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4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

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Clarify Some Points Doc

Clarify Some Points, Doc

June 27, 2000

Dr. Irene,

Let me begin by saying that your site has been of great help. I am a verbal abuser, and am struggling to end this behavior. I have found next to no help on the internet for abusers besides your site, and while I don't agree with ALL your advice, I have found the majority of it extremely valuable and helpful. What do ya mean you don't agree with ALL my advice! I know everything! (And, of course, even that which we do not agree with can be valuable - sometimes more than that which we agree with!) And, sometimes my advice may not be suited for you.

I have three short questions that I hope you will answer as I feel they may be of use, not only to myself, but other abusers. And victims and mixed types too!

First, below is a quote from your site. It seems to state - without exception - that an abuser can not stop, at least within a relationship where abuse has already taken place. No. However, in other areas of the site you state that an abuser who truly wants to stop (who would rather jump off the roof than continue, I think you said) can end the abusive behavior. Yes. Can you clarify this? Yes.

"If you go back with your abusive partner, it is only a matter of time before the relationship goes right back to where it was, or becomes worse. Know that you will wake up one day and find yourself in the same hole you are in today, but deeper."  This was written to a victim  trying to find the strength to stay out of his or her abusive relationship. The above is what will almost certainly happen when a victim listens to promises, but nothing has really changed, e.g., the abuser is not in treatment and/or the victim has not learned new skills. I will make a note to go back and edit that page to clarify. Good point.

Secondly, are there any books (or other sites) out there that are specifically written to help the verbal abuser change his or her behavior? I have looked at your list, but they seem to focus mainly, in many cases entirely, on the victim. I don't agree with you. Go back to the Bookshelf. Look at the books on codependency and boundaries, spirituality and personal growth, anger management, assertion skills, and about the abuser. All these books deal with abuse issues whether or not "abuse" is what they target. In several of my Abuser Pages articles, I recommend a number of specific books, and I think I clarify the link to the abuser's recovery, even if the book was not written for abusers. Also, reading a victim book or two is an excellent idea, especially The The Verbally Abusive Relationship , to see what it looks like from the other side. After all, knowledge is power. 

As for sites, you probably know more than I do. Look at the Links 1 and Links 2 pages. My readers have sent many of these urls, and I encourage readers to email any sites they find useful.  

And third, what sort of questions can I ask of a therapist to see if he/she has a good grasp of verbal abuse and will be an effective aid to the abuser? (I do realize that choosing a therapist encompasses many variables, but are there any areas of knowledge or type of philosophy that I should look for that are more favorable to his or her effectiveness in treating this specific type of problem?) Ask if they know who Donald Dutton and Patricia Evans are. Ask if they teach anger management, and if they go beyond it. Also, my opinion - and this is opinion, not fact - a therapist with a cognitive-behavioral orientation is likely to yield results more quickly because they actively teach you the cognitive, verbal, and emotional skills you need to learn.  

I hope you can answer these for me. Thank you again for the website.  Aron  Thank you for writing Aron. Dr. Irene