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Doc@DrIrene.com

The Breaking Point

The Breaking Point

January 1, 2000

Dear Doctor:

I reached my breaking point a month ago.  After a one-year separation and the ensuing honeymoon phase, I spent a week with my husband.  The attempts to distort my reality, tell me what to think and say drove me crazy.  An old friend of my husband's, one that I must admit I was attached emotionally to, visited for the week from out of state.  This guy had been a kind, caring, ear to me over the years.   I think that I had created my fantasy man around him.  The jealousy on my husband's part was very evident. Because he did not know how to listen and be a friend to me, it drove him nuts to see me have a conversation - a normal conversation.  He constantly interrupted and twisted everything.  I literally thought that I was going crazy at one point.  I excused him by saying that he can't see though a woman's eyes.  I was told that he needed to learn. Yes! This rang true to me.  So I determined to end the marriage.  It has been a emotionally draining, soul-searching time.  The attached poem is the product of my questing to understand myself.

On your site I have not encountered quite the same scenario as I have experienced.  What is your lean on an abuser that changes the physically abusive behavior?  The physical abuse stopped in 1990.  The  control became more covert, weighing heavily in the sexual forum.  Not terribly unusual, especially if he figured out that physical abuse, for whatever reason, wasn't working for him or he couldn't get away with it for much longer. Abuse is abuse, despite what form the control takes.

The undermining of my circle of friends encouraged me to relocate to facilitate a change for the family.  A totally new city would eliminate his knowing "stories" about my friend's pasts. I have found a fantastic support group in my present circle of friends.  Some of them are receiving a crash course in domestic violence and it's far reaching affects, including codependency.  But they will be better people for the knowledge!!!!  Most of all, I am learning to feel again.  Shutting down is your only defense mechanism if you see no way out, as I did for too long.  I have even exchanged e-mails with the "Judge" and been greatly encouraged. 

So, I filed for and was granted a temporary protective order.  He would not leave my home when I requested after coming over uninvited. He fondled me just to get a "reaction."  I told him to "Get out!"  Raising my voice, telling him to leave, I called 911. He left before the police arrived. His need to talk things over outweighs my desire to be left alone.  We have two children, 8 and 11.  He quit his drinking and marijuana use when I told him I wanted out.  And he is the loving, concerned father now.  I am dealing with that.  The issues being aired are about our intimate life.  Your comment about the lovemaking soon diminishing is so true.  It was sex on his terms from the beginning.  I tired of resisting the requests for things that I was not comfortable with.  I must admit that there can still be a carnal gratification with sex. But now I am facing the repercussions upon my own moral integrity.  And it is affecting my faith, and my daughters.  But, again, I have sought and am receiving help from friends on those issues.  Good for you. Your husband sounds as though he uses sex as an obsessive-compulsive control activity, as in sex-addiction. Just another means of avoiding facing his own stuff.

I have to work through the denial of blame on his part.  He dismisses my distress over the past abuses as living in the past.  No. Just because he hasn't hit me in nine years, he doesn't think he has been abusive. Wrong. I am also realizing my child's challenge of controlling her temper is probably rooted in the violence she witnessed up until she was 3.  The screaming and drug use continued up until a year ago, so she has the humiliation of that to process.  And my 11 year old is me all over again.  She will literally give the shirt off of her back.  Can you guess that she is forgiving and appeasing to her father?  But, he has stopped the addictions, so I am permitting him time with the kids. 

This is disjointed, and it is late now.  My best friend said I should send my story, the attached poem, to you.  You are used to us girls' rambling and struggling with issues, so I anticipate your understanding.  Please use my poem, maybe it will help others.

Peace be with you, Rhoda

Dear Rhoda,

Thank you for taking the time to send in your material. I am sorry about the pending dissolution of your marriage, but you had no other reasonable choice. You are clearly on the right track lady. You are finally coming into your own and being true to yourself. Keep up the good work. Thank you for your touching poem.

My very best wishes, Dr. Irene

See Rhoda's follow-up letter and second poem