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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!

My Blackbelt Protects Me

My Black Belt Protects Me

May 12, 2000

Dear Dr. Irene,
I just found your web site today. A lot of the letters sent to you remind me of my present situation. I've been married almost 5 years, I have 3 beautiful kids. One by my first marriage. 

My husband is verbally abusive, and used to be physically abusive. The last time he hit me was 3 years ago; we got into a argument over the TV remote. He started yelling and calling me names. I had taken so much name calling, I decided to stand up for myself. Well, that time I yelled back, and I was going to leave. As I picked up my daughter, who was just 2 years old at the time, he punched me in the mouth. He said I wasn't taking her. And of course I wasn't leaving without her. 

I held on to her as he tried to rip her from my arms. This made him even madder. I had never seen him like this before. He punched me so hard in the jaw, he knocked me down. He got on top of me and put his legs across my arms to hold me down. My daughter was in the floor beside me. He punched me with his fist over and over. He hit me so hard, I actually thought I was seeing thunder bolts of lightning in my head. Then he put his hands around my throat and choked me until I passed out. I had never been so afraid in all my life! Sad what happens when a victim begins to stand up...

I came to; he was in the kitchen. I grabbed my little girl and headed out the door. I barely could walk. I made it to the car and then to my friends house. She called the police and my mother. I wouldn't press charges. I agreed to go to the ER, where the Doctor told me that my husband almost broke my jaw - and could have strangled me to death. You were lucky!

I felt like it was my fault that he got mad. It's never your fault how somebody acts when they get mad. Even if something you did got them mad! I just wanted everything to be "normal" again. About 2 days later, he and I sat down to work everything out. And he openly admitted he was going to kill me that night. When he was in the kitchen, he was getting a knife. He told me that he would take me back, but if I ever talked back to him again, he would consider me a man and punch my lights out. Yuk.

Well, needless to say its 3 years later and I am still with him. Why? After the fight, I got into Martial Arts. Thanks to my big brother. I have earned my black belt. He doesn't lay a hand on me now. Good girl! But I get yelled at and treated like I am nothing but dirt. You don't have to take this. Put your foot down. I wait on him hand and foot when he comes home. Why? I even lay his clothes out for him. He does nothing around the house. It's pretty clear you resent doing this for him... Because the house was mine prior to our marriage, the house is falling apart. He won't let me get a job; he doesn't want our daughter in daycare. We do not have family close enough to baby-sit. You have the power to stand up to him now. What's stopping you?

I have tried so hard to make this marriage work. You can't do it alone. He has to work at it too. He has no reason to. He has a hand maiden and the only rule is that he can't beat you up anymore. I have lived in verbal Hell now for 5 years, and I cant do it anymore. Good. I have been looking for a job, and I am so scared. I'm not sure what I am afraid of. You are afraid of that which you haven't yet done, as we all are. Your fear will diminish as you face each task you are afraid of facing. And, you will do it. What a track record! A black belt! I have a appointment tomorrow with a lawyer. I don't know how I am going to pay the retainer fee. Your husband should pay it. My husband only gives me $100 after paying the bills each month. That's for groceries and gas for the car. Anything else I need or the kids need comes out of my small child support check. You need to balance the power - as well as the money in this relationship. He has succeeded in taking away many of your resources. He has no right. Plus, your child support check should be going only towards your child.

I don't know what to do. I cant go on like this - not knowing from one day to the next what kind of mood he'll be in. I'm glad you're fed up. This is an intolerable situation; you don't have to be here. About a week ago I met a wonderful guy. He has given me the courage to finally do something about my situation. I want to be with him, but I know I have to get away from my present situation first. So, that's what's given you the courage to make your move now. Be careful! You didn't say much about your first marriage, but you sure made a mistake by getting into this one... You are likely to make the same mistake again. I am afraid. I want a job so I can take care of my kids. Yes. Do that. And keep your paycheck. But it seems like I run into brick walls. I need a job today, but it may be as much as a month until I can get a good job. What should I do? Take a job until you can get a good job. Should I keep on living with my husband until I get a job? Or should I just suck it up and just do the best I can? That's up to you Terri. It's only a matter of time it seems... 

While I am very happy to hear that you are finally taking your power, I am also concerned about going from the frying pan into the fire. Especially when you tell me you met a wonderful guy - about a week ago! Almost everybody is wonderful early on. Especially abusers. If you had antenna to find your current abuser, chances are you've discovered another. You are impulsive. That can get you into trouble.

Advice: Get out, but slow down! You need alone time! 

Thanks for listening! Sincerely, Terri

Terri, let us know how you're doing! My very best, Dr. Irene

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