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Below is an Interactive Board sampler. A fuller listing is found in the "Stories" menu above.

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!

Abuse & Addiction

Abuse & Addiction


From: Kazuko                             Sent: Thursday, March 18, 1999 

To: ''          Subject: e-mail advice

Dear Doctor,

I found your website today, and I am glad that I did. My husband is a recovering alcoholic who has almost 3 years of sobriety. He goes to AA meetings regularly. I have looked so many websites and read books on addiction, co-dependency and adult children matter. Yet this was the first time that I found something on "verbal abuse". I am having problems in my marriage (over one year but had lived together over 2 years).

Verbal abuse is exactly the problem that I have in this marriage. There is no doubt that my husband is verbally abusive when he cannot control his anger (which doesn't take that much). He threatens with leaving, calls me in names (psychopath, nuts, sick, in worst case bitch or c..t). He is very confrontational person in general and he swares a lot. I am not the only person he gets in problem with. Our landlord, neighbor, his ex, (he has a daughter from previous relationship), etc. I have been going to counseling since the end of January, and my counselor now suggesting me to separate from him at least for a while. It seems that more I try to not get involved with him (which is what my counselor suggested) harder he tries to provoke it and because of it, it has been escalating.

Sometimes he apologize for what he did, but apology doesn't do anything expect buying time till he does it again. He was brought up in a family of alcoholics and his parents fighting all the time (they are together even today and doing the same thing). Sometimes he implies that he needs to get help with his anger management, but so far he hadn't act on it.

When I ask him if he is truly willing to get a help, he says that he is going to AA meetings and he has not time to do anything extra right now. So it seems to me that he does not realize he is "verbally abusive". He is extremely controlling person and he tries to control me (and others). I have never seen this much anger. It seems like when he blows up, at some point, it doesn't matter what the reason is, but all his built up anger surfaces. My co-worker who knows addiction problems very well pointed out that he sounds like a "dried alcoholic". I am from Japan and my family is nothing close to his. At this point, I am extremely hurt and I have a huge resentment towards him. I feel like a dead person and often it's affecting my work performance. Part of me agrees that yes, I should move out for my own sanity. I wanted to ask your opinion about my situation.

Thank you very much for reading my email... and have a nice day.


Dear Kazuko,

I think your counselor is acting on your behalf when suggesting that you leave your husband. Ask yourself, "Is my husband behaving like a husband?" Your situation sounds intolerable! Why put up with insanity? Have you considered attending ALANON meetings for some additional support?

Ask yourself if you deserve the treatment you are given. Would you treat somebody the way you are being treated? Perhaps you need to take your "resentments" more seriously. There is a reason you are feeling them! Do you want to continue to feel like a "dead person", as you put it? In part, if you move out, you are saying "No" to the insanity. If you leave, and if he loves you, you claim your power. If he wants you back, he will have to work harder than he is working now to win you. He will only work as hard as he is required, and right now, you are not demanding that he take his issues more seriously. Not only will you need to demand that he treat you respectfully, but you will need to continue to demand same each time he slips. The bad news is that you cannot change how he behaves; only he can do that. The good news is that you have full control over your own behavior.

Your cultural background works both with and against you. The Japanese culture values peace and works hard to avoid conflict. This is good because you can tolerate much, and your husband needs a tolerant woman. This is also bad because your husband has taken advantage and has used your tolerance as permission to escalate his abusive behavior.

What surprises me most in my work with alcoholism and drug addiction, is that there is no recognition of the verbal abuse literature! At least in my experience. This is despite the fact that it is generally acknowledged that "rage" (and "shame") is central to addiction. I find a very high proportion of verbally abusive individuals (both male and female) among the recovering addicts I treat. As such, verbal abuse and the concomitant control issues become a focal point in late recovery treatment.

Remember, you are in charge of yourself. It is your life. You ultimately make the decisions you make and are responsible for them. Sit with yourself for a while and ask yourself what you want. All the answers are inside you.

My prayers and very best wishes are with you.

Dr. Irene