Home

The CatBox Forum

Ask The Doc Board

 

8/14 Interactive Board: Accepting Reality - Or Not

2/9 Interactive Board: What Do I Do?

4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

3/23 Interactive Board: He's Changing... I'm Not...

3/1 Interactive Board: D/s Lifestyle

1/14 Interactive Board: My Purrrfect Husband

12/12 Interactive Board: What if He Could Have Changed?

10/23 Interactive Board: Quandary Revisited

8/24 Interactive Board: Quandary! What's Going On?

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...

11/4 Interactive Board: A New Me!

10/8 Interactive Board: Seeming Impossibility

9/8 Interactive Board: My Ex MisTreats Our Son

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...

4/7 Interactive Board: Too Guilty!

Doc@DrIrene.com


 

Comments for Catbox 50

Material posted here is intended for educational purposes only, and must not be considered a substitute for informed advice from your own health care provider.

Courtesy of Dr. Irene Matiatos   Copyright© 1998-2001. The material on this website may be distributed freely for non-commercial or educational purposes provided that author credit is given. For commercial distribution, please contact the author at Doc@drirene.com

Back Up Next

 

49 edited

Submit
Saturday, July 28, 2001

Theressa and Catbox,

Theressa, I agree with your post regarding transference. I do this myself. I am learning from my therapist a new way to think and open up to another perspective. I know that I lack these skills. I am accepting that I am not perfect.

Unfortunately my husband sees this growth spurt of mine as a threat. He is triggered by his own fear. I was willing to accept some imperfections that he had but his coping behaviors became more and more than I could tolerate. I don't even know who he is any more? I know he must be in deep pain or conflict internally. I am helpless in reaching him. He can only see me as the enemy? We needed some distance to be able to think and see things more clearly. I just wonder if we would be able to rebuild based on how we totally annihilated each other during our break up. (I went blank on the spelling there?) We said some pretty mean things in the heat of it. I was counseled by my pastor today. I told him I called my husband a "monster" in anger. I did not like who I had become. He says "Well, he is right now. He is consumed by evil (or lack of spirit, or light, or in touch with the universe, or himSELF). He is not capable of seeing what he is doing is hurting others and most importantly himSELF." I just feel horrible because I know this is "acting out" but at the same time I have to protect myself. Then I get caught up in the fear then I become reactive (due to my lack of skills) and say things would not normally say. I stoop down or become just as "evil" or hurtful back. I would love to tell him I see that the way I handled things in the past may not have been right. I am doing my best to correct my behaviors. I am afraid of opening up or being honest because he just used it to "prove" I am weak or "less than". I guess he will continue to do this regardless.....So I should be honest not for him but for me. I want to fight this with love and light. Correct. You walk the High Road for YOU! And you certainly don't give away information that is typically used as ammunition unless you are sure you cannot be hurt by it's use.

I am stumped. I want to accept others for their limitations or imperfections. It's becoming easier as I forgive those broken parts in me. At the same time I can't forgive the acts of abuse because regardless of how broken anyone is that does not excuse their behavior when they choose to abuse especially children. That's a tough one for me. I was trying to work this all out in forgiving my family for their limitations or abuse. That way I could heal that part of me.

Any good websites about forgiveness?

I am trying to stop asking "why". I naturally forgive some things but this abuse stuff has me stumped. I think it's because I held onto that belief that I would never be like my parents or I would show them the "right way".....I was out to prove somebody wrong....Now, I am humbled by my own mistakes. I know I can forgive but not forget.....I just don't want partner to think he has gotten away with anything or get better at it (like my former abusers). I still want some justice but at the same time I have to forgive. Not for him but for me. Yet I still do this transference onto others.

It's funny I was talking with my pastor today he is very traditional in his beliefs that God can heal through prayer and he does not believe in doctors. He is in his 90's. He has been trying to fight cancer on his own by prayer, etc. Well, I told him today that we had been to see therapist. He says "You know I went to a doctor for the first time and 40 years. They really have this medical stuff down. I can only imagine what they have learned about human behavior and the mind." He was so delighted in hearing how much I have learned from my therapist. He says "I tell you what you work on the head or cognitive thinking. I will help you reach God to heal your soul through prayer. I think your therapist and I will make a good team. You will have yourself healed in no time. I have faith in you." Just to hear that made me feel so good! Think of it: what is prayer? Turning inside to connect to the Universe. Isn't that what therapy tries to achieve? Doesn't medicine seek to unravel the Universe's secrets?

LisaMM

Submit
Saturday, July 28, 2001

Hi Lisa MM,

I agree with your pastor! You husband IS a monster right now!! Please forgive yourself for reacting and for acting out. Your husband and your situation have trained you to be reactive and it will take a little while to retrain your self to your own specifications.

I agree that it would be nice to be able to tell your husband about how you feel regarding your responsibility in terms of acting out. I've done that a lot with my ex, and all I get is a look of smug satisfaction from him as if I have just taken FULL responsibility for the problems. I thought that if I took the initiative and set a good example by acknowledging my responsibility for my part of our troubles, he would "get it" and take his share too. Har!! It just gave him more ammunition against me and only resulted in me myself putting him in his favorite position: one up.

You are doing great, Lisa MM. It's just hard; hang in there. You are the important one here - your Self is what this is all about!

Love, Perdida

Submit
Saturday, July 28, 2001

Hi LisaMM/Catbox,

Once again, I can totally relate to what you are saying. Like one of my earlier posts mentioned, forgiveness IS a key to healing. Forgive but don't forget... Due to your husband's behavior and coping skills (or lack thereof), of course you are the enemy and everything is probably your fault in his mind! You are on the road to recovery and he's not! Of course, like Perdida's post, it became instant ammo to my STBX too.

I have told my STBX numerous times that I am not perfect, and that I know I didn't handle certain things well, especially in the earlier years of marriage. I was young, and made my share of mistakes. We are all human, and if anyone out here wants perfection, we're on the wrong planet! I still hear his infamous line "you've grown up, I haven't". While this growth is painful, I'll take any day over stagnation and putting up with hurtful behavior towards myself and our children. I've accepted he does not want to change, and pray he will find his road to recovery, but that is his, not mine.

I find myself asking "why?" less on my husband's behavior and more on "why" did I put up with it?

I attempted to speak to my STBX yesterday, and found him trying to put me in "defensive" mode, which I managed not to react to. The only thing that blows my mind is he still is adamant that I lied on the RO, and that he's the victim. I don't understand this at all, and if I don't let it go, it'll drive me nuts. From his perspective, he is the victim. Let it go; not your problem... Every time there has been a major incident, his recollection compared to 2 or 3 other people is completely different! I don't know if this is pure denial so he can look in the mirror, or if it was alcohol/blacking out. I, and our children were on the receiving end and sober, but to him we are liars! That really hurts...maybe that's the intent...who knows? Then he told me I haven't loved him in at least 8 years. I just told him, how can you tell me how I feel? I loved you so much, and I'm not going to listen to this. I KNOW HOW I FEEL! Key word "I".

While I still love him, I am accepting our marriage is over, and that no one deserves that kind of treatment.

So, back to the machine picking up. It's far easier to hear the "you's" digitally than first person. It's also easier to listen to him contradicting himself from one day, or even one hour to the next. I am dealing with reality, and he is clearly choosing not to.

Keep up the good work Lisa....you're going to be fine. Perdida, you sound like you are doing much better. I think it's pretty cool we can all share what's going on with us, be it good, bad, or indifferent. We all seem to jump in and out of different phases, and fortunately, we're there to help balance things out by relating.

Have a good day!

L

Submit
Saturday, July 28, 2001

Dear L and Perdida,

Thank you so much for the support. I am glad to see I am not the only one that feels this way. I get disappointed when I get that response from my husband when I am opening up to him. He may not have the ability to treasure that gift. The best I can do is know in my heart I am doing the best I can. I can forgive myself, and learn from my mistakes. I keep trying not to repeat them. OH, I have a hard time not doing this....it's like I am being pulled into it against mySELF. Does that make any sense? Too much sense. That's my trubble too!

I was reading more of Robert Burney's site. I found articles on Emotional Honesty and Responsibility. I peeled another layer last night off realizing that I am participating in this codependence dance. I am trying to do what L mentioned and ask "why" I would want to stay with someone that hurts instead of "why" he is behaving this way. He just is. I have to accept it. Bingo! I am trying to see "why" I react or what childhood wounds I am responding to. My biggest anxiety is abandonment and him getting away with it. I felt as though my previous abuser's got away with it and never suffered any consequences for their actions.....Now in the end I know their souls will know. Perhaps I can find some comfort in knowing that. Irregardless of what he is doing I do not like how I am reacting....it only feels good for the moment, and then I feel absolutely horrible after. I am working on Dr. Irene's advice to "do nothing" and impulse control skills. I have this impulse to just jump up on guard like "Just try to hurt me now. I dare you!" My family tells me it will easier as I accept him for who he is. Every time he comes to pick up my children I am a mess.....I get anxious and feel upset. I can't seem to hold it together. I need to in front of the children. He has been "withholding" for so long. I am just bursting with frustration! It's like I am saying, "You didn't listen to me for 9 1/2 years and your going to listen to me now buddy." Then wham! WALL! I am becoming a "famed brick eater" as my mom says. I do good for a couple of days then I slip back. One day he is going to walk in here and I will be wearing invisible (!) duct tape on my mouth!

Perdida like you mentioned when I have ever told my husband what I have done to contribute to this "dance" then he does the same thing your partner did. He just says "See you were the problem!" I am thinking at least I am admitting my part. I try to tell him he is responsible for his part but when he says "Yes, but you...." I don't hear him accepting responsibility. I hear him "shifting blame". He has done this for the duration of our marriage. He says he apologizes for his behavior but he does not fully accept responsibility it always swings around back to my fault....Okay....I know this stuff. I am talking to his "wall" which causes any thing I say to him to just bounce off. What a waste of energy, huh!!!

Oh, the frustration.....Here's a button of mine. I don't care if he loves me or not at this point. My poor children are going to have to talk to his darn "wall" if he does not get better. I keep trying to prevent them from having to internalize his behavior as something they are doing wrong. It's just not possible.

My immediate reaction to this is to go out buy them all kinds of books to "talk" about it. Take them to church. Run them over to the therapist to "fix". Surround them with loving people. I want to prevent their spirits from shattering like mine. You know how exhausting that is?

Oh, on Robert Burney he discusses the same thing I mentioned in my previous post. I mentioned I had this idea in my head that I was going to do it the right way and never be like my parents. He uses a great example about how a guy told himself he would "never divorce" or allow his children to feel the way he did as a child.....He had to accept that he had no control over the situation when his wife wanted out of the marriage. He had to forgive himself for his lack of skills due to his codependence and childhood wounds. I am consolidating this....but read it! I need to read it again and soak it in. I see how I have those same beliefs. Part of my grieving is letting go of those beliefs. I am healing my codependence as I do this.

You are so right L we are all in different stages. I can't tell you how much I have learned reading about other fellow survivor's stories. Even if I am not where they are at the time when the situation arises I am a little prepared and don't take it so personally. I just "think" (part of my problem, I think too much) back how other's responded, what worked for them, and Dr. Irene's tips on how to respond to the abuser. I feel more confident.

I can't tell you how many times I have been stumped in a verbal attacked then responded "Okay". It has defused his anger and my reaction so many times....He can't "get to me". Even if I run in silently and ponder "could what he be saying be true?" It gives me time to sort through my thoughts and feelings.

When my husband started controlling me through the finances after nothing else was working.....It was nice to know a head of time. I was prepared. I am eating rice and beans but still feel empowered :) And your cholesterol is down too! (As, I'm sure, is your blood pressure!)

Thanks again!!!!

LisaMM

Submit
Saturday, July 28, 2001

I am sorry for my grammar and spelling errors up in my post above. I need more coffee. I didn't sleep very well last night. I was up reading Robert Burney's sight till the wee hours. OH, I just love to read. Then the next day I am hung over!

I was getting my children ready for their father to take them to a baseball game today. They laughed at me. I put the cereal in the fridge and the milk in the cupboard.

I promise as a duty to the citizen's here in my town. I will not go out driving any where until I get caught up on my sleep today :)

LisaMM

Submit
Saturday, July 28, 2001

Thanks, L... I write better than I feel! Writing helps put me back on track, though. I bought my FOURTH copy of The Verbally Abusive Relationship .  because it helps me remember, which also keeps me on track. I'd like to let it all go... sometimes I feel clear and sometimes Imp into Wishful Thinking.

It helps to remind myself that my ex simply DID NOT want to communicate, did NOT want to understand me, did NOT love me enough to change. It helps because thinking that way I can give him back his stuff - I get mired in this feeling confused and sorry for him as a damaged person who can't be normal in a relationship - not that that's my responsibility to sort out. But it feels better to know that he just didn't love me enough - and THAT'S TOTALLY COOL! NEXT!!

That he is back interacting with his ex whom he said he broke up with in 1997, and seems he never let go of really - narcissistic supply - makes me wonder if he was ever even faithful to me. It helps to think that he has been trying to make me break up with him because I don't want someone who doesn't want ME!! There are 1000's or more of other men, not to mention my valuable precious time with myself, my goals and my plans. I was reading "Breaking Up for Dummies" and started thinking that he has wanted me to break up with him for about two and a half years (out of three...). Although "Breaking Up for Dummies" is written for NORMAL people and dismisses abusive people with one sentence: Get rid of them... (that's a paraphrase)

Seeing him with his ex and unable to cut her off, I now see him as the type of person who has so little self-esteem or personal will that he could continue like that, wanting to break up and not daring to. Yuk! I think he will end up married to his other ex because she is that persistent. Hey! Maybe that's what he wants!

I am definitely in the "why did I put up with it stage" too. Don't let it become a judgment on yourself, though! Don't look back!! (too much)!

I can totally empathies with his claiming to be the victim re the RO. I can just hear my ex claiming to be abused after reading anything at all about abuse - just because of some of my acting out before I got wiser. Oh well, comes with the crazy territory. No one will believe your STBX!

Time for a bike ride!

Love, Perdida

Submit
Saturday, July 28, 2001

Hi Dr. Irene and Catbox,

What would be your advice as to how to respond to this statement from my husband: "You could have done things differently, but you chose to do it your way." I believe he is implying that since I did not go to therapy when he demanded or do what he says when he says it. Then I will pay. Would a simple "Okay" handle it? Yes. Don't get into it with him. I know I was just trying to help us both or my getting help sent us in a chain reaction of events.....It was like a train wreck ready to happen I could not stop it. My guilt button must have just been pushed!

My first reaction was to say "YOU could have done things differently! YOU are responsible for YOUR choices. I was just getting us help. Your the one who over reacted." But I heard my blame shifting. I felt like I was tossing that kitty litter again taking his statement personally. This would have placed me in a explaining and one down position, correct? Yes - because he still knows how to argue better than you do. And when you become better at it than he is, you'll realize it isn't worth your energy.

We are both suffering consequences for our actions. Divorce, upset children, financial stress, no sleep, etc. He is still blaming me. He has been in therapy for 7 months I know some stuff has to be sinking in. (Okay, I will stop there! That's HIM) Back to Me... I feel irrational guilt and part of me does feel responsible. Due to our Anger taking on a life of it's own we would have had to face this crisis sooner or later. I guess as I learn to forgive myself for my codependence this will go away. I just need to correct the part that did not work.

I am reading through your advice "Doc's Answers 3". I found some great advice regarding accepting what is and using this as an opportunity to change my old patterns that don't work for me any longer. I will definitely work on this.

Every time one of my buttons is pushed I have been writing it down in my journal. Then I go do something to clear my head. I get stuck sometimes.

Thanks Dr. Irene. Any advice from the Catbox would be greatly appreciated too!

LisaMM

Submit
Saturday, July 28, 2001

Perdida and L,

I forgot to mention that since I have changed and established boundaries he has acted out so bad that he has left me no choice but to file a RO or stay away order....I was going to allow him visitation but my attorney stated due to his recent behavior he may be ordered to stay away all together. No visitation until after the court date. He will be ordered to pay back child support and spousal support. He won't like that either! This is at the discretion of the judge. We have a domestic violence prevention order in our state. I am preparing for him to turn this around once again. I can hear it now, he is the victim. He was dropping hints on Friday to my children that they could come and live with him if they wanted but it was up to them....Oh, I had to bite my lip. He should not be placing this on the kids. Grrrr. It's not up to them right now why say that!

I am checking with the therapist to see if it's okay that I just point out to my children that it's not up to them but as our ability to be responsible for our behavior improves (or what ever?) then they may have the choice, but not if he continues drinking, being abusive, etc? Oh, I know I can not say this now but at some point.....I should let it go? What would you guys have done?

I had to ignore it at the moment....I know he's provoking me. My kids are not going to be used as his pawns. NO WAY!

Oh, I have to say though I was reading in Dr. Irene's Doc Answers 2 & 3. I did see where acting out included rolling eyes, sighing, etc. It's all acting out. Okay. Guilty as charged!

Last night I was talking to my husband about what time he was picking up the children for the baseball game today. I asked him if he was purchasing groceries this week. I explained that they are starting school and need items for lunch. I am starting school next week part time. I am updating my work skills to become self-sufficient. He gave me "Well, now that I have to pay for 2 houses (lie he is staying at his mom's) I don't have enough." I said, "I will check into the food program at school." He says, "My children won't be on welfare." (Side Note; They have wonderful programs for displaced housewives in my community to be trained, paid daycare, education, books, etc. So we can become self-sufficient. I feel blessed!) I said, "Your children need to eat." He says, "Well, I am doing the best I can since I don't have any where to live." I felt that small violin just strumming in the back ground..... Giggle! Your body is talking to you! I was thinking "After all you did to me recently am I suppose to feel sorry for you?" Exactly. Grrrr.... He had enough money to go to hotels, to dinners, to entertain women, cell phones, various other items... but not enough for food for your children and wife? Not enough to give to me ever to update my work skills and schooling." PAHLEEEESE! You guys have to see our bills. I have done everything to budget, eliminate, and consolidate. He receives extra settlement money plus his paycheck with tons of overtime. He has an abundance of money because I stay home, cook meals, clean, watch the kids, earn money, you name it.....He is staying at his mom's for free! He refuses to give me any money....Period. He tosses a crumb here and there. I am going to school, working, and doing everything around the house while he is out playing. (I'm not bitter!) I am taking responsibility. It is killing him to pay me child support. If he hears I am earning $50 dollars a week he says "Oh, that's it now you have to take on all these bills." even if I say "I need it for school and maintenance around the house." Okay, all of this will be settled once those temporary orders for child support and spousal support get processed. I will hang in there!

I just had to vent. It's funny when I vent. Trubble's red flare is in the corner of my eye!!! I can't help but giggle at my situation. Thanks Trubble.

I can handle just about anything but the fact he is walking around playing the victim in this....I know, I know... he is a victim from his childhood...It will stop working for him. It stopped working for me. Oh, but I tell you I am going to be gray and exhausted from carrying his load for a while until I get this boundary stuff down.

I guess I should be proud in some way that no matter what he has tossed me I get back up and take it on! A couple of years ago I would have rolled up in a ball and cried "poor me" too. I never lose sight that my children and I deserve to be in a safe and loving home. They deserve healthy parents. I do it on my own. Beating my own drum here!!!

I need to join Perdida on her bike ride. I just love bike riding! That's a much better way to spend your day :)

Oh, I can tell you if my husband and I don't grow up we are both going to be placed back to back at Christmas to open our gifts. My parents use to do this with my sister and I because we were so worried what the other person was getting!

Can you guys tell I miss my kids? This is the 2nd weekend I am alone.

Trubble is going to chase me out of the Catbox today if I don't stop tossing the kitty litter around :)

Hugs to you all!!!

LisaMM

Submit
Saturday, July 28, 2001

Dear LisaMM,

Oh yes...you have good foresight. He WILL cry victim. Not sure about your state, but in mine, the children can be included on the RO. My youngest is, and as mentioned many times, she wants a relationship with her Dad, but not until he gets help. As that has not transpired, she doesn't even feel comfortable talking to him, because she feels history has spoken, and he will no doubt give her garbage on even a phone call. The oldest would have to get his own, as he is over 18. He feels safe that the RO doesn't allow his father to come onto our property, and the odds of him seeing him are pretty slim, as his father hasn't even attempted to have contact with him (punishment for sticking up for his boundaries I guess...).

I have also heard of cases where if the drinking/abusive parent tries for custody, your attorney may be able to require some kind of program or evaluation, or a "no-drinking" clause if he has the kids. At the very least, supervised visits can be mandated by the court, as your children's safety and well-being are not taken lightly.

Heard the same violins on the answering machine all week. We have one car we hold jointly that I supported my STBX to get as a hobby. First it was, "I want to remove my car from the property". "No problem", I said in my return message, but please take my name off the car before you remove it (I don't want the liability as he hasn't even paid the car insurance and the possibility of DUI). He picked up the phone (I was a bit taken aback, as I didn't expect him to be there), and within 5 seconds called me a bi*#h. "Goodbye", was my response, and I hung up. I signed the title over and mailed it the next day, and another message was on my machine when I got home. This time it was "I don't want the car. You keep it. I bought it as a reminder of our younger days, and now I don't want it". Then he proceeded to tell me he had no place to live, no money, and he was filing for bankruptcy which would make the divorce more difficult. Then he says, "thanks"!! Uh okay, like I DID this to him. Whatever....he made his choices, I made mine, which was NO MORE. He has only tossed me $50 in 2 months for child support. I will need to get temporary support orders soon, as the funds are getting tight. Fortunately, I have worked for many years, and should be okay. However, with school starting soon, I know what you mean.

That lead to my first attempt at a real conversation in 2 weeks (wishful thinking), which I mentioned in my earlier post today. Pointless. Basically I wanted to tell him the title was signed over and on it's way, and another option would be to sell the car. He actually agreed that would help him, and he could give some money as back support. Then he started in with the yucky stuff. Same pattern...I try to be nice and supportive, and he kicks me emotionally. Knowing this is the way it works with him, I didn't allow it to hurt me.

The key is to think of one's self as a survivor. I get the impression there are lots of survivors, or soon-to-be survivors in this box.  Focus on what you have to do (safety, school, budgeting, etc..), and hey.. maybe you will take that bike ride (I did 13 miles this week and it was GREAT!), or allow yourself to go out with some friends when the kids are gone on the weekend and have some fun. You deserve to treat yourself well!

L

Submit
Saturday, July 28, 2001

Hey Cats,

I wonder if this will sound silly. I'm in this language class, and at the end the classes all have to do skits. I hate the skits, personally because they are waste of my time and don't do me any good. Well, anyway, while I wasn't in class one day, my classmates (which include that really hostile woman) assigned me the part of the Cat in an African story about how the Cat and the Rat became enemies. It turns out that the Cat is the abused wife of the Rat (in the end the Cat and her son kill and eat the Rat because he is beating up the Cat).

So I am angry that I got assigned this part, and I am uncomfortable playing it. I just extricated myself with great difficulty from an abusive relationship and I don't want to even so much as play a little part where I am physically abused. My whole body is rebelling! I also don't want to make a big announcement and disclose why I don't want to do it. It doesn't help that there's such an unsafe vibe in the class with the hostility of that one person. I just phoned the teacher and said I needed to switch parts, that for personal reasons I wasn't comfortable playing the Cat. There may be a struggle on Monday over this, but I feel so much better saying something to him

Isn't this dumb? I halfway feel it's really silly but I was VERY uncomfortable. Another little exercise about being true to myself. This is why I need cognitive behavioral therapy, to try to remember that I CAN stand it...

whine, whine, Perdida   Hmmmm.... Six duplicates I just deleted. Maybe she meant "wine, wine." Giggle!

   
Saturday, July 28, 2001

Dear LisaMM,

You have good foresight. He most likely WILL cry victim. Not sure about your state, but in where I live, the children can be included on the RO. My youngest is on it. As mentioned before, she wants a relationship with her Dad, but not until he gets help. As that has not transpired, she doesn't even feel comfortable talking to him, because she fears him giving her garbage even on a phone call. Her therapist also validated to her that it's understandable that she doesn't want to talk or see him right now. My son would have to get his own, as he is over 18. He feels safe that the RO doesn't allow his father to come onto our property, and the odds of him seeing him are pretty slim, as his father hasn't even attempted to have contact with him (punishment for sticking up for his boundaries I guess...). This is so sad. He doesn't even comprehend what hurt he has caused his children, and does nothing to salvage what chance there is left for him to have these 2 wonderful individuals in his life.

I have also heard of cases where if the drinking/abusive parent has visitation, your attorney may be able to require some kind of program or evaluation, or a "no-drinking" clause if he has the kids. At the least, supervised visits can be mandated by the court, as your children's safety and well-being will most likely not be taken lightly.

I heard the same violins on my answering machine all week! We have one car we hold jointly that I supported my STBX to get as a hobby. First it was, "I want to remove my car from the property". "No problem", I said in my return message, but please take my name off the car before you remove it (I don't want the liability as he hasn't even paid the car insurance and the possibility of DUI). He picked up the phone (I was a bit taken aback, as I didn't expect him to be there), and within 5 seconds called me a bi*#h. "Goodbye", was my response, and I hung up. I signed the title over and mailed it the next day, and another message was on my machine when I got home. This time it was "I don't want the car. You keep it. I bought it as a reminder of our younger days, and now I don't want it". Then he proceeded to tell me he had no place to live (lie. he is clearly staying somewhere), no money, and he was filing for bankruptcy which would make the divorce more difficult. He also accused me of being on a date the night before, which tells me he's driving by the house. I was out playing softball. Then he says "Thanks"!! Uh okay, again, like I DID THIS TO HIM. He made his choices, and I made mine, which was NO MORE. If that's DOING IT TO HIM, well, guess I'm guilty as charged.

He has only tossed me $50 in 2 months for child support. I will need to get temporary support orders soon, as the funds are getting tight. I also realize I can't get blood from a stone, and will have to get more creative with the finances. Fortunately, I have worked for many years, and should be okay. However, with school starting soon, I know what you mean.

I attempted to call him for the first time in 2 weeks, which I mentioned in my earlier post today. I hoped to have a normal conversation (yeah.. wishful thinking) to let him know the title was signed over and on it's way, and since neither one of us seems to want the car and things are tough, he has other options, such as selling it. He actually agreed that would help, and give some money for child support. Then he started in with the yucky stuff, like the "you haven't loved me in 8 years, live with your lies, etc..). Same pattern. I try to be nice and supportive, and he kicks me emotionally. Knowing this is the way it works with him, I didn't allow it to hurt me.

Continue thinking of yourself as a survivor. I realize now we are.

Submit
Sunday, July 29, 2001

Dear L,

I know what you mean when you said that you can not tell if they are blacking out from the alcohol or just don't remember. My husband has been a functioning alcoholic. He rages when he is not drinking mostly when he is doing repairs around the house during the day. He is relaxed and easy going when he is drunk at night. He use to just fall asleep. Then the next day Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

I am afraid of the legal problems with a DUI now too. Even if he was to suddenly "wake up" or go into therapy. I would be hesitant to stay legally married to him. He had drove home too many times when he was staggering in. I would be furious. If he killed someone I always said that the media and the people would be picketing our home. I worried about what this would do to our kids. I do not condone this behavior. I wanted no part in it. I would not even know he had done it until he got home. Then the next day he refused to talk about it. Grrr!

After the stunt my husband pulled tonight. I may have to get this RO or stay away order immediately. He is trying everything to get me to "blow up" or "lose it". He found out the my pastor was over yesterday. He was embarrassed and ashamed. I just knew I would be in for it today.

He took the kids to a baseball game. He was at a friends house after. He told me he was taking them home to put to bed. He wanted me to meet him at home to do this for him. I asked "Why can't you put the children to bed?" He was suppose to call me when he got home because he was "afraid he would fall asleep". I wasn't buying it. I told him to put the kids to bed. I was over at my mother's watching a movie. He said he would call me when they fell asleep. When the movie was over I drove home. I noticed his truck down at his mother's house. I went home. No kids, and no husband? Hmmm...I called he says he is keeping the kids over night. I said, "No you are not. I want my kids home now." His father has was in prison for "doing something" to children. I am still ordering the documents to find out exactly what he was in there for. I was told he was scapegoated into using his photo studio. It has something to do with under aged girls. I am not buying the family explanation. (BTW this was a big secret kept from me until after we were married.) The man claims he had amnesia or blacked out. Yeah, right! How convenient. It doesn't matter. I will not allow my children around him alone, or spend the night EVER!!!! My husband is aware of my feelings on this. He use to say the same thing. He could care less now. He was out to provoke me. I drove over. I exchanged some words "I want my kids now. I am tired of your lying, cheating, and playing these games." It went on a little more. I was assertive. He drove the kids home. Then my son says his father had been drinking all day. He says his grandmother had just put them in her room then I knocked on the door. Apparently they were hiding them. Oh, boy....I put the children to bed.

I will call the attorney on Monday. I am frustrated with my attorney right now. Everyone I have spoken to says I should have already had a stay away order. They are ordered immediately after the papers are filed. I am in California. He didn't realize my husband was out of the home since he had refused to leave. He is aware of the games. It's such a gray area. He is so covertly manipulating and controlling me through little games but yet has not crossed the line yet. He is close. The attorney says "Too close". The family mediation for custody and visitation should be interesting. So, now we have enough evidence that this is emotional abuse to my children. They are definitely showing signs of stress. So, I will call first thing Monday. I just keep documenting each incident as it happens so the dates and times are fresh. I got that tip from the domestic violence hotline. Keeping good records.

I really believe my husband and his family is hear on earth to train me how to become assertive and patient. I use to think that was my children's job. If I can make it through this then I can make it through anything!

LisaMM

Submit
Sunday, July 29, 2001

Oh my goodness - my last post sounds even sillier with four copies of it... My server kept saying that the post didn't go through!

Ooops, Perdida Giggle.... So I exaggerate! Love, *Me*

Submit
Sunday, July 29, 2001

Oh my...

Looks like the server had some problems again! I apologize for my posts hitting so many times. Each time it appeared to hang. Oh well..

LisaMM, again not sure about CA, but with the help of the DV staff at the police station, I filed for the RO without an attorney. This is something that anyone can handle themselves with a little assistance. My biggest problem this time (this is the 2nd RO in 4 years) was getting it served! I had to get a continuance twice, meaning I had to go back to court and tell the judge he couldn't be found to be served. Then they extended it 2 weeks. When he was finally served, and failed to appear in court, the judge extended it 6 months.

From my experience, if you do this, your husband may be furious! Mine sure was! He still has his own blurred vision of what transpired, and of course, 2 other witnesses to the insanity are liars. He doesn't feel it was necessary for me to do this. As I told him, if he doesn't do anything irrational, it's just a piece of paper. I am protecting myself and the kids. He still calls and leaves his messages (something he's not supposed to be doing as it's a no contact). I can only imagine what would be going on if I didn't have it.

My STBX was Jekyll when he wasn't drinking, even though I realize now there were more covert tactics involved. The rages came when he drank, and Hyde would arrive. The behaviors became more full blown and irrational than anything he would ever do sober. He would become very angry when I, or a counselor would suggest he lay off the drinking (at the minimum one year), and work on the issues underlying the self-medication. "I don't have a problem" was always the response. Then he would accuse me of being on some kind of "anti-alcohol" crusade, which was not the case. I don't have a problem with people having a few in social settings and being responsible. But if drinking causes irrational behavior and rages to the point of the police getting involved, Houston....we have a problem. The day it affects an important relationship, such as your family, it's a problem. He wasn't drinking so much socially as he was on his own. That to me is self-medicating.

Life lessons don't always come to us in ways we expect. I think it's healthy Lisa that you are looking your situation that way.

Perdida, you know what you are comfortable with, and I think it's excellent you are standing up for yourself and saying, "I am not comfortable with this". We're not used to doing it, but it's incredibly empowering. No apologies for how you feel are necessary. You are not hurting anyone, and I'm sure someone else will gladly fill the role. I guess it takes time to say, "I'm not comfortable in this role", even with real-life situations. This is a work in progress for most of us.

Have a Good Day Everyone!

L

Submit
Monday, July 30, 2001

Greetings all:

I was wondering about something when I first read that the abuser usually has all the power in the relationship. It seems as if my husband wants none of the power. He wants nothing to do with paying bills, raising our child, running the house, making any of the decisions. I feel like I have total freedom managing things. But at the same time I recognize that these things are responsibility, aren't they? He lets me be responsible for everything but of course doesn't mind telling me if he thinks I make mistakes. He has the power if he manages to pawn that stuff off on you against your better judgment.

Even when we visit family (his family) he sits in the other room and I'm the one who has to make conversation. His father is schizophrenic so those visits are especially challenging. He won't go and visit them most of the time unless I come with them. I think that part of my new outlook is going to include making him responsible for his family connections.

All my time is used up and he's the one that complains when something is expected of him.

With our child he usually makes a point of being not very exciting (e.g.. falling asleep on the couch) so that our son is not in any hurry to spend time with him.

Anyway when I first read about having all the power I think I was confusing it with having all the responsibility (which is not so much fun). My husband has all the power because he has all the free time. He's really good at looking and acting put upon when something is expected of him.

The sad part is that the kids end up with one parent who acts not interested and the other parent who is too stressed to be much fun either. This makes for very angry and stressed kids. I'm living that one too, trust me.

Good night all,

Love Norma

Submit
Monday, July 30, 2001

Dear Perdida,

Does your language class not have ground rules? I would hate to teach a class without these and I always have confidentiality and the right to opt out if something really feels uncomfortable for an individual. This is imperative when you include skit and role play. It sounds to me like your tutor has not done this. I would simply refuse to take part and I think it is your right as an adult not to participate in what would be harmful to you.

Giggle- Theressa- where are you doing a micro teach......? I remember those sooooooo well....I used to be so nervous that I would opt for anything but my own subject. A friend of mine who works in computers did hers on making a Tequila and we all had to abandon the next micro teach for the coffee bar.......she had bought in samples for us to try....................

A micro teach is the most difficult way of presenting anything; you literally design a 10 minute course and it is not meant to be perfect as you learn from it.

The thing is that EVERYONE feels like you on those. They are nerve racking and usually because you do them very early on in a course when you don't know other students well....I have seen people burst into tears during these and spend days worrying about them and usually this is no reflection on ability to teach or know a subject at all.

I have to go back and read all the posts as I found that there were so many that I couldn't begin to read them now before doing what I have to do today.

Hmmmmmmmmm..........maybe there is a change,. I pointed out to Jake that he could be accused of financial abuse a while back and he is leaving not enough still, but a little more money for me. (The amount to begin is laughable;) but Jake genuinely manages on a really tiny amount for himself.

I wanted to say lots and I frustratingly do not have time. Back later. Love, jay

  Submit
Monday, July 30, 2001

AJ here,

I am doing much better after the first week of trying to live together. We actually talked about how hard it is for both of us, not knowing what to do, where/when to help or not to and things like that, It is sort of dividing the territory all over again. Bring it out in the open did help a lot though, knowing we both where insecure in how to handle it and me telling him what i would like him to do and such. He is still a bit critical on how I run my house and I found my immediate reaction is either one of defense or of trying to do it the way i think he want it. I am more or less able to stop that though. I stop and think whether I feel it is reasonable what he suggests and if so, I have a look whether I am willing and able to do something about it. I also ask him please to suggest things and not tell me how to do it and he seems to take that to hart. I think he doesn’t know how to handle this any more then I do and me being clear on what I need or want, helps him, as does his being clear helps me. He is generally trying, I can feel that, it is just that it is hard for both of us.

But, there are definitely good things. When he would go out when we lived together before, I would always have very mixed feelings: i would want him to go, cause I wanted to be alone, but I would hate the idea that he would want to go somewhere without me, cause,  he wanted time without me! Now, I am quite ok with that. I do not need to know when he will be back, or feel a need to control what he is doing. And it is so much better this way. Ok, I still think, some of the time, he might meet someone else, but now my reaction is, I’ll deal with that when it happens and I simply do not want to feel upset all to time without cause. This tells me you're dealing with your insecurities. Good!

Dr. Irene, you said it might be a good idea to try and figure out in what way C. is invading my space. I know you are right, but I find it very hard sometimes. Also on many occasions I have a feeling that he is not so much invading my space as that I am thinking he might be about to.... Yes it's hard. Keep at it! Parts of it may very well be your fear that he might... Keep paying attention to figure out each little piece. It is a strange magnetism. But i am getting more aware of it, I think. For instance I bought shrimps for him and then i saw other shrimps which I thought he might have liked better - and I immediately started to imagine him making some kind of comment on why hadn’t I bought other ones and then I proceeded by getting mad at him in advance for (supposedly getting mad at me for not buying the right shrimps which were a present like anyway, so he had no right to criticize me..... Talking about making assumptions.....  Giggle! Purrrrfect! This is a wonderful example of why these relationships are a two way street!

Dear Jay,

i think you are right that it is in itself not a bad thing that we are living together, lots of lessons to learn. It’s just I feel I maybe should have been more assertive and not just ‘let it happen’. I am glad to hear you are going to the retreat after all. You wanted it for quite some time, so I hope you will enjoy it and rest. Are you still planning for the concert with HKK too? How are things with the house and car? BTW, I do not see how Jake can remain an ice cube in this weather!!!!!!

Theressa, I picked up a Robert Burney line you quoted somewhere in one of your posts. Something like learning never stops. I do so agree and for me I think it was a very huge step to acknowledge this. To really accept that there is no happy ever after. That happiness is no a stagnant moment but an ongoing process with all the new challenges and bliss and problems associated with it. I am now ok with that most of the time, and it makes things so much easier to handle. I used to feel everything that went wrong was a personal insult, like someone or something was trying to thwart me. Accepting that problems are just things that happen, like rain, or sun or nice weather, makes all the difference. I think my next challenge is to handle challenges without letting them rule my life. I am getting there, I know I can learn, we all can. It just takes time.

Love to all and Trubble, all’s well in Kitty-land and lots of fun playing together in the garden. Come join the play if you need some time of.

AJ

P.S. Dr. I., don't worry about wrong checking my spelling. There is probably no spelling that will ever get that right!!! Oh boy... Thanks. While we're on the topic, my apologies to my English (vs. "American") speaking readers, who find their spelling Americanized... At this rate, Trubble will soon be issuing American passports!

Submit
Monday, July 30, 2001

Dear Norma,

Perhaps someone can correct me, as my copy of the "The Verbally Abusive Relationship . " by P. Evans is being lent out right now, but isn't that kind of silence and aloofness a "silent killer" in relationships? Of course. Power is about getting one's way...

My STBX wanted none of the power either, other than being the "man of the house". You are managing the responsibility that another adult is capable of taking on which deprives you of your life energy. He not only expects you to take care of your child, but to take care of him! In healthy relationships, there is a certain level where this is fine (e.g. pitching in if something else comes up), but I started to resent how much was expected of me, whereas he had all the freedom from the responsibility he wanted.

I started making my STBX responsible for his family connections too, and guess what? The Mother's Day card usually wasn't sent, nor the phone calls to his Mom.

I do have to say my STBX was a good Dad when the kids were younger. However, once they started getting involved in school, extra-curricular activities such as scouting, sports, etc.. he always balked about giving rides, being involved, etc. I was the Den Mother, PTA member, concession stand worker for sports. His biggest excuse being, "my parents didn't do that stuff for me". I would try to reason, okay. maybe not, but don't you wish they did? You can change that for your children. He would get good for a bit, then slip back into his old ways, such as being too tired, too busy, etc..

Looking back (only for a few!), I don't even know how I managed to do everything I did. Our children are now teenagers, and even they have said to me they don't know how I did it either! I am happy they feel I was supportive and there for them, but feel sad for my STBX that his choices resulted in our children feeling that other than working, he wasn't there for them. They also saw in the last 5 years how he would jump for anyone else other than his family. When they asked for even the simplest thing, such as a ride to a friend's house, etc.. it was like asking him to cut off his right arm most of the time. So guess what? They stopped asking him, because it became an ordeal. No matter how much I tried to tell him I wasn't "Superwoman", he didn't want to hear it. There was an excuse for everything.

This does affect the children. My oldest did the minimum in school, which I swear was a way at saying to his Dad "I don't care either". Now that he's in college, he's making Dean's list. Of course, when he made it the first time, his Dad asked his GPA and when I told him, he said, "oh yeah, well mine was higher" (drunk). As I always told my son, you aren't hurting anyone but yourself, because your grades are a reflection of YOUR work. Fortunately, he made the Dean's list again for himself. While he's an extremely giving individual, I am thankful he's not just trying to "people please". I am extremely proud of him, I have told him many times his grades aren't going to get me ahead, but him!

Try to make some time for yourself Norma. One rule I incorporated when the kids were in middle school was not to provide rides, like to the mall, both ways. I would gladly do one way, and the parent(s) of the child who was going with mine would do the other. That relieved some stress right there not just for myself, but for the other parent(s) too.

I wish I could provide more help, but I no matter what I tried with my STBX, it just didn't seem to work. When he did help, I would always find out later that he complained the whole time to whichever child he had in the car enroute to wherever. Rather than have them be stressed out and make waves with my husband, guess who normally jumped in?

Your husband has the power. He doesn't have the responsibility, but yet, as even you point out, he doesn't mind telling you about your mistakes. He is keeping you in the position of blame so he doesn't have to take on the responsibility of his mistakes. That is power.

Best Wishes, L

Submit
Monday, July 30, 2001

Hi Cats,

After making it known that I didn't want to do that part in the dumb skit, and talking over options with the disappointed class (fortunately the hostile woman wasn't in class today so things were easier and warmer), I decided to change my mind because of the extra work it would entail to make up a new skit. I also felt like it would be handled more sensitively now that I objected. What a dumb thing to spend my time worrying about. I hope that cognitive behavioral exercises will help me work through these things in a more laid back manner.

Thanks for your input, Jay and L! Going through the motions of standing up for myself seems to have done the trick. Tomorrow I have my first appointment with the therapist so I can use this as an example of how I want to change my thinking.

Have a great day, everyone! Trubble, you and I now have a great deal in common now that I am a Cat too. I DO get to eat the Rat at the end. With barbecue sauce. Try catnip sauce. It's yummier.

Love, Perdida

Submit
Monday, July 30, 2001

Dear AJ, Jake had been seen in a coat and hat on the beach in a heat wave- dancing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Actually, Thanks, that memory makes me feel warmer towards him! I am praying the house and car stuff is sorted really soon now. Please God, this week! HKK now wants me to take him to an entire festival......Just now it is so hot I could happily set up room in a freezer! I do detect a slight thaw in Jake though since HKK chewed him out. love, Jay Jay... How are you? You looking at how it is that so much of your happiness is tied up in how Jake feels about you?

Submit
Monday, July 30, 2001

Hello again,

When the skit got discussed during class today (after I sent my last post), the prof took the opportunity to talk about domestic violence in Yoruba culture as compared to American culture. It seems that when a woman and man get married in Yoruba culture, their families are very involved. If the man mistreats his wife, she picks up and goes back to her family - END OF STORY. The family encourages her to come back home if she is not being treated well. The shame is on the man, the abuser. The wife marries someone else better. The abuser will have a hard time finding anyone to marry him if his wife has left because of mistreatment. He may become a social pariah. Also, if there is domestic violence in a home, it reflects on the children, who are the family's greatest asset. The children may not be able to find spouses if their father batters their mother. So there is a great deal of social pressure on the husband to treat his wife well.

So let's hear it for the Yoruba people! Yippeee! But, I have to wonder what happens when the wife is the narcissist and feels abused when she doesn't get her way... Especially when she comes from the typical narcissist-producing family - who thinks she can do no wrong? Ask your teach if you get a chance!

Love, Perdida

Submit
Monday, July 30, 2001

Hi Again!

Wow! Perdida, thanks for the lesson in Yoruba culture! Extremely admirable. A culture that actually has no tolerance for bad behavior!

This could stir up quite a discussion in the catbox on why such "civilized" societies continue to have such a problem. Is it because families are spread out all over the place? Is it drug and/or alcohol problems, or possibly the stigma still attached to divorce or one's "dirty laundry" being a social embarrassment, or the stigma of failure in a society so obsessed with success no matter what cost?

Kinda makes you go hmmmmmmm.....

L

Submit
Monday, July 30, 2001

PS, What is Trubble sitting in? A snowstorm or a kitty litter storm? Eeeyuwww. In the eyes of the beholder...

Submit
Monday, July 30, 2001

Hi L,

Things that go wrong in "Western Civilisation":

1. Patriarchy.

2. Entitlement.

3. Materialist values.

4. Intolerance of difference.

Men wouldn't abuse women in our culture if they didn't feel like they were entitled to. We have a lot of rights that we have fought for, but just like leaving an abuser who becomes more abusive - our rights have made us fair game for the patriarchy as it loses control over us.

PS - women in Yoruba culture may be valued but they don't have the same rights we do... can't expect the same freedoms... I myself want it both ways! Valued AND free! I don't see why I can't have it both ways!! (shall I have TWO husbands, or so? one who values me and one who provides for me? - or none - continue doing it all myself...)

Back to work before I muse myself into a stupor.

Love Perdida

Submit
Monday, July 30, 2001

Dear Perdida,

Extremely well put and insightful.

Tough break for the children though...talk about carrying the sins of their father--wow!

L

Submit
Tuesday, July 31, 2001

Perdida,

Wow! I need to meet some of these Yoruba men!

I have always tried to explain to my husband that respect is something that is earned. He gets what he gives in this world.

I am deeply saddened by the materialism and devaluation of human life. I wonder how children can ever feel safe in a world that is so full mixed messages regarding what is important.

I believe we have allowed this "dead beat parent" stuff go on for too long. We need more accountability for their behaviors and actions.

Thanks for the tip Perdida. Yoruba here I come :)   It's all gotta go both ways gang...

LisaMM

Submit
Tuesday, July 31, 2001

Dear all,

I just got a very clear insight in one of my faulty mechanisms..... Ton -of -bricks- hitting- me- right -on -my- head kind of insight. C. was a bit down, very tired and mopey, though nothing directed towards me and nothing I can see as passive aggressive stuff. Still, I felt myself feeling more uncomfortable by the minute. I could not quite detect what was wrong. I asked him are you bored. He said, what if, are you going to hit me on the head with your dirty hand (I had earth all over me, since I was repotting a plant). He said it smiling, and I backed of, he put a boundary I guess, and that was ok.  

Later he went to bed and I stayed up a little while and then I all of a sudden started crying, feeling like this is never going to work, I cannot do it. And while I was thinking what I should tell C.; should I talk to him or what, it suddenly hit me that my anxiety was all about my not being able to tolerate his feeling a bit tired and down, especially not since he was ‘staying with me’. Yippeee! It was as if somewhere at a very deep level I felt it was my responsibility to make him feel better. Giggle! I have learned (brainwave) that I could not be held responsible for his (un)happiness, and yet something in me felt I should be able to make him/it ‘better’. I felt very uncomfortable because of these conflicting feelings, though I wasn’t even aware at the time. But it was very very strong. I then realised when my father died I was 18, and my sister was on a honeymoon trip and could not be reached. She was ‘lost’ to my mother anyway by being married. So I was the one who was supposed to make her feel better, come over all the time when I was just starting of my own live. I could never do it, all my live I could never do anything good enough for her to approve of anyway (whine whine, like Perdida said), but I was still feeling the responsibility and the shame of not succeeding with C!!!! It was such a relief to see this. I went upstairs. I told C. and cried a little. I did not need him to say it was ok, I knew that, this is what "knowing" is... still crying in some ones arms is good. I also realised that I used to have these feelings of needing to cheer him up, and feeling very frustrated cause I could not and then I would get mad at him. AS I said I have learned I am not responsible, but I think this experience has gotten this understanding to a much deeper level and sharing it with C. felt rather good. I like that he accepted your feelings and didn't do anything with them. Excellent! I sort of started to really KNOW and accept I cold never be responsible for someone else's happiness and that C. had a right to mope and feel down and tired every once in a while without me getting all frantic about it and needing him to put on a happy face. I sure hope he will not start doing that again, but I think talking about it, will make some difference.

So, one week and at least one lesson learned. I feel great!!! One more plus for yesterday: I went to my garden after work and came home a bit late without asking ‘permission’ or telling him in advance. I really had to fight myself for this privilege, but I felt granting it myself and he seemed quite ok with it. Giggle! The I thought, in asking him these things, I really would give he power again, and he will think he is entitled to it. In just doing what I want, and acting like this a o normal thing to do, I am setting a new order and making new and healthier patterns. It seems to work, even though I would never have thought it would be as har as this. Next plan is playing my clarinet when he is around, cause I would do that when he was not, since I need to practice.

Love to all, AJ Another wonderful example of how it's a two way street. Thanks AJ.

P.S. Theressa, I just read your story and I think you truly did come a long way, as have all of us. Keep it up, and who knows, you might just both grow into someone better together.

Submit
Tuesday, July 31, 2001

Hi all, Norma Here,

Thanks L for your letter. I will have to work on getting some time for myself as you suggested. Like your husband, no matter what I ask of him there is always an excuse when it comes to most things around the house and caring for our son. One time I even made a list with what he does on one side and what I do on the other side. This was after he was criticizing me for not getting the dishes done one night. The list showed a huge difference in responsibilities that he couldn't dispute after seeing it in black and white. (I also work) Anyway as you can guess nothing changed.

Thanks again, Norma

Submit
Tuesday, July 31, 2001

Dear Norma,

I wonder, could you remind him of this difference and tell him that from now on you only plan to do your fair share of all the work and expect him to do his. Then say (if need be write it down) what you will do and what not and stock to it. Of course you pick the things that are your priorities, and if he complains, just try no to engage. It is sort of setting a boundary: this I will accept as my responsibility, this not. You might find yourself still doing a bit more then your fair share, but the most important is you need to feel you are not treating him unfairly, try not to feel guilty and just let him criticize away: you know you do your fair share. In stopping doing all these things, you'll at least make visible what you are doing now! it is putting a boundaries and let him take the consequences. You might ask hi once again to discuss partitioning the work more fair like adults by talking about it, but if not, this might be the only way. Of course you will have to be ready to put up with a bit of mess for a while.

Hope you will be able to get your time off. We all need that.

Hugs, AJ

 

Submit
Tuesday, July 31, 2001

Thanks AJ:

I might give it a try but you wouldn't believe how tired and how his arthritis can flare up at exactly the right time (but he can still do the things he wants to). Don't make his arthritis your problem. Let him deal with how/ when he'll get his stuff done. At any rate I'm learning more all the time and he won't be as successful at making me feel guilty and pulling all the excuses he usually does.

The housework is not the biggest issue anyway. I would just be happy sometimes if he would just spend more time with our son so that I would have the free time to do it. I find housework actually kind of therapeutic but not when I haven't got enough time to get it all done. The big thing that gets me angry is I get put downs for not getting it all done. I find that very nervy when he contributes so little. Anyway I think that's just his way of making me feel as bad as he does when he's in a bad mood.

The other thing that I see is that my son has developed the same attitude so they both expect me to run for them all day. I know that I have allowed this and that it is my job to stop it.

I'll be rethinking that list and my son is old enough to take on a few things himself. We'll see how that goes.

Thanks again, Norma

Submit
Tuesday, July 31, 2001
 

Dear all, Sharon here,

OK, I'm bummed. Today is the 2 year 'anniversary' for me and Dr. Psycho. Last week was his birthday. I have not spoken to him for over 50 days. That is a record for me; however, I did email him and said 'happy birthday' and then I emailed him this morning with a quick note.   Of course, no response from him, other than a few phone hangs at home and at work that I've gotten the past 2 weeks. So, in essence, I did break down and 'contact' him, however NOT by phone. So, I'm not beating myself up today - I've just been reading some of the really old posts - looking for signs, clues, something - on where I've been, "reflective" is how I feel. I have made progress - yes, I have - and I am alone - which I'm grateful for because my life has been steady and consistent with growing within myself without outside distractions from another new man. I miss the advantages of being in a relationship but I don't miss the crazy stuff with Dr. Psycho. Am I still in love with him? What do you "love" about him Sharon? That he can be an absolute cad? Sit with this one...  Yes, but I KNOW that I love MYSELF more. I am proud of myself that I haven't involved myself with someone else purely for physical reasons - though its been very tempting - I even remember how somebody wrote in their posts in February how they re-united with their ex and felt bad because they slept with someone else during the separation process.

I don't feel though that this is a 'separation' process from Dr. Psycho and that in October (after our 120-day hiatus) we will become lovers again. I have viewed this time for ME as a wholeness and wellness for me. If somebody interesting enough came my way, I may have wanted to become friends first and see how things later develop - however the 'dorks' I've met are interested in progressing without taking real time, hence, 'Mr. you must love me in 90 days or else' man that I ended that "thing" with.

One thing I do know and that is I will not be making the first move in October. He knows this in my email I sent him this morning. I sent him a very, very brief email about our 2 year anniversary - I think I did it to let him know that my 'hands are still in the cookie jar' so to speak - even though I am allot more emotionally distant. I rate myself on the scale of 1-10 daily as far as progress - some days I'm a 6 - today I'm a 2 - and if he was to call me I know that I would not trust myself. So, I'm glad I have group tonight and Saturday I see my therapist. And I'm very glad to be able to 'vent' on this website.

Anniversaries, birthdays, holidays - are all reminders of good times. I wish I didn't have such a good memory! Though I am glad that I'm seeing the progress - and my calendar has almost 2 months of not being on the phone with him. That is a milestone! You are doing very well; I know this is hard for you. But please, try to analyze /understand the various aspects of his hold over you...

Hugs, Sharon

Submit
Wednesday, August 01, 2001
 

Hi Cats,

Hang in there Sharon. He's a loser. I know it's easy for ME to say!! My own Loser took up a lot of space in my head these last couple of weeks!

I had my therapy session today and it started out really bad. The therapist ran over with her previous appointment, like more than half an hour. I never had that happen before. Therapists are so anal about stopping on time (sorry Doc... but it's true, isn't it?) More or less, yes. I sat trying to be understanding, knowing it must have been an emergency, but I was listening to my Self-Devaluing Tapes playing in my head... "My issues weren't that important anyway..." Then I felt angry and decided at the half hour to leave, and said at reception someone should have called me, I waited several weeks for the appt, I left class early to get there, blah blah blah. As I was leaving, the therapist came out and canceled the appt after mine so she could have an hour with me, so it was cool. Very!  (Then I felt guilty...argh Lesson: look at the unchecked assumptions you make and the conclusions you can jump to!) And there were at least two examples of the things I want to work on with CBT: my negative Self Tape which I think comes from my mother (a perfect scapegoat) and my intolerance. I just feel that after all these years of learning how to stick up for myself, I woke up and found myself to be a little defensive, inflexible and intolerant of others and things that come up for them. Anyway, it was a good session.

I am still angry at my ex, and this time it is different. I don't want to hear from him. It distills down to two things: He doesn't love me enough to change behavior that keeps us apart. That's Number One.

Number Two is that he never ended his relationship with the previous ex! So I feel like he has always had another woman in his life. I no longer feel that she had her foot in OUR relationship, my perception shifted and I feel that I came between THEIR relationship! Of course, he would fly into a huge ugly rage if I said that to him, but it's really true. Between his lack of boundaries and her persistence, they will end up married. And miserable. Well, she can have him! It's really easy to let go of a guy who has another woman for some reason. Yuk!

Love, Perdida

Submit
Wednesday, August 01, 2001

Hmmm I have to be getting more on top. I went to casualty last night as I had glass in my foot. LOL it was such a tiny sliver, but soooooo painful to get out....usually I don't scream! I did not however feel like an idiot for making a fuss - because why should I? Not when it genuinely hurts....the old me would feel a complete idiot. I'm glad you allow yourself to hurt now. I'm going to stretch it even more on you: There is no reason to feel like an idiot if you make a fuss and it doesn't hurt. You are just making a fuss and it doesn't hurt... ..anyhow after four hours in casualty I get home at about 12.30 at night to find a note from Jake. It says basically, although more horribly than I can write here, that I should not put newspapers in the bin and keep the bathroom tidy, and it was written offensively.

Jake informs me this morning he thought he left a polite note (I have often thought his parents had brought up their kids badly in the manners department!). NO mention of 'how is your foot or anything like this. Well I handled it BEAUTIFULLY- told him the note was abusive and unacceptable and further notes like that would be acted on. It had a slight implication I might be mentally ill and I could certainly call him on that because I spent the afternoon yesterday doing advocacy in a psychiatric hospital - and so could just say that I was in fact in a psychiatric setting yesterday and they would probably have noticed if I was, I certainly wouldn't have been able to advocate! Now I have told him if he write more notes like that, I have cause to have him sectioned. (Believe me this was a bizarre note, I think it was abusive rather than mad though. Then as he didn't want to talk I walked away. The thing is IT IS HIS STUFF and I have left him with it...no big row. Excellent! I also like that while you could have called him on his comments and defended yourself, you didn't! You didn't waste your energy engaging. You knew. You had no need to convince him or be validated by him. Your objective was just to let him know what's not OK. I stated my case as I think I needed to and now he will have to handle HIS stuff and HKK and I will do all we planned today, and he will not have an upset mother as she can no longer be upset. (Well, ok, it took me a while to get there but I have..... HOORAY!) HOORAY!

The abuse has lost it's power and I have put it back where it belongs. Jake can abuse all he likes, but he will be abusing air as he has lost his victim. Giggle! All true. But: realize that until you understand how it is you make your happiness dependent on him, he will still have his victim - just less than he did before.

Dear Sharon, Keep away from him - he is toxic to you. Don't sent anything or contact him in anyway-it implies you want to get back together and he will play on it.

Dear Perdida, I am glad you got the counseling in the end. I hope it goes well. I think after half an hour it is ok to complain and it sounds like you handled it well.

Dear AJ, I think I understand what happened to you. The brain pattern matches to previous experience, so you get the force of the emotions from that experience. Recognising where they came from freed you. (I got this from the brief therapy seminar that I went to.) I think a lot of stuff sorts itself when you recognise the source of the feeling. Yes. It becomes real clear how irrational applying old assumptions to similar situations can be! I had one of those light bulb moments myself. When I was young I would act out with my parents and want to hear they loved me no matter how bad I was. Giggle! 

Just needed some reassurance I guess - though of course this will not happen as parents generally do not tell their children how wonderful they are when they are playing up. Lately I have realised I repeated that for a while with Jake. NO!  Giggle! Of course the result was that I pattern matched to the feeling of rejection I felt as a child....my parents were rejecting of the real me anyway...so was Jake. So no wonder I got so mad and angry at him. On that score I can't blame him for my own faulty logic. Oh yuk there is a whole long thought train here as of course I then got attention and validation for my problems from others so I ? learned to get not rejected by being messed up? You're reaching here. Keep paying attention and it will become clear. So I need to look very carefully at what really happens in situations now and what script is really playing in my head..... Bingo! Oh well.. .. If I can live until 90, I have half a life to live without the script! I am going to think sensibly and positively here and go into town and make sure that however long the shopping takes with HKK, I have a coffee in Starbucks. Then I can think of Perdida and Sharon doing the same in Brazil.

Dear L. I think it is a snowstorm. When Trubble came here after stealing and breaking Lynn's broomstick he was fairly fastidious even though he did not like the bath i gave him.... Trubble have you had enough of Trout? Love, jay After two months of being grounded and Trout-deprived (abuse), NO AuntieJay!

Submit
Wednesday, August 01, 2001

P.S. from Jay...This kind of developed from some of Asha's posts...I was thinking about being 'sorted." Sort of how does Dr Irene know she has the answers to people's faulty thinking and are the answers the right ones for all of us. They work for me...but then I thought about it further and I think that the trick is to develop your own very clear philosophy Yes. It's all about clarity and not letting your own stuff cloud your vision.  of how you want to treat others and be treated and that in the end it matters only that you know for yourself what you will accept and not accept and this will be different for all of us. Yes. And, when you have this, you know. You are not shaken by what others say or think... But being shaken is part of the process of developing this clarity and sense of center. What matters is not the situation we are in but that we have a CLARITY of perspective and the integrity to uphold it.

It is when we cross our own internal boundaries or we are not sure of what our internal boundaries are that things go wrong. What happens is our boundaries are crossed and we feel yucky and act out. But, instead of looking at that and seeing why / how we acted did not work and thinking of how to change it, we remain stuck and repeat the same behaviour over and over again with the same person - who is often also stuck. Yep. The only way out is to work out what for you can change - This has to force a change in the other person as they no longer find the same response to act on. Yep. So that is why we change us and not the other person and that is why the other person will have to change, But you can't even begin until you are clear what you want/ who you are. jay Words of wisdom Jay. Thanks...

Submit
Wednesday, August 01, 2001

Dear Norma,

You wrote: “The big thing that gets me angry is I get put downs for not getting it all done. I find that very nervy when he contributes so little. Anyway I think that's just his way of making me feel as bad as he does when he's in a bad mood. “

That’s exactly why you have to be clear about what you consider your fair share and what is his. And stick with it. He will keep trying to try and get away with not doing his share, but try to keep in mind what you feel is ok, and disengage form his comments. BTW, I think that spending time with your child is ‘housework’ too. If you make a list of ‘tasks’ you can include that. And include spending time with your son for yourself too!!!

Most important is not to buy into his blaming you. You might try saying again and again when he blames you certain tasks are not done: I only have so much time and I cannot do them all. These are your tasks to do, and you cannot blame me for not doing your tasks. End of story. It will be very difficult at first, but it will get better. I think being clear and firm is your only chance on a way out of these kind of situations.

“The other thing that I see is that my son has developed the same attitude so they both expect me to run for them all day. I know that I have allowed this and that it is my job to stop it.”

Actually I feel these thing go hand in hand. Your son sees how easy his dad gets to let you do all the work, so, he copies it. Why should he do anything himself, when you are willing to do it for him. You are right, you are the one to have to put a stop to it and try doing it as soon as possible, cause the longer you wait, the harder it will be. Yep.

Just remember all along, you have a right for some fun too!! Having a good time, or even just time of, not working, is not just for the male members of your family! And if hubby gets on about arthritis, ask him what he feels he can do without it being a problem with his arthritis (like minding your son).

One more thing, look inside, whether there is some sort of default in your thinking, like you think you HAVE to take care of them and then tell yourself you do not. I find I have this very much, it part of our upbringing I guess: the mother and wife should take care of the family. C. expected that of me, even at times I was working more hours then him. But worse: I was expecting that of me, and that is much harder to overcome.

Take care of yourself, do what you need to do for you and then see what you can do for others, including your husband.

Hugs, AJ

 

Back Up Next

  Back Up Next

Website Design, Content, & Trubble ©1998-2006 Dr. Irene and the The Medical Communications Resource.  All Rights Reserved. The contents of this site may be reproduced expressly and exclusively for not-for-profit publication in printed format as long as the source URL, the website, and the author(s) are specifically mentioned. Sites interested in publishing specific pages online should link unless granted specific permission to reproduce.  For permission or commercial distribution, please contact Dr. Irene at Doc@drirene.comThe pages and posts in our forum, The CatBox, may not be reproduced. All material is intended for educational purposes and must not be considered a substitute for informed advice from your own health care provider.