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Barbara's Update

Barbara's Update

Read Barbara's August 1999 email

January 10, 2000

Dear Dr. Irene,

Hi...I know you're getting lots of mail these days (which is testimony to your grooovy site) so you may or may not remember the first letter I sent. Here's a reminder: "Barbara, Trust Thyself!" (Flattery will get you everywhere!)

Anyway--I wanted to write and tell you that I  finally did trust myself and got out. The really sad thing is that the catalyst for it was physical abuse. And that it took my friends, my family, and my co-workers coaching me for a couple of weeks before I finally found it in myself to just pack up my cat, myself, and a suitcase full of bills and just fly home. The day I left, they kept telling me how brave I was--! But I never could have done it without their help. It wasn't bravery. It was support and love. Yes. That's what it's all about!  Now I know why he never wanted me talking to my "stupid, shallow, trashy, self-centered" friends and family on the phone--because when I'm around them, I realize just how out of control (and controlling) he is. *And* that the verbal abuse sprang from the same place that the physical abuse did: that need to dominate--which means that the verbal stuff was never acceptable, ever. Now I know I was lying to myself when I would think of it as "not that bad," or that "it will get better".

I still don't know what's going to happen. From what I've read this can be the scariest and most dangerous part of the process, so I am freaking out.  Don't freak out. One day at a time, one foot in front of the other. And I miss him, too. I feel like a widow, because I know that I will probably (and should) never talk to him again. It feels like someone has died. And it feels like someone has been born, too. It's really wonderful and really horrible at the same time. Yes! But isn't it more wonderful than more horrible?

Now I embark on the detox process (yuck). Double Yukkk. But I wanted to tell you--finding your site, and writing to you was the first step towards leaving. I joined "Ouuch!", too. Between the mail list and the site, I found enough truth and sanity to keep me going, even when I was way off-center and scared out of my mind. Muchos G!!  And I will keep reading. I'm hoping I don't have to go into some kind of witness protection program type lifestyle to avoid him, but for now it's time to worry about detoxing and re-stabilizing. And there are lots of resources on your site for that--plus I enlisted the help of my old counselor. Good! Just wanted to say thank you and let you know how much you helped!  Barbara

Dear Barbara,

Good for you! Stop doing, doing, doing; going, going, going. Stop and pay attention to the little voice inside. It has all the answers.

Thanks for letting us know where you are. Keep up the great work! Dr. Irene

Ps: Instead of "scared," think "exciting!"