anyone has any recommendations of how to stop abuse from just about anyone. People in general. I am also talking about legal and professional situations. It seems like the neglect from my husband and his family is rubbing off. Emotional intolerance and problems are ignored or denied... I need assistance: xiasangjuchongji@msn.com

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Saturday, August 28, 2004
05:06 PM

Janha, I hope all is well now, I too have gone through much of what you have writen, minus the him physically abusing me. All you pain and frustration i have lived to talk about. My husband of many years was cold and very inconnected with my feelings so i do understand. It's not your fault believe that, and it's time you stop worring about him and take care of you. You can't help someone who don't want help,with that in mind you should start healing your wounds with a professional for you and your children. Never forget you are the heart of your home so you are an important asset, don't let him treat you any different. He isn't a loving , caring partner to you so what would make him change with the children. I agree with the DOC leave him and don't look back. You hold more love for two parents on your wom with out all his negitivity.Do what's best for you and your kids get out now while they are young, your husband is only going to get worse once he know's he has you right where he wants you. He wants you to think your crazy, he needs you to think you diserve his beatings and abuse. when you leave him and stay gone he will know he could have had a great life with you, but do to HIS actions, he lost you and his children. i hope nothing for the best for you janha, and your babies, hope to hear back to know you are ok and FREE. Bornlatin78 

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Tuesday, June 28, 2005
05:50 PM

I am so sorry that this is happening to you. How horrible for you. I definitely agree that your only choice is to walk away for your own safety and sanity. Remember your children need you - they need a mom that is fully there for them too. No one is worth letting them drive you crazy and make you feel bad when you aren't the bad one. Be true to yourself. I know it will be hard - because even in abusive relationships you still miss that person, but remember you only miss them out of habit -not because they are great or worthy of missing. I know because I have been in abusive situations myself. If you do not get out the situation will get worse. People like him think their is nothing wrong with them and the rest of the world is crazy. I know exactly where you are sitting and what you are feeling. I have been in that situation myself a few times. Hang in there it will get better. Take care of yourself. - Val