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Doc@DrIrene.com

VictimThink

A Guy's Editorial on "VictimThink"

by Dr. Irene

August 13, 2000

I got the following email recently:

"I was going to write in a really sarcastic post (I didn't). BRAVO! Obviously, you noticed your upset, stopped the reaction and thought about it before doing anything. I just couldn't take the unanimity of opinion on your web site anymore, i.e. wife has it good, then marriage goes bad, man is abusive, wife wants to leave; should I go or should I stay?  50 posts immediately say, "You go girl"!  I want to throw up.  If you carefully read these initial posts they almost uniformly admit that this bad behavior had been going on for years. Yes. It has been. Or, more accurately, they've allowed it to continue for years. That's why the victims are so ANGRY!

Doesn't anyone  comment on the "sandbagging" behavior of these women? Yes! I thought I did... Over and over... The man gets the death sentence (woman emotionally leaves relationship long before she physically leaves) but the man isn't at the sentencing hearing.  He still gets executed though (wife leaves).  Yes.

How can you cheer something that it took two people to cause? You cheer it when you've had it after trying and trying and trying - cuz you are so, so, so ANGRY! And you finally feel validated... And, you are too fresh in your own recovery to take responsibility for your own anger, or your past inability to stop the abuse - because you didn't even know it was abuse - any more than the typical non-sociopathic abuser thought he/she were doling out abuse!

If my wife would have said, look:  "You can't talk to me like that.  This ends right here, right now.  You say anything like that one more time and I am leaving you, case closed.  I still love you right now but you are in grave danger of losing that love if you don't change."  I might have gotten the message.  But, you probably wouldn't have... If you still can't do IT now, why do you think you could have done IT then? At best, you could have started on the road to recovery earlier. More than likely however, you would have just balked - as I'm 99% sure you did. 

You see, the victim has been trying to tell you. Not too well though.  Compounding it, you've had cotton stuffed in your ears.

Women have a hard time setting boundaries until there is permanent damage to the relationship.  Correct. Often that is too late." Often, but not always. And sometimes, it has to be "over" before the couple can start again. Also, not all husbands respond as well and as persistently to helping themselves as you do. 

By the way, this is not about women. This really is not a sexist issue: guy victims have the same difficulty setting boundaries. The victim doesn't want to "hurt" anybody; the victim has no clue what a boundary is, let alone how to set one, let alone how to set a boundary without RAGE in the early stages of recovery, when your victim typically has fantasies of your being dead.

Now that I took your call to get on the podium, I will continue. Few victims have a recovery as healthy and as non-acting out as Rhoda. Rhoda is one of a few role-models for victims-in-recovery presented on this site. You see how she wants to act her anger out, but doesn't. Nor does she allow herself to get hurt anymore. OK, here I go: "Way to go girl!"

I am thankful to the individual who sent this note to me. His complaint highlights a real issue on these pages: when the angry victims (usually female) cheer each other on to leave the awful, horrible abuser. Yes, leave. Never, ever take abuse. But aim to grow beyond your albeit justified rage. 

No, you didn't know what it was. Yes, it felt horrible. No, you didn't have the skills to deal with it. Yes, life is a process and right now you need to be angry. Just know that in most cases, your abuser knew as much as you did: not much. 

So it does take two to tango, even in abuse. (I know I am going to get in trouble for this one!) None of this changes the goal of abuse treatment: to stop the abuse, first and foremost. But, never forget that your life is a gift to you. Once you are an adult, only you are charged with protecting your Maker's gift to you. Your job is to take care of yourself in a way that enhances rather than compromises your integrity.

Any comments? Victim ladies, do you understand your recovery task and the importance of not getting stuck in rage?     Dr. Irene

 I want to read the posts.