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4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

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7/20: Dr. Irene on cognitive behavior therapy and mindfulness

6/12 Interactive Board: Unintentional Abuse

11/7 Interactive Board: Is This Abusive?

12/29 Interactive Board: There Goes the Wife...

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5/1 Interactive Board: I feel Dead - Towards Him

4/26 Interactive Board: Why is This So Hard?

4/19 Interactive Board: I Lost My Love...

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The Doc Answers 10

 The Doc Answers 10

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Monday August 26, 2002

Dear Dr. Irene, I am 35 years old woman and I have been together with my boyfriend now 2 years. He is also 35. My earlier relationship broke up 3 years ago after 9 years because he would not let go of his overpowering mother. My boyfriend was married to a south-American woman and they divorced 3 years ago. I saw her photograph and she is absolutely beautiful, with dark coloring and brown eyes and white teeth.  I am a taller, bigger, blond and have blue eyes. I wonder how many women would love to be a tall, blue-eyed blond! I heard from his friends and his brother that she was THE ONE for him. THE GREAT LOVE. They divorced after two years of marriage, when she was given Finnish citizenship. His mother says that was the only reason she wanted to get married in the first place, and my boyfriend has not seen his mother after that. They are not in talking terms. He has shut her out of his life completely. He criticizes me all the time. For example, I can't wash his windows properly. (We live in his flat. Although I have my own flat, it is smaller.) I am so stupid and an a*&%$le, that I can't do his windows. YUK. Most people would normally say, "Thank you!" for washing the windows! This is what he said one morning when I was washing them, and that he has to call his ex-wife, who CAN, and will do that happily! Why not take him up on it? Let him call her and have her wash the windows if she does it so well. (She liked that and she lived there and she did this and that... SHE SHE SHE.) Exactly. He's got no respect for you! Why would you want to wash his windows? He never says anything beautiful about me. Never compliments my looks, nor my clothes... All he has said is, "You are a good person". A GOOD PERSON. Then he says he loves me, that I am the best. But he says it is not wise to get married, although he wants to have a child. HE WANTS. I am in love with this guy. I think.  (I don't know if I am any more...) Yuk! I hope you aren't because if you are, you are setting yourself up for grief. This guy won't talk to his mom; it's likely one day he won't talk to you! And all he says is something like I am a GOOD PERSON.Those who know him indicate that he's still not over HER... And, he keeps rubbing HER in your face! He finagles and lies... Then, he tells you that you are a GOOD PERSON, and he loves you, but - even though he wants a child, he won't marry you!  Sex was good at the beginning and that made a bond for us. He is affectionate and caring and tender, WHEN he wants to be. When I want, he is tired or bored. He says that sometimes he has to drink because I do not inspire him. He expects you to inspire him? Wrong! He's not not attracted to you? Not OK. What's he doing with you? More important: What are YOU doing with HIM! I nag him and (I cant understand his alcohol-taking, it is every weekend and beer during the week, I have said to him that it is too much... ) Probably is too much! He says that I do not understand men. I think what you don't understand is that love is a two-way street! He says and does just enough to dangle the carrot that will keep you around, and hoping for more. It's comfortable for him that way, but painful for you. Are you sure you would want to marry this man if he asked? Cardinal rule: Never, ever, ever stay with someone or marry someone because of their potential - of how good you think things can be! Assume that the way things are now are the way things will always be. Can you live this way? He said he does not want to know anything about his ex-wife, though she calls him frequently, and maybe he calls her. Is he keeping you around to make her jealous, so she wants him more? He keeps hiding things from me, I know...Some things I have found out to be completely different afterwards... He has lied about where she (ex-wife) lives for example. He does not want to share with me the things that happened to him, although I have been telling him my story. I do not know what to do. Leave! This man is playing emotional games, and he does not know how to stop. He is still playing these games with the ex too! I hate his drinking friends and I hate feeling so low and stupid and unworthy...and ugly. Good! Listen to your feelings! They're trying to tell you something! It is terrifying to be alone, I am afraid all the time, hurt all the time and tired...please help! Janie Janie, things won't get better with this man. In time, they will get worse. He sounds way too emotionally disturbed. He can't give himself to anybody. And,  even though he appreciates the goodness in you, he does not love you - no matter what he says. He does not know what love is. A person who knows how to love does not repeatedly hurt you or do/ say things that to lead to feelings of insecurity on your part.  A person who loves you - shares himself. Your man withholds. A person who loves you wants you to feel good! Your man does everything in his power to virtually assure that just about any individual with low self-esteem (i.e., YOU) will feel bad! I think you need to get out of this dead-end relationship - and instead of rushing into the next pair of open arms you find, instead spend some time learning to appreciate who you are. Learn to live alone. It's easier to learn to live alone at 35 than it is at 40. The fear associated with living alone does not justify living in pain. Learn to spot and leave an emotionally / verbally abusive partner. You deserve no less! See a therapist; find out if an antidepressant will help you get over the hump. I wish you the very best... Doc

 

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Thursday September 05, 2002

My name is Mark (now age 47) Hi Mark. About seven years ago I met Sally (now age 40). We dated (never living together) for six years. She was very charming at first. After six months together I began to notice a shift in her attitude towards me, most notably when it came to intimate discussion or behavior (sex). Her reasons for avoiding these issues were inconsistent, but convincing. Gradually over a period of about two years (long after I had "fallen in love") and after a couple of major breakups, she abandoned any real attempt at disguising her explanations. It was rapidly becoming all my problem and all my fault. Takes two to tango... Note that outside this (intimate) arena we played well...vacations, parties, concerts etc. We broke up a year and a half ago. Suddenly, out of the blue two weeks ago she called me. It was an awkward moment for me, but I was polite - and stunned. She was nice; very friendly. We talked, we even went on a "date" a few days later, and made plans for another later that month. She behaved as if we were starting all over again. I responded in kind. Then I called one afternoon to ask her to join me for a casual dinner. I was not at all prepared for what happened: Within 10 minutes she reversed herself and demanded an end to the conversation and wanted never to talk to me (again). I feel like an idiot - I know that I am not. What are you saying to yourSelf? How dumb of me to give her another chance? I should have known better! Etc.  Nothing wrong with giving her another chance, but it would have made sense to be a a bit more emotionally vigilant about it given your history with her. Yet how could I not see this coming? Because you didn't. Though I do feel hurt all over again. So fast? What's going on that you re-attached to her emotionally so quickly? A little wishful thinking perhaps? I still care for her, but I'm totally confused here. What is the confusion? How can a woman be interested and then - BAM - no more? Or, are you confused that you feel so drawn to her despite how she's turned on you - twice? Of course you are confused! Your emotional part is not in synch with your mind. You long for half the woman she is, and you conveniently forget about the other half the woman - she's not! Sounds like your dependency needs have gotten in your way. You wanted an emotional connection with this lady to the extent that you entirely overlooked her negative, rejecting aspects.   My question:How can I get myself above the situation to some kind of closure and get past what looks like a very ugly pattern developing?Thank you,Mark  If this is the first time in your 47 years that you've ever found yourself in this type of situation, you are doing OK. On the other hand, if it's not, you are asking a very good question. I suggest you look at your codependency tendencies, where the emotional part takes over and disregards all else. Take a look at these little gems:

Facing Love Addiction : Giving Yourself the Power to Change the Way You Love - by Pia Mellody, et al.

Susan Peabody's Addiction to Love : Overcoming Obsession and Dependency in Relationships.

Boundary Power : How I Treat You, How I Let You Treat Me, How I Treat Myself by Mike S. O'Neil & Charles E., Jr. Newbold

You need to understand how you get in your own way when you allow your emotions to rule and disregard your common sense - and sell yourSelf short. You may also want to check out the codependency pages on this site. Good luck to you Mark. Doc

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Friday September 20, 2002

Hello - 'sorry but I'm not asking a question. I just can't remember how to e-mail the doc and wanted her to have this info before I forget to pass it on. www.womenslaw.org This is an extremely informative site - laws by state geared toward the abused woman. I thought perhaps she could use it/ link it........... Have a GREAT day!! MS   Thank you MS! Doc

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Friday September 27, 2002
08:57 AM

Hi, Doc!Hi Sasha! Four months ago I started dating my current boyfriend, and for the most part things are good, but he's started doing something that's annoying me. He is pretty knowledgeable about history, politics, etc., and while we are on different sides of the political fence, we agree to disagree. That's good. In fact, we agreed that we wouldn't discuss politics because it would probably start a fight. Anyway, my knowledge of history isn't as vast as his, so I tend to accept (not necessarily agree) with what he says. So we're out at a restaurant and there is a lot of Norman Rockwell art on the wall. He says, "You know that Rockwell was a known child molester". And I say, "Yeah" - like I'm agreeing with him! I have no idea! So later he says, "I was just kidding". And it triggers all sorts of "stuff" with me: that I'm gullible, ignorant, stupid. Trying to appear more knowledgeable than you really are to impress him, etc. Giggle! Then, as I start to process it, I get angry. I question his feelings for me when he does things like this that "take me for a fool". Am I being childish or overly sensitive? Last night he told me that Hitler (who I had heard was born with one testicle) had it blown off in WW I by a French Jew, thus starting his attack against the Jews. I'm like, "Wow - I didn't know that," and he said, "Oh no, I made that up." Argh! Argh! My first impression, my gut feeling is that he's being abusive. I told him that it upsets me that he thinks it's okay to be deceitful for his amusement. I was married for 6 years to a man who was verbally abusive and I needed a therapist's guidance to help me figure that out (I used to think "I deserved it"!). Now I'm wondering if I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum and being too much on guard for this type of behavior. I never want to go back to the pain I experienced with my ex, but I also want to be fair to my new boyfriend. And I also don't want to be the butt of anyone's jokes. Help! And any suggestions on how to respond to my bf when he does this stuff? Thanks!! Sasha Dear Sasha,  Well, you are the one who concludes that you are gullible, ignorant, stupid, etc. Not him! Those are your misguided thoughts about yourself! Maybe you were poked too much in the past, but that was then. Can you allow yourSelf to be imperfect? Everybody feels dumb, gullible, etc. at times. (Always at the worst times!) That doesn't make us stupid; it makes us human! So, I think it would be to your benefit to turn your insecurity "stuff" into self-acceptance. Allow yourself to be dumb and silly and gullible at times! You could have both gotten a laugh out of that incident! (Why I threw in the extra comment and the giggle!) You leave yourself open for this kind of kidding when you are trying to hide your inability to match his expertise. You could of course tell this guy that you are really upset by his kidding around. If he is a "normal guy" he should hear you. But you're only together 4 months, his behavior is not really out of line, so why replace fun with heaviness so soon? Why not work on your buttons while you playfully get your message across: The next time you're in an Italian restaurant, tell him about the time you were in Italy and you saw them harvesting the linguini from the trees. But not the ziti. That grows on bushes!  The lesson: your ex taught you that it's not OK to be less-than perfect, and you became defensive. Instead, get OK with your imperfection.  Nobody can get to you then!  Doc