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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!

Its a Doozy

Its a Doozy!

OK, I made a mistake.  I admit it.  And its a doozy.  And now I have a little girl and a crazy husband. 

The divorce is filed, and the restraining order is granted.  Now my problem is: he won't let go.  This man does not feel empathy or remorse.  The only reason he changes his behavior is if it causes him pain.  He will not give up on me being his wife.  Not because he loves me (although he says he does), but because I'm something he's being denied. 

He comes to the house for some inane, "harmless" reason and it ends up being a soliloquy of how much he loves me and doesn't want the divorce, and he wants his family.  When he sees that he's getting nowhere with me, he turns angry.  "Why are you doing this to me?", "Why are you being mean to me?", "We have a little daughter!"  On and on.  

He has a cycle he goes through every time I see him.  He's talky, talky, like everything's ok. When I'm not excited enough or lovey-dovey, he gets mad and wants to know what "my problem" is.  I try to make non-committal sounds (because I know what's coming up).  He gets madder and madder at what I'm "doing" to him. He demands I give him a chance and trust him even though he's a HUGE liar. (Even with really stupid lies that are extremely easy to check up on - the man wrote me a bad check last week!) Then he starts telling me I can't do this to him, and I can't keep him from his family, etc, etc.  Than he comes around and says how sorry he is for saying/doing all these things. Promises and tears follow. He's hurting since he's not getting what he wants - not because he's sorry for the pain he's causing me!  All this goes on within the space of an hour or so.  Most of this time, I'm silent. And, like I said, every time I see him we go through this - about every day; the guy will not stay away!  

Sometimes he'll really get my goat, usually by telling me I'm a bad Mom, or something to that effect, and I'll verbally waste him.  But, most of the time I just say, "OK, alright, if that's what you believe, We'll talk to Dr. So-and-So about that, the psychiatrist he sees for his anger and impulse control problem. He is such a consummate liar, I hope his doctor can see through this stuff. He's still going through tests. 

I don't want to keep him from his daughter, I truly believe he wouldn't physically hurt her.  But, I can't handle worrying all the time about when he's going to call or show up at the front door.  If I ignore the call, he comes over.  If I ignore the door, he calls and calls, and gets angrier and angrier.  If I answer the door, I am pretty much held hostage until he cycles through.  And quite frankly, I'm tired of keeping my mouth shut. But, if I tell him what I really think, I'm afraid of his reaction.  He has been violent before. 

So what do I do?  Like I said, I have a restraining order, but what kind of line do I draw?  I feel funny about calling the police because he's talking me to death.  Don't get me wrong, I've called the police several times before when he forced his way into the house or wouldn't let me leave with our daughter.  But because he won't shut up?  I'm wishy-washy about this because I know how the cycle always goes, and if I play my cards right, he goes away with the misguided notion that there's hope-BUT AT LEAST HE GOES AWAY!  Not by anything I've said, but by what he "heard" in my silence.  

If I'm continually combative and telling him "No", and "Leave," he gets violent and I'm scared all the time.  If I keep my mouth shut and let him think whatever he wants to think, he's misguided, but I'm not as frightened.  I do not lie to him. I tell him often, "You become a totally different person, and we'll go from there.  I don't want to live with you the way you are and I don't want to live with a work in progress (referring to his psychotherapy - which so far is a wash)".

I could tell him, "I never want to be with you again" and he would think, "She loves me because she doesn't want me dead."  Oops, you know what?  I have said that, and he did think that.  AAAaaarrrggghhh! 

I'm basically a pretty nice person, but this is turning me into a real bitter bitch  who sees things in very black and white terms.  HE'S TURNING ME INTO HIM!  Don't blame him. You're the only one turning you into him! At least when I'm dealing with him.  How long before this rubs off into my dealings with other people?  

In re-reading this, I can see how it might seem as though I just upped and changed my mind about this marriage business and didn't give him a chance. Well, he's had plenty and has done plenty to destroy any hope of life together.  From lying to me constantly, to destroying my property that had any connection with life before him, to trying to rape me when I denied him sex (I was pregnant and sick, and tired, and NOT INTERESTED), to not letting me sit quietly without demanding (yes DEMANDING) that I tell him what I was thinking, for getting angry at me for going somewhere with my mother for the day, for my not bringing anything back for him after being with my mother for the day ("Didn't you even think about me today?"),  for constantly berating me for not telling him that I loved him enough, or showed him enough affection, for getting pissed out of his mind because I didn't include a card with the present I got him for his birthday, for constantly rubbing my arm when I had phlebitis and then laughing and saying he just wanted to hold my hand, and "What's your problem, anyway?"  I could go on and on.  He is manipulative, passive-aggressive and just plain MEAN.  Did I defend myself enough? 

Now, what do I do?  -Agnes

Dear Agnes,

You take responsibility and you learn to set limits. You've already come a long, long way. You've got his number, you got him out, and your divorce is around the corner. Good for you!

But you seem so understandably angry and traumatized right now, you can't see up from down. There are tools at your disposal that you don't use, like the restraining order. I could recommend steps to take, but I am reluctant since I think you will need ongoing guidance to implement any steps. I don't want you to mis-implement advice and end up feeling even more stuck, angry, and worn out than you feel now!

You've been through Hell. You're hurting lots. Get into counseling so you have some support in getting him off your back - and so there are no more "doozies."

Good luck to you,   -Dr. Irene