January 15, 2000
Dear Dr. Irene,
For about 10
years I have been in a very difficult relationship, and after a long
talk with friends about a year ago, I realized that it was not OK. I
read verbal abuse books etc.
I am interested in
an opinion on how it compares with other relationships and at what point
others would get out. Some people just say, "All relationships are
difficult," and don't understand.
Why are you
looking for an opinion? It sounds as though you already know...
Her behavior is
infantile as well as verbally abusive. Things that happened include:
|Being locked in her car for hours at a|
time (She'll just be shopping 5 minutes).
stranded somewhere, Her getting into arguments with strangers..
the phone off me and telling the other person off or hanging up.
|Her getting into
arguments with strangers.
|Being rung at 4.am (before we lived|
|Revealing what I
have said in confidence, to others. etc. etc. The list goes on and on.
I get attacked in a
variety of ways, direct and indirect. Many times I can deflect them with
assertiveness, breathing deeply, humor etc, but not always. When she
attacks viciously, sometimes for hours or days on end, I feel sick in
the stomach or have headaches for days. If it point this out, I might
cop another attack. "How dare you say you have a headache because
of me" in a highly strained voice.
For much of the time
my partner is pleasant and normal, or even sweet. I then feel that
perhaps the bad times were just a bad dream. Also, I used to presume
from ignorance that abusive partners were always abusive. It would be much simpler
that way, wouldn't it!
I also get a lot of
criticism and putdowns in the name of humor. I get all that "too
sensitive, can't take a joke, don't get my dry sense of humor, you
exaggerate etc". More rarely, I cop some humorless nasty stuff. Tell her: "Yes, I am
too sensitive. Respect my sensitivity."
She is highly
volatile and can be set off by the smallest thing or nothing at all. As
well as temper tantrums, she has many times gone into strange
controlling states: I am ordered to do something which is often
unacceptable, ridiculous, or extremely nasty.
Her: Ring your boss,
it might have been him.
Me: Its highly unlikely.
Her: Ring, or I'll tell him what a nasty person you are.
Tell her to go
ahead and tell him.
Or, "Go and
tell that woman off for having her dog unleashed." Or "Ring up
so and so and tell him off".
I've never seen anyone else behave like this. She claims she is very
logical and right and doesn't seem to hear me. Its very unpleasant. Yes it is. You might tell
her to tell them herself, if she wishes.
We have a young
daughter. I am concerned about the impact on her if I left, and also the
reaction of my partner (who might go off the deep end). I want to ease
out as smoothly as possible.
concerning children are never easy. Take a look at this essay. Don't worry about her going off the deep
end. It might be a blessing if she does. Think of how much easier it
would be for you to take your child with you!
Take a look at Tex's story. Make sure you read all 3 parts of
The Great Satan - especially the last!
My very best
regards, Dr. Irene