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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!

Abused Guy Has NO Empathy For Abusers

Abused Guy Has NO Empathy For Abusers!

From: G 
Sent: Sunday, July 04, 1999 11:43 AM
Subject: Abused Judge

Dear Dr. Irene,
Dear G,
I will reply to your message within the body of it...

I am very thankful to you for your site. It has been a great help to me. Here's my story. I got married at the age of 26 in 1987. I had been in a few girlfriend boyfriend relationships but nothing really too deep as I preferred to hang out with the guys, have fun, and party rather than do the "love" thing. I was always a very attractive physically fit person so it was never a problem meeting women or dating. I guess that's  why I wasn't pressed about the issue. Anyway, I married a very  attractive woman and went into it with a positive attitude. In  hindsight, I guess I felt that I was ready to settle down and I really didn't pay much attention to her personality  because I felt she had to be attractive and shapely (how stupid). Not stupid. A little naive, that's all.

That being said, I am still a very easygoing person and I go out of my way to do nice things for people  so I was confident it would work out nicely (sound like a codependency problem). A few months after we were married the verbal abuse and constant attempts at dominance and control began. I went on for 11 years of torture not knowing what to do or what I was up against. I have recently read Patricia Evans book and my wife is pretty much the poster child of abusers. Screaming, name calling, physical attacks, etc.. The most angering thing is that she constantly talks over, buts into, and cuts off your conversation. She does not possess the ability to listen for more than a few seconds without butting in. (Mainly because I have realized that she really could care less about anything other than her own opinion and needs). I have a very bright daughter and I have worked very hard to insure that she does not follow the pattern of abuse. I tried to cope over the years but I had no idea how to deal with it. The odd thing is that I am a very successful, high ranking Judge in the criminal justice system. I am sought out to address national problems and frequently fly around the nation to attend conferences and speak at seminars. And to be honest, she isn't very bright and though she comes from a middle class family, was on public assistance with one illegitimate child when I met her. I really believe she resents my success.  An angry person would find something to resent. If it wasn't your success, it would be something else...

After I read Patricia Evans verbal abuse book it was like the heavens opened and rained life giving knowledge on me. She perfectly fit every profile of a severe abuser. I have since found out that she witnessed her mother do precisely the same things as a child and came to view this as "normal behavior". I'm glad you woke up and realized this is not normal. Your wife makes it easy since she seems pretty extreme.

The problem is this. She is of a different religion and has viciously verbally attacked me many times over that very issue. She has verbally attacked me because I came from a home with a single mother. She has told me that she hated me and would be glad when I die so she can marry someone else. In a nutshell, during her frequent fits of insane rage over the years, there was no limit to the hurtful attacks which she would make. In fact, it was almost as if she dug as deeply as humanly possible into her arsenal of knowledge to hurt and attack. Of course, it was simply good enough to say "I really didn't mean those things, I just said it because I was mad" in her mind. Her mentality is that it's OK to express anger in the most vicious violent way imaginable, then just forget it and move on. No, it is NOT ok in general and it is not OK in particular since it is NOT ok with YOU!

As long as it's her doing it. If I say the slightest thing such as infer that her behavior has severely damaged the feelings I once had for her. That is just as bad as her torturous abuse if not worse because I really mean what I say. I'm glad you finally put your foot down.

She seems to be trying to improve. But there is one major problem (and being a codependent this was hard for me to really face). I HATE HER STINKIN' GUTS!!!!!!! Did anyone ever tell you that HATE is not the opposite of love? Hate is about anger.  By the way, there is no way in the world you should not have the anger that you have. There is also no reason why you should fix it with her. People choose to for various reasons. They may not have the anger you have. The decision to fix it is a personal choice. Also, not all abusers are as extreme as your wife.
I despise the very ground she walks on and I could never love one of these horrible creatures you so clinically refer to as "abusers". I don't want to reconcile a damn thing with her. Then don't. If I never saw her again in life it would be to soon. When she talks about going out to do things together to re-kindle the romance and start over I just want to barf, then scream out HELL NO!!!!  So, scream it!
That's right, I'm sure plenty of people who come to you for help with abusive relationships don't reveal that fact to you or maybe even themselves but I have come to face it. Sure they do. Any therapist starts where his or her client is. I really don't give a crap about her childhood and all of that pyscho-eval stuff anymore.  No reason to.


 I think you should realize that when you try to get a victim of abuse to reconcile with his or her abuser after years of horror it's like asking a holocaust victim to reconcile with an  abusive murderous guard from Auschwitz. Often enough, there is just too much water under the bridge. Get out.


Very few humans can summon that kind of forgiveness. Especially when I realize that had I not found a way to address the abuse. She would have been perfectly comfortable abusing me for life. Yes. Without an ounce of regret. Why, because abusers don't care a smidgen about their victims, only themselves. Correct. Even more correct: They are so preoccupied with their own stuff, unless you scream very loudly, they haven't  realized you've said anything! By the way, this explanation is not offered as an excuse for your wife's mis-behavior. There is no excuse. It is just is the way it is.


So why should I or other victims have any reason to work things out? You don't. What you choose to do with your life is your option. 

I love your site,  but this whole idea of trying to "work it out" with these nutcases leaves a bad taste in my mouth. The wanting to work it out part comes from the client.  No therapist would take it upon him or herself to dictate that kind of choice! 


How's this for advice to abusers from a Judge's  perspective. In writing tell them how revolted you are by their behavior, and them as a human. Then with a big smile on your face, LEAVE. Do not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars. Not bad. It would give you a bit of a thrill, and that is exactly what it would take that to get some of them to wake up. My interest in having them wake up, independent of what their partner does, is that I am happy to see anybody decide that they have had it and want to work at being the best they can be.

So keep that in mind when working on this issue. I believe that in many instances the victim can't and doesn't want to reconcile with the abuser. True. Where did I say otherwise??? (I never have, my friend. So thouest is putting words into my mouth. Watch it-eth, OK?)


That the anger and bitterness is so deeply rooted that there is literally no hope for reconciliation. In fact, the victim probably feels even further abuse by having to "work it out" as if they did something "wrong". The Jews were not asked "work it out" with the Nazis were they? I feel as though this whole "work it out" mentality with abusers by the  psychology community is just a way to make it more palatable to the  abuser. Whoa ... what "work it out mentality"? We are consultants. Period. We help you accomplish your ends. We advise you if we think something you are doing is not in your favor. But, we respect that your life is just that, your life. Yes, you need to deal with your anger, but not for the sake of your abuser. You need to deal with your anger for your sake! Otherwise, you will carry it around like a heavy load wherever you go. It will get in the way of your life! The only reason you ever work anything out is for yourself. Period. End of Story.


So they won't reject the truth. They really are bad people. You are so angry, you are twisting stuff here. Some are "bad" people, i.e., sociopathic, others are spoiled by partners who never put a foot down... 

Often horrid selfish individuals with the conscience of a rattlesnake.  Some yes, most no. I guess it's your job to feel for them but as an eleven year victim, I have no empathy for those who would so intentionally do everything to destroy the lives of others. Nobody can destroy your life unless you let them. You didn't have to put up with her crap for 11 years. You did it because you didn't know what else to do. Unwittingly, you made a choice.

You know Doc, maybe being in criminal law all of these years and seeing the callous disregard for human lives that I've witnessed has eroded my ability to feel for the perpetrator. This is an example of "baggage." Don't confuse the sick people you work with with all abusive individuals. Nothing is black and white; there are shades of gray. But I think secretly, a lot of abuse victims which you counsel feel the same way. I think if you dig deep enough, you'll find this out. I already know that. It is called "anger", "rage." Part of the territory and part of what needs to be worked out by the victim during recovery. I have yet, in fact, to meet a victim who was not angry! (And if they think they are not, then we have work to do...) 

Rage is a stage in recovery. Some victims unfortunately get stuck here. When women do, they often become the misguided feminists who bash men and politicize issues that are not political. I have written a bit about that here. You are a man. Same difference. Be careful to work through your anger. If you don't, you are likely to over-react to others in your environment out of your own stuff. Take your power. Don't ever let anyone step on you again. But don't become a rage-spouting member of "them" in the process. Maintain your self-respect. Take a lesson from the Godfather. Marlon Brando did not need to speak loudly to be heard.  (The last of the Gentlemen bad guys?)

I doubt if you'll put this letter on your website because I have said a few things that conflict with your directions and intentions for solution of this problem. On the contrary, I love controversy - I particularly love your letter! I picked yours to answer out of a mess of others for exactly that reason...

 Am I the exception, or the rule.    (Let me know-I'll make this into a column!)
OK! Come visit your url - it should be up within an hour or so of when you get this, slightly cleaned up & slightly anonym zed, with email address intact...

Thank you for your good work, G
Thank you G!  -Dr. Irene

Take a look at G's next thought-provoking email: on "bad" people