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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!

An Exercise for Couples in Recovery

An Exercise for Couples in Recovery

January 22, 2000


[You are so right, you can quote me on this, OK, I did.

I would be classed as the victim and my husband the abuser. We went through the stories and sections together. We actually laughed at the verbal abuse sections. Saying to each other "that's you", "that's me". Great! Humor is a wonderful healer! It does help to know were not alone. Yes! I didn't see a lot of exercises , things to try, There are the boundaries section we couldn't match to us. Different strokes for different folks...

I don't know if this will help you or anyone, but here's what we've been doing. There has been progress, actually a lot. Keep in mind not a lot of time - maybe 1 1/2 months but its been peaceful. I feel more at peace. For any couple who has been trying, especially for the abuser who has been trying, do this:

Exercise for Couples in Recovery

Sit down facing each other. The victim needs to explain all the hurts, the helplessness they feel,  give examples, mention the times you cried silently. The abuser needs to try to explain where the abuse comes from, why its feels so important to them, and why something simple can make them so angry that they have to hurt the ones they love.

Then it is very important for both to share what they dream their marriage could be. I like to use the words, "fulfilling, nourishing, comforting, loving, sharing with each other". After we went through that emotional 4-5 hours, I found it extremely important that we started the next day fresh. 

My advise, and it worked for us, is: 

bulletDo not harp on it. You said what you had to say and he/she said what they had to say.
bulletStay focused on the dream and work towards it one day at a time. 
bulletThe abuser does feel they are blamed for everything. Right or wrong, no progress can be made by focusing on it. 

We have agreed to go week by week. 

bullet3 things we were proud and happy about
bullet2 things we should work on for next week. 
bulletThe discussion ends there until next week. 

We don't stop in the middle of the week and start blaming, or thinking we have to rethink our current situation. We wait until our sit down time. That makes for a peaceful week with no emotional roller coasters. 

I also made sure he understood that it was not all him. Don't get me wrong, the abuse is all him, but I know I am not perfect. Yes. There are areas in which I need to work on. Like not always being on the defensive. Other areas like money, my laziness at times, my demanding attitude. These things are issues he has with me. I admit and recognize, and we work together. 

We build each other up and encourage our common goal: which is a good, lasting marriage of equal partners. 

We have made progress. I will let you know how it goes from time to time. The good and the bad. 

Thank you Dr Irene, for caring enough to email me back. I wish I could reply to everybody!  I appreciate what you are doing.  Thank you once again.

Dear Nine Years,

I was very happy to see this email. You two are on the right track. Not only are you taking responsibility for your own life, your husband is too!  Not all abuser people try to... An exercise such as this will only work when there is commitment on the part of both parties. Looks like you have it!

I liked your exercise, so I am posting it.