March 4, 2000
Dearest Dr. Irene,
What a gift your site has been for
me!!! When I first wrote you (about 3 months ago) you printed my letter as
Am I Married To A Sociopath?
It made my experience all the more real to see it on your site! I have
continued in my recovery since writing you. I see a WONDERFUL counselor
through my local shelter, as well as having begun work with a Dr. who
specializes in childhood trauma and development issues! I joined a couple
of your support lists and find it so
helpful in keeping me focused on my recovery. I have a lot of work to do,
but I'm on my way! :)
When I last wrote you, I had just
come to grips with the abuse in my marriage. I came from an abusive family
(dad committed suicide, alcoholic/addicted mother abused me and my sister
verbally, physically and by neglect so that we were preyed upon by
pedophile types) and now that I look back, it seems obvious that I would
end up in a marriage that hurt me and didn't meet my needs! You bet!
Upon finding your wonderful site
and beginning counseling at the shelter, I asked my husband to leave. It
took a solid week of being clear that I wanted him out, but he went. I
felt so proud!!! I knew I had done the right thing for myself and my
children. My husband begged me to give him the chance to go to therapy and
get better. I told him he didn't need to maintain a relationship with me
to get the help he needed! He started therapy and pleaded with me to give
our family another chance.
I wish I'd bided my time now, but I
let him come home. Our little "honeymoon" phase didn't even last
a day! No sooner was he back then I discovered he was deceiving me. He'd
scheduled himself to have this expensive, new eye laser surgery during our
brief separation (not the actions of a grieving heartsick man) and
withheld this information until the night before the surgery was to take
place. He had just returned home to repair our marriage and he asked if
I'd pick him up after his surgery. I had no idea what he was talking
He'd mentioned being interested in
this new procedure about a month before but never said another word about
actually having it done. He has used money to control and punish me in the
past, has a history of lying to me and making unilateral decisions. So, I
was angry. I was even angrier when I found out he'd lied to me about the
So, there I was thinking our
marriage was on the road to recovery and he was actually going about
business as usual! I wanted him to leave. This was just more of the same,
old stuff for me and I really had had enough! But I let him minimize the
whole situation and I agreed to give him more time. I felt so angry with
myself!!! All the strength I'd felt when I kicked him out evaporated it
I felt trapped and scared. I went
to my counselor after several more upsets of this sort and sobbed. I
wanted so much to stop living this way. I'd even seen the light at the end
of the tunnel. What was wrong with me!!??!! How could I continue to put up
with his lies, manipulations and blaming? Why did I feel paralyzed and
unable to leave? I was in agony and feared my counselor would tell me what
I dreaded: that I'm weak, cowardly and pathetic. She didn't! :) :) :)
Instead she told me that because of
the horrible stuff in my childhood, I was unable to move forward without
feeling I would die. The relief I felt at hearing that I was okay and
could work on the trauma that was keeping me in hell was unimaginable!!!!
I began working with my new Dr. and began understanding my own feelings.
The pain and fear from all those years ago had motivated me to stay in
relationships that hurt me, just as my parents hurt me! I intellectually
understood this before, but now I began to FEEL the truth of it!!!!
Now I stand on the edge of being
able to make choices that are good for me. I'm getting stronger and
realizing that though my husband continues in therapy, I am not able to
wait for him to get better. It costs me too much and that's okay!!! I need
to be there for myself and listen to myself!!!! I no longer feel that I'm
working towards a healthy marriage. My husband won't join me in that plan
in a way I feel good about - but I can work for myself towards a healthy
life for me!!!!
Thank you, Dr. Irene for being a
powerful source of strength, support and information for me. I know the
generations of abuse in my family can stop with ME!!!!!
Wow! WOW!!! WOW!!!! Thank you for writing. Thank you for letting us
know about life on the Other Side of Abuse. Thank you for letting us know
that you ARE DOING IT! :)
:) :) :)
My very best to you
and yours - especially to your poor self-defeating husband - who needs
good wishes the most, Dr. Irene
Thank you, Dr. Irene! I am sitting
here feeling like the other shoe is about to drop!!! My husband's been
going to therapy and his men's group - but is sooo angry and passive
aggressive with me! Same thing. Call it when you see
it and tell him to knock it off.
It's like the internal process that led to
him abusing me is still in place and now he knows he can't vent in a
blatant way or I'm outta here!!! So, it builds and I feel it like
electricity in the air. I have worked so hard to stop taking
responsibility for his behavior and have succeeded in becoming a
healthier, self-actualizing person! Tell him passive
rage is as awful as his other stuff - and if he doesn't clean up his act,
you're outta here!!! If he starts asking questions, etc., don't get into
it. He should know or find out at his groups.
I no longer let him
"engage" me in the abuse game of push-pull abandonment/rescue. I
don't answer his baiting in a way he can use to further his abusive agenda
and I don't look to him for what I need emotionally. I've changed my
expectations and my behavior! The drag is that I'm still married
to a man who finds a way to keep abusing!!!! Yes.
At first I was flooded with hope
when his counseling began and my greatest wish was that we could give
ourselves and our kids the gift of healing parents growing together. Not
perfect, but pretty wonderful!!!! This hope crashed with the first blow
out to come after therapy. But I held on thinking "It's so early in
the process, give him time". You don't have to
live with it while you're giving him time.
I am at wit's end with this man
covertly and passive aggressively abusing me!!!!! Confront
it. Or, write him a letter to take to his doc. The abuse is so
insidious and pervasive, I'm truly thinking he may not be capable of any
genuine recovery. What do you think? I think time
will tell. Do your job and refuse to put up with it in any form. The rest
will be up to him.
I find that being with a husband
this limited and counter productive is holding me back and bringing me
pain where there would be none otherwise!!!! I'm so stressed from my
interactions with him that I have physical symptoms like anxiety, pain in
the neck and shoulders, nightmares, etc. Uggghhhh. Ugh
is right! Ouch! Maybe I'm looking for the Doc's permission to
abandon ship. But, this is YOUR life... He's
been seething with rage all afternoon and evening and I can feel an
abusive episode coming tonight! And this is a "recovering"
abuser!!!!! Help!!!! Thank you for everything!!!! Christina
Christina, He's not
going to get better overnight. It takes time. But why are you protecting
him by trying to ignore his passive rage? Call him on it! Tell him
its a No Go. While he'll probably be mad at you, he needs to hear this.
Just as its "Two steps
forward, one step back" for you, it is the same way for him.
I am worried about
your symptoms. Not OK. I think you need to think about how you can reduce
your stress. For starters, I'm glad you found a good shrink. Also, talk to
your family doc.
posted! Dr. Irene