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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!

Not Crazy: Beautiful!

I'm Not Crazy! I'm Beautiful!

November 17, 2002

Dear Doc,

I found your site in September 2002. I was so relieved yet very amazed to find so many people who understand what I've lived through for more than half of my life with my husband.   My father was also abusive, verbally to me, and physically to my mother.  My first real relationship of which I have 2 children, that partner was verbally and physically abusive.  My husband and I have 4 children, married for 22 years, and separated 3 years now. 

We live in a small town where everybody knows everybody and knows everybody's business.  But something in this was so puzzling to me that no one seemed to know the person I lived with.  He was totally different once he left out of the house.
The abuse started about one month after we were married.  I couldn't believe what I was experiencing.  I knew it felt bad.  But I didn't know it was abuse.  I mean he didn't "cuss" me that much.  Somehow that's what I thought verbal abuse was. 
One day, about 19 years later, a co-worker told me about Evans' Book The Verbally Abusive Relationship.  After reading it, I had no doubt that what I was experiencing was definitely verbal abuse. It brought me to tears.  Finally someone understood.  In the town we live in, people don't believe its abuse unless its physical.  This was much worse.
The name calling was so intense all of the time, ie, stupid, crazy, no common sense, ignorant, etc.  Then there were the put downs. I couldn't look right, act right, speak right, nothing I did was right.  I was so afraid when we were around other people that I would say or do something wrong and anger him.  He was always angry.
 He deprived us emotionally, socially, spiritually, financially and every way.  If there was one thing he loved, it was his money.  But we loved him nonetheless.
I could always hide myself in my children because he would spend no time with me.  But one after the other grew up and went their own way.  A time in life when my husband and I should really enjoy each other.  He, however, had other plans.  He had a female friend whom he was set on keeping no matter what and said he wanted me out of his house.  I loved him.  I wanted him.  I wanted to stay with him.  I tried so many things just to make him love.  That's all I ever wanted.  I was very stubborn about leaving, and the abuse intensified to a level that was unbearable.  I felt I had no choice but to leave.  So I did.  This was in 1999.
It was the toughest thing I've ever done, so I thought.  The pain was devastating at times.  The only time I felt that kind of pain before was when my father died.  A friend helped me to realize that I was going though a grieving period which was necessary to heal.
After 3 years the uncertainty of what I face from day to day is very scary.  But I face it.  My husband and I have tried to reconcile at least 4 different times, but he refuses to change.  I still love him which makes staying on my own the toughest thing I've ever done.  But for the first time in my life, no one is abusing me!  I am 45 years old. It  took leaving my husband to realize I'm not crazy.  I'm special. I'm beautiful.  I now surround my self with positive people, and do positive things for me.  My one resolve is this: No one will ever treat me that way again.  I will not allow it. Nobody's son is good enough for that!
I am still married, but found the courage today to tell my husband I want a divorce.
Its funny how things work sometimes.  If he hadn't forced me to leave him, I would never know what life is like without abuse.  I tell ya, I know I have a long way to go, but I will get there. 
My heart goes out to all the women/men who are still struggling with the decision to leave or stay with their abusive partner.  I had to turn loose something that I had always believed in...that , marriage is forever (of course it should be).  I don't think the God in heaven wants me to be in a situation that was literally killing me.
Dr. Irene, thank you so much for this site. It has helped me tremendously.  If anyone would like to reply to me I would love to hear it.

Dear Beautiful, And my heart goes out to you! Thank you for sharing your tale of heartbreak, courage and growth! My very warmest wishes, Doc

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