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Doc@DrIrene.com

Today is the First Day of the Rest of my Life

Today is the First Day of the Rest of my Life

12/12/99

Dear Dr. Irene,

Today marks the first day of the rest of my life. Yesterday I told (yes, Told) my husband that I wanted a divorce. Up until now I would ask. I was still buying into the belief that he could be reasonable. Now I know that that was never a possibility. After years of verbal and psychological abuse, I guess I didn't believe I had the right to demand anything. I asked, then begged, then cajoled, and then pleaded. When it didn't happen, I would just say "Oh well" and move back to square one. 

When he beat, me I felt I deserved it. After all I was incompetent wasn't I? I had been fed that line for so long that it made total sense to me. After all, I thought, what competent person would stick around after being beaten? Clearly I was incompetent because I was too scared to leave. I even twisted the truth to prove that "they" were right.


When I bit his wrist - so he would let me go - he held it out for the world to see and said "See what she did to me? I am an abused husband! " And he believes it! What's even worse is that I believed it too! Anyway when he began the bulling behavior again last night, I let him have it. I was not rational - I was not stable - I was insane!  After all, I figured, I didn't have to be sane, stable, or reasonable - because he had convinced me through the years that I was not.  I had reached a point where the Janice Joplin song was making total sense: "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose." 

The whole event was precipitated by a visit to the local ER. I had burned my hand quite badly 36 hours before and I knew it was becoming infected. My husband is in the medical field and could have gotten me a script to take care of it but he will WRITE A PRESCRIPTION for anybody EXCEPT me! I asked him to watch the kids so I could go to the hospital. He said yes, but then went to bed. The kids were fighting, so I gave up and put them in the car and left. While the Doc at the hospital was examining my hand, my 12 year old interrupted him and said he wanted to see the bathroom. He didn't have to go - not really - but he just really didn't think that my stuff could possibly be more important than his. 

At that moment I was reminded of a woman I had cared for in the intensive care unit where I worked as an R.N. years before. She had been beaten by her husband so badly that her facial bones were crushed. She had been kicked so hard that her ribs were shattered. But the thing that got to me was that her two sons had joined in the party! They came to visit her and entreated that she get better and come home. They never once said they were sorry. Well, a light came on. My two kids were treating me exactly the way their daddy did and THEY THOUGHT IT WAS OK!


That's when I finally realized that I absolutely had to end this marriage. I had to leave for the sake of the kids. So the police were called and that's where we stand. Im praying for me as fast as I can. I am grateful to your site for helping me to realize that I didn't have to put up with this one moment longer. Maybe now I will even have the energy to work on MY stuff. Its about time. Thanks Dr. Irene

Dear Newly Empowered Lady,

Happy Birthday! Good for you! Jump for joy! 

You deserve to be treated with the same consideration you show others. You must love and respect yourself enough to command respect from others. Nobody will do this for you!  Sometimes the going gets tough, but it's never as tough as what you went through. Besides, even when things are tough, you know inside that you are doing the right thing - because: it feels good!

My very best wishes, and thank you for writing, Dr. Irene

12/15/99

Dear Dr. Irene,
Thank you for publishing  what I had written to you. I appreciate the validation!

I have been to see an attorney and I know that I am on the road to recovery. I also know that it didn't take me a day to get here and its going to take me more than that to get out. I must say though that the simple act of starting the process is liberating in the truest sense of the word. I've somehow managed to become "unenmeshed" with my abusers way of thinking and I believe in my heart that I will be O.K. 

One other very interesting thing has happened to me too- my friends are coming out of the woodwork to say Hurray!  The support has been phenomenal. Wish they had been here before but they weren't so I will just be as grateful as I can be that they are here now. This, after all, is my work, not theirs. Someone once told me that you get to a point in the road where you either go over the cliff or up the mountain. The mountain is high but I've got people around me who are willing to resole my hiking boots. Thanks.