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4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

3/23 Interactive Board: He's Changing... I'm Not...

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12/12 Interactive Board: What if He Could Have Changed?

10/23 Interactive Board: Quandary Revisited

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7/20: Dr. Irene on cognitive behavior therapy and mindfulness

6/12 Interactive Board: Unintentional Abuse

11/7 Interactive Board: Is This Abusive?

12/29 Interactive Board: There Goes the Wife...

11/4 Interactive Board: A New Me!

10/8 Interactive Board: Seeming Impossibility

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5/1 Interactive Board: I feel Dead - Towards Him

4/26 Interactive Board: Why is This So Hard?

4/19 Interactive Board: I Lost My Love...

4/7 Interactive Board: Too Guilty!

Doc@DrIrene.com

3:Therapist's Comments

part 3: Therapist's Comments to One Guy's Love Addiction

by Dr. Irene 

J thinks he's taken control of his life. I do not agree with him, though I am glad he is relieved of his acute pain. Unfortunately, he has replaced pain with rage. Anger is a  solution that works for the short-term. If applied over the long haul, it will isolate J from the companionship he wants and sought in his wife and in Yolanda.

J's fatal mistake was not to trust his instinct. When Yolanda began to treat him poorly, J did not pay attention. He did not back off. The question is not, "Why is she doing this to me?"  It is, "Why would I want to be around someone who hurts me".

Yolanda's words did not match her actions. She did not say what she meant nor meant what she said. This is bad news; no matter how "right" and comforting the words, she demonstrated an inability to deliver. Ouch! Why hang out for that? This is emotional bondage folks. If you're going to sell out, at least don't go cheaply!

Although he's carried it a bit far, it is good that J is angry. For now at least. It is too easy for individuals with low self-esteem to become depressed instead of angry. Depression tends to occur when an individual experiences another's disrespect and forgets that they deserve respectful treatment at all times! The partner's mis-behavior is somehow justified. The abused individual is likely to become depressed because he or she buys into the validity of the partner's disrespect.  So you think you deserve disrespect? Prove it!

First of all, J needs to realize that he is far from perfect. And that's OK. Everybody else is also far from perfect. And that's also OK. We are perfectly imperfect human beings who often behave in imperfect ways. Yolanda may have a legitimate gripe to air regarding some of J's behavior (as opposed to the totality of J), but she has a responsibility to J and to herself to communicate her feelings respectfully.

If Yolanda behaves disrespectfully towards others, her own self-esteem will suffer. That is her problem. If she behaves poorly towards J, it is J's responsibility to himself to let Yolanda know that her behavior is unacceptable (because NOBODY, NOBODY, NOBODY DESERVES DISRESPECT!)

If J were to notice and subsequently stop all overt and covert mistreatment, he would be taking care of himself. This includes behavior such as a sarcastic comment, a not-so-funny put-down, a sneer, etc. Body language counts.

The consequences of taking care of oneself are profound! When an individual allows him or herself to be disrespected (a.k.a., verbal or emotional abuse), the offender often feels increased disrespect towards the victim and is likely to develop contemptuous feelings towards their partner as well.

If disrespectful treatment is not permitted, the offender tends to gain respect. Abuse diminishes. At least for a while. Let your guard down and it is likely to return. Other times, or by the 2nd or 3rd round, the victim may need to ignore the empty promises and walk away from the relationship. For good.

So, J: Don't give up on women yet. Try to see this angry period as temporary. Give yourself some slack. You are finally feeling angry at what should have angered (and not depressed) you all along! You are correct in thinking that you do not deserve Yolanda's poor treatment. But, you did not stop her or step away from her until it got too  BIG! And your anger got BIGGER. You need to spend some time noticing how you feel, and taking those signals seriously. Anger is a signal that something is wrong - not that something is wrong with you.  Let others communicate whatever is on their mind, but insist that they do so respectfully. This implies that your communication towards them is appropriate (i.e., calm and respectful) as well. You can do this!

Good luck!