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Thank You, Thank You, Thank You

December 30, 1999

Dear Dr. Irene,

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your site -- it's helped me so much in the last week and a half, I can't tell you what great support and straight talk it provides.  But then you know that already from all of the other women who have stumbled upon it and been nurtured by its wisdom.

My story: didn't listen to my gut, got married to a guy who's response repertoire ranged from anger to criticism no matter what I did, thought his other good qualities would make this a risk I would eventually be glad I took in a relationship.  Ten years of sick codependence and seven counselors later, I find out about Patricia Evans' work and like so many of your other patrons have said, there was my life on the pages.  How could I be so stupid?  How could he be so unaware?  How can society continue to condone this behavior and the trails of withered souls winding behind it by its continued silence? 

So I filed for divorce today.  I won't let him teach our 20 month old son that women are second class citizens or that it is appropriate to respond to life's challenges with anger.  What a weight off my shoulders.  But it was quickly replaced by the realization that I still have to listen to his toxic language pollution, because in my state we are required to endure a six month cooling off period in the marital home.  He won't stop the invective when I ask him to, not even in front of our son.  The accusations, the tweaked version of reality, and character slamming -- I guess I'm asking for coping skills here for the duration of the proceedings while I explore the legal alternatives.

Thank you so much!     Doreen

Thank you Doreen. 

Your best option is to get out of the line of fire. Simply leave, whenever you can. Stay with friends or family on weekends or whenever you can realistically - and legally - get away. If he starts up, take a walk; go shopping; go for a drive. Get out of the line of fire.  Do not engage. That means you must set very firm limits on your time and space: don't explain anything he doesn't understand, don't defend yourself (what do you care what he thinks?), don't try to correct his reality (you won't), and ignore the character slamming. Don't reply to his shouts and certainly don't shout back, etc. Ignore the fact that he won't let you ignore his antics! Right now, he'll do anything he can for your attention - including twist reality more and come down harder than usual. Get a copy of You Can't Say That To Me, and a copy of How To Keep People From Pushing Your Buttons. If you are feeling stressed out, consider a bottle of St. John's wort. It's amazing stuff. Finally, consider joining one of the email support groups. They've helped lots of people. Hang in there...

Good luck to you,  Dr. Irene

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, Copyright© 1999. 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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