by Dr. Irene and...
Updated August 8, 2000
Date: February 28, 1999
Dear Dr. Irene,
I really need help, more help than I
would ever believe. I am working on very little sleep right now but I feel a strong need
to share this with someone who understands. I know you do because I read your article on
"the verbal abuser". As uncomfortable as this insight about myself and my
behavior is, along with some deep sadness about how my behavior has affected someone who
cares very much about me (Kristin), there is also a feeling of hope, which I have not felt
in a long, long time.
The feeling of "uniqueness" has
characterized my life from as far back as I can remember. This feeling has followed me
into recovery. Recently I have really began to wonder if I am different then other people
in the sense that everything "appears" to be going good, but I never feel
I guess my higher Power has been setting the stage
for this very painful, rude awakening for some time. It came to me last night in a similar
way to the Biblical story of the scales falling off of Paul's eyes, allowing him to see:
My Denial, My Justification, My rationalization, My arrogance...was so thick. If someone
told me the truth about myself, I would not be able to "hear" it. I sounded like
a criminal attorney defending my position. I was really buying into it and convincing
other people that I was doing everything that I could to make our (mine & Kristen's)
relationship work. In hindsight I see that it was complete bullshit that was shrouded in
self-justification. I tore Kristen’s heart out. I HONESTLY DID NOT SEE IT! I was
walking around like a pompous asshole, really believing my own bullshit.
So I have awakened...............
Previously I talked about "feeling
different," which has allot to do with the depth in which I experience emotions, both
good and bad ones. They only go so far, then they hit a ceiling or a floor and
that's it. Example: the last time I cried was my nephew's funeral. The time before that,
the last time I shed a tear, was at my father's Funeral. I had no idea why a tear was
rolling down my cheek. I have more examples but I think you get my point. One of things
that seem to annoy me is when a person is "shallow." I guess I have to give
credence to the age old saying: when something really bothers you about someone else, its
because of something you don't like in yourself. I would never have believed I am a
shallow person but I really have been. I feel so sick because I didn't see any of this. I
also feel hope I can get better, combined with allot of FEAR of what its going to take to
get better. I think I have an idea, but please tell me what you think about all this. The
word that is flashing in my head is "Vulnerable". Dr. Irene, I also owe you a
personal apology. I am embarrassed, as I think back, how I walked into your office, not
really giving you any respect...like an arrogant, obnoxious asshole. I am so sorry. Please
|Tuesday, March 9, 1999
Kristen and I had an appointment today. She prefaced her session
with, "You are going to kill me but..." I finished her sentence, "You are
back with Pete." Kristin sheepishly nodded and invited Pete into her session. We
talked. We agreed to work together in helping Pete let Kristin into his life.
Kristen is clear that her job is to make sure she does not
slip into allowing Pete to get away with any disrespectful behavior towards her.
Even if it means pulling away from him. She has seen what happens when she makes excuses
for him or pins the blame on herself: he becomes more offensive. He can't help it right
now. He has contempt for her when she "takes" it, though I am not certain he
recognizes that yet. Kristen's most difficult challenge will not be to stand up for
herself. It will be to simply notice that she is being disrespected!
Pete knows his task is the harder one: to face his fears of
intimacy - without acting out (much). Pete sees how he has lied to himself and to his
friends. He sees that he has surrounded himself with a group of men who support each other
in their mutual anger. But Pete has woken up. He is tired of not feeling. He is tired of
the appearance of success when the internal life is empty. He is empty and bored and
looking to fill internal space because he cannot sit still with himself long enough to
hear what his inner self has to say.
Pete thinks there is a terrifying journey ahead. What I know
and he does not is that the terror exists only where he lives now. As he finds
the courage to face what hurts him, shames him, terrifies him, he will see that there was
nothing to fear after all. But perhaps Pete should tell his story. I hope he will (Pete:
Kristen and Pete plan to fly to Jamaica in
mid-March to get (gasp) married! Let's wish them well and offer them a little prayer. If
we're lucky, maybe they'll keep us posted.
Kristin's Advice Kristen's August, 2000 Update