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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!

Don't You Want a Partner?

Don't You Want a Partner?

From: Gillian

Sent: Monday, May 24, 1999 5:20 PM

Subject: E-Mail Advice Subject

Dr. Irene,

So glad to see your website.  I have learned quite a bit!!  I wish I could tell you more but I am dealing with an abusive partner.  I have been with Ted for about 3 1/2 years - We have been engaged for over a year.  He does have some issues to deal with - I have a four-year degree and a good job.  I asked him one day if he was jealous of me (this was after a very BAD verbally abusive evening)  he admitted that he was - he said that he was jealous because of my job and my degree.  I told him that jealousy was NOT A PART OF LOVE.  I hope he continues to work on this.  I am a very strong person.  I believe in what I say.  At the beginning of the relationship, Ted would say or make terrible comments about me.  He was trying to trick me into giving him affection or love.  All he had to do was ask me.  But, to get to my response was this ( and I was very stern)  "THAT WAS NOT A VERY NICE THING FOR YOU TO SAY TO ME.  I AM EXPECTING AN APOLOGY".  Ted knew what he said, he knew that it wasn't' right and he also knew that it hurt my feelings.  He was very surprised that I said that.  I think his other girlfriends would be "dramatic" and give him the response that he wanted.  I TOLD HIM WHAT I WANTED.  Did he apologize? - yes he did!!!  And, I also told him to never speak to me that way again.  It seems that when one issue is brought up in a verbal abuse situation - they seem to find "other" topics to go along.  For example, Ted would always make a comment that I had a boyfriend.  It disturbed me that he said it so many times - you know, he was just "joking".  When that round ended, he found another way of manipulating me - by sleeping in another room.  He is a light sleeper and he also has a bad back.  He would do this every once in a while - I didn't mind - his back would get better and he would get some sleep.  Now, I have asked him to return to the bedroom with me and he will not go.  He says that he sleeps better in there (in the other bedroom without me).  Is it normal for verbal abusers to find other ways to manipulate you when you have gotten over other subjects?  Is it normal that someone verbally abusive would manipulate me to get my attention. ( you know, like a little kid getting into trouble - to get attention?)  Please just a short reply to me - I would really appreciate it.  I love your website - I am going to book mark it!!!    Gillian

Dear Gillian,

YES YES YES! You will notice the same manipulative process occurs over and over again. As soon as one topic is resolved, a new one replaces it.

You sound like a lady with lots of stuff together. What are you doing with this guy? Wouldn't you rather have a partner?

Dr. Irene

Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 1999 9:25 PM Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 1999 9:25 PM Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 1999 9:25 PM Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 1999 9:25 PM Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 1999 9:25 PM

Subject: Re: E-Mail Advice Subject: Re: E-Mail Advice Subject: Re: E-Mail Advice Subject: Re: E-Mail Advice Subject: Re: E-Mail Advice

Dear Dr. Irene,

So glad to see your message - I really appreciate the kind words of "got a lot of stuff together!!!"  - A very nice way to make my day!!!

I do believe in my heart that I do have a partner - but I have made measurable steps in letting him know that the relationship will be in despair - if not already.  We were talking the other day ( Ted is very expressive and will talk - I consider that a wonderful trait!!) and I mentioned why the abusive comments were made to me - he couldn't remember them - or, I just didn't know how to take it - I made the comment of "when my reputation is at stake - I don't have to take it".  That is what all I had to do.  He then realized what kind of situation it made.  He asked if I thought about leaving him then - I did not respond (silence always agrees)  - he was very shakin.  I told him that if he wanted me closer - kind words do the trick - to make me pull away I told him to keep it up.  I also told him that he better make a very good and wise decision!!!  I was not the one to make the decisions in the relationship to make it last - he was going to have to do it.  Another thing I pointed out to him when he would make the "you probably have a boyfriend" comment - I would tell him - "Look, you are sleeping with someone who is cheating on you (me) it doesn't make you look very good to be with someone who is fooling around on you.  If you feel that I am doing this - then maybe you should not date me anymore. His response was - go ahead leave!  I told him that I knew I wasn't doing anything wrong - he was saying that I may be doing something wrong - he needed to make the decision in his own mind.  Of course, looking at me and making him "ACCOUNTABLE" for his words made him realize what a true ass he sounded like.  I think Ted has some self-esteem issues.  The comments have stopped after I cornered him.  (In a very nice way).  I also told him that when I get married, I want to  be with a real man - a real husband.  His parents have been married over 40 years - do you think they sleep in seperate beds. His answer? "no" - I told him he better think about it again.  Sometimes they way to deal with partners who are trying to get your attention in a wrong way is to ignore them.  They learn that it is OK to ask for what they want.  Ted just needs a little reassurance every now and then that asking for something isn't going to get him into trouble!!!!  I know that some women who are with abusive partners cannot hold their own.  I truly feel sad for them.  My father was an alcoholic my whole life.  I learned late in life that happiness is a choice and I have a choice to be with someone who is going to be nice to me.  If they are not, then I am going to leave.  I practiced this with my father about 3 times and believe me - he got the hint.  I don't want anyone to feel sorry for me.  I would not be the strong person that I am without not having being raised the way I was.  I learned to stand on my own two feet.  Yes, it was a little hard but I wanted to feel better about myself - someone else is not going to do that.  Enjoy the company that you keep - don't rely on it for your self-esteem.  It only makes you feel more lonely. 

Can you suggest any books on some of these things?  I have heard the book "The Good Marriage" is a great book suggested by a friend before getting married.  Please note me on anything that I have written.  Also, I hope some of the points of view are credible to some of your readers.  Please use them if you wish!!


I guess you would rather have a little boy you can fix. -Dr. Irene