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4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

3/23 Interactive Board: He's Changing... I'm Not...

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1/14 Interactive Board: My Purrrfect Husband

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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!

Dragging Her Down

Dragging Her Down


From: Maritta
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 1999 5:03 PM
Subject: E-Mail Advice

Please, I need advice on verbal abuse:
Last year I was a volunteer at a drug recovery center and met this young man (younger than me).  After some time, we both fell in love and started dating.  After a few months of dating and finding myself alone since my son was going away to college and all my family lives in another country, we decided to live together.  This person has a lot of anger within himself due to the fact that his parents divorced when he was six years old, he was sexually molested by one of his mother's boyfriend's brothers and led a teenage life of drug addiction.  He has  two sides, the angry side and the very kind, caring, loving and wonderful side.  

At the beginning of our relationship when the angry side came out for the first time, his verbal attack was something out of this world as I had and have never in my life heard such things said to me like "f----n bitch, etc" or called any names related to that nature, that I lead a sorry-ass life, that what I need is a corn-flakes toy of a man, that I think like a white person (I am Hispanic, educated and make good money and I am a U.S. citizen).  I was slammed against a wall, thrown to the floor.  I did not know how to defend myself from these insults because if I did, it would aggravate things.  Then, his good side would show up, and, of course, I would forgive him just because he would tell me he loves me.   About three months into the relationship he relapsed into drugs again (he is not an everyday user anymore) but he has done drugs every two months I would say since we started the relationship.  For two days after his relapse, which is the time that his fury lasts, he becomes verbally abusive, angry, etc.  But still, I forgave him and kept on going with the relationship.  When his good side takes over he works hard and is dedicated.  

Anyway, to make my story shorter after all his verbal abuse and attacks against me for almost a year now, I am running on thin threads.  I don't care anymore what he says, but whenever we had arguments I have picked up his same pitch and I answer back (I don't like myself being angry and saying things that hurt) because I was not raised that way.  Throughout our relationship I always asked him to seek help to get whatever troubles him out of his system in order to have a healthy relationship.  He never did.  

For the past two months he has been kind because we have not argued -- all it takes is an argument to set the bickering off.  My son is back from school for the summer.  He has been raised with the highest standards  and I don't want him to know or see what kind of person his mother is living with.  This person I am living with not only has turned me into something I don't like, but he has no manners.  So, two weeks ago, I decided to kick him out of my apartment and threw his things out the door one Sunday evening that he came home drunk at midnight and then expected to go out partying some more when I told him why would he want to go out some more if he was already drunk and probably who knows what else.  I gave him an ultimatum that if he went out again he would stay out and that this time was for good.  He walked out and left.  Right there and then I threw his belongings out.  But he still calls me constantly, he twists things that I have never said, he tries to control my life.  He holds me hostage at my apartment when I ask him to leave, he calls me every dark, dirty name there is out there.  By the way, he says he is checking himself today at some recovery program again because he says he needs to change.  The only problem is that I don't know  whether he will change and that I don't understand the love he has for me, it is so unreal, but on the other hand I don't know what to think anymore.  Please e-mail me with your advice. tks.

Dear Maritta,

This man has too many problems, and you have let him drag you down. I'm surprised the staff at the center did not discourage you from getting involved with an addict in early recovery! Step programs strongly discourage any dating the first year.

First he needs to deal with the chemical dependency. It doesn't matter if he doesn't use every day. He is an addict who binges. He can NEVER use. He is also an anger addict. I'm really sorry about what happened to him as a child, but it is his responsibility to take care of himself now. It is your responsibility to take care of yourself and your child. You have compromised your self-respect enough! Good for you for throwing him out.

He can say whatever he wants, what do you care? So what if he twists your words? He is just trying to engage you emotionally. Don't. Do not let him into your home, do not talk to him, do not accept phone calls (hang up immediately), send back any mail. If he bothers you, call the police. He is harassing you. Get a restraining order if you must. He has already hurt you.

Do not believe that he is OK when he is done with rehab. He is not. Do not try to help him; he will manipulate you, and you will enable him. Recovery is a process that takes many years. Work on your own recovery. Attend ALANON meetings. Get on with your life; you have too much to lose.

My very best wishes, Dr. Irene


Thank you for your prompt response.  It has boosted my spirit and made me feel better about myself.  Maritta