Thank you so much for sharing so many
encouraging and empowering stories and ideas. I am a codependent
who left my abuser a few years ago and THOUGHT just doing that would
make ME "all better". Good start
I met a man who was (on the surface) so
different from my abusive ex-husband. I was sure life would be
perfect and I would be happy at last. Those of you who have been
there can imagine what comes next. Little by little, my
"perfect" relationship with this "perfect" man began
to unravel. I found myself constantly critical of him for no
apparent reason. I complained about the way he ate, the way he talked. If
I could have thought of a way, I would have complained about the way he
breathed! We began having terrible fights. He would bellow at
me, and I would alternate between screaming back and crumpling
to the floor and crying uncontrollably.
"What is wrong with me? Why am
I driving this "perfect" man away?" I would whine
to myself, sure I was to blame for everything and heading into a deeper
and deeper depression. Then it happened. My mother called to
talk to my son on his birthday. My younger son had been whining
because he wanted a snack he had refused earlier and I told him "no,"
because it was time to to bed. Note, these are my children from my
My "perfect" man suddenly began
to berate me in a very loud voice for not punishing my child more
severely - I had simply and firmly said "no" and that it was
time for bed - while my mother was on the phone hearing every word.
I was not sure what to think. His reaction was so sudden and so uncalled
for. I could not come up with any "excuse" for him. This
time I was not being critical, causing him to blow up. Nor could I
pretend it hadn't happened. There was a witness!
It was then and ONLY then that I realized:
there never had been an excuse1 I realized my
constant criticism about little unimportant things was my anger over his
yelling and cursing at me all the time - something I was too afraid to
confront him with. I was afraid that he might not be willing to
change and I might have to leave (again), something I do not want to do.
I have searched my heart and I do love this man! As I sat
wondering whether I should start packing my bags, my heart filled with
so much sadness, uncertainty and anger, I began to browse the net,
hoping to find some ray of hope. I found this site.
As I read, I cried, but the more I read,
the more I felt, "Here is help". I read about acting out and how I needed to take
responsibility for myself. I took a deep breath, and I went to this man
- this imperfect man I love - and looked at him. I realized I needed to
let him know that this one particular thing - I just could not live
with. I started by telling him I knew that I had been very
critical of him for a very long time and that must have hurt him
immensely. I asked him to forgive me. Then, I did the hard
part: I told him the truth. I told him I loved him and I wanted us
to grow together and have a happy, healthy relationship. I told
him that for ME that meant that I had to take care of myself. I
told him that his bellowing and cursing me was hurting me, and
that I could not accept that kind of behaviour for myself or for my
children. I told him I believed he was capable of changing this
behaviour, but I was not sure if he wanted to. Then I shut up and
listened, something I had not been doing much of.
He talked about his hurt and frustration.
He talked about being sad because he knew he was hurting me. He
talked about not knowing how to stop because he had always yelled when
he was mad. He talked about feeling himself push me away and not
wanting to. He talked about being afraid of being hurt. I
listened. I didn't judge. I didn't criticize. It felt
good. It felt like ME being ME for the first time in a long time.
We reached an agreement: He will do his best to stop yelling.
I will do my best to stop criticizing. We agreed on a
"stop" phrase for both behaviors, and committed ourselves to
STOPPING when we say it to each other - no matter how we feel. We
committed ourselves to go to counseling, both together and separately.
I don't know if we both will do these
things we have promised consistently, but, I know we CAN. If
either one of us does not, then we both need to move on. And that
would hurt, but I will be okay. I will be checking into this site
often, to remind myself: I am NOT a "victim" and no one can
make me one without my permission! I am responsible for what kind
of behaviour I will tolerate for myself and my children. I am
strong and I am capable of making good decisions and taking care of
myself and my boys! Thanks for reminding me, and giving me the
courage to take control of my life again!
Wow! This is good stuff!
I am so psyched that you put the site material to such good and proper
Amazing things happen
when you center and take your power. I am attaching a message board for
others to respond to your inspiring story - and for you (or yours) to
keep us posted, if you wish.
May God bless you and
yours. My very best wishes, Dr. Irene
No comments, but I would
like to read the