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Doc@DrIrene.com

June 2000 Had Enough Update

June 2000 Had Enough Update

Had Enough starts here (July 1999).

June 3, 2000

I've having a wonderfully quiet Memorial Day weekend.  My daughter is visiting her father and I've had time to work in the yard (when it hasn't been raining), read, sew, and just loaf around.  Last Memorial Day weekend, I did none of those things and instead spent my time walking on eggshells and hoping to avoid triggering another argument. It was that weekend, that I  also kept the bargain we'd made during a counseling session (I'd let my him touch me whenever he wished for a three hour period that weekend) even though I felt absolutely repulsed by the idea of my husband - now ex-husband - touching me.  I don't do things like that now!  And I feel so much better! Now, it's so obvious to you - that your feelings (e.g., repulsion) are there for you to pay attention to! Yippeee!

For the first time in my life, I'm realizing what healthy relationships can be like.  I've started dating again, and it sometimes has been uncomfortable for me to speak up.  Every time I've spoken up, i.e., to ask what's going on, to ask for help with something, to state my limits, or to express a contradictory opinion, I've felt better about myself. And what's been shocking to me, is that my honesty about what's on my mind has been welcomed! You bet! Most people are genuinely interested in hearing what's on your mind! 

Not only that, there seems to be sense that my needs are important.  For example, a week ago he noticed that I tend to get a bit edgy when he's not called in several days - I don't know if he's swamped with work, or if he's withdrawing because of something I've done (irrational, I know) so he promised he would try to stay in closer contact with me and let me know immediately if something was going on that would effect our plans.  I was impressed. He had paid attention to my concerns, understood what was behind them, and had a solution.  And even more impressive, he actually followed through with his commitment on Thursday and called me as soon as he found out that he was going to be heading out of town again to deal with an unexpected glitch with one of their projects. :)

I'm not used to my needs being considered important!  They certainly weren't during my marriage (described in an earlier letter on July 14th entitled "I've had enough") and they certainly weren't in my family of origin (a parallel  I'd begun to recognize when I wrote an update on December 30).  Never again will I settle for a relationship, where my needs are not taken seriously! Yippeee! I've learned I can expect to be treated decently.  No one will ever again tell me I don't know what I'm talking about, tell me I have no right to feel a certain way, label me controlling because I refuse to do something I'm uncomfortable with, or try to coerce me into doing something I don't want to.

Who knows what the future will bring.  I'm taking things very slowly, and if things don't work out, I know I'll miss H. and the fun we've had, but I'll get over it.  I'll always be grateful for his showing me what a healthy relationship can be like!  I've been able to try some of the things I learned in marital counseling last year, i.e., sharing feelings, the use of "I" messages, etc., and they really do help improve communication.  I've also learned that I'm  attractive when I reveal who I really am, warts and all. Yeah!

I hope that sometime you will consider doing an article (or articles) on relationships after leaving an abusive one.  For an example, how do you avoid making the same mistake in the future? There are a couple of articles already that address signs of a controlling relationship. Look for them on the Search Page. What factors indicate you're recovering from an abusive relationship?  Or even an article describing healthy relationships and how they usually evolve. Janet There is one on an example of a healthy interaction. But, I'll shoot for more. Thanks Janet for your wonderful update! And keep up the wonderful work! Just one year, so many changes... Dr. Irene