Comments for Catbox 12

Comments for Catbox 12

Material posted here is intended for educational purposes only, and must not be considered a substitute for informed advice from your own health care provider.

Courtesy of Dr. Irene Matiatos   Copyright© 2000. The material on this website may be distributed freely for non-commercial or educational purposes provided that author credit is given. For commercial distribution, please contact the author at

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B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, November 19, 2000


Dear Asha, Yeah the hard work we are doing won't go to waste. You seem a lot further on in the journey than me. Keep with your own feelings. I wish I could get there. I think I still want to create change in the other person too much at present.

I guess with the dog and everything else it is about wanting to work out a compromise because its what you want for you and not in order to keep someone else happy at your own expense. But if keeping them happy is what you decide you want for you then that is o.k. I think. I am not feeling too clear about all this codependency stuff at the moment.

I haven't managed to start my course yet. I tried today but it just felt like I needed to feel a little more healed first.

Your and Steve's political differences remind me of my and my husband's religious differences. I believe in God and Jesus and he believes in nothing. We argued for years. But one area we did start to agree on was that we couldn't argue about religion. There was no point anyway as neither of us was going to change the others views. It took us about 5 years to work out this just was a subject on which we had to agree to differ. But on the other hand what Steve said although I am not sure what it means as we don't have the terms 'redneck and pinko' does sound offensive not just to you but to anyone.

I wish that I knew the answer to whether someone in your situation should stay close to the kids. Gut reaction is not to get too close in that situation unless it really is going to be a continuing relationship or you are just one more person who lets them down?

These are just my thoughts not trying to tell you what to do.

Sending good thoughts and peaceful vibes etc. to you too. And prayers

I actually went to a sort of church meeting tonight, In a cafe and mostly friends playing the guitar. I was totally gobsmacked when one of the guys there said he knew what codependency was. That is the first English person apart from a counselor who has among close friends. It seemed a sort of relief to talk to someone face to face who wasn't a professional and didn't dismiss what I was saying.

He was so great about my daughter too. Made me feel hopeful. He and his wife do have contact with her and he knows that she is out of line at present. The most healing thing in the world is to have someone acknowledge your pain. My daughter accepted a gift from me through my husband today so I hope we will have a thaw soon. Please God!

And no Sunday argument! If only it could always be like this except now I get the oven cleaned for me and the hoovering done....I wish I knew what that was all about. Inspired today I started to dust and that seemed well received so I am going to take it as a genuine desire to be helpful even if it isn't. I shall just determinedly misunderstand the whole thing! Somewhere today I realized that it was a matter of thinking through to what the most likely answer I will get, positive or negative before I open my mouth but I shouldn't have to live like this.

Never mind. The depression and I fought a battle and I won! Feeling normal and sane again.

Lynn now i am calling the book controlled by laundry and cleaning the oven.

Dan, when you came back you started to do lots of helpful things. What would you say is really behind all my husband's housecleaning? Or Steve. I just wondered what a guy would think.

Love, Jay



B1: Submit
Date: Monday, November 20, 2000


Dear Dr Irene and all of the Cat box,

Lynn here. Did you think I moved away? Nope. Just been busy. Tried to do the hoovering and broke the vacuum. Dan did get my bathtub installed and WOW! It's great. The first real soak I've had in years. That certainly makes life better. The comfort is super. The old tubs are square and to lounge one needed a pillow. Plastic ones didn't last, so I started using zip lock freezer bag to cushion my head. It's nice to have a slope and a tub deep enough to cover my body.

Next stage of Heaven. We took out all the Christmas stuff to try and make up a box for a couple who needed tree trimmings. I collect ornaments. Preferably old hand made. Like the kind the kids made in school. A special treat is when they are autographed. Well, I managed to pack 4 "bushel" boxes and didn't make much of a dent. It's been a good year for ornaments. 2 Auctions and friends mother died and he gave me all of her stuff. I've spent days going through them. Bliss.

Dan tried to post last night and I came in and rudely interrupted him. He accidentally hit reset and there it went....... I was making some dog biscuit cookies and the dog ate them. Paint and fake snow and all. I fed her a couple of tums. She is fine.

I got a phone call the other night from an old friend of mine I hadn't heard from in 8 or 9 years. Isn't it funny? You can pick up the conversation where you left off. We hope to meet her for a few minutes after Thanksgiving. We're going Thursday and won't be back until Sunday.

Welcome Anne. Theressa, yes you and I do do letters. I still enjoy writing to people, too. AJ, it sounds like things are good with you. Becky. Things are sounding better with you. Asha, hello and same to Steve if you are out there somewhere. Jay, get writing. There has to be a publisher somewhere. Good luck. B, Thanks. I think I got there. Astrid, how are ya?

Dr. Irene, you asked me way back.... I just read it yesterday .... why I cared so much. I never took our relationship lightly. I tried to work on it and gave my best, because I know what the rewards can be. I felt like the more I tried though, the more Dan fought me. Like if I was right, he was wrong. It didn't start working until I gave up caring what the outcome was/is. Right. 

It really isn't a matter of life and death that we make "a go of it." If he couldn't, well I had to know that I gave my all. I think I did and then decided the rest is up to him. Either he comes on this journey to old age with or without me. Que Sera Sera. Now he is.

I even got mad at LOCO last night and the guy tried to defend him. I caught LOCO red handed, actually black pawed as he was digging up a plant in my bathroom. Dan jumped in and said it couldn't be LOCO as he was with Dan. I just caught the stinker and yelled at him and he ran to Daddy. Then I bit Dan's head off! One sentence, but... Giggle! (Dan: What's going on with you buddy?)

The mice have moved somewhere. Good! I don't need little gourmet critters delivered to me. We have a neighbor trapping stray (and any) cats in those spring traps. Dan called the cops today, but I've sent bad vibes his direction. The creep! Once, just once in my life I want to set a bear trap and catch one of those sob's and let them set out all night hurt and captured and don't get me going. I could do criminal acts very easy in a case like this.

Happy Thanksgiving to ALL of you. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and even those that don't celebrate the Holiday. Stuffed roasted trout for Trubble and my best to all of you.

Love and Prayers and pleasant days ahead,


B1: Submit
Date: Monday, November 20, 2000


Anybody out there? Well, I haven't been. First time I'm able to get on site is today, the 24th - and I don't know how long it will last. Big time problems with "connectivity" as Microsoft puts it. No back up computer either. But, there is a new one on order for early December... Meanwhile....


B1: Submit
Date: Monday, November 20, 2000


Asha here. Hello to all who are able to find this new link. I thought it was awfully silent here, but it looks like the link from Dr. I's main page goes to catboxes 11 and so that's why it looked like no-one was responding. Thus my above post. It's fixed now.

I could really use some more feedback on the dog, political, and kids stuff that I mentioned in catbox 11 and how healthy couples deal with this sort of thing. Comments anyone? Healthy couples respect each other's differences, don't impose them on each other, each feels free to think what they think. Neither person feels less "loved" for not "agreeing." There is no intimidation, no being "punished," etc. for disagreement. Healthy couples can poke fun at the differences, but there is no malice.

Jay - I like what you said about working out a compromise because it is what you want for you and not in order to keep someone else happy at your own expense. It's tricky because I'm sure even really healthy couples have areas where compromise isn't simple. But then I really believe also that if a couple is motivated to work things out they'll find some sort of creative solution. Maybe pinpointing the source of the problem i.e. what is it that *really* bothers you about the dog in the bedroom - dog hair, lack of privacy etc. and working on the specifics would maybe help. As for political/religious stuff, I know you can't change people so maybe it's a matter of how these beliefs translate to real life, and whether your partner's behaviors in these realms encroach on boundaries you have for yourself. For myself, I want to view politics with a certain "lightness" (as opposed to heaviness) and not get too threatened or over concerned about it. If there is an issue I can do something about, then *do* something about it, but don't get wrapped up in those issues I have no control over. I would like to be able to see humour in these issues, that's why Steve's reaction seemed so heavy and extreme to me. I don't know if this is a "boundary" for me, but it definitely had a "yuck" feeling to me.


I had to mention that when Steve lived here I had mice for a short time and we managed to catch them (cat caught one and we grabbed it - the rest were caught in live traps) and drove them out to the woods in tall buckets. :) I left a stash of peanuts for one. I did end up with a serious problem with them once in another home and had to bring a pest control guy in. He left out poison, which was sad, but I didn't know what else I could do at that point. He also left something I thought was really inhumane - sort of a sticky paper that they get stuck on and die a slow death. I immediately removed all these once the guy left. I haven't had that sort of problem here though.

Take care all - talk to you soon



B1: Submit
Date: Monday, November 20, 2000


Dear Asha

I don't know what happened today but the catbox is slow! I tried to write earlier but then my husband came in and the whole thing got abandoned.

I wish I had more to say about your situation. my mind is a bit slow from overuse at present. I spent a lot of today creating my own website. Well my 13 year old son designed it for me. He understands these things I don't.

My husband who actually works for the firm who write the program we are using and helped design the thing refused to even give a small bit of advice saying he wouldn't be involved.

I can't work out if it was pure meanness of just sick of his job! It could be he wants me to feel it is all mine and my son's effort and make me read the instruction manual.

Sometimes I don't know if I am justifying unreasonable behaviour or acting unreasonably!

I just wondered if the catbox is quiet because it is Thanksgiving on Thursday? Probably. How do you in the US cope with Thanksgiving and Christmas? I can barely cope with Christmas. Good question.

I wish I knew what to think about my daughter. She did ring today to say did I know of any reason why she might faint in the bank! Then she said she didn't want a conversation. So I just gave her the information that she should check for anemia and checked she had seen the doctor and said 'goodbye.'

Anyway, I am leaving the mobile on in case it is a thaw. She accepted some nail files for her beauty therapy course from me via my husband yesterday. So maybe there is a thaw.

I spent some of today on my codependency correspondence course. Trying to define co dependent and boy is it hard to do!

Lynn, I have started the book. I am calling it Love and the Laundry.

I feel strong again. I think for me the answer is I can't give up the stupid tablets. I seem to get worse when I try to do so. I am starting to do things again. Feeling like going out and starting to feel like I can do things properly. Like my mind works properly again. I think Dr Irene if you still look in your putting my poem up on your site helped a lot. I have to accept that as something that can't be validated by my husband. :) Not only that, I am honored!  It had to be by me and for me. The thing is I liked the poem enough to feel safe putting it in public without reference to anyone so the validation was initially from within. Other people liking it was a bonus. I didn't need that to feel good about it but then I got outside validation too.

So I think I may be wrong to ask my husband's help with the website. It just gives him another "helpless female' message. Just figure out how to do it yourself. (I even do my husband's site!)

Why do I do that to myself. I know if I need help he won't ever give it so why do I keep on asking?

It would be lovely to wake up whole and healthy and a recovered codependent. I suppose it must happen somehow if we work at it.

love Jay


B1: Submit
Date: Monday, November 20, 2000


Hi all. Steve here. I've been busy. Very.

I've read what Asha posted, and as usual, I feel it was incomplete and very "personalized". Dr Irene may want to consider (with greater weight) the fact that when she responds to these posts, she is not responding to "reality", but to one person's "perception of reality". Nuff said on that. Why keep bringing that stuff up Steve? You think I don't know that?

Asha: "It must be so confusing to them. I don't know what would even be appropriate to tell them since things are so on and off right now, and I don't want to say anything that comes off as negative about their dad."

This concerns me. Now I need to think about the whole thing in a new light. I've completely forgotten about my own boundaries. I'm losing trust in Asha. Everyday, a little bit more. No Steve. You just don't like what she feels. You need to respect her thoughts and feelings, like them, agree with them, or not. And stop reacting so much to her thoughts and feelings. Be your own person and bounce less off her!

Next topic:

I know, that even though you all think this place is anonymous, it's actually not - believe me, I used to work at an Internet Service Provider.

And since Asha is posting things, whether truth or opinion, that sometimes I feel are inappropriate - i.e. beyond my boundaries - I will have to distance myself from her and understand that there is no privacy in our relationship. Looking for excuses to back off Steve? You don't need any. You can back off any time and for no reason.

Asha has already revealed who I am and who she is to the good Dr so I don't believe she feels any desire to respect my wishes on this. And that info stays with me, same as the info in my practice.. 

This is a boundary for me. I want someone who is willing to share a safe sanctuary with me at times. Asha cannot do this. She finds it impossible to respect my needs in this area. I think it's really reached the end of it's wick. You are just looking for "reasons" to back off. Seek and ye shall find.

I really love Asha, but I can't keep my eyes half-closed anymore. And I'm certainly not going to subject my kids to someone who may say something damaging to them about their dad. They've had enough of that from the X (who I might add at this time is becoming much much nicer to me. She appears to have had a revelation.) She loves you Steve. Stop trying so hard to look so good that the truth makes you paranoid. Stop trying to convince yourself and everybody else that you are perfect. It is OK to be human, have faults, etc. You can't have a relationship if you don't first accept all the (normal) imperfections of the self!

Take care all. Keep up the good work.


B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2000



"I used to think my X had big problems with anger. Now her problems seem very small compared to what I see in AK/asha."

"They've had enough of that from the X (who I might add at this time is becoming much much nicer to me. She appears to have had a revelation.)"

Okay - so the theme repeats itself here. Is this designed to provoke, or are you really just feeling like you'd be better off with your x?

Either way, I'd prefer you don't play games with me.

"It must be so confusing to them. I don't know what would even be appropriate to tell them since things are so on and off right now, and I don't want to say anything that comes off as negative about their dad."

Steve - *read* this. I *don't* want to say anything that *comes off* as negative. You read something else into this, but not what I actually meant.

And you're right I won't share your "safe sanctuary" which keeps denial and unhealthy behavior secret. That isn't "safe" for me.


B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2000


Steve here again.

About the political thing Asha mentioned...

Let me give you the history.

On the weekend with my kids, we went to Asha's parents for dinner. It was great. Although...I noted where Asha attempted to draw me into a political debate by mentioning a derogatory newspaper article about what she assumes is my preferred party. Steve, why are you making politics so important! I know, for example, that Bush or Gore don't give a hoot about me. I certainly wouldn't let them become any bigger in my life. Why are you?

I didn't bite. That was her shot number 1. So what?

When we got home after the weekend, while at her house, she started in again about my "preferred" political party.

Again, I didn't bite. Almost though, I was a little off-guard at first. I noted this as shot number 2. Seek and ye shall find.

Then, the email. Shot number 3, right over the bow. Oh please. She's probably mad at you for your pulling away or something. So what? So, she threw a shot. Let it be. Let her. Don't make it more than it is. It will pass. You have feelings, can't she? 

By this time I knew what was going on. She was looking for my buttons. And I'm sure you helped her by presenting them in full dress, saluting her. She was getting desperate because she couldn't find them. What are you kidding? You sound like one huge, shiny button! So the topic-specific email. Again I didn't bite. Instead of responding by "button-proxy", I simply emailed a humorous reply. Very light and obviously tongue-in-cheek.

She got very mad at this. Why? Here's what I think. I think the humorous email was confirmation to her that my buttons were not where she thought they were anymore. You are an expert at twisting stuff when you feel emotionally unsupported. (By the way, it's OK to let your partner be unsupportive. Plus, that's the best and fastest way to turn it around.)

When I finally got through to her on the phone (she was refusing to answer my calls - she has call display), she said she found the email offensive, and I said "It was meant to be funny. But I'm not going to change your 'mind-made-up'." But it wasn't funny. It's become cryptic communication. And she takes you too seriously too.

And I left her to her own choices. That was a good thing I believe. Yes.

So she is mad at me because I didn't "dance the dance". She'll never admit though. She likely still believes I'm the only one with problems. The problems are different. She gets too hung up on appeasing you at her own expense. You get paranoid when she doesn't, inventing how she is "against" you. 

Things are getting clearer. When you can see your own follies, the follies of others become clearer also. No Steve. Asha just has to do what is right for her, despite you. You need to accept what she does without interpreting her acts as "against you." You two are fully back in the CatBox.


B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2000


Asha (to Steve): "And you're right I won't share your "safe sanctuary" which keeps denial and unhealthy behavior secret. That isn't "safe" for me."

You KNOW that's NOT what I meant. Why do you say such things? Actually, never mind. I know why.

Steve  Ugh to both of you. Throwing litter around. Yuk.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2000


Hi guys, Lynn here. Steve, Steve, Steve. Hello there. Glad to hear from you. I have a major question for all and then I'll get back to you.

Trubble, this is for you. Send our friends and helpers because need opinions and input. Hi RealMommy. Problem is FakeMommy's been having mega computer problems. She hopes she'll be able to "save" this page! Very unreliable lately...

I mentioned that we have a neighbor live trapping cats with the spring traps. Short of buying a shotgun and or trapping him testicles in a bear trap I need some suggestions. Dan called the cops and one is a friend and he called back. OK, we have the guy watched and not necessarily under control (we need a dead or wounded cat and a trap to nail him). What we truly need in this county is a Humane Society. SOS SOS and SOS. Maybe it's time I got this lazy behind to work. How and where do I go to get this started???? What I need is a large place, rules, regulations and a whole bunch of stuff (like money). There has to be somewhere to go and start this up.

My aim and goal: One where one doesn't have to put the animals asleep. Dan suggested going to the Town Council meeting. We know the mayor and the police man who knows there is an animal problem in town.

Does anyone have a plan B or an extra $200,000.00 ?? If not cash I would appreciate suggestions.

OK Steve, now that I have my priorities in order. How are you? When we started posting I was worried about being anonymous. Mostly because of Dan's job and secondly from my kids. don't want them to know EVERY detail of their mother's life. After I got to thinking about it I figured that anyone who figured out it was us must be having at least as many problems as us or they wouldn't find us at Dr. Irene's. My next thought was the ones who thought they didn't have problems. To me, they are the ones who REALLY have problems. Working out our relationships should not be counted against us. This should go high on the list as a positive.

Glad to hear from you and Steve, we started on the Couples Book, Getting the Love You Want by Harville Hendrix, tonight. At Dan's suggestion. Had a bit of one today. I asked him to put a 2 X 4 in the window in my bathroom (we are replacing them and this one is smaller than the hole). Translate: Take the window out. Here we go again was my first thought. Second thought, since you have the window out you may as well wash it! I just ignored him. He said he didn't understand me. I refrained from saying how tough is it to understand, "put a 2 X 4 in the corner please" ??? We talked about communicating tonight and agreed that is the priority we need to work on. Hello How are you and what do you want for dinner tonight do not constitute communication on a deep level. And my biggest complaint is Dan's translation of what I said vs. what he thinks I meant when I said it. And, to take your comments with a grain of salt. Not to feel pressured to "fix" everything. I think that's why he feels secretly angry and overwhelmed, so he does nothing or acts out passive aggressively.

OK, we have that bridge to go over. Now Jay, about your daughter. Dan's daughter used to call and ask what was wrong with her. Like did we think she needed her gall bladder removed or could it be a kidney infection? She went through some rough times and didn't take her medication, would go to a therapist and sit and answer in monosyllables (so she told me). Thought another one would be better for her but wouldn't go and was plum crazy for a while, Smarty me and Dan, too, know a lot of what is wrong with her but couldn't "fix" it. It took her a long time to get professional help and stick with it. She has been diagnosed as bi-polar, but..... Sometimes I think she just needs a life of her own without outside (family) influences. And the strength to stand on her own two feet. She finally did make a constructive move and moved away from a lot of the crazy making influences and seems to be doing much better.

Hi Asha, how are you. We're over here at 12 and hiding from you. We got most of my bathroom done. Dan even tried out the new tub. I painted up a storm, too. Raspberry. Bright raspberry. It's loud enough to keep Trubble awake. And Christmas lights around the edges, just because. I need them around the canopy on the bed now. hehehe ^_^

Hi the rest of you. Things are pretty good around here. We're going to have Thanksgiving dinner at my sisters and brother in laws cabin and the next night going to a fancy restaurant for another one and with luck will get in Chinese food (great restaurant) before we come home. We are picking up a dog (Humane Society) for my son and his family and sending him back with my other son and his family. This stuff is normal to me. He found the breed he wants there so we said OK.

My dad is real anxious to see us. 3 days. I'm real anxious to see how well I handle this. If I come home screeching, well, that's normal, too.

And for you guys with out a Thanksgiving, we here usually share both with the out of towners and then we did Thanksgiving here and then went to another of Dan's family for Christmas. The 3rd around here did Easter dinner so we worked it out quite well. We threw a monkey wrench into the works this year as we are ha Thanksgiving with my dad and sister and families. No plans for Christmas, but I'm always ready for the glitz and sequins and lights. I hate the commercial garbage, so we tend to find the funniest or funnest thrift store memorabilia and share with our loved ones.

OK Theressa, one from you and we ought to be on 13. My lucky number. And speaking of lucky or weird or what. I had a ghost visit tonight. I was cooking dinner and Dan was behind me. I turned to ask what he wanted and he was gone. In fact Dan never was. He was in the back of the house and said it wasn't him. Must have been Trubble.

Well Guys, Love to all and Love in the Laundry Room sounds like it might make a good "Soap Opera"


B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2000


Wow - Asha here - no anger, just perplexity.

"Shots 1 and 2" were never intended as "shots". In fact I don't even know what you are referring to Steve. I probably did voice my opinion on political things, but it was certainly never intended to push a button of yours. The last "shot" - emailing you a humorous political article - I thought the article was really funny, and honestly thought you would too. Especially since you had showed me a funny satirical article about the party I sort of support, and *I* found it funny, I just thought you would feel the same.

What happens when your mate thinks you are purposely pushing a button, and you are sincerely *not*? How can you let them know your honest thoughts and intentions? None of this had anything to do with Steve's "buttons". I don't remember the first two "shots" that he was speaking of because I was probably just expressing my opinion, nothing at all to do with Steve's buttons. 

This is a big misinterpretation. Why would I *want* to push your buttons Steve? What good would it do me? Honestly? Steve thinks you are pushing buttons when you are not or when you are getting a point across with humor or when you are mildly annoyed and giving it to him. He doesn't realize that none of this is "wrong," even the last one. You are not perfect Asha. You get angry and will get passive aggressive too from time to time. No matter. It's Steve's job to understand all that and let it ride for whatever reason. When he doesn't, he shoots himself in the foot because he creates problems. Even if you were angry, it is short-lived. If he respected your right to feel how you feel, he wouldn't make a big deal out of it. Problem with Steve is he needs you to affirm him at all times (lest he misinterpret something) out of his own insecurities, which, by the way, have no basis in reality. Steve needs to look at his insecurities, because anything "wrong" with him is OK. Nobody is perfect. Steve needs to stop protecting his imperfections. Only Steve can do it, and, even though he'll be real glad he did, it feels somehow dangerous to do it when you haven't done it. That's why he's so defensive.

It just seems that when I speak freely (without the "Steve-filter") you often feel I am purposely pushing your buttons. I'm just plain *not*, but if I try to control my speech so as to *not* push your buttons, then I give up my right to free speech and this feels just plain yukky. Right. Steve, please, look at your tendency to interpret other people's comments as against you simply because they don't affirm your position. You hurt yourself with this stuff. Not to mention how much energy you waste protecting something that does not need protection!

I'm not mad at you at all because you "didn't dance the dance". I was upset because something I felt we could both laugh at was treated so heavily. For some reason that makes me really uneasy.

We do have very different perceptions of reality lately.

Steve I don't think you are the only one with the problems. I have problems too. I just can't admit to problems I don't believe I have, like intentionally pushing your buttons. I didn't do this, so admitting to it would be lying. Yes I have my follies, but I don't think you are seeing them clearly.

What do you really mean by "safe sanctuary"? Honestly? (not angry here, just curious)

I also still hope to hear an honest answer about whether your intention is to provoke me with comparisons to your x, or are you really just feeling like you'd be better off with her? Stop with the insecurities Asha. Steve loves you. If he is feeling anything towards the ex these days, it is because he is angry with you. Or is there some other reason it's important to mention this?


B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2000


Asha said: "I don't remember the first two "shots".

This worries me. If you can't remember them, even after I described them, then your memory is HIGHLY selective. This was just last weekend Asha. What are you really saying here? Are you sure it isn't some kind of denial mode? Why do I remember perfectly clear as day and you can't? your post...

""Shots 1 and 2" were never intended as "shots". In fact I don't even know what you are referring to Steve. "

...I see that FIRST - you never intended them as shots, and THEN they never really existed in the first place. Interesting. Oh boy... We're off in never never land Steve.

Asha said: "It just seems that when I speak freely (without the "Steve-filter") you often feel I am purposely pushing your buttons. I'm just plain *not*, but if I try to control my speech so as to *not* push your buttons, then I give up my right to free speech and this feels just plain yukky. "

I disagree. You are pushing my buttons when you are pushing my buttons. Agreed. So Steve, if you don't want your buttons pushed, it's your job to fix them. This does not mean avoid them or convince other people to tiptoe around them, because they can't do this indefinitely no matter how they try. It means FIX them as in work them out internally. There is nothing wrong with you Steve other than your fear of accepting that you are a perfectly imperfect human. You're so-called "steve-filter" is your business. I'm not biting on that one either. As for your abdication of your right to free-speech - don't shift that on me. You choose your mode of speech, not me.

Asha: "Why would I *want* to push your buttons Steve? What good would it do me? Honestly?"

Why don't you tell me? What good does it do? Just makes me more distant, maybe that's what you really want??

Asha: "What do you really mean by "safe sanctuary"? Honestly? (not angry here, just curious)"

I cannot respond to a rhetorical question. I'm not interested in these games Asha. 

Asha: "I also still hope to hear an honest answer about whether your intention is to provoke me with comparisons to your x, or are you really just feeling like you'd be better off with her? Or is there some other reason it's important to mention this? "

I did not compare you. I was giving an update to everyone here, that there was a very positive development for myself and my children, and for my X herself. Letting go of her anger and putting her kids first is a major accomplishment from where she was 6 months ago. To me, it is important. To you, probably not.

I do not compare whether I'd be better off with her or you. You both are free to do whatever you wish. I too am free. I want to smell a whole bunch of roses, now that I've smelled some coffee and burnt toast.

Steve  Steve: You are the creator or your own roses or burnt toast. I know the stuff I've said to you will not be easily accepted. Please, please, please, look at it. For nobody's sake but Steve's!

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2000


Another comment about my situation.

I realize that I compromised myself in a negative way my first 3 years with Steve, when he went every other weekend to his ex's hometown to see the kids. He stayed with friends, visited with family, but I was rarely invited. I mentioned this before on the board. It's a touchy issue for both me and Steve. You should have been invited, not each time, but at least from time to time. If the invitation was not forthcoming, it was your job to back away from a man who shut you out of his life with his children.

I guess in the back of my mind I always felt he protected his ex from me, and wasn't sure of the motive. But maybe it was to keep a door open. Just in case... Stop with the insecurities. Even if they are true. You don't know that. Bottom line: you didn't get the opportunity to get to know his kids and for them to know you. You guys were married for Pete's sake!

I don't blame Steve for this because it was me that was silly enough to live this way. Good. In fact at one time his X was out of town and she asked him to house-sit. I could not understand why he wouldn't bring the kids here (after all we lived together!). I did not agree with his decision to stay at her place (obviously without me, maybe it would have been different if we were both invited), but again I wasn't strong enough to set a boundary. So maybe subconsciously, I created an atmosphere that was conducive to keeping Steve's X on the side lines - which wasn't fair to any of us. Right now I'm thinking that I was incredibly naive. Yep. Destructive for you.

The same thing with Steve's parents. I was kept at a certain distance from them. No. You let yourself be kept at a certain distance. When I asked Steve if he was doing this to protect his X he would get very defensive. Of course! Because the insecurity with the ex is of your making. Real or not real. She knew them for many years and I would never have wanted my presence to destroy her closeness with his family. But the fact that I was kept at a safe distance from them was never explained properly. Boy do I feel like a dummy. I think love *is* blind. And probably deaf, and dumb too.

Sorry for sounding negative. Guess I'm showing my buttons. I don't think I'm engaging. (not on purpose anyway) Just angry at myself for my naivety. OK.


B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2000


Asha: "I guess in the back of my mind I always felt he protected his ex from me, and wasn't sure of the motive. But maybe it was to keep a door open. Just in case... "

You are so wrong. I'm with you on this Steve.  

I already posted a long expletive on this. Maybe you could find it. Anyway, that door has ALWAYS been open - not because I left it open. You know that. You know she wanted me back for a long time, and maybe she still does. But that's not the issue here. Perhaps I could walk through that door - or any new previously-unexplored door for that matter - anytime . But would I? No. When you and I are fully dissolved, I will consider new doors. But not the old ones. I've been there. I know what's inside. Great! Now please, look at what I've said to you so you can stop destroying the love in your life!

Just like you know the MJ door is closed forever. Or maybe you don't and that's why you don't believe me? Huh? Whatever...

Anyway, it likely doesn't matter anymore what either one of us believes. I'm beat.

Time to live. Yeah, but don't repeat the same old, same old. Asha has to deal with her insecurities. You have to let her be, stop protecting your ego and creating paranoid stuff that gives you the excuse to push the person you love away.


B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2000



Regardless of whether we remain together as a couple or go our separate ways, I do want to say that I sincerely wish you healing, enlightenment, love, trust, security and strength (and the same for me).

Obviously I haven't been perfect along the way. I don't think any human is. It is our mistakes that help us grow.

I don't wish to trick you, hurt you or deceive you.

Truth is truth. What I know to be true inside is true. It does me no good to deceive myself. When I don't deceive myself, I can't deceive you. This is my path now.

This is not my ego talking, though I reacted to the issues around your X purely with ego. What I really wish for is healing for all. For her, for you, for the kids and for me. And for everybody at the catbox.

I think you are a good person, and I do want you to smell the roses.

I hope that no-one has been offended by the nature of mine or Steve's posts. I know it probably looks melodramatic, but it feels safer to me here than private email. I tend to start doubting my perceptions when I communicate privately with Steve, though I am getting better about this.

Thanks for allowing us this space.

love Asha

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2000


Dear Dr Irene, Trubble and the rest of the Cat Box Family,


I only have this to say about the "Pinko" business. Look at our Presidential election fiasco in Florida. Now if that isn't a joke, what is? What a joke is right! I think that if one shares some satirical essays or drawings about a certain political party or belief, that person should also have the good grace to laugh when this sort of thing is directed at their political beliefs. Yes Dan. It's just politics...

As for the dog situation, I think that Steve should accept that the dog was part of your life before he and that you both have to work out a compromise which will involve the three of you. Yeah...


I realize that I have been away for awhile, and here I am offering what seems to be one sided advice. I happen to think that whatever beliefs one has, politically, religiously (sp) or whatever, one must accept that others have different point of views and if we offer ours we should listen to theirs. Case in point, down here in the US, we have a certain religion which sends out missionaries to show you the way. A couple of these people arrived at a friend's house, he let them in, and half way through their talk, he asked for their addresses as he would like to visit them and give them his religions point of view. They left in a hurry. Giggle!

I laugh at all the hoopla given to the two major parties and their Florida is mine rhetoric. One says that the other should concede because he has the most votes there, I think that since one who received the most popular votes the other should concede. Lynn says, that they both should serve on alternate days. Better yet I get to be President as we have enough Christmas ornaments to decorate the White House tree without having to have any more made for it. Trubble likes that. Then, he says, he can come hang out at the White House! Hey, what the heck, I'll come along too!


I really can't offer any clue about your H's house cleaning as there could be a miriad of reasons for it. I posted earlier how my mother would get her house cleaned.

As for the chores which I'm doing, most of it is stuff that I had let go when I went out of town.


Remember that a Chameleon changes to suit its environment but it still is the same lizard. If L is suddenly changing there maybe reasons which you are unaware of, or you may know what they are and he is giving a different reason.

Dear Dr Irene,

I am not sure why my insurance won't pay for the new therapist and I really don't care. I like the lady and I'm going to go to her at least until I feel that she isn't helping me or until I get a better understanding about myself. Cool! I know that I don't care for her attitude about the board, and I owe you a lot for your help and insight. I may have to do some more soul searching on whether or not to visit this site after our session Wed. My offer: you post and I give you no advice. Just cute comments.

As I said earlier, I consider this site family and you are enough of an overseeer to enable us to help ourselves. Ha ha - at least when my computer isn't having intermittent "connectivity problems."

Tonight, Lynn and I did the first exercise in the Couples book and I plan to continue.

When I got home last Tues. Lynn said that she has gotten to the point of no return. If I came up with one more excuse as to why I didn't go to therapy or why I didn't start to change away from my former behavior. 

She also said that when I told her about getting the paint out of my pants, that she took it as Little Danny trying to show Mommy Lynn how good a boy he was. That wasn't the case at all, I was just surprised that the paint came out as easy as it did. I also laughed at myself when I fell into the paint. Giggle! When I called her that night, I asked how things were going, she told me about everyone in the neighborhood. When I came home she told me that she really needed to talk but I rambled on about the paint in my pants. I didn't ask her specifically what was going on with her, so she never stopped me and said Dan, I have to talk about ....

She and I both agree that our major failing is our failure to communicate. This is more my fault as I never learned to really communicate. The only time I tried was when I got back from Nam, and I tried explaining things going on with me and was told that things going that way were for the better. I now feel that this wasn't fair to me or to the girl that I was engaged to. (High School Sweetheart)

Today I was trying to frame in a window, not exactly the way Lynn said that she wanted it, Hey, when you do it, you do it your way; when she does it, she does it her way. and I was having one of what Lynn would call a F----------- day. I couldn't seem to get it done right. I took most of the day to do a 2 or 3 hour job. 15 min if I had heard Lynn.


I see that everyone is offering you goodies so I hope that this means that your going to stick around. The clues that you left me at the hatchery weren't very clear, remember we have 7 cats and trying to read one cat's hints is particularly hard especially where trout are concerned. Now if it were catfish, I may have spotted them right off. I'm feeling very insecure FakeDaddyDan, like you don't love me. Or, you love LOCO more. And, I'm tired of acting like this isn't bothering me when it's clear to me that you don't love me because if you did, you would have found me. Then, I finally go home and FakeMommy grounds me. It's all your fault. (Pawprint - images cause crashes.)

Hugs to all, big hugs to those to whom I never posted to personally


B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2000


Dan, you've been away, but you're still the same Dan I know.

"I think that if one shares some satirical essays or drawings about a certain political party or belief, that person should also have the good grace to laugh when this sort of thing is directed at their political beliefs."

You missed it Dan. You read what Asha said and completely missed what I said (surprise surprise). My response to Asha's email was a good-natured satire. A laugh. A laugh was not what she wanted. She was looking for "engagement". No Steve. If satire and sarcasm, when overused as with you, lose their humor. You use satire as a way of getting your anger across. Which is why, I think, you are so sensitive to when you think Asha is doing same, even when she's not. 

Rather than me repost it all again, maybe you could just read my posts Dan. Maybe? Ouchhh!


B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2000


Hi Everyone, B. here,

Lynn, a belated happy birthday to you!

Haven't read #12 yet so I just hope everyone's fine. Was glad to see Dan's back! Hi Dan!

I have been feeling a great relief since last week. It even gave me more strength to keep my boundaries with H. This is what happened (the main part, and as short as I can...):

I go to shiatsu almost every week. His name is Roman. He also does crystals, healing, acupuncture and others stuff, including something called B.A.T, which I can't describe. He has some sort of a small pendulum (don't know how to call it in English), which he uses to determine what we are going to do that day and for the BAT stuff etc. So we did BAT. He lets the pendulum point to somethings on boards full of words, and he tells me it came up with: the year 1968, you (I) are 6 years old, something stolen, and fear of pain.

I start thinking, what can that mean. I know my fear of pain started sometime between ages 4-7 for me (I became hysterical about blood tests, for example, and I wasn't before), it's not the first time these items come up, but I never understood why. I have always considered this the most wonderful period of my life. I still don't know what I am supposed to get in touch with, but I start to feel pain in the pit of my stomach. With Roman's help I "sit with the feeling" (actually I'm lying on my back...:-) ) and fear comes up in the form of shivers etc. I still see nothing. I don't remember anything.

Roman urges me to "go into the feeling". I am afraid, actually, but I do that (ok, of course he's doing some hokus-pokus to help me, with healing or something). And what do I see?

I see the first floor of the house we lived in at that time (for a few months). We lived mostly in the second floor. On the first there was the entrance, a staircase, one big locked room on the right (the pretty guest room, which the owners locked up - it was a rented house), my father's study on the left, and to the left of the stairs - a coat closet, in a narrow passage to a cellar, I think (never got as far as the cellar).

When I saw the closet, I told him my memories about it. My father told us that in this closet lived a witch (a Russian witch called Baba Yaga [read like: bubba yugga] - my father is an expert on all kinds of literatures and cultures, among other things) among the coats. Also, he would get a black button out of there and show it to us. My sister (3 at the time) would scream and cry in terror, crying out: "cockroach!!!! take it away!!!" and my father would laugh and show her: "look! it's just a plain black button! it's not a cockroach at all!" But it didn't help, she was still screaming and crying in terror that it IS, and to take it away.

He did this many times, telling about the witch, then laughing and saying of course there is no witch here (I think AFTER my sister would get scared he would say he was just kidding and open the closet wide to show her there was no witch there at all). I clearly remember how his hand looks with the button on it (a small button, like from the inside pocket of a jacket, which is where it probably fell from).

Telling this, I suddenly saw a monster standing right there in the dark passage between the wall and the closet! A very tall being, reaching almost the ceiling. Very thin, too, but wrapped in a dark cloak from neck to feet. I see no face (too dark) but the creature does have two frightening eyes (like eyes of an angry "cartoon" dragon or something) which look straight at me!!!

Roman asked me if there is any grown up there who can help me. I check: mother, father - no way. Grandmother (father's mother, who loves me and is very close to me) - no, not even her. "Nobody" I say. "not even my grandma". Why, Roman asks. I say that she wouldn't believe me. Roman says: "I believe you".

I realise that they can't help me, they can't protect me. And then I realise that my father can't protect me because he is the one who is frightening me!

Roman knows my father, so he gets it when I get it: This monster IS my father! (my father is very tall and thin, and for a 6 year old he probably looked almost as tall as the ceiling...)

This realisation came as a shock to me. I have never actually seen this monster before in my life, but I KNEW that 6-year-old B. knew it existed, but was reluctant or afraid to SEE it.

I started crying like a 6 year old (I have a 3 year old daughter, I could actually feel that my cry was like hers and not like a grown-up's), and when I talked, I knew it was not me, the 39 year old, but me the 6 year old. I said, how could he have done this to us? Why? He was our beloved father, he was the one who should have protected us - and instead he frightened us on purpose, again and again! My sister cried and screamed in terror - and he laughed! How could he do this to us?

I suddenly realised: it was not the button, it was not the witch, it was not the coats or the closet - it was HE who frightened us! The way he suddenly turned into a monster. It's like when your body guard tries to assassinate you! Daddy, you're the one who is supposed to protect me! Where are you? Where did this monster come from?

Even now, I see this monster and I'm still afraid!

And I also realise a very important thing: what I did, as a 6 year old (Dr. Irene, here's a glimpse into how abusers and co-dependents are made!).

My sister, who is "mama's girl", is an abuser. Notice: she had the "freedom" to feel and show her feelings. She was afraid, and acted afraid.

I, who was "daddy's girl" (was and is. I am very close to my father), did not show any fear. I laughed too. I tried to tell my younger sister RATIONALLY (Rationality is a great escape from feelings. This is my father's way, and come to think of it - just now I get it, now while writing to you!!! - he was about 6-7 at the time his beloved father suddenly left for another woman, abandoning his 3 children as well as his wife) that there is no cockroach, just a button, and no witch, just coats.

What a lie! What a fake! What a pretence!

I was just as afraid, but I hid it from him and from her. Why?

When I was 9 and she was 6, and our parents left us alone at home, I used to frighten her!!!! We had both seen a scary film about some monk, and I would hide and say "monk!!!" in a scary voice, and laugh when she screamed in terror, and tell her there is no monk, it's just me!

My therapist said this is the classic text book example to what is called "identification transference" or something (Dr. Irene or Trubble, please correct my poor psychology English!).

I was scared. So I scared her. Seeing the fear "out there" calmed me down, because it was not inside me, and I could identify with my sister's fear. (Dr. Irene, do feel free to correct my explanation for the benefit of the cat box... I'm not sure I remember it correctly).

This is what my father did: he scared us and watched our reaction. That calmed his fear. I was daddy's girl. So I imitated HIS solution: detach from your feelings, pretend they don't exist, rely on rationality, fake yourself. I chose the "pretending I'm not afraid" reaction, whereas my sister chose the "I'm scared, I'm helpless, help me!" reaction. We only had 2 role models, and we each chose the one most available us.

Just a few days before the session with Roman I wrote here that I found out what stresses me so much around people: that I HIDE myself, my true feelings, my true needs, and I am afraid that people will "find me out". I know for sure, that this realization is what enabled me to finally look the monster in the eye and discover the root of it.

It also goes well with a psychological theory I have: that as a parent, you start hurting your child uncontrollably (if you did not heal yourself) when your child reaches the age you yourself were hurt. My father's father became a monster when he was 6-7. So when his firstborn reached this age, he became a monster too.

Roman told me to do a daily meditation, where I the grown up help, hug and protect me the 6 year old, who is standing there a few feet away from the monster.

It was not the first time this period comes up in my life. One reflexologist even suggested that I might have been molested at this period, but I always knew I wasn't, so it remained a puzzle until last week. My father used to hit me until I was 15, but I knew it wasn't that either. Now I feel such a relief it's amazing.

Oh, and what was stolen?

I think maybe my childhood was stolen. My trust in my father. My feelings, or the right to let them be seen. My trust in the world at large. Maybe other things too.

Asha, I hope you liked this story too... :-)

Dr. Irene, I'd love to hear your comments on how this connects with becoming an abuser or a co-dependent. It seems to me, that co-dependents are great in hiding their painful feelings from themselves, which in turn prevents them from keeping their boundaries. Maybe I'll do an article when I catch up. I think it's a great topic!

Love you all! B.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2000


Dear Asha, B. here,

Read a few #12 posts, so here goes:

I think the political problem has nothing to do with politics. You feel Steve is mocking and belittling you. This hurts, humiliates and angers you. Yep. He is.

(BTW [by the way], to Steve:

I feel from your posts that "laughing" "grinning" and such are something you consider positive and innocent, but I feel is not at all. I feel it is a way for you to express anger by attack. What I have just written is not a learned analysis. It is MY FEELING when I read you, and my feeling only. Please do not answer me about that, because I do not intend to argue at all and I get really sad and upset when I read your "explaining" posts, where you try to prove that you were misunderstood. I admit right away I may be totally wrong, but I think it would serve you to think about it: Maybe, if B. feels anger in what I Steve think are jokes, maybe Asha feels that too. Maybe there is something in this. Maybe I should look at it.)

Back to Asha:

About the dog: Since I feel like Steve in this, I don't know what to say... It IS a good question why you chose someone who can't stand dogs in bed... (I love cats. Trubble, you can sleep in my bed anytime! But a dog - ugh...) Yeah! (pawprint)

About the kids: What do you feel? Forget the experts' advice. Do you feel love for them? Do you care for them? Then tell them so. They will not feel abandoned by not seeing you much, but they would feel abandoned and unloved by your detachment. Tell them your feelings about them and say it has nothing to do with whether it works out with Steve or not.

However, if you don't like them, and you only put up with them for Steve's sake - then by all means detach. You don't need to say anything at all. When you meet them you meet them, if not - OK.

Children who are torn between the grown ups in their lives mostly feel a lack of love and caring. They feel nobody wants them. If you do want them in any way, it is very important that you let them know all your good and kind feelings towards them. It will be very important for them that you care about them even if you never see them again.

All this is just what I think. If it does not feel right to you, disregard it all!

Much love,


B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2000


Wow what a lot on the catboard today. Too much to take in after a sleepless night but it is great to see Dan and Steve back.

I couldn't care less about ISP providers. They don't know me and I don't know anyone who works for one. Nothing in this world is secret and I had a grandmother who really did work for MI6! (true).

But Steve, I am intrigued to know what they do with the information?

Surely they have to sign confidentiality clauses. Surely it is a big deal if they reveal information? 

Also, we all have our own reality don't we? I don't think that anyone's reality is the same as anyone else's and we have to put things in the perspective of how we understand the other person sees them. I think my husband is controlling through the way he uses the housework issue. But he may be convinced this is the one thing that he can do to show he cares. My reality is I feel controlled. His might be that he thinks he is doing this to show he cares. Until we can talk we will both have our own feelings and reality and neither of us could adjust. It will take both of us to find some trust to resolve it.

There are things I think we don't share as we are not happy about strangers knowing. That is life.

love Jay

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2000


Hi B - Asha here.

Interesting story. I doubt your father understood the profound effect he was having on you. As a child I used to see things in the dark - hands coming toward me, and I used to think there were eyes in the walls. I guess if an adult encouraged me to believe in this stuff, rather than reassuring me that I was safe, I might have felt as you did.

As for the posts about the political email, I don't know I felt mocked and belittled so much as shocked about what I saw as an angry, distrustful reaction to something that I meant to share in the spirit of humour. I felt the word "pinko" was used to demean though. Yes. The smiley felt to me like a justification for the rest of the content. Yes. Steve does not see how angry he is. He does not feel angry in a way he would recognize.

I understand now, that Steve thought I was intentionally pushing his buttons and that this was another "attack" on him. Problem is, if I worried about every button I might push when I discuss something, I would probably stop discussing anything, because there's just no way of knowing. Right. And for me to start thinking that way would be really restrictive. I remember him saying that I was "pushing his buttons" when he once asked me to help pick a restaurant. I was craving the food at a particular place that he doesn't like much, and said so. He got angry because he felt I was pushing his buttons. What to do? If "kept trying" not to push his buttons I would be frequently walking on eggshells. It's just not healthy for me to do that. Right. OK to request a restaurant he doesn't like. He can always say "no."

B, maybe you had some negative experience with dogs. My dog is extremely smart and so faithful and loving. He has been with me almost 12 years, through thick and thin. I wrote a poem once about dogs called "Angels with Fur". Maybe I'll dig it up sometime. Having said all that - I don't expect a partner to let him sleep on the bed. But I don't like shutting him out of the room. It would be different if it was a new dog with new rules. But he's been fairly spoiled throughout his life, and I believe it was hard on him when he was first made to sleep outside. From the bed, to the leaky doghouse - at least that's how *I* felt. Anyway, it bothered *me*.

And about Steve's kids - yes I love them and care about them. I just didn't know *what* specifically would be appropriate to explain. I would never, as Steve seemed to think, say or insinuate mean things about Steve. This is why I asked. I think yours and Dr. I's advice (catbox 11) about telling them they are cared for and loved is what they need. I can even do this in a Xmas card.

Hi Jay. Hi everyone else.


B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2000


Dear all,

AJ from back home again, with very mixed feelings about the weekend. We started of real nice, lots of love and laughter and generally easy feelings. Open fire, nice food and wine. Next morning was ok too. Mist all around, which made things kind of mystical. We went out to a nearby city and on our way back C. got a phone call from a friend. He talked to her and did not say anything after finishing the call. I was really upset but, was not quite sure why and felt it was maybe not ok to want to know who he talked to and why didn't he tell me by himself. Felt kind of stupid. He noticed I was upset and started trying to get me in a better mood. Later he would say he noticed I was upset but did not have a clue as to why.

Later that evening he asked a couple of times and I said I wasn't sure yet what exactly was the matter, so I wanted to talk maybe later. He said he would really like to know and I gotten him curious. Then I started crying (wrong, should have said what I wanted to say in a respectful and dignified manner, haha :-)) and tried to explain I felt left out when he talked on the phone and said he was out for the weekend but didn't say he was there with me. He got mad, and said so you feel I should tell everyone I am here with you, the situation is still much to uncertain for that and only my best friends know. The I said it wasn't just that, I felt left out when he did not tell me who called.

Later we talked a little more and I tried to tell him for me telling some one your with who called is a very normal thing. You shut the other person out if you don't (Am I wrong on that?) Said I would tell no matter who I was with, give some kind of explanation, like, a colleague, or a friend called for this or that.

We the got into a major fight and I don't even remember what was said. I just remember he really did not understand the point or else made a very good show. He said that by saying things like this I was restricting him, and I answered if that was restricting, he was restricting me the same way by saying I could not say that I was upset.

Then I wanted to get out to cool of and told him, I am going out for a little while, you just think what you want, or don't think, whatever. He got very upset and said: so now it's all my responsibility again, I have to decide again, I am the bad guy again. I was really flabbergasted and answered, we both had to think and we both were responsible and that I wanted to go out to sort my feelings out and that I thought maybe He would like t do the same. Then he apologized for making everything so difficult again.

I still went out after a while and he said, please don't stay out too long. I said Ok, I won't. When I got back he tried to lighten up the situation and whistled at me. I just said: I want to be able to have these conversations without having to fear it means the end of a relation. He said there is no we and we don't have a relation. The he said it's just too early for me to talk about things like this, we will talk later, ok? I said ok, I am tired also anyway. We sort of kissed and made up and went to bed. He tried have sex, which I declined, we hugged though. A lot of soul searching that night, but I slept, and thought, not sleeping won't do me any good. In the morning we sort of made up.

Long story, eh. But I feel good about having said what I wanted, not sure about that I apologized for overreacting, but not too bad either, and rather good about being able to make up and not letting this fight ruin the rest of the trip. I don't not know whether I was right about being upset, I feel I was, it is shutting someone out. Anyway, even is I was not right, I think he should listen to me and respect my feelings.

Lots of talking. Did not have time to read al the post yet. Will try to do that tomorrow.


Love you all and read and comment n all (LOL) your postings tomorrow. AJ


jkm (this message comes from the cat)

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2000


Asha: "what I saw as an angry, distrustful reaction to something that I meant to share in the spirit of humour. I felt the word pinko was used to demean though. The smiley felt to me like a justification for the rest of the content. "

Pinko means communist. It was meant as a joke. But you know what? I don't have to prove to Asha or B or anyone how I meant it. I know how I meant it. And Asha calling me angry is sad. She is the one who was angry. I simply said, "Ok - I'm not responsible for your anger. It's your choice." 

Will anyone read this and believe I wasn't angry? Or will Asha's word be the end-all? I notice that some people here seem to miss a lot of what I post. I wonder what is the reason for that? Steve, I think you are both angry. But, I don't think you realize just how angry you are. Anger is "normal" for you.

Asha: "If "kept trying" not to push his buttons I would be frequently walking on eggshells. It's just not healthy for me to do that."

I never asked you to stop pushing my buttons. Push them all you want. But, be prepared for me to get offended or push you away. But please don't get angry when they don't work anymore. That's what I feel you are doing. It's not healthy for me to respond to your button-pushing.

Asha: "I believe it was hard on him when he was first made to sleep outside. From the bed, to the leaky doghouse - at least that's how *I* felt. Anyway, it bothered *me*."

The dog begs to be allowed outside at night. When we first allowed - yes allowed, not made - him outside, it was warm weather and he loved it. Asha coddles him too much and won't allow him to live life to his fullest. That bothers me. What do you care? I hate to see a dog get over-domesticated to the point of becoming hopelessly dependant on a human. I love dogs. Just not in the bedroom or on the furniture in the office. Fine. Treat your dog as you wish. You're out of your boundaries otherwise.

Asha really does coddle the dog. It's like a mother who doesn't want her son to get older than 2 years old because he's just so cute like that. I think the dog has been "created" to be extremely dependant on Asha because Asha is extremely dependant on the dog. So what? Jealous? (Don't take this as a putdown - it's typical stuff Steve. Please, just look at it.)

I love that dog. I sometimes think I'm the only one who really understands him. Sometimes I feel he's looking at me saying "help, I don't know what to do. This is how she wants me to be." It's her dog.

B said: "I feel from your posts that "laughing" "grinning" and such are something you consider positive and innocent, but I feel is not at all. I feel it is a way for you to express anger by attack."

I respectfully disagree. I am laughing and grinning because I want to. When I am angry - I am angry. I use humor to escape someone else's anger and aggression though. Maybe that's what you are seeing. You don't see your anger Steve. There is an undertone to your laughing and grinning and satire.

It's my way of saying "go ahead, yell all you want. I'm going to keep on smiling and maintain my balance."

This may be frustrating to someone who is used to dancing a certain way. Perhaps it's frustrating to you B because you dance like Asha. You would be irritated at someone displaying a complete disregard for your wish to have them "dance your dance". Maybe?

Anyway, I need to do what's right for me. If I don't want to dance some else's dance, especially the dance of anger, why should I? I've done that way too often in the past. This is part of my growth. Sometimes I wonder if it's my growth that is actually concerning Asha now. Perhaps she's afraid of getting left behind. Perhaps she's afraid of looking in the mirror. Of course she'd be frightened to be left behind. But, that's not what's going on now. You are not growing in these posts. You have retreated to a position of defensiveness and fear. Please check it out Steve.

In relationships, usually both have learned bad patterns and dances. If only one chooses to admit it, and change things, then the other may outwardly be very happy (perhaps even feel victorious) but later, when it starts actually affecting their life, they may become confused and feel threatened.

I'd like to say this loud and clear so Dan and B and anyone else who misses my posts can see it FOR SURE.


I'm not. We disagree.


B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2000


Asha: "I remember him saying that I was "pushing his buttons" when he once asked me to help pick a restaurant."

I don't remember saying that. However, if you are referring to trying to drag me into the WPT, I can imagine I would feel you were trying to "control" me. You know (and knew then) that I never ever want to patronize an establishment that rips people off by putting a 1 inch cube of fish inside a huge chunk of greasy batter and calls it a piece of fish. Grin.

You knew it was the last restaurant on earth I would want to go to. So why did you choose it? What is that all about? I've never done that to you. Why are you taking it so seriously! Like she's giving you a message?

It amazes me that you can remember something from several years ago but you can't remember last week/weekend. Absolutely amazing.


B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2000



You and I see things very differently. No point in trying to get you to see it my way. I only know what's healthy and okay for me.

Why on earth would I "want" you to be so angry? I *don't* want you to be angry. I wish you peace and love, and me the same.

Maybe if you reread your last post at some future time, you'll see the "Monty Python" tone to the bit about anger. Or maybe not. Personally, I don't think you are being truthful to yourself. Maybe you're reacting defensively. Or maybe it's just impossible for you to see it from my point of view. That's okay, I accept this.

Anyway - peace, love, my prayers to you.

I wish both of us great things in life. I can't follow the path you are headed because I know in my heart it's not healthy for me. If you must travel that journey then I will accept it, with my best wishes.


B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2000


Lynn. nothing better than having the bath bathable in! Hope that the dog is o.k.

Steve. I don't understand why you would lose trust in someone who is concerned for your kids.

In a funny way your post helped me see how my husband might be feeling although now he has come round to seeing it helps me to post.

I suspect anyway that anyone outside the codependency experience is likely to bored by what we all say. I have no idea what you or Asha look like or say Theressa who I could conceivably meet by accident one day.

Would you prefer Asha to talk to your mutual friends or to get no help at all. Part of the value of the catbox is people are honest with each other. Most of the time we are all saying is this right or wrong and not *I* am right and Trubble aka Dr. Irene is pretty straight.

How can Asha know your boundaries after the event?

Steve and Asha both, Sometimes in life we can have real genuine misunderstandings that develop into a big thing.

I always thought my husband was really mean for his reaction when I got an upper second degree. That was some achievement as I hated school and did all the real qualifications after I left. Over the years I put that into the 'covert abuse category.' I felt really put down that he never shared my delight.

That formed a lot of my feeling I was always put down. Because of my own lack of self esteem I somehow believed that maybe it wasn't so good. It wasn't a first degree after all. I missed the fact that I did this as someone who grew up in a dysfunctional family and had to work while she studied as she left home with lots of baggage, young.

So being codependent meant that I only had self esteem if my husband validated this.

I found out something about 2 years ago. We went to different universities and THEY HAD DIFFERENT GRADING SYSTEMS.....For me a 2.1 meant very good nearly excellent. His system 2.1 meant really not very good at all. His system had +++ added in and mine did not and A---A+++.

Our reality was different. The problem was one of communication. I was unable to hear because of my insecurity and he was unable to hear because of a completely different reference system to mine.

Years for me of pain. Just because of a misunderstanding.

And easy for me to see where the roots came from. In my family I had to be the 'clever' one. My sister had to be sporty. Success for me as a child was therefore measured in 'cleverness'. So what began as a minor misunderstanding that could have been sorted out reverberated down the years.

I wonder for both of you what the root of the difficulty is.

As far as I understand it. Steve is offended that Asha assumed he supported a political party. Asha is offended Steve sent her an satirical article with offensive words in about her sort of supported party but Asha says she doesn't support any particular party. Neither of you actually seems to have strong feelings about these parties. They are used to communicating in this abstract way, where little is really said but much is implied.

So this has to be about something else. I think that it is about buttons getting pushed for both of you . But neither of you really intended to push buttons. But they are pushed.

So and I may be wrong is the need to look each of you at the buttons and what the source is.

B. What you share is really spooky. What I can tell you is that my daughter started to get difficult the same age as I did. I did not abuse her. But a lot of the same patterns are repeating themselves.

AJ it sounds as if there were good and creative bits to your weekend/

Trubble. I am not offering you food you will be a fat cat if I do!

Meantime back here at the ranch.. Taken by surprise at husband coming in early for no apparent reason. I felt almost frightened but I don't know why.

He has taken the agenda without asking if I finished writing it. But I think I will just let it go.

love Jay

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2000


Dear Cat Box and Trubble and WOW, Another day of intense group therapy or what?

Lynn here. First to AJ with Thanksgiving party. Turkey and Stuffing and cranberries are a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Family sits down and gives thanks for Everything they have to be Thankful for. At a party I would suggest that your friend might want to bring something like a tray of fudge or even a pumpkin pie. Is this to encourage the day of Thankfulness or just a party? Either way, something to show the hostess appreciation would be nice. (I'd call hostess and say "What can I bring?")

OK STEVE, I HEAR YOU, YOU AREN'T ANGRY. I never thought you were. Once upon a time (In a bar, of course) I kicked a guy out near closing time. He went to my bosses' house and woke him up and told him he better get to the bar quick as it was full of "pot smokers and communists." My boss came flying in with his pajama tops still on and probably a gun in his pocket. I was getting ready to close up and and 3 guys there having one for the road. We talked about it the next day. My boss apologized to me. He felt so dumb and knew I could handle "pot smokers." He remembered the threat of communism though, and half asleep he panicked and came to my rescue. It really was silly in this day and age (even 20 years ago). We later joked that we could serve red beer as the drink of the week.

For me? I couldn't comprehend. I raised my eyebrows and thought .... Well I don't know what I thought, but I can guarantee I never thought of communists infiltrating my bar.

Moral of my story. What's yours? Why are you letting Asha bother you?? Or is this an old fight with another reason?

As for both of you and the jealousy. Wellllllll. I say thin with thumbs locked under the chin and fingers waving. This is tricky as I haven't told Dan about you know what, but I know from my own experience that it is nice to know that there is someone out there who wants us. It's just that if I wanted them I'd be there, not here. Dan, too. Ex fiancé. This is his story and he started it in Buddha with David and didn't continue. The gist of it is, I encouraged him to call her. His best friend, still, is her brother. He came and visited us a while back and he always talks to me about his sister. Dan managed to take on a load of guilt about how the way her life turned out (she got divorced and got well again). But... I said she might need to talk. Especially as they got disengaged and NEVER talked after that. Over 30 years ago. I can't imagine being jealous over her. He's welcome to go see her and take her to lunch or whatever.

Moral of this. If you and Asha wanted other people why are you both posting?????????????

As for Asha. Let her push all the buttons she wants. Visa versa.

Brief interruption. Just got a call from a neighbor about the now missing cats in the neighborhood. Only one stray is still out here. Dan went looking. I swear. I want this guys balls in a bear trap! And I want to sit and watch. One of those for Theressa. I can't talk when I get like this, bt the eye contact says what I think of him. Flames come out of my nostrils and smoke billows around my red eyes.

Brings me to pets in the bed. I personally love it. Like we're all curled up in a kennel together. I even sleep better with the sun shining through a window and the bunch curled up with me.

B, with the pendulum. Oh, I hear that one. Not that I was raised with the fear like that, but I had a dread fear of sharks for zillions of years. Didn't understand why, either. I'm a long way from any beaches. Finally figured it out. When I was quite young (I read at an early age) I read a story in one of my dad's magazines like Argosy or Saga about a shark eating a woman. I can still conjure up the picture illustrated in the book. I started learning about sharks and finally went on a fishing trip off the California coast. (I took pictures, I don't like to kill fish either). Saw lots of shark fins. Got better. Moral of this story. If you don't get in the deep water you don't get eaten by a shark. Actually, there are more people in my immediate area who have been eaten or mauled by bear than there are shark attacks a year, and I still go into the woods. Fear of the unknown, maybe??

Jay, Dan tries through housework to make things better.

Ok, now for Dan and I. Things are better. I will never in a million years be able to dis-engage by shutting my mouth. I've got more of a chance of being eaten by a shark. I'll eat the shark RealMommy. But I truly don't care about the outcome. My life isn't dependent on a future with Dan. That doesn't mean I don't care for him. It doesn't mean I'm leaving. It means he can leave and I won't die! It also means I might have a life without him. I don't want one, but I could get one.

Hello Trubble. Hi. Around here you would have to do your own fishing. I'm glad I don't have to kill cows to eat beef. That would turn me into a vegetarian. And I hate most vegis.  You know I'm mad at FakeDaddyDan? He loves LOCO more than me.

Bingo, we got a witness who released a cat in a trap. Now I have to look up State Laws. I think there is something about these not being allowed in residential areas. His kid helped him dispose of some garbage bags and told a neighbor that his dad caught some skunks. Can you imagine what his adult life will be with this kind of upbringing? And he's a great kid. Now. Meouchhh! (pawprint)

Astrid. My dad is meticulous about his house and home and still takes great care of it. That may be why I have a problem now with none caring about the home we live in. It's very important to me. This is my space on earth and I want it to be as good as it can be.

PS Dan put some staples out where I can locate them and told me where they are! Happy Day.

Love you all,


B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2000


Dear Cat Box,

Calamity Jane aka Lynn here (with the L this time).

I did learn years ago that there is a constructive way of handling things. Before you all think I'm going to shoot this cat monster, we've both been on the phone and have the ball rolling to get him busted. Constructively, this town needs a Humane Society and so we are rolling on this, too. That's my RealMommy! (pawprint)

Have a lot of feelers out and have a lot of phone calls coming in. I'm not going to do anything illegal. Just glad I'm not God or Buddha sometimes. My justice wouldn't be fun.

On my high horse again and with love,


B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2000


Jay again. A sort of vent.

But first Lynn and Dan, what you need is a cat you can prove the guy has injured so you can prove your case.

I would be mad if it was happening here.

O.K Dr Irene; as I predicted the poem was ignored. Their loss.

Tonight I feel I am being driven crazy. Not engaging. But I want to scream. Asked my son about his homework which he rarely does. The problem is he is so bright he never fails. Husband mumbles something into beard and I ask him to speak up. He is in charge of homework. Fine by me if he wants the hassle. But then in front of son how son won't be able to do his homework if the home is emotionally unstable. Son looks at me as if his Father is off his rocker and I say the discussion is inappropriate. Husband keeps trying to restart but to give him credit he did stop himself once.

All evening it has been like this. Similar things. It all seems so petty.

And he has been sweeping up. I wish I knew why this annoys me. I should maybe be grateful.

Another poem.

Tell me Not in this roundabout way Things I need to know

Tell me In words clearly Things I need to see

Tell me In easy actions What I need to do

Tell me Without my guessing What you mean

Tell me Without double meaning Who you are

Tell me Before I tell you When I leave

I think there is still something inside refusing to accept what the person I am married to is like. I want a soul mate and I have someone who seems to live on another planet and I can't seem to reach them.

Things haven't always been this bad. I just can't make it out at all.

Why is he harming us all? I used to think maybe it was just 'genius mentality.' but I live in a town full of geniuses and at least a few of them are normal.

And what is it about me that just can't accept him as he is. Is it that some things are unacceptable or I am not tolerant enough or is that the codependency speaking?

I hope codependency Is an illness as I would like to recover! I wish there were pills for it! (LOL)

If only I could be at a point where I wasn't bothered. Lynn how did you get there?

I am just so sick of not being able to be together as a family. Just want one evening where there is a proper harmony. They used to happen when the kids were younger.

And I wish I knew why I keep making excuses for him. O.K., so he lost his best friend who died. That was my best friends husband. So I lost a lot too. But he hasn't made efforts to find other friends. Other people feel it badly too.

Some days I wonder if the problem is he has no capacity to feel like most of us do. If there is a real inability for which he can't be responsible as it is part of his make up to feel or empathize.

Except it is only me it seems that feels this is the case. Don't jump to that conclusion unless he's had the opportunity to hurt. Then he is likely to feel, if he is able. I've not met anyone unable to feel; I've met many who need help to feel.

I have as they say to get a life again. Realized I just stay in at present unless actually dragged out. This is silly as there must be plenty round here to do.

But what?

love, Jay

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2000


Dear Jay,

Lynn again, We have a cat and a neighbor who freed it. Wishes now he took a picture and stole the trap, but he was concentrating on freeing the kitty. Have some other legal thingies that are rolling, too.

As for detach. That works better for me than disengage. I had 3 weeks without Dan and truly had pretty much fun. Rude awakening. Kinda like he died and I had to get on with it. In my mind it worked.

I hear you about the irritants. Dan could say good morning and tick me off. In my mind its crazy. You're doing that one. It is like he died and went to somewhere and I mourned and grieved (our lost years?) and just got on with doing "MY Thing," It's not even without him. And the feeling is strange. It's not that I don't care. It's just that I don't care what the outcome is anymore. Maybe because I know there is life beyond Dan. I think it had a little to do with ego, too. I don't need him for EVERYTHING. Like maybe he's here on approval and if he doesn't workout I return him to the manufacturer and get a full refund. Or, maybe you stop caring, see what happens, and don't return him. 

Two weeks ago I couldn't have explained it, and I was trying hard to understand disengage. What ever, when you get it you'll know it, right Trubble? No matter what name it's called. It's in your soul, heart and just an awakening of awareness. We really don't need the bums when they act like that. We can only give so much and can only expect so much. If it doesn't work we have to know we gave our all and then go to another plan. Healthy indifference I guess. Yeah RealMommy.(pawprint)

Good Luck and If I don't talk tomorrow, we'll be back next Monday.

Happy Thanksgiving All,



B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2000


Steve here

Jay: "Steve. I don't understand why you would lose trust in someone who is concerned for your kids."

Because I don't feel she respects my feelings. I feel she thinks that whatever she thinks is ok, is ok. It is Steve. It doesn't matter what I think. It doesn't matter. She can think what she thinks. You don't have to agree with you. You do need to respect her feelings. That's fine for her. Not for me. I have this boundary. I need to know that someone considers what I think when it comes to my kids. Maybe I'm unreasonable but here I stand. So be it.

Jay: "Would you prefer Asha to talk to your mutual friends or to get no help at all. Part of the value of the catbox is people are honest with each other. Most of the time we are all saying is this right or wrong and not *I* am right and Trubble aka Dr. Irene is pretty straight"

I don't understand where I asked Asha not to talk to someone?? She can talk to anyone. It's her right. I encourage her to get help wherever she can. Where did you get the idea I don't approve of the catbox? I like everyone here and although I disagree with some at times, I still realize that they are attempting to be helpful.

Jay: "How can Asha know your boundaries after the event?"

I don't know, and it doesn't matter anyway. My boundaries are for me, not her. Right. But, sometimes your boundaries (and Asha's) are a bit whacko. She can do anything she wants. I'm just not going to partake when it crosses my boundaries. I don't throw the fence up around anyone else, it's just goes up around me. I don't know how to be any clearer.

Jay: "Neither of you actually seems to have strong feelings about these parties. So this has to be about something else. I think that it is about buttons getting pushed for both of you . But neither of you really intended to push buttons. But they are pushed."

I think you may be getting very close to something here Jay. However, time and distance is probably necessary right now. Asha is calling my feelings "bizzare" to my face, and I don't want to engage it. It's another button I have to remove. She knows exactly what to say to hurt me, but I'm not going to let it. It's OK to feel hurt!

Lynn: "OK STEVE, I HEAR YOU, YOU AREN'T ANGRY. I never thought you were."

Why is it Lynn, that you seem to be the only one here to see beyond into the next layer? Or do you just feel sorry for me getting all hen-pecked around the catbox? Do you really believe I'm not angry? If so, why can't other people see it? I know I'm not angry. But to convince others I almost have to get angry. Lynn is exceptional at empathizing Steve. But, on anger, you and I have "talked" about this before. First of all, anger is not a bad thing. It just is. And, you are angry. Promise. And, it's OK. Now you can hate me.



B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2000


Dear Dr Irene, Trubble and the rest of the family,

Haven't read any of today's posts yet, just felt that I had to get on and say some things.

Lynn and I worked the first exercise in the couples book last night and I have to say that there were a few items that we both listed that the other never, and there were some items which we both listed. Top of the list for Lynn was Communication, and I left t off mine. After making and comparing lists we had to rate them and again there were different priorities. I have to admit that communication is a major priority. I just have to start because I'm not good at it as I posted last night. Later when we went to bed, she asked if there was anything that I wanted to say about the book. After some bantering back and forth, a light went on, I really should have started working this earlier in our relationship, like when I told Lynn "if it makes you feel better." Yep.

We were also talking about various other things and she brought up my X. Then said something about women getting breast implants, I told her that I didn't think that hers were too big or too small, just right. I have always liked Lynn's looks and wouldn't have her any other way. I do like long hair and Lynn's is slightly shorter than mine but she did let it grow for awhile, it got shoulder length, but she was uncomfortable with it and cut it down to a length she was comfortable with.

I used to tell Lynn that I didn't know what I would do if we ever split up, laying the burden of our relationship on her shoulders, also I didn't think that I could take care of myself as she does. I feel that this burden is now squarely on my shoulders, because I would have to take care of myself (which Lynn's vacation and the last two weeks of work have shown me that I can do. Yes!). Lynn has told me also, that if I continue or don't doesn't make a difference to her, and that she feels better about herself since making this decision. I now have two reasons for improving, 1) for myself and 2) for our relationship. :)

I didn't do a thing today, for some reason, I just couldn't get started on anything. I get upset with myself when I get like this because I have a couple of more things to do in Lynn's bathroom and some other items which I have (want) to get done. I don't beat myself up, I just get the now you have to catch up feelings. I usually get this way after a F-------- day, which I posted that I had yesterday, it's almost a hangover feeling, the best cure is to do nothing and then start fresh the next day, although tomorrow we have so much to do before we leave Thur that I won't be able to get back to it until next week.

Today, Lynn suggested that I call my High School Sweetheart again and see if we might get together for lunch while were back in our birthplace for Thanksgiving weekend. I think I will as there is a lot of catching up to do and a few things which I have to discuss with her just to get them off my chest. Like what?

Dr Irene, I have made a decision that I am going to tell the new therapist that I want to keep posting, I feel better when I do and who says that your way is better than hers or vice versa. Yippeee!  

Hugs to all


B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2000



I would be uncomfortable if my partner wouldn't tell me who was on the phone.

When he says "there is no we" or that you don't have a "relationship", does that mean he is free to date other women? If so, are you okay about that? Maybe you both need to decide your boundaries about this and be clear to each other just what you do expect from each other. If you are clear and honest, then you can relax and trust in what the other is doing.

OTOH (on the other hand), if there was a history of him having to report to you everything that he said to anyone in a phone conversation, then his reaction might be something different. Defensive, maybe.

I would suggest asking him just how he sees the relationship as it stands now, and does he feel free to date, or even have sex with other women, or anything else you might be fearful of. Get it all out in the open, in an honest and trusting atmosphere.


I'm going to say bluntly some of the things I'm feeling about Steve's posts. I think he can handle it. This probably looks like (and maybe is?) engaging, but I feel like sometimes I "protect" him by not mentioning certain things that I feel. I don't really think the "protection" is good for him. No. He doesn't even want it, really. 

In regards to my earlier dog outside post - the dog did start to like being outside because he would get through the fence and take home garbage from the neighbors homes. This was a problem. Again, with the appropriate fenced in yard, and maybe if the dog from early on was conditioned to being out at night it wouldn't have been such a big deal. But this dog was an "inside" dog all his life. Steve objected in the beginning getting a doghouse for him but still wanted the dog outdoors. The only reason I can think of for that is that he wanted to punish *me*. I still feel bad that I initially went along with it.

Steve said: <<It's my way of saying "go ahead, yell all you want. I'm going to keep on smiling and maintain my balance.">> (about the smileys, etc.) Or another possible translation - you (Steve) can appear to keep your cool so that *I'm* the one that looks bad by blowing up. This way you can still express your aggression, and you can accuse me of being the "angry one". That's a common scenario. You have to pull your buttons in, so Steve can't push them - just like he has to pull his buttons in.

Jay - your poem about clarity and honesty is a good one. All this assuming someone is doing something to push your buttons, or wanting something and not expressing it just makes life more difficult. I am making a commitment in life to being honest to myself about my feelings. I think trust and clear communication are tops in relationships - trust that there are no hidden messages, and clearly communicating needs, desires, dreams, passions etc. Also an interest in the other person's well being and concern for their feelings.

I've been trying to think about what it is exactly I'm feeling right now. There was anger, but right now it's kind of a 'sick to my stomach' feeling. I have to quit focusing on things I have no control over. It's just that when Steve is in what I consider 'healthy mode', he's such a wonderful guy. It seems a shame to me that things can turn around so quickly. He is afraid Asha. This man feels threatened. He was somehow taught the world was a dangerous place when he was a kid. I agree he's a wonderful, thoughtful guy; he can get over this stuff.

peace, love, enlightenment to all


B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2000


Dear Steve,

I know what you are saying because I think you sound exactly like me. Well, in actions I mean. Here is a direct quote from me which I have said numerous times:

"Why is it when I say I'm not angry (mad, excited, hysterical overwrought, PMSey etc.) 'NOBODY' ever listens to me.'" Then when I shout "DAMN IT I am NOT MAD why won't you listen to me?" Every body says, "Oh, you're not mad? Why didn't you say so?"

It seems when I use 4 letter words and flap my arms and stomp my foot, then I get heard. If I say the same thing in a soft tone of voice I frequently feel ignored or disregarded.

Amen. Are you sure you aren't my brother? Love, Lynn Thanks Lynn. This is exactly why I hate to use the words "victim" and "abuser." The stuff turns around all the time!

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2000


Dear Steve,

Hi the rest, Lynn here. I do have to disagree about the dog. Our poor little (82 #'s) Basset has to go to the doggie Doctor tomorrow because he is crippled and no longer able to jump up on Dan's grandmothers cedar chest and then to the bed. Dan lifted him onto it the other night. Not good though, because he may be hurting himself by jumping down. He can sleep on the couch. (So could Dan for that matter, hehehe). ^_^

Dear all, Now a bit of fun and imagination. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a safe pet haven, like one of those 27 room 3 story Victorian homes with a large yard where I could get them ALL fixed and keep them ALL safe and then they could ALL sleep on the bed. Sounds like sheer bliss to me. That was my will before I married a great guy complete with adorable step-daughter!

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2000


Ok, now I suppose I have to get blunt. I'm tired of all the deception occurring around this place. I have held back on saying so many true things, to protect Asha's feelings. And guess what? I'm still going to hold back a lot, because I don't want to play her game. I'm not going to make myself a worse, more spiteful, and hateful angry person just to try and get an equal footing with her in the catbox. I am going to try very hard not to engage with her. Good.

But - I must respond to outright lies. Can't you see it as a difference of opinion Steve?

Asha: "Steve objected in the beginning getting a doghouse for him but still wanted the dog outdoors."

That IS A LIE! You are trying to say I wanted the dog to sleep outside in the rain? Very sneaky. You are quite manipulative sometimes aren't you? But I don't understand what you are hoping to gain from that kind of behaviour? More catbox allies? What? Really. Steve is a cruel dog-hating wife-abusing punishing person. Ok. You've stated your presumption. Now what are you wasting time with me for? Steve, what are you doing? The dog does not matter buddy!

Asha: "The only reason I can think of for that is that he wanted to punish *me*. I still feel bad that I initially went along with it."

Wow, you just can't resist button-pushing can you? Ok. Fine. I'm still not biting. Maybe if I hold out long enough you'll come around. Maybe not. It's how she feels Steve. Let her. Her feelings are her feelings. They are not right or wrong. They just are.

Have fun in there.


Lynn, you are absolutely splendidly wonderful. Not to mention brimming with insight and intuition...

I don't think I'd still be here if it wasn't for you. Thank you for giving me a fair hearing.

:) - (((((Great Big Hug))))

Steve  I agree. Lynn is something else! I bartended too during college, but apparently not long enough!

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2000


Dear Jay,

B. here. A quick note: fainting in the bank could mean also pregnancy, if that's possible.

Until now I didn't feel I had any advice for you, so I kept quiet, but as a mother to a daughter I identify with your care and worry. However, I feel that you lose your centre with her. You behave too co dependently. I feel that you go "out" too much in her direction, in order to "influence" her or cause the result you want: a renewed closeness with her, and her behaving well (i.e.: the way you will approve of).

I think it is wrong for you. What I think you need (again, just my personal ignorant opinion, but maybe it would help you) is to "stay in the centre". I have an image of a large strong tree, who stays calmly put, with deep roots. The tree (you) sends out good thoughts and energy towards others (daughter), but does not MOVE. Does not act at all. Does not send things or messages. Leave room for HER to call you, and just be there for her. Stay stable, don't do anything at all to try and win her or reach her in any way. Send her love and peace in your heart, but don't contact her, unless of course she makes contact and ask for it.

She wants to feel free, but that you care. You just need to send love her way, and trust. Tell her in your heart that you are working on trusting her (you don't trust her at all, you are afraid for her and for what trouble she might make for herself, but you are healing yourself and trying to really let go).

Hope in helps you in any way.

Love, B.


B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 21, 2000


OOPS, Trubble, B. here. My connection fell so I submitted again and found out it went the first time. Please erase one of them! Thanks, and here's some salmon for you: <====< Yummy! Thank you MommyB! (pawprint)


B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, November 22, 2000



I like the image you mentioned of a large strong tree.

Maybe I can apply this to myself in my own circumstances.

BTW I don't see Steve as a "cruel dog-hating wife-abusing punishing person" but I have a distinct memory of putting the dog outside in the pouring rain with no doghouse, and the sounds of my dog crying at the door. It happened only once. I still feel bad that I did this, in response to pressure from Steve. I distinctly remember the grumbling from him about buying a doghouse and wondering why he would have a problem with that. Am I having false memories? Am I lying to make myself the "star" of the catbox? Why would I say such things? Why really?

I don't really think it had much to do with the dog at all.

I also don't think Steve is cruel or bad. I think he is hurting, very badly, and I wish I knew why. Really why. That's all he was taught...He doesn't want to hurt; knows no other way. Yet.

I was just reading through my journal. I suppose Steve would see most of it as lies, although I began to write direct quotes at a point where I began to doubt my perception of things. In reading this I see how much energy I've spent in trying to get him to "see". Maybe I'm like Lynn was, not totally detaching. I'm at a point where I'll accept the relationship together or apart, but I still wish that Steve could see things through my eyes or at least try to. I know I have to accept that he doesn't want to, or maybe just can't.

I guess there's a time to leave it all to God. You got it.


B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, November 22, 2000


Dear Dr. Irene- thanx so much for your information. I married and divorced three verbally abusive men. I'm tired of being abused!! I made the mistake of having two children with my second ex-husband, and my life has been a living hell for the past 7 years. After a 7 year court battle, and $50,000 later, I finally have full custody of the kids, and I finally get child support. I am starting to get back to my peaceful, happy, positive self. It has been one long, sometimes painful and lonely journey, but I feel back on track again. I want to warn your readers that verbally abusive men can successfully continue the abuse by using the system. The "justice" system can be very unfair to the abused woman. DR Yes, DR. That's why you've got to learn how to take care of yourSelf.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, November 22, 2000


Asha: "It happened only once. I still feel bad that I did this, in response to pressure from Steve. I distinctly remember the grumbling from him about buying a doghouse and wondering why he would have a problem with that. Am I having false memories? Am I lying to make myself the "star" of the catbox? Why would I say such things? Why really?"

That's what I want to know. Why would you say such things? I sometimes feel that you ARE enjoying your stardom.

It's interesting, the memory thing. Your journals don't hold much weight for me because I've been exposed to your "memory" many times. You can't remember how the conversation went within 1 minute after it's transpired. We disagree on events and words spoken all the time.

You still haven't explained how you managed to forget last week and weekend... So she forgot. Why do you want to hang her?

If I had a nickel for every time I've said "I wish I had a tape-recorder going" - I'd be very wealthy. And you know how many times I've said that Asha. 

So, I know that what you write in your journal, is similar to what you say about what occurred. And I know how often we've disagreed on what was said or done so no, I would not agree that what you have in there is accurate.

If I had a tape-recorder, I could prove you definitely are having false memories. But I do notice, and I'm not trying to be mean, that your false memories seem to be supportive of your attitude. So, I have to wonder if you are "choosing" to create a past reality that suits you. It is her view of the world Steve. Just accept she sees it the way she sees it.

Anyway, I'm realizing that you are just angry, and could say anything to attack me, so I'm going to gracefully bow out of here for awhile. I'll not read your posts anymore because I find them too angry and distorted. You appear to be looking for support for your position, not support for a solution.

That's very unhealthy for me. You are welcome back whenever Steve.


B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, November 22, 2000


Steve, just a thought and it may be a women are from Venus men are from `Mars thing but I have no idea at all about most of the conversations I had last weekend. Interestingly. I just got the "agenda' back from my husband. He clearly hears something different to what I say. Maybe there is something in the way we process information.

I would like just now as it appears to me he is to accuse my husband of deliberately misunderstanding me and ignoring what I have to say but it MAY be that he takes things in differently. Tha†s what I have to be certain about before I write the whole marriage off.

Maybe there is anotther view other than mine.

About my daughter, B, I think you are right. It is what I have been thinking. The whole thing has a long and very complicated history as DR Irene knows. In some ways it is harder to tackle my own issues with her because of these. I feel so very hurt over the whole thing and I am just about able to keep going most days but I have really bad times about it all. Think of all the bad things that can happen to a daughter then you have what has happened to mine so I am woried for her. Mainly I am worried that she now has no family base and has a lot of delusions in her head and won't get help. I think some of this may well be chemical.

I will always be there for her and i think she does know that. The tree image is a good one.

As for pregnancy. I am waiting for it to happen. She is not very wise.

Some days I forget that at the root of all this is a situation that occurred outside the family that hurt us all and my daughter most very badly and I forget the many deaths we have had of close friends.

To be honest nothing about the way my daughter is makes sense unles I see her as using me as a scapegoat.

I don't know what I am saying here, Just really it really hurts so much.

It is a pain I find hard to feel as it is unbearable. I am having a bad day about it all today. Some days are better than others.

I don't mean I was a perfect mum but believe me if I could tell you the whole story..........I can't not yet. It is one which defies belief and nearly drove me to suicide.

I think I am rambling. So I had better pull myself together.

Trubble, I really want a cat. I think my son deserves a pet. But guess who says NO.........

Sorry this isn't a positive post.

love, jay

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, November 22, 2000



You both sound like your in a familiar cycle of both wearing YOUR own set of GLASSES. No harm in that only I want to say, that we ALL (each of us) have our own perceptions. They are based on our beliefs, values, expectations, past experiences and how we are feeling at any given moment. SO Based on this psychological information, it is possible for two people to see very different things. Its not a case of ME being right, so your wrong. Its a CASE of I see it this way and you see it that way.

SO If I say I am not ANGRY, but my body language says I AM ANGRY, I am angry. [If you are both present physically in a conversation] BUT as the saying goes it NOT what you say its the way you say it, is very very hard to distinguish in TEXT at times. CUZ there is no body language. THE WORDS USED It is difficult to decide on the mood they were said in. I LOVE YOU can be said in a firm strong voice, a sweet voice, an ANGRY voice I LOVE YOU!!!!! In a sarcastic voice. I HATE YOU can be said in a joking voice, (I hate you when you tickle me). I HATE you (in an angry voice)

In one of the books called WORDS HURT the author says its the tone and volume on specific parts of sentences that show anger, well you can't do that in text. SO MISUNDERSTANDINGS ARE HARD TO SEE!!!

I am not taking sides here!!!

I hear STEVE though when he says he wasn't angry. How many times have I just been trying to say leave me alone, not in a nasty way but just cuz I need some space for me. AND my X took it that I didn't care about him - I was just putting myself first as usual.

My daughter has been blazing and lividly angry lately. She has called me lots of names and tried so hard to wind me up. WHY DO I know this HER BODY LANGUAGE, her facial expressions. If she'd written to me would i have known. Probably depending on how I was feeling. If I am feeling down, whatever anyone says makes me angry if its not what i want to hear. CHEER UP is taken as OH stop blubbering. SO you see depending on how I am feeling reflects how I take what others say.

This is not excusing others feelings. BUT please remember ASHA can feel whatever she feels and if she feels what STEVE said made her feel low, she is validated in her feelings.

The same for STEVE if STEVE felt in a joking mood and sent replies etc in a joking way, and ASHA saw them as ENGAGING her, Steve is only responsible for his ACTIONS not her feelings.

SO IT Is true that it may actually be our BUTTONS being pushed when we think its another persons BUTTONS being pushed. You see if someone at work jokingly called me dozzie. I would flip. I'M not dozzy. [Maybe I was since I dropped the papers] they just meant it jokingly. FURTHER if my X said "Your dozzy", even if I had dropped the papers and it was a joke, I'd still be defensive and angry, cuz my buttons are sensitive to the WORDS even if what is fuelling the words isn't anger.

This is why I think it is so hard for a couple who have BOTH being broken to get mended. Cuz unless we get rid of all the hurt behind the buttons I guess it is hard to not FLIP!!!

MAYBE Dr Irene can help us ALL release the hurt behind the buttons??? 

DR Irene how do we release past hurts if we want to have a happy healthy relationship with our past broken spouses???? By accepting what is real for other and respecting same. By accepting what is real for the self, and allowing the self to accept such. By embracing "live and let live." I wish I were so much better at explaining this...

[This is for Asha and Steve I am asking not for me!!!]

SO maybe you two will take my advice: BOTH stop and think "WHAT ELSE" before you both pounce to say he or she is xxxxxx. "Maybe I myself Steve/Asha am feeling out of sorts and putting more into what has just happened than is needed."

Then maybe the one who feels out of sorts can go off and spend some time alone and discuss the dogs etc when they are both feeling better.

I have two cents on the dog: I am not a dog lover. Nor a cat lover (Sorry TRUBBLE, I can abide you but I can't hold you!!! Well, Yukky to you too! You and FakeMommy and FakeDaddy Dan can all get lost together as far as I'm concerned. (pawprint) ) When I met my X he had a dog. I didn't like dogs much, they made mess, they smell Yeah!, they put dog hairs all over the house. They cost money at the time we didn't have. They took up time to care for and vet bills etc..... I hadn't chosen to have a dog, but I was stuck with a dog. JUST like if we meet a person who has KIDS the FACT is we can't say I'll have you and not the kids. DOESN'T stop resentment though. WHAT IS the solution well eventually the dog went cuz we hadn't the time to care for it. Though my X still blames me for making him get rid of the dog. BETTER SOLUTION: The person who isn't so keen on dogs learns to love the dog. Cuz the dog isn't so negative, just like an awkward child who doesn't want to accept their new step parent. the child isn't negative. THE DOG CAN BE FUN. THE DOG CAN BE positive. As long as all the care for the dog is equal. YES EQUAL CARETAKING OF THE DOG, wasn't the case in our house, I ended up cleaning up after the dog, my X bathed him though. BUT one bath isn't as equal as cleaning hairs everyday. Or having to clean up mess. SO equality in animal care PLEASE!!!!!

Anyway I think I've said quite enough now. HOPE it has helped, if not it helped me.

Love Theressa

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, November 22, 2000


Dear Dan,

glad to have you back, hope you will stay. I think these postings are helpful to all of us, because posting keeps us alert to what we are doing and feeling and reading other posts may shed a different light on our own problems. Glad to hear you started working together on communication. Hope C. and me will eventually get there, though right now I am not quite sure whether any sane communication is at all possible between us. As both Theressa and Jay point out, sometimes two people seem to have vastly different realities. It is so hard not to get mad, or frustrated when you feel you are just not understood and you cannot find a way to make it clear. And I am quite sure that goes for both men and women. We might just have different ways of showing it.

Dear Steve, Dear Asha, don't know what to say. Somehow the way you both talk sounds so petty (no offense), but I can feel that there is much more behind it then meets the eye. I don't know, is it possible for you two the agree that you disagree and not to try and find a solution for everything? Maybe you can just leave some things be, like these political quiblings (not denigrating, really). Just leave it. As for the X and comparing, I sympathize with Asha, Steve, not because she is right, I cannot really tell from here, but I know it is sometimes so hard not to feel compared when your partner says something like that. It might be an insecurity issue, but even so, I think that maybe you really don't get what something like that might do to a woman. And you are pushing her buttons, and as you asked her: what's the fun?

Lynn: I am a veggie and I like myself!!!!! Not liking veggies is like not liking Scorpios or men or women or cats or dogs :-). Thanks for your information on Thanksgiving. Hope you have a good time with your father. And wish you will still be able to find many things to be thankful for.

B. What an interesting revelation about your father the monster. Do you find it helps in anyway with your problems? Is it possible to know and then leave it all behind?

Dear Asha again Thanks for your thoughts on my C-weekend. About the ‘no relation, no we', I am really at a loss. It is such a stupid thing to say, I cannot believe he means it. I have been hours composing an email explaining my feelings and then I just threw it all away again. I suppose there is only one thing to do: just ask him what do you mean by that. I still let it get at me though, don't know why. I just want him to acknowledge that there is something between us, whatever the meaning is, and not play hide and seek whenever he feels threatened (is this withholding, or am I just thinking up a relation that really isn't there. I am really wondering, cause he was the one to ask me to see whether we could get together again.

Stupid thing is, he doesn't act like it. He is sweet, concerned, caring. But somehow he needs to say things like this to protect himself from me, I think. I don't know whether I want to put up with it. You know, when he thinks i sleep, he sometimes whispers in my ear I love you so much and things like that, as if he cannot say them, when he knows I hear them.

About him having had to tell me all his phone calls before, I don't think that is the case, and I don't think he feels that either. It's like somehow he feels I am invading his space by by assuming I have any rights to expect something from him (something I would expect from anyone I was traveling with like that anyway). He just gets very defensive if he feels something is expected of him, and I think that's why he needs to state that there is no we, no relation. I think ‘we‘ and ‘relation' mean expectations and expectations somehow mean responsibilities and they scare the hell out of him. I just don't know how to deal with it.

BTW, next day he listened in on his voicemail and had the sound loud enough for me to hear and also said who else had called. So maybe after some thought he did get the message. He usually needs some time anyway. Will see. Sometimes I just feel I really have had enough. I started seeing him again, hoping thins would be better, and they are, sort of, but it really is a no-stop-job. I am so glad we are living apart.

Love to you all and HAPPY THANKSGIVING. We just give thanks for Trubble and Dr. I. for just being alive and able to grow and having the Catbox to vent into and learn from.


B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, November 22, 2000


Hi Doc, Trubble & everyone!

I hope you are all doing well.

This weekend, since I will have some time off, I am going to go back to the beginning of this catbox & read it all. I read Jake's story last week, and found that reading the comments by other readers was just as helpful as reading what he had to say.

I have not told my husband about this website yet, and I am not sure he'd come here even if I did. Maybe one day I'll have the guts to bring it up! Things are very strange. I'm fine at work (9-5, Monday thru Friday), but the rest of the time I seem to alternate between depression, anger (though I have come to realize that THAT has been a constant factor to varying degrees, I just usually swallow it to avoid trouble), and a sense of detachment. Even when we are getting along, these things are there.

I want to write more, but it seems like there is so much that I don't know where to start. I'm still confused, thinking that the abuse (even writing that word in relation to me seems unreal) is all in my head, that I am being petty & selfish. Feeling guilty for being here. I guess that's part of it, though. There is no physical abuse, we live in a nice house, don't really lack for anything, how dare I be unhappy! You know, that kind of thinking.

Happy very-much-belated Birthday, Lynn, and Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Trubble, I hope you get lots of trout & salmon! Another RealMommy! (pawprint)



B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, November 22, 2000



WOW! I wish I'd read your post, where you talk about the humane society, before I hit submit! I have been asking the same question! We don't have a humane society in our county, either, and I just want to know what I need to do to get the ball rolling. My dream is to somehow get more people to (cover your eyes, Trubble!) spay & neuter their pets. Ugh! Yukky yukky yukky! You guys go get your thingies cut off, not us! (distressed pawprint) It hurts me to see so many unwanted cats & dogs, and I would take them all in if I could!



B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, November 22, 2000


Dear Cat box,

Good Morning. Lynn here. AJ, I'm chuckling. I don't care what people eat (my grandson is a vegetarian) I meant I don't like vegetables. I don't like the taste of most of them. I like beets and artichokes. After that I'd starve. Childhood quirk. My mother thought I would die if I didn't eat my vegis. I raised my kids to eat what they liked and wanted. I seldom had a vegetable in the house. They all adore them. It seems they think they are the treat. Sorry, I didn't mean I didn't like you.

Dear Anne, Glad to hear from you. I don't know where you live, but I got a hold of the regional director of the Humane Societies in our area (the nearest Humane Society has his number) and he has a packet of what to do and how to get this going. Dan suggested going to a City Council meeting and suggesting the need for one. We do, I'm not alone here. Give them a call. I'm with you, A house full of pets is great.

DR, Are you new? I have seen lots of this legal mess. Thank goodness I never went through that. He said if you go take the kids and I never want to see you again. End of that story.

Hi the rest of you and Steve (((HUGS))))) back at ya'. I think it is so good that you are both posting. Even if you don't see eye to eye. There seems to come a time when we get this all talked out or posted out of our systems and then go one way or the other.

Dear Asha, Me thinks you two sound like us when we were both communicating only on the boards. As for picking sides, I can't. I like you both. There are some I can see both sides of the story. Doesn't make one right and the other wrong.

Hi the rest of you. I have to go right now. I'll get back to you. Love, Lynn


B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, November 22, 2000


Hi all

Jay - I don't think what Steve and I are experience is a Venus, and Mars sort of thing. It feels like a power struggle. And in the end no-one wins. Exactly.

Theressa - Thanks for your post. Steve and I do have very different perceptions. This is no small thing when things I clearly remember are seen as lies by him. Why does he think I would lie to myself in my journal? It's a private journal I don't share with anyone. Sure I see things through my perceptions, and I don't have verbatim quotes and descriptions of everything that happened and was said. Still, unless I have some kind of serious psychological condition that I am totally unaware of, I believe my memories to be real and true. *My* perception of a chain of events, but nonetheless real.

I agree Theressa that body language and voice can show true meaning. But also a nice sounding voice, with an apparent good hearted message can sometimes be delivered in malice. This is the case in covert abuse.

I also agree that we are all responsible for our own feelings, and choices. It's in trying to have a 'couple relationship' that I become concerned about whether my partner is working or not working his stuff out. Only as it relates to me. Otherwise, what he does and says is his business.

I have no problem giving Steve space if that's what he needs. I need it too.

I think I brought up some past hurts because they still hurt. So I guess they're not in the past yet where they ideally would be.

I don't know whether I'm putting more into things that happened than needed. I know these are important issues for me, and I don't want to sweep anything under the carpet. The issues themselves look petty, I agree. But it is what is underlying that concerns me; mainly the distrust, the discounting (i.e. how "can't remember how the conversation went within 1 minute after it's transpired"), the accusation of my "lying". These aren't petty.

I do suppose I shouldn't be bothered so much by all this, but I feel like the the wind gets knocked out of me when I start to believe that Steve and I are progressing and then we go backwards 20 steps. I just feel sad, disappointed. Stop then! OK to go back. Steve does not want to hurt you! Promise! He can't see how he hurts you any more than you see how you hurt him.

Hi AJ - I had to laugh, along with Lynn about the veggie misinterpretation. I understand though - with the talk about not liking blondes, dogs, cats etc. who knows what else could come up. I had a funny vision of cartoon style vegetables as a group banding together over issues of discrimination. :) Vegetables unite! Veggies for President!

Actually, thanks for that. I haven't been laughing much, and that just gave me a little boost. I appreciate your comments about Steve and I. In this case I don't feel we can agree to disagree and still carry on as a couple, because the philosophies behind the politics affect us both in a profound way. In general, I agree with what you are saying, but there are bigger issues behind these petty ones (as you also suggested).

I think you and C need to be clear with each other. Same as Lynn and Dan. Ask the questions you want to know and reply honestly. If something requires clarification, say so. Better to know the truth than to play guessing games.

I think if you set a friendly tone to your inquiry (vs. accusatory) you will get more information. Like, "are you uncomfortable telling me who called you", and "what makes you uncomfortable?" etc.

The nice thing about the living apart, is that you can work on your boundaries and there is nothing to lose. I think, as you said to me, relationships are a great test of what we are and who we can be.

Dan - I really liked the tone of your post. I meant to reply to you but was too wrapped up in my own stuff. I respect your decision to continue posting, for *you*. Keep it up!

Sounds like you and Lynn operate a lot on "assumptions" i.e. he should know this, or she means xxxx. I think what I said to AJ applies to you both as well. Yep.

Hi Anne, hi everyone else.


B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, November 22, 2000


Dear all,

I just told my husband I won't go to family therapy. I don't know if my decision is the right one or not. But today I thought I have had enough of this. I want to go forward and not backwards. The agenda thing just seemed in the end to be a kind of power trip.

I think this was confirmed when my husband took the agenda AFTER I had said I had decided not to go and said that he would send it with my comments on.

I told him if he did that I would write and say that he had done so without my permission.

If we had gone several years ago it might have been different.

But I just want some peace. I want to live and get a little out of life again.

I am tired of therapists, of medicine, of the whole mess.

I know I do my best for my children and I feel my husband just wants to go to therapy to prove himself right.

What I have told him is I will go when I see he is committed to change without having to go to therapy first. I want evidence that he really wants things to work and that I won't be abused through the therapy.

I even thought about getting a job today. Any job. Just to be free. Not to leave, just to get some independence back. I can't make what I earn without working full time, so I wouldn't be able to go to therapy anyway.

I think my husband needs individual therapy and he won't even think of that.

I might even just get my hopes raised and dashed and I don't want to put myself in that position.

To be honest, the therapy I find most useful is writing to the cat box.

Something in me wants to draw me close and protect me. I think maybe I have had so much hurt in the last few years that I just can't take any more pain. Not anyone else's or mine.

I wish I could just shut down emotionally. Not feel. Not a good solution.

I wish I knew if this is a good or a bad thing.

I wish I knew if I was running scared or protecting myself. Both. Neither are OK.

I just have this incredible fear that everything would get thrown in my face or I will end up a complete emotional wreck.

And to be honest, I think for myself I could read a book.

In a lot of ways maybe, what I want to do is to sit at the computer and write it all out.

I think the pain I have felt lately has got unbearable. Feeling my own pain is one thing, but I am not sure how to let go of it. I used to get people to pray with me so that is an option.

But mainly I want to pretend to myself that things haven't happened the way they did. It is all too big to comprehend. You can comprehend it. You can handle it. It is not more than you can handle. 

The more Steve and Asha post the more I think that I would only want to resolve things via the cat box. They might be posting non stop but at least they are able to say what they feel. I feel kind of wistful when Steve and Dan post. I wish my husband was here too. But I know from experience that if it is something I want, then he will refuse. His loss.

I don't think that any therapy will change the fundamental differences as he is not ready to see how he abuses me only to justify himself.

I think at the moment what I feel is a kind of anguish rather than anger. Yes.

I want to wake up and find it is all a bad dream. Or to sleep until the danger is past. But, that won't help.

To forget the past and ignore the present. Won't work.

And preserve my happiness for the future. 

The thing is the agenda got so long it overwhelmed me.

I think the only way forward is to forgive and let my husband do his own thing. But not allow myself to be controlled or drawn in. Yes!

I wish I knew if this is healthy thinking (all of this post and not the last sentence).

Also there are people involved that are not helping. I think I am going to refuse to communicate with any of them. I am also going to protect my son from them.

I think in fact, in my husband's case he uses the idea of therapy as a way of refusing to communicate. To avoid his own pain and inadequacy.

I don't think he can even recognize he is angry. Most of us cannot. He doesn't even know he acts in an angry way. I don't think I care any more. His problem and not mine. Exactly.

Jay Don't worry about him Jay. Worry about yourSelf. Believe in yourSelf and know you can handle anything that comes your way. You can.


B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, November 22, 2000


Dear all again. I just looked at the Buddah section and noticed that thanksgiving is a week and not a day. HAPPY THANKSGIVING WEEK! love Jay Actually, it's a day, but we'll take a week...

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, November 22, 2000



Asha here. I feel for you. I really do. I decided to make no demands of myself today. I laid down for a bit and I actually felt some peace. Maybe you need to do the same.

I started to feel a love for myself and all my quirks. A love for my artfulness, my creativity, my goals and desires, and just for where I am right now. My usual thinking is full of shoulds. I 'should' get this work done, I should vacuum, I should make the bed, weed the garden, make this phone call. Instead of should I started to ask - what do *I* want? What do I feel? Yes! I feel like having no demands made of me. I feel a bit reclusive. I feel I only want to be around positive people. I feel like recognizing the special person I am, and treating myself this way. I feel like I don't need any other human to affirm what I know about myself. I can be misunderstood. I can be toyed with, put down, whatever. I'm still okay with myself. In fact I think I'll give myself a hug too. Yes, yes, yes to all of what you said! Yippeee!

((((Asha)))) :)

take care

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, November 22, 2000


Dear Everyone,

Hi there. Lynn here. Happy, Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow or whenever.

We'll be leaving tomorrow so I won't talk to any of you before next week.

I couldn't finish my post this morning as I got a call and then got busy. Now I'm getting comatose and ready to get sick or something so I don't have to go "home." Which I don't call home by the way. I do this every time we head there.

Anne, if you don't have any luck with the Humane Society, Dr. Irene has my email addie and I can send the name of the guy to you.

Theressa and B, I didn't get to you this morning. Hello. I hope all is well with you both.

Asha (((HUGS))) to you, too, and read your last post. Last sentence. Deja Vu all over again. "Put down" Is it time for Dr. Kevorikian or what?? hehehe. I've been silly all day. Went to the Thrift store here today and spent $20.00. That's a lot of junk!! Christmas goodies mostly and a scythe for Dan in case he wants to play father time this New Years. hehehe, again.

Happy Thanksgiving Becky. I hope no news is good news from your direction.

AJ, Meat and potatoes for me. You can have my share of vegis. Dan is the same way. Our eating tastes are the same. That's a plus.

Jay, Dan and I were comparing his daughter with yours. Similar stories. I hope she isn't PG.

How nice. Our neighbor just brought me a bouquet of flowers for Thanksgiving. Beautiful. With a candle and a butterfly. WOW! And now LOCO is trying to eat them. Trubble, I'm going to stuff him someday! Stuff FakeDaddy instead! Hahaha! (pawprint)

Now to try and get my train of thought back.... HA! Now there's a silly for our baggage.

Jay, with your daughter. Dan has been hearing from his this last couple of weeks. Lots of similarities and some were brought up in his therapy today.

Astrid, Howdy old pal. How are ya'? Hope you are working on the new relationship.

I think I'll say a little something to Dan, too. He made a date for lunch with his old (actually former) fiancé on next Saturday. Dan. This is OK with me. I can't believe that you two haven't talked for over 30 years. I have a date with the girls, too, and I have had male friends in my life. No biggie. Not to me anyhow. So go to lunch and have a good time. Nice!

Steve, Steve and Steve. Nearly last, but not least. I wish I could take you and Asha and make this all better. I see progress, lots of it. I don't know how or where it will end or if it will end. I do think you two sound like Dan and I though. Kinda like if I wanted butter he said margarine. Or the other way around. All I can say is I cared so much. Too much! I remembered ALL the good times and things we did together. When they weren't so good I guess I thought I could shout them back. Didn't work. When I quit giving a damn it started working again. Go figure. I can't, but it works. At least it worked for me. Meaning I like the old poop better today than I have for the last 5 years. I have debated posting this, but since I think it's pretty funny I guess I will. Last night after your post with the (((HUGS))) Dan mentioned that you and I had quite a little "romance going on." OK Steve, leave Asha and come see me, your kids could play with my grandkids and OK, that's enough silliness. No romance, but I bet in "real life" and not "cat box life" I'd still like you. AND I HEAR YOU WHEN YOU ARE SHOUTING AND EVEN WHEN YOU AREN'T. It happens to me ALL THE TIME.

Another fun one. We are so comfortably dysfunctional with the dogs that I don't think we notice their weirdness anymore. They are at the kennel and there is a quiet peace around the house tonight. No barking, no whining and I think maybe once a month we ought to take them to the kennel for a vacation for us. Have to get my sons dog, though so we won't be totally dog free. Like having a dog here with LOCO. He growls. He never learned to meow. He's the stray that meowed until Daddy Dan found him and he ruined his voice box. Now he goes Maaa Maaa Maaa Maaa (Dan's chuckling here) LOCO sounds like a sick lamb!

Dr. Irene, I wish you and your family the happiest of holidays. Thank you for everything and please give Trubble a big turkey wing for us. Now FakeMommy, do you see why she's a RealMommy? (pawprint)

See you all next week. Best wishes for a great week to you and Dan!



B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, November 23, 2000


Theresa, your post today (Wednesday) was very very insightful. Thank you for your observers viewpoint.

I believe that anger begets unhappiness, which begets anger again. I don't think one can effectively work on solutions when one is angry. What happens instead is, you try to gather all your reasons why you should be angry, as an arsenal to be used in your next attack. You dredge the past, searching endlessly for unspent ammunition that you can bring out today and fire away at your target.

The perception issue is very tricky. We DO wear our own glasses. They are used both in promoting our viewpoint, and running from our fears. I know I've been wearing some that have prevented me from seeing, acknowledging or addressing major concerns I have. Part and parcel of being human...

My fear of losing my mate has allowed me to blind myself to certain issues. I've allowed them to be swept under the rug. I don't want to examine them because I fear that my mate will not be able to face up to them, and will react with anger, and probably shut me out. Hey, what if she reacts with anger - and doesn't shut you out?

I'm not sure what to do about that. I've held so much in. Talk to her. Then give her time to absorb what was said. Let her fume. Let her do whatever she needs to do until she recovers her balance.

As you know, most of the commentary surrounding our case has been how to fix Steve. I accept that. I know I have things to work on. But what happens, when you know you've fixed (or are working very hard to fix) your part of a particular issue, but the other doesn't even believe they have a broken part in the same issue? Not fair. I've chewed her out too. 

Then I'm left sitting there, all fixed up with nowhere to go...because the other half is not involved in the solution.

That basically says "well Steve, you can live this way for the rest of your life, spinning your wheels on the same issues that your partner is not acknowledging, or, you can move on and keep working on yourself."

Choices, choices...

I feel like using one of Asha's oft-used button-pushers now:

"I need to be around more positive influences..." You both do. And you can positively influence each other.

Notice the effect this has? It's like saying xxx is a very negative influence. Asha uses this type of dialect (always subtly referring to me) an awful lot, both here in the catbox and directly to me in real life. I find it to be quite abusive and seems to be meant to knock the other person down. She does need to stop "showing" you what she feels is wrong outside of a discussion.

I'm so weary of all that language. It tends to build upon itself if I'm not watching close. Linguistics is a fine art. Repetition of certain concepts/phrases/words can filter through the subconscious and influence ones feeling about themselves and the world around them.

I'm going to stay on high alert for this now. Oh, please don't. That's part of what wrecks things... I want to make sure it doesn't get inside and damage my Self. Only Steve can damage Steve's Self. Only Steve. I can already feel it at work and I need to spend some time/energy expelling what's already there.

Maybe I should go join the Scientology experiment. Yuk. We like it better when you are here.



B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, November 23, 2000


Hi Asha,

I agree that things can be said in the nicest possible way and still have malice in them.

There are some things that couples however, healthy are never gonna be able to agree on: Here are some different peoples perspectives that were given to me when I asked about a healthy relationship they may help you: [Michele is similar to Dr Irene] Huh?

I think what Michelle is talking about is the perfect story book love, romance, and affection, that is an impossible goal for anyone to try to attain. Instead I think she is telling us that marriage is real life with it's ups and downs, and any married couple has to realize this and accept it. No marriage is perfect and no one should expect theirs to be. And no person is perfect; neither is any partner. (Just cats are purrfect.)

***** The unrealistic ones.

Things like "if she loved me, she'd understand what I need. I wouldn't have to tell her." - Being able to read his mind

- Having dinner on the table the minute he walks through the door

- Being a sex goddess and a super mom and a VP at the local Fortune 500 company

- Shaving your legs everyday of the year

- Never having a bad day

- Never wearing anything higher than a size 6, even if you're pregnant **** There are many things in a marriage and even life that are simply unattainable. Having everyone be able to see your point of view is impossible. Totally avoiding conflict is impossible. Agreeing with your spouse at all times is impossible....the list goes on and on.

Differences are what makes us unique and individual. If we were not different, we would all be the same, and where would the fun be in that. What is important is how we deal with conflict and differences, not the conflict or the differences themselves.

**** I think the book must have been talking about trying to get your husband to put the toilet seat down!!!!!!!!

**** Heather - That's funny. But actually, my ex always did put the toilet seat down, which, Theressa, leads me to my point: I think what Michele is saying is that there is no perfect marriage. She's not saying that there are any particular goals that are not achievable; every couple is different. There will always be something you dislike about your partner. I'm sure that accepting the bad with the good, with grace and a sense of humor, is absolutely essential to a good marriage. This doesn't mean that you have to accept the unacceptable.


well T, its true, everyone is different. some people just aren't going to work with you no matter what you do. unfortunately not all marriages are "fixable" or should be salvaged. Maybe you need to reread chapter 9. Also Dr Irene points out that when an abusive person isn't willing to change they aren't going to. we can exhaust all avenues and still have someone that is so stubborn they choose to remain ignorant. you know as well as I do its darn hard work to change, some people are satisfied with living in their whole and letting everyone around them cater to them living in their whole.

some things you may accomplish with your H I may never be able to with mine, and vice versa. so then you decide whether you are just going to accept it or its too much to live with.


There are no universal unattainable goals. Every relationship has it's unique set of sticking points. It all depends on personalities, outlooks, expectations and abilities to bend. It's an undeniable fact that, even in the best of marriages, there will be disappointment. That's why learning how to accept your spouse is such an important variable to making marriage work.



I don't know if this is any help for you but it sure helped me to know that not every disagreement is gonna get sorted out. Though disagreements are different than ABUSE. And if there is ANYTHING that is bothering you like NOT feeling important to STEVE or regarding his X in fact anything it is always better to air it with him in an honest respectful way. REMEMBER STEVE ASHA's feelings are not FACTS but they are still valid. Maybe you could reassure her. DON'T SAY SHE SHOULD KNOW I CARE, cuz that is invalidating her feelings, the same with you ASHA when Steve is hurt about something this is when you should sit down together and work things out. REMEMBER all PROBLEMS are opportunities to GROW.

ACTIVE listening and not correcting someone else's feelings is HEALTHY. We all have insecure moments, however irrational they may seem. THEY ARE IMPORTANT CUZ they affect everyone in the relationship. REMEMBER DR IRENE SAID WHENEVER you feel unease about anything however justified, the two of you should root out UNDER the button to where it stems from and WORK on how you can help each other.

Another good thing WHAT DID YOU TWO USED TO DO WHEN YOU FIRST MET??? Did you go out together and just laugh and have fun? Then this is one of the good qualities you need to bring back to your relationship. YOU see despite you both needing to stop abusing one another and fighting the GOOD and the THINGS which need working on NEED TO BE IN BALANCE. SO you need the good times to help bolster up the things that need working on.



Asha maybe you need to tell Steve how important it is to you, to know that he doesn't compare you to his X. These are your insecurities, this is to do with you comparing yourself to his X. [Not to do with Steve] Asha you are valuable, you are unique, AND one FACT, Steve chooses to be with you, DOESN'T that tell you it is you he loves? He will always be attached to his X because of his kids but he sees her as their mother, and is trying to work with her to make it best for the kids, see it as his job to take care of his kids and his X as just their mom. YOU are the one who deposits most LOVE to him not his X, so instead of comparing, LOOK at how you and Steve can have some more of the GOOD OLD DAYS, what did you both used to do that made you both feel loved????

Did you two ever have breakfast in bed? Did you take a bath together? Did you ever massage each other? Did you ever cuddle up when watching a scary movie? Did you invite friends around for parties? Did you ask each other how their day went?

What would your relationship be like if things were okay? [Use the As If frame] Write down all the things that would be happening if you had a healthy relationship.

Would you be sharing your feelings and actively listening to each other without interrupting or invalidating or trying to correct how the other feels?

Would you be hugging every moment you could?

Would you be out having fun together?

Would you be able to compliment each other?

Do you ever thank each other for be themselves?

Do you ever think of setting aside one whole afternoon together without the tv, telephone, just cuddling and maybe sharing your hurts?

Do you ever have fun water fights, make lots of food and sit in the garden?

What would you remove from your relationship?

State all the things that would enrich your relationship and state them in positives: I will hug Asha/Steve whenever I am in the same room as her/him.

We will make breakfast together and have it in bed on a Sunday.


Remember change comes about through ACTIONS.


[Okay your all probably wondering if I know this, why didn't I use it, well you have two have two willing parties so that is why ASHA and STEVE are good candidates]

Love Theressa

Oh Theressa, such good stuff! Thank you! Are you talking about that wonderful book, Divorce Busting? How about that, the link feature worked!

Theressa, if you send me your email address, I will let you know how to get in touch with David while he is in London!

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, November 23, 2000


Dear all,

Ok, I won't be offended about the veggie-thing :-). I rather liked Asha's idea of a Vegetable Union. Maybe we should have a Vegetable House, along with the Cat and Dog House. And a house for Blondes and Scorpio's and not Scorpio's. Lets build a whole village! :-) These discrimination issues are really hot topic here where I live. For me especially, cause C. is part of a ‘etnic minority', which doesn't make things easier. We have a totally different background and grew up in a totally different cultural context and so we expect very different things from live. Talking about different realities! Ah, well. I always thought the mixing of cultures and different views on live was interesting. I never anticipated however how hard it could be.

Steve, I am so glad to find your tone of voice more open again, and I think you are so right that fear and anger are so closely related. There is a beautiful song by Eric Clapton (sorry, forgot the title) about a couple drifting apart. He sings (more or less): "You are angry, why shouldn't you be angry. t I am angry too. But you get lost inside your tears and I get lost inside my fears that I am nothing without you." I think it is so beautiful.

I think you are right to stay alert, not because I think she wants to hurt you, but because she might not always know that she does, as you might not always know that you hurt her. I don't know whether you read he advice for C. and me. I think it is a good advice for the both of you too: try to express what you feel, ask what you want to ask in an open, not hostile way. I know it is sooo hard. As you say, when you are angry, you just look for ammunition, and it is hard to get a hold in yourself again. But I do think it is the only sane way.

Also, try to see and understand the hurt in your mate. Maybe she/you say something stupid, just because you feel you have to defend yourself. Try to see these words as such. I have decided to sort of let slip C's comment's ‘there is no we, there is no relation', because I came to the conclusion that he said it, cause he really panicked, and it is such a stupid thing to say anyway and so obviously not true. I think the only sane thing to do is to let it pass by for now and not take it as a personal attack, cause I do not feel it was meant as such. He was protecting himself from "the Monster" he saw there at that moment. I know I an not "the Monster", so.... why get mad and try to find a reason in something that is irrational. (Does this ring bells?)

I am not sure whether this is right or just denial or plain simple arrogance (Dr I.?).

But it does feel good. I'll talk about it later (no talking, no solutions when anger rules, eh Steve :-). How right you are). But letting pass, does not mean telling the other: I am not engaging, however stupid you behave, see, I am not engaging. That might too easily be conceived as arrogant and putting down . Letting pass is something you do for you more then for the other, I guess.

Here's a poem I would like to share (site name with it) The site doesn't seem to have an owner, so I think just mentioning it should be enough. I have this poem printed out and stuck it above my computer, and read it every time I feel upset about something someone else did. Hope it will help you all too. Here goes:


On Change....


I don' t have to be perfect, and neither does anyone else.

Control is an illusion. It doesn't work. I can't change other people.

I can't change things I can't change, and trying to do that will make me crazy.

The only person I can change is myself. But, by changing myself, I may change more than I can imagine.

Welcome Anne and Jay, sorry you feel so bad. Sending you (as well as other who might need them) hugs and purrrs and good wishes. Trubble and Dr. I. you're under the umbrella too!!!

Love, AJ  

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, November 23, 2000


Hi Jay,

You sound much like I did STUCK, worn out and FED UP!!!

When we fear opening the doors to our feelings we end up confused. We don't know if we want to go forward, backwards, to the side etc. We just can't see a solution, we are so damn fed up of doing, and doing.

You wanted feedback on your post, here goes: You are valid to feel so fed up, and tired. You are valid to say NO I don't want to go to therapy anymore!!! We want to stop our feelings cuz we don't want to face all the pain. THE pain that maybe we aren't able to cope. WE can cope but our feelings are so overwhelming we don't know which way to turn. WE BECOME ANGRY AND STUCK!!!

Each day is a drag and we just don't care anymore cuz life is TERRIBLE!!! WE get fed up of trying to fix them. Well what we need to do is STOP talking and start acting. Cuz Actions speak louder than words.

I know your fed up of therapy BUT please just hear me out!! You can set some boundaries here which may HELP things be more beneficial to you.

Boundaries: I will go to the session as long as we ACT and not just talk. I want to the therapy to be action orientated. [Tell the therapist this when you get their, you don't want to just talk endlessly about feelings. You want some action. You want Anger management to be part of the therapy. You want monitoring of new behaviour patterns. And you want feedback sessions and monitoring of changes. Tell him you will go for 10 sessions but if no changes or ACTION is taken then you will QUIT.

Make this family therapy positive. ALSO set a boundary that you BOTH will attend some parenting classes (You may not need to go but he may do, and therefore if he thinks it is you as well it could be to your advantage cuz he'll not mind going.)

SO at the start of the first session say I want this to be ACTION ORIENTATED NOT JUST TALKING. I want boundary setting discussed and implemented and monitored. I want active listening monitored. I want feelings discussed and I WANT focus on solutions not on just talking.

Make these guidelines AFTER all you should be in charge of the sessions. Take some material from this site. The stuff about boundaries, self control, anger management, owning your worth etc.

ACTIONS make us go forward. Changing any step in an interaction means the other components can't keep on the same way. YES it is fearful making the changes but you will see the results.

What is the agenda?

Did you help to make it?

Any agenda of any sort should be made during a discussion where every member of the family and the therapist contributes.

Jay if you all went to therapy and you insisted on the directive approach above then it could be beneficial. This way you are promoting changes.

You say if you had gone years ago it might have been different. WELL if you want to save your marriage, this is as good a time as any. IF ONLY MY X WAS AS WILLING TO GO TO ANY KIND OF THERAPY. The way to get peace is to make the changes, otherwise you will just be going into denial and putting the problems on the shelf, do you want to live like this forever???

Don't you want to have a marriage that is nurturing. OR DO YOU REALLY WANT TO CALL IT A DAY??

When life is pressing you down a lot, REST if you must but don't you QUIT unless you decide to call it a day!!!!

When you say your fed up of therapists, that is probably because they talked and talked and went on and on about the problems, BUT where were the solutions??? Did they direct change? Were you an active part of the change? or did they just go over and over what the problems were? AWARENESS is only stage 1. Stage 2 is Making the changes, working on them and monitoring them.

YOU certainly do, do the best for your children, but wouldn't it be best if you could sort out your marriage?

When you work on solutions its not about who is right or wrong. It is about changing what doesn't work and doing what does, REGARDLESS of who is RESPONSIBLE.

JAY you can get his commitment and have therapy at the same time as I say above. Actions speak louder than words, so if he makes the changes, or begins to as I said above that would show his commitment to change. HE COULD TALK UNTIL HE IS BLUE IN THE FACE IT IS ACTIONS YOU NEED. A MAP OF WHAT BEHAVIOURS NEED CHANGING AND HOW YOU ARE TWO ARE GONNA CHANGE.

Every interaction takes two people. We each play a role.

YOU won't be abused through the therapy if you are helping DIRECT it. If your saying what is involved in the therapy sessions. If you set boundaries. We will do xxxxxx.

You could go to therapy, I work full time, I do a degree course, mind my daughter and go to therapy. HOW? I make the time cuz I am important and a priority, and if my life isn't improving, then I am not having the life I want!!

When your husband sees the changes without feeling blamed he will be more open to getting individual help.

JAY life is full of risks, we have to take the risks to GROW. Whatever work you do on change won't ever be wasted, and if you choose the goal as growing and not having a perfect marriage then you can achieve it. Every step is an achievement. So if you don't put yourself the position of trying, the only other option is living miserably or getting out???

THE reason YOU and I and all the rest of us like the CAT BOX is it is directional therapy. Like I suggested above, we get support, we help each other make changes. We don't just YAK on and on, like some therapy sessions. THAT is unless you speak up and define your own therapy session as ABOVE, after all it is for your benefit so you should design it.

JAY something in you wants to keep you in denial so that you can't get hurt BUT you are getting hurt. JUST cuz your not feeling the feelings doesn't mean they aren't hurting you. It is natural to use FEAR to protect us, the FEAR makes us do nothing, but nothing ever changes if we stay stuck in fear. MAKING one step helps. One small change helps!!!


JAY you have to be brave and feel the pain to heal. YOU use the anger to set boundaries and get what you want out of life. So solutions work.

You feel desperate and in emotionally turmoil because you are letting your fear stop you taking the risk of trying and acting. If you were listening to your anger, you would be dealing with the problem and using it to grow, you would be going to therapy and working on solutions. THOUGH it is fear that is keeping you BACK, it is crippling and keeps you stuck. ALLOW yourself to make one small step of writing a list of the things you'd want in your marriage and go to the therapy session and work on steps to get you what you want.

(JAY I've been in your shoes, just that my X wasn't willing to go to therapy.)

It is normal to want to shut down. It is our FEAR, it is useful in life or death situations but going to therapy isn't life or death!!! YOU will grow whatever happens, you can cope whatever happens. AND it is easier pushing through fear than staying STUCK and feeling helpless. [believe me you never met a lady so frightened than I was to ACT, whatever the action was]

You are protecting yourself, but you can set boundaries to do which is more healthier than allowing fear to cripple you.




HOW TO LET GO OF PAIN: Well acting helps a great deal, allowing yourself to cry helps a great deal. Spend time alone, and even if you end up crying allow it.

See your past as part of your growth, it was a time of trying on one coat and now you see it doesn't fit, so now you are gonna make a new coat. Life is like climbing a mountain, you are climbing and growing however, many times you fall. YOU grow most when you make mistakes.

WHEN you use directional therapy, (YES this is what Dan and Lynn and Steve and Asha are doing) then you don't need to be blaming, or justifying anyone.

THE WAY TO PRESERVE YOUR FUTURE IS TO MAKE THE CHANGES. CUZ AS METHINKS, we also play a role in the abuse so we need to sort it out, so we can move forward.

JAY it isn't about forgiving its about looking at what you each can change and working on solutions, YOU BOTH PLAYED ROLES IN THE PAST YOU WANT TO CHANGE, THAT ISN'T AS IMPORTANT AS FOCUSING ON THE FUTURE CHANGES.


IS this healthy your post: IT is honest, it has given you insight, YES its healthy, it is about being aware, now your aware see what steps you need to change that are not working.

MAYBE your Husband doesn't feel comfortable talking but he sounds very action orientated. MEN LIKE TO ACT more than talk usually.

JAY YOUR MARRIAGE IS YOUR PROBLEM AS WELL AS YOUR HUSBANDS. Working on solutions together is the way forward, talking endlessly about the past isn't gonna get you walking forward. Though looking at the past helps you to vent the buried emotions, sometimes first it helps to have some directive solutions. BIT by bit as your husband feels less threatened and so do you, you can deal with the past hurts slowly.

Love Theressa

More words of wisdom. Thank you again Theressa.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, November 23, 2000



6 Signs that Change is needed NOW

1.Discomfort: This is the mildest and earliest warning that change is required. The sense that something is not quite right, an inner voice tells you that action is needed. This uncomfortable feeling makes you feel inconsistent with your basic desire to be at peace. 2.Fear: Much more intense than a mild form of discomfort, fear can manifest as worry, anxiety, panic, fright or even terror. 3.Frustration: The inner feeling of having been down this road before and still not have arrived at a solution. This feeling can lead to feelings of inadequacy and guilt. 4.Anger: Knowing you need to change and not being able to accomplish the task can lead to a form of anger. This may manifest as anger toward you, but not always. Increasing amounts of anger towards others could also be a sign that change is needed. 5.Guilt: Quite often those who are needing some kind of change will undergo some form of guilt for not having made the changes in their life that are really obvious and needed. 6.Depression / Overwhelm: Advanced stages of long overdue need for change can bring about a feeling of helplessness and feelings of loss of control in one’s life. Loneliness and detachment from others can result. Often people diagnosed as clinically depressed are simply cases where someone has fought change and lost.

Why Can’t I Change? Many clients will ask me this question. They know they need to do something. They try and for some reason they just cannot bring themselves to make the needed change. Why? From a logical standpoint it would stand to reason that if they needed to do something to make their life better…they would do it! Why aren’t they doing it?

The casual observer will remark “they really don’t want to change” and in some way they are right…and wrong. Let me explain.

“Part of me….”

Have you ever heard yourself say “part of me wants to go out tonight, but part of me just wants to stay home” or some variation of that theme? In fact that is truer than you might think. We all have various aspects to our personality. Perhaps you are a mother, and at the same time a daughter, and an employee and jogger. If I could film you while you played with your daughter I might see a different “side” of you as compared to you at work or when you are at a park jogging. You are the same person, but in fact this is a different aspect of who you are. The combination of all these various “parts” or aspects of your personality make up the person you think of as “you”.

Let’s say that you pick up the habit of smoking at age 17 years old. In order to develop the habit fully, you must commit it to a subconscious habit. First you pick out the brand, you decide which hand to smoke with, whether to use a lighter or matches, how many to smoke, when to smoke (ie after eating, with coffee, etc..) and after a few years you have what you call a habit. If it was not for having 20 cigarettes in a pack you might not know how many cigarettes you smoke since most of the time you are simply allowing subconscious process to take over. The “Smoker” part of you is in charge. This is a subconscious part.

Let’s say that 25 years pass and you try to quit. You try “cold turkey” and are unsuccessful. You wonder why you cannot just stop. After all it is bad for your health, it is expensive and socially unacceptable. Each time you try consciously, you are unsuccessful.

If you were in Hypnosis and I was to ask your “Smoking” part to tell me why you smoke, you might tell me that it brings a feeling of independence or control that was derived when you first learned to smoke at age 17. So, when you have tried to quit in the past you have not found any substitute for replacing the feeling and since that part is only trained in one way (to bring you the feeling of independence through cigarette smoking) you fail to quit.

Rewriting the Program Your subconscious mind does not care if you smoke. It is just carrying out orders. In order to change, you need to rewrite the program. This is true for ANY type of behavior modification or change in thought process. Old programs can easily be rewritten if you follow the basic rules of change.

5 Steps to Create Lasting Change

1.Find the Program: Understand that you are running a program and that it has a purpose. Don’t look for logic in the conventional sense. You do whatever it is your doing, for a reason. The quickest way to discovery is to find out exactly how you feel. Step back from the problem. Is the action or thought filling a need? Does it make me feel whole in some way? Am I frustrated? What really frustrates me? Using self inquiry, you will eventually find some value in what you are doing, the equivalent of some good.


Problem Reaction / Benefit Smoking cigarettes Feeling of freedom / relaxation Insomnia Sense of unfinished business / keep thinking Anger Feeling victimized / need for retaliation Anxiety / Panic Fear of unknown / need to be on guard.

So, find the program means to understand the “logic” of the program.

2.Acknowledge and Appreciate: Give yourself a break, stop beating yourself up over this. Be thankful that there is a part of you that looks out for your well being, even in the face of tremendous criticism; part of you (the subconscious part) still continues to fight on.

3.Imagine a desirable outcome: Close your eyes and begin to imagine that part of you is being instructed to change. See the change taking place and feel a sense of gratitude. Imagining what you want is the most critical part of change. Effective visualization is VERY important to the change process. Learn how to meditate, listen to self-hypnosis audiotapes, see hypnotherapy, use any means possible to begin visualizing the desired outcome. The key to change is to have something compelling you are drawn to. You need to hold the image of what you are working towards continuously out in front of you.

4.Practice, Practice, And Practice: We talk to ourselves at over 10,000 words per minute. It is important to understand that in order to begin the process of change you will need to begin to start new programs and change the old ones that are running. Then, you will need to repeat the vision of your new life repeatedly. If you want to eliminate headaches, you need to imagine life without them, how you will walk, the way you will hold yourself, every aspect of your new life.

5.Understand / Embrace the Journey of life: Seek knowledge, look for examples of how you want to live, find a mentor or coach, read biographies of people you respect. Share your knowledge with others. Be patient, this is a journey not a destination. Continue to strive for improvement, not just in this area, but also in others. Create a mission for your life, a purpose. Strive to be happy and feel a sense of love in your life. Search for meaning.

Whoever posted: Please let me know whose work this is and the url to give proper credit. Also, please let the author know you posted this wonderful, probably copywritten stuff. (Unlikely they will mind.)

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, November 23, 2000


Thanks for your thoughtful post Theressa. I still have decided not to go to therapy. Basically, I am not really bothered about the marriage any more I am concerned for my own welfare. I know from experience I would be abused. It is all part for me of taking back control of my own life.

My husband works to "rules'. He seems to be incapable of sorting out anything for himself and so suggestions made by others become rules.

One therapist suggested he had Asperger's syndrome. I don't know if he has or hasn't but he does act like it.

The best thing in the circumstances I can do for my own children is make my own life.

Nor from experience do I feel my confidentiality would be respected and I am not laying myself open to that again.

I am not hiding my feelings as the worst feeling of all is to fel you live with someone who is intentionally abusive. That is what i hid from all these years.

It is because I am looking at what I feel that I made the decision to quit. My boundaries seem to be stronger every day. One of those boundaries is about where I place myself.

The therapy does my head in as they say as it just goes round in circles as whatever I say my husband counters it. I end up upset and it does my children no good. My husband meantime seems to enjoy my upset and deliberately build on it. I am not giving him a chance to do that.

Possibly I want revenge for all those years he hurt us by denying there was a problem. Until he sees that he had a part to play in it. NO DICE!

I am not sure I want a relationship with someone who has put me down for 20 years and will just find more ammunition.

I feel the anger o.k. I am dealing with it. Just now, to go to therapy with him would be sheer masochism.

Let him be frustrated and not get his way for a change. IF he can show me he can look at issues without a therapist holding his hand and work on the marriage without needing this then and only then will I go to therapy with him. I just don't think it is so important to have a relationship where I am a victim any more.


B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, November 23, 2000


Hi all. Steve here.

It's 5am and I can't sleep. But I've figured something out. Time to take off those glasses Theresa, and face a big fear. 

: )

That stuff about politics a few posts back, with Asha and I, it wasn't about politics AT ALL!

It was about RELIGION.

Yes, definitely. It's all so clear now. Asha is Anti-Christian. In my opinion, she is AGGRESSIVELY, not passively, Anti-Christian. Both her parents are aggressively Anti-Christian. I, on the other hand, am not. My morality is closer to Christian morality than Asha's is. Steve, this is silly. Who cares what she is. Religion is a personal thing. Like politics, you know? No right, no wrong.

Asha knows very little about what my preferred political Party stands for. She knows very little about what HER party of choice stands for. But she knows what's important to her. The Canadian media has been beating a certain drum. The Anti-Christian drum. Not very unusual in itself, however, in this case, the leader of "my" party, is a - gasp - Christian!

And that makes all the difference. Garbage. But, you are a smart fellow. Great ability to connect stuff.

That's why she doesn't like the party. She knows almost zero about what their platform is, just that their leader is a self-proclaimed Christian.

And that makes everything else so clear. That's why she was pushing me at her parents, that's why she pushed me again when we got home. That's why she pushed me with her ridiculing email. (She tries to defend that email by mentioning that I sent HER one about "her party". She neglected to mention that at that time I had know idea it was "her party". I just thought it was funny. It wasn't really even about a party. She has actually misled everyone on that issue. The email was actually just about how ridiculous politics can get, regardless of the party. It just so happens, "her party" was in power so that was the party used in the email because they make the laws. The email was about creating laws for lazy, un-trainable people...)

So, it's about religion. That's why she tried to create a debate about homosexuality at the dinner table with her parents and my kids. She was really trying to push my "religious" buttons. Although I held up well and didn't bite the way she was expecting.

I really hope she sees this. This is something that I've allowed to remain under the rug way too long. No wonder I've had this indefinable feeling of distrust or danger when it comes to her interacting with my kids. If she wasn't so aggressive about it. But she is. I'm concerned that she will force her morality on my kids. I've watched her do it. I realize she doesn't respect my feelings on this. That's why it feels unhealthy and dangerous.

I have a good good friend who is a "born-again" Christian. I trust him more than anyone else on this planet. So how could I be anti-Christian? I can't.

Asha and I have a big BIG problem. If she again turns this on me and makes it "one of Steve's problems", then I'm done. I can't be involved in a relationship where an aggressively Anti-Christian is also denying she has any problems. Steve's problem is that he's trying to make religion the issue when the issue has nothing to do with it!

No wonder she is angry so often. This problem needs to be addressed, or we might as well go our separate ways.

That's all for now. Back to bed for me.


B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, November 23, 2000


Wow Theressa. I just read your last post. Excellent. Really really well-done. Thank you for caring so much. I agree.

I still have to go to bed but I had to thank you first. I'll try to respond to some of it tomorrow.

And WOW to AJ as well. Great stuff. Yes!

To everyone...hugs hugs hugs...

(I better not hug you too much Lynn in case Dan is watching)

Steve But, I don't care if Asha is watching: hugs, hugs, hugs to you from the Doc and Trubble.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, November 23, 2000


Dear Cat Box,

I wasn't going to post, just read, but I saw Steve's 2nd post and had to! 6 AM here Steve, and I couldn't sleep and got up to read my mail, the paper and the posts. (((HUGS))) All I want to. I rather enjoy hugs. Dan was never much of a hugger and I think I taught him that it's OK. Then we had an acquaintance (female) who would tell me hello and then hug Dan. I used to giggle. I guess she just needed male hugs.

I was looking for Dan's post. I think he posted after I did. I went and did something else. I can't find it though. Oh, well. (((HUGS))) to you too, Dan.

Yes Theressa. Great post and same for Jay and Michelle. And everyone. And AJ. I am sorry about the vegi slur. I like minorities, at least the people I have met. I was a divorced woman before it became popular and worked before equal wage was popular so I know about minorities, too.

I loved the smoking bit. I started when I was 25. (Dan started at age 9). I worked in a bar and couldn't stand the smell, but sometimes the tension and pressure got to me, so one day I bummed one. Until I met Dan I never had a cigarette before I ate. He gets up and lights one before he does anything else (I swear this guy smokes through his shower). Again, I can't stand the smell, so I get up and have one, too. I have to be like my aunt who quit. She ONLY had 4 a day. One after meals and one at bedtime.

I can't get into politics or religion with anyone. One reason is having been a bartender. I saw extremes of both and I guess I trained myself to disengage and keep my opinions to myself and let anyone else have theirs. Unless I consciously engage someone which I am wont to do occasionally :P :) ^_^

Now I do have to go pack and I wish you all a Happy Day.

(((HUGS))) to the entire cat box and a boo, hoo, gobble, gobble , meow, meow.

We Love, Lynn

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, November 23, 2000


hehehe, Lynn again. Hugs could be equated to fighting. It's okay as long as we don't let them get below the belt! Love L

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, November 23, 2000


Dear Lynn,

No offense taken. Have a nice holiday (again) and take care, both of you. love, AJ

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, November 23, 2000


Steve, I can't think Asha is anti Christian. She might be anti certain Christians but Asha I would prefer to hear rather than guess your views. At least 2 of us in the catbox have a strong Christian faith. My views on church teaching don't negate my faith and I have never detected any animosity from Asha.

But you clearly feel strongly about Christianity and I can say from experience that it is important to try to be with someone who can share your views.

But I also think you are both missing the point still. 

I don't think it is about religion at all. Bingo!

But I am not sure what the point is. Control battle. Power struggle. Silly stuff.

love Jay

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, November 23, 2000


Dear Dr Irene, Trubble and the rest of the family.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Just got on for a bit before we leave. Went into the posts briefly and saw that one that I submitted last night rather lengthy too, wasn't there. Another cyberspace mystery.

Went to the therapist yesterday, and really felt good afterwards. We talked about my sister's death and it's effect on me for all these years. It may have been that I laid all the guilt on myself then and carried it through. Yippeee! I wished all my siblings were gone and, presto, she was. Lynn said this too. Doc too. And it's not uncommon for this to happen when such an accident happens. Yep. I was not able to care or protect her as had been my unfair charge for the four of the six years of her life. When children aren't allowed to be, then resentment and hateful feelings build up toward ones siblings. The feeling is mutual also. The therapist told me this. She's a very, very smart lady. Trust her.

I stopped at my brother and sister-in-law's on my way home and she commented that it's strange that we get along so well now. Not so strange to me, we're all adults and I am no longer the caregiver or provider, thus no resentment. OK FakeDaddy. Now, make me feel loved too.


I read your poem, and I think that you are a very talented lady Yes!, writing is something which I use to communicate but am unable to use it the way that you did/do. I posted to you last night not to worry about things between you and your daughter as they eventually will work out. My daughter told Lynn that she had been led to believe that I didn't care and when my first granddaughter was born, and I got in touch with her it showed her that I did.

Lynn made the comment last night that we were on the same bandwagon as far as our neighbor's remedy for the cat problem goes. I have to say yes because there are other more humane ways to deal with it.

We are going back to our hometown today, and the only good thing about that is that I will get to see the grandchildren. I can't begin to express how it feels not to live there anymore. I don't even try to defend the place as I did when I was younger because it's just a town now. It's true that we both have relatives there but it's a relief when we leave there after visiting.

To All,

My thoughts are with you today and have a truly Thankful Thanksgiving.


Trout don't have wings so hopefully you will settle for a bird wing. You eat the bird wing FakeDaddy.

Dr Irene,

You are the person that I am truly Thankful for today and since I first started posting.


Dan Aw, gee... *Big Smile*

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, November 23, 2000


Hi All,

Steve, glad my post was okay with you!! I think this is a good thing for you and Asha cuz maybe you both need to agree that this is one of those subjects that is a no go. As for your kids, kids generally don't think much about religion. KIDS usually are more interested in playing and hanging out. I THINK also kids usually pay more attention to the tv and peers than anyone else. THOUGH I do think ASHA should speak to you before she speaks about things to do with VALUES - like religion or politics. LUCKILY I didn't make a big deal about religion, however, my X didn't want my daughter to go to a catholic school. Though they offer the best education and discipline, so this determined the school. TRUTH IS I have challenged a lot of things I learnt as a child from church.

JAY I think you must be strong to be detached yet stay in the same house as your husband, Why do you stay? Is it financial reasons? Will you stay forever? Don't you think that if your there in a dead marriage that it makes it harder for the right guy to come along?

DAN you're a granddad? I'd never have guessed. Me I am only a mere 26 years old. You are a baby! Though I will swear my mom's closest friend when she got a divorce was a great laugh, we went out drinking and clubbing and laughing. She used to laugh cuz all my friends were in relationships and me and her weren't. So whether your a granddad or not, YOU'RE A GREAT GUY!!! Yeah!

To all of you good morning, evening, whatever time of day, make it a good one. Theressa 

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, November 23, 2000


Theressa. I stay as my son wants to. I also stay as I am married to a workaholic so he is not around until late all week. Also financial reasons come into it. I probably am staying until I feel ready to leave. Maybe I also stay as we once had something good and I am still deluding myself that could come back. I stay because I can now put my mind elsewhere. I probably just stay as I am not yet recovered from codependency. But mainly it is because of my son who wants us to stay together. love, Jay

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, November 23, 2000


Hi all, B. here.

I'm glad that Dan and Steve are posting again. It's so great to have both sides posting! I told my H that I'm writing here, but he was not even interested in getting the URL. Awwww....

About my monster: what I feel is, that it was a great breakthrough for me.

I think I was full of FEAR for 33 years, but since I was too afraid to SEE where it came from, and I was too busy HIDING this fear and other feelings from MYSELF as well as from others - it ruled my life.

Now that I've let myself get in touch with the root of my fear, I feel relieved from it. When it is no longer unknown - you no longer "fear the unknown". Know what I mean? The world does not seem so dangerous anymore.

I am also surprisingly not angry at all with my father! I just feel as if a great weight has been lifted from my heart.

I do the meditation where I hug and protect 6 year old B., and little by little the monster is "losing life" (can you say that?), becoming more like a lifeless doll than a real dangerous creature.

I think I am really getting in touch with ME.

Hugs to you all! B. Hugs back! Lots and lots of them!

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, November 23, 2000


Hello all.

I caught some sort of yukky bug and I can’t believe how late I slept today. Looks like the catbox has been hopping. I want to respond to lots, so excuse the epic novel… (and I do mean *epic*!)


“I believe that anger begets unhappiness, which begets anger again”

I agree. I think paying attention to the feeling and looking at the source of that feeling is very important though in order to be able to effectively deal with it. I wouldn’t say I’m “angry” right now, as much as disappointed, frustrated. I do feel anger when I read some of your posts about my “lies”, or your claim that I “can't remember how the conversation went within 1 minute after it's transpired” – the feeling comes up, but I’m working on quickly defusing it. At this moment now I can go back and read those posts without anger.

The email you had sent me, I now understand was a reaction to what you thought were attacks on you, or attempts to push your buttons. What you have wrong, is that I didn’t “attempt” to push your buttons. I don’t remember the newspaper article thing that you spoke of in that earlier post, so maybe you can refresh my memory on that. (I probably don’t remember it, because I would have thought it was no big deal. I haven’t read the newspaper for ages, so I haven no idea what you were referring to). The second incident you referred to as a “shot” I do remember, though not all the details. I remember that you were at my place and we began discussing politics and the discussion got heated and I finally said I didn’t want to talk about it because of the level of intensity. I could just as easily have said that you took “shots” at me, but I know they weren’t intended to hurt *me*, they were just your opinions. What concerns me is how you interpret things I say - expressions of what I think and feel - as “shots” taken at you. This insinuates an intention to hurt you. I didn’t intend to hurt you.

What also bothers me is your lack of trust that I don’t tell you the truth, like when you cross-examined my phrase about “shots 1 and 2” to show that I was trying to deceive you. I can’t live in a relationship where my partner doesn’t trust me to tell the truth.

Steve, I don’t want you to be blind to any issues, because that’s a form of deception on its own – deception the the Self. If you deceive yourself, then you deceive everyone around you. I would much prefer that we both are honest about what *is*, and if we must part because of what *is*, then at least we’ve been honest to ourselves. If we part because of what *isn’t*, then that, I believe would be a true shame.

Steve, what, do you believe are my “broken parts”? (no anger, I really want to know)

Steve said: <<<"I need to be around more positive influences..." Notice the effect this has? It's like saying xxx is a very negative influence. Asha uses this type of dialect (always subtly referring to me) an awful lot, both here in the catbox and directly to me in real life. I find it to be quite abusive and seems to be meant to knock the other person down. >>>

Are you referring to my post of yesterday, when I wrote “I feel I only want to be around positive people”? If so, when I wrote that post, I was thinking solely of me, what *I* want and what *I* feel. This is what I mean when I refer to the “Steve filter”. It’s as if, because you think many things I say are in reference to you, or are an attempt to push your buttons, rather than just stating what I feel, think etc. I would have to continually run them thru the filter i.e. will he think I meant xxxx? Should I phrase it like xxxx just in case he does? I’ve done this before in response to your reactions, and it feels unnatural and unhealthy to me. I’m sure at times I’ve been insensitive about certain things and how they feel to you, but this is excessive and has a “yuck” feeling to it. What if you to tried to imagine that it may have nothing at all to do with you? And if you think it *is* covert abuse, ask me directly what I meant by what I said. Don’t assume it means something against you, just because of what you feel.

Steve, in these posts you’ve been very focused on what you feel and how I push your buttons. What about my feelings? I still feel hurt about when you asked if I wanted you to “push me off the couch”. I feel yukky about the word “pinko”. What if you were to also consider how I may feel, and how I may be reacting to my own feelings; nothing to do with you?


Theressa – thanks for your warm-hearted advice and for taking the time and care to post. (((hugs)))

Re: your post about differences. I’ve often wondered on just *how* different a couple can be and still happily cohabitate. I suppose that we could agree to not talk about politics religion etc., but I wonder if the philosophies behind the differences (when polarized) would still make it too difficult for a balanced relationship.

I have a url for you and for others as well, that talks about differences in couples that I found very helpful. Actually I think it’s an excellent article, and an interesting site:

If you go to the home page at:

and scroll down to the bottom where it says “for couples”, you’ll see some other links too.

When you spoke of the “Good Old Days”, it’s weird, but I don’t have many memories of Steve and I relaxing together with friends, went out on a “special date”, did fun stuff etc. When I first met Steve he was very busy self-educating because I think he wanted to have better skills and better pay. I accepted this whole-heartedly, because I too went to school and had to make this a priority over most “fun” things. Our common ground was the work we did, and have continued to do together. What I do remember as being positive were the great philosophical conversations we had (and still have) as being what tied us together. I find most people (hate to say it but…) are rather shallow conversationally speaking, and I found that Steve was willing to delve into deeper thinking about life, the purpose of life etc.

There was much tension in the beginning of our relationship as well because of Steve’s X. There was even a period where Steve felt he might go back to his X, thus my insecurities about being compared to her now. Because of all this tension, I don’t have the kind of bond with his kids that I would have otherwise had. When I did nice things for the kids (on the rare occasion that I saw them, in the beginning) I believe it was taken as a slight by Steve’s X. The kids sensed this, as did Steve, and the relationships were very strained. If I could go back to that time now, I realize it was not the right time to try a relationship with him. I actually had images of Steve’s X and I becoming friends, and thought we could go “beyond” our egos. But that obviously didn't and maybe couldn't happen.

Also, when I first got involved with Steve I had no idea that he and his ex were still ‘semi-involved’. Steve had said they were ‘never getting back together’, that they had been apart for 3 years, and I took this at face value. Had I really been aware their relationship wasn’t really over, I wouldn’t have gotten involved so quickly. But once I got involved, I stayed involved. In retrospect this may not have been the healthiest decision.


AJ: Thanks for your warm thoughts and comments.


Dear Mystery Poster: (6 Signs that Change… etc.) Thank you for your insight.


Jay – Wow, you sound really strong. I agree that ‘couple therapy’ can only happen when both are willing and ready. If it’s used as a way of struggling for power, then better to put your energy in working on yourself, alone. I send my good thoughts to you.


Back to Steve’s comments. I am not “anti-Christian”. Christian means a lot of different things to different people.

I do hold my own views about issues like abortion, anti-Semitism, homosexuality etc etc etc. Don’t need to get into all of it here, but what I am uncomfortable about, when it comes to *some*, not all, religions is judging people because of their sexual preferences, race etc. I am also uncomfortable with religions that encourage women to be submissive to their husbands. I don’t agree with those that are against things like sex education in schools etc.

I also don’t like that many people subscribe to certain religions out of fear of what will happen to them if they don’t. This is against my philosophy of acting out of love and not fear.

Steve said: <<<She knows almost zero about what their platform is, just that their leader is a self-proclaimed Christian.>>>

Steve, how do you know what I know about them? Do you have access to my brain? I know a lot more about their platform than you think I do. Some of it is okay IMO, a lot of it isn’t IMO. This is the sort of quick judgment you make that I find offensive.

Steve said: “That's why she tried to create a debate about homosexuality at the dinner table with her parents and my kids. She was really trying to push my "religious" buttons.”

I didn’t create a “debate” about homosexuality. We were talking about society, something about what is on TV these days or some such thing, then Steve said out of the blue “Sodom and Gomorra!” I admit I was really embarrassed by this, as I know how my parents and sister would take this remark – as one of prejudice, discrimination against gays. As far as I’m concerned, there is nothing to debate. Live and let live. Yes. Steve seems to believe that our society “promotes” homosexuality, while I feel strongly that gays and lesbians have been seriously discriminated against, and I won’t be silent about this regardless of the buttons that get pushed by anyone.

Steve: <<I'm concerned that she will force her morality on my kids. I've watched her do it. I realize she doesn't respect my feelings on this.>>

I don’t “force” my morality on anyone. But I won’t be silenced about my beliefs either. Let me say, in advance, that I know this will push Steve’s buttons, but I’m not saying it because I want to push a button. I’m saying it because it is of deep concern to me, and IMO is the source of our current relationship “problem”.

I guess I don’t respect your feelings about the “promotion” of homosexuality, about the exaggeration or “promotion” of the holocaust, of the “pro-liberal media” because I don’t think these views are healthy or balanced. I can’t respect beliefs that I feel could affect detrimentally the lives of others.


Jay – thanks.

If I was “anti-Christian” I would be “anti-Jay” wouldn’t I?

I’m not. I respect you lots. In fact I really admire certain types of Christians. I had an ex-boyfriend who was Christian and I loved how his family was so close, so creative, so loving. I think what is positive about Christianity, or any other form of spiritual connection is that it creates a sense of community and caring for people. Like when you mentioned that you knew of someone that would come and pray with you, it really touched me and made me realize that there’s a huge spiritual gap for me in that way. I would love to have friends who cared enough to come over and pray with me. It’s as if a lot of us find this spiritual closeness embarrassing or something. I’ve always thought it would be nice if, as a family, Steve and his kids and I could say grace before dinner – spend some time giving thanks for things, and sending positive thoughts to those who need them. I don’t call myself a “Christian” per se, because I don’t really like labels. I think a spiritual connection is really important though.


Everyone else – hi.

Boy this is some therapy. It’s 2 p.m. now and I haven’t even had my “morning” shower. Better get on with the other elements of my life.

I am really thankful for this space to air my thoughts and feelings. Thanks Asha. For the record, this site is pro-human. Since I own the site, I get to pull rank. Everybody is entitled to their own views, whatever they are. Just no bashing allowed. (Except we all get to bash American elections and I get to bash Al Gore who is making a total fool of himself with his inability to accept that he lost Florida. Who needs this sillyness in the White House? Yuk!)


B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, November 23, 2000


So much to say, so little time...

Asha "I didn’t create a “debate” about homosexuality. We were talking about society, something about what is on TV these days or some such thing, then Steve said out of the blue “Sodom and Gomorra!” I admit I was really embarrassed by this, as I know how my parents and sister would take this remark – as one of prejudice, discrimination against gays. As far as I’m concerned, there is nothing to debate. Live and let live. Steve seems to believe that our society “promotes” homosexuality, while I feel strongly that gays and lesbians have been seriously discriminated against, and I won’t be silent about this regardless of the buttons that get pushed by anyone."

Your subtly creeps in again. I disagree with all of the above that you are attaching to me. When I said Sodom and Gomorrah, it wasn't about homosexuality. Why can't we ever remember the same events the same way???

Actually after reading the rest of her post, insinuations, lies and major anger and push-button, I realize this is a joke. I'm talking to a little spoiled girl. Perhaps. But, you are the spoiled little boy.

Let's play the game "what terrible thing can I say about you". Na na na na na na. Grade 4 level.

I can't take part in that cruel system of teasing and punishing. So, why are you playing?

I am controlling my anger, which is a great thing, but alas, it's over if I don't get an apology for the latest round of abuse. Now it's become an ego thing for you.

All Asha wants to do is make me look like a bad person. I'm tired of it. 

I'm tempted to open the floodgates. So tempted. But I can't fall for it. These buttons have to go.

One thing I know now. She isn't who I thought she was. I never knew how cruel she really was until now. That's why I don't trust her. She has no respect for me. None. She will say absolutely anything in order to hurt me. Oh Steve, please drop it. She's not cruel. She is angry with you though. Big deal. You can deal with that. Don't you see that you are not only playing the game, you are making the game a focal point?


B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, November 23, 2000


Asha, you are so cruel.

So now you won't answer the phone. Yes folks, I tried to call to diffuse the situation and she hung up on me before I could speak.

There's nothing left here worth saving. How can we even operate a business together when she wont answer my calls?

How can I be around someone I don't trust? That's the problem Steve. You don't trust anybody. Someone who can lash out at me without warning? Someone who tries to convince others how horrible I am and is willing to lie to do it? Seek and ye shall find. This is a ridiculous argument and you know it, cuz I know how smart you are.

Who is the abuser here, really? You can both be abusive, but you are "the abuser" if I have to pick. Thank you Dr Irene for helping to "awake" me. Not only to myself, but to others as well.

Thanks to everyone here for caring and trying hard to help us.

Unfortunately (or fortunately?), it's over. I wont subject myself to this kind of abuse EVER again. 

Take care all. The truth is out there. We still love you. What a lousy time for my computer to act up. I wish I caught this mess earlier...


B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, November 23, 2000


Why didn't it end sooner? I am so mad at myself.

So much wasted time...

I want to swear, I want to yell and scream. That's the old me. I am going to just disappear instead. 

I won't answer her calls. She never existed. It was all a bad dream. Steve, I wish you'd stop this silliness.

She is gone, like eraser stuff that you brush off the page after removing the offending words.

sigh...I cry. Tears in the bank too. They say salt can heal wounds. I will heal.

Love to all. I know how much you cared. Some things aren't meant to be. Free will Steve. Remember? You have chosen not to let this be. Even though you love her and she loves you... Sad...


B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, November 23, 2000


Happy Thanksgiving All, Well, I think I just found my way to the posts. I found this wonderful site a couple of weeks ago. I "yakked" with some lovely ladies a couple of Tuesdays ago. It was so refreshing and so helpful to me to relate and understand and be understood. You ladies helped me so much, and answered so many of my questions. I came to the Tues. night yak with the name of Butterfly, I didn't realize you used "real" first names. My name is Suzy. I have been a victim of emotional abuse from my husband from day one of our marriage, nearly 19 years now.

I never realized I was being emotionally abused, I just knew when my husband was around, I felt inadequate, lonely, depressed and worth nothing to him. I believed all his lies for years. I was "too fat", "not a good enough house keeper", "not a consistent enough mother", "spent too much money", ...etc. etc. I was watched like a hawk. I talked too much on the phone, spent too much time on this or that, or .....that any pursuit or interest I had was "stupid". He checked the milage on the car on each and every day when he came home. He checked in the garbage can for empty candy wrappers, magazines, or Burger King papers, ... things which were a luxury and "not allowed" without his "permission". Every night when he came home, he went into my purse to "check" the checkbook, to see if I spent any money which I was not "allowed" to spend. He even checked grocery receipts from the store to see if "I bought the "RIGHT" items. If I did spend, even on the tiniest thing, I was lectured or yelled at for hours. I had to "ask" for affection (not freely given)...even for just a hug...while he could have what he wanted at will.

One day I went to work after 13 years at home "Obeying"...I woke up and realized I was a person, not just "HIS wife" or the "KIDS mom". I found wonderful friends. I realized not everyone asked permission from their husband. I realized that I didn't have to be treated that way. I gained some self esteem. I set some boundaries, and then all HELL broke loose. We headed for divorce court, He became meaner than ever, then when he realized I really wanted the divorce, he "wooo-ed" me back. It was wonderful for a while. There is 5 children involved. There is a Christian marriage involved, a promise I take seriously. Now, 6 years later, two separate sessions of marital therapy, private therapy for me, and lots of hard work.... We are still together, but miserable, and unhappy. Our family life is a "shambles". We quite often think of divorce. He knows he has a problem, but hasn't been able to get the help he needs. We keep "hanging on", but is it worth it? He was brought up in a military home. His family was strictly religious. I was brought up in a dysfunctional home, mom mentally ill, emotionally and physically abusive to me, Dad ...kind to me, but an alcoholic and prescription drug abuser. Classic, huh? I vowed to be a kind and loving and caring person when I grew up....boy, did I ever do that. I found a poor hurting soul to "rescue", and I let him drown me in the process. I am strong now, I have boundaries, yet my family is a mess, I cannot blame it all on him either. I'm wondering.. should I stay, should I go? You just don't throw 19 years of marriage away. I feel he wants help, yet never gets it, so I wonder. All I know is I can't afford to have him slowly smother me to death again. Well, here in a nutshell is my "post" ladies. I'd love some advice and input...guys too, please. (No physical abuse involved.) Nobody can beat you up here Butterfly Suzy! Welcome.

I wish you all a great holiday. "Butterfly"..  aka Suzy

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, November 23, 2000


Just want to let everyone know that I'm still here. I've felt like I'm coming down with something all week, have been really tired, so haven't been up to posting.

Looks like a lot has been happening! Jay, I understand your attitude of just wanting to give up, and not wanting to go to family therapy. If my H wanted to resume marriage counseling I'd go to one session, just to lay some groundwork, but no more until he'd put in some serious time with individual counseling.

We've had some awful times lately. It's an endless circle: I say there's a problem that we've both contributed to. He seems to want to make it a case of "Becky's worse than I am," and stay stuck there. I insist on change, he says change isn't possible with me. I've told him to leave if he doesn't want to overhaul the marriage, he says "Why should I leave?" When I told him that I didn't care where he went, this man who is willing to let the marriage go down the drain, acted wounded: "I know you don't care!" in an offended tone of voice.

I'm tired of the craziness, of all the twisting of words and situations so that the one who cares the most is made out to be the bad guy; the cause of all the problems. I'm tired of his asking me to tell him what i need, then being offended and even hostile when i do.

He refuses counseling, refuses to read, won't talk to anyone about this, then says to me "With YOU this won't work." CRAZY!

So Jay, I understand!

To Steve and Asha, I'm sorry. I can't begin to comment on your situation. With mine such a mess, how could I have anything to offer? Only the two of you know what REALLY goes on. I have always had the impression, though, that both of you are really defensive with each other, and I can identify. I know that I've taken offense at something my H said or did that wasn't meant to offend at all, simply because I'm so primed to be offended. In other words, he does so often mean to offend, that i assume he's doing it all the time. I've had to work on that, and I'm better at not letting the buttons be pushed. I've also learned to stay relatively calm when he expresses views that I take exception to, or are offended by. I don't like them, but they are his opinions. I respectfully disagree, realizing that I don't have to be affected one way or the other. But perhaps this isn't what's going on with you at all; as I said, only you guys know.

I am tired and probably not making much sense. As I said, I just wanted to check in.


B1: Submit
Date: Friday, November 24, 2000


Hi Jay,

My questions were not to judge or criticize you, really just to understand you a little better. BUT I will say one thing about your son, my daughter in fact ALL children, however, destructive a marriage is they only see mum and dad and all the familiarity, IN FACT so do we as ADULTS. THIS is what kept me STUCK for so long. WHY would I want to take away all this wonderful stuff from my daughter. WELL why indeed. For what she has now is much more VALUABLE, No you wouldn't think so not in material form, but and its a big but, I have prevented her from an unhealthy model to follow. If you could see my daughter despite the hick ups here and their you'd see her self esteem flourishing. YOU SEE Jay if you look closely your son will manipulate his situation with his father, he is learning unhealthy ways to relate, the trouble is after a time these behaviours go unconscious and become automatic. HE will be programmed to see this as normal behaviour. JUST LIKE US good old co-dependents have. FAMILIARITY is comfortable, however destructive. We just put up, its easier, though it isn't healthy for us, though if we just deny what is happening we can survive. YES survive, not live healthily just survive. GOD forbid if we try to be emotionally honest we'd not be able to continue the dance.

JAY I had a beautiful house, a car, lots of money, THOUGH when I looked closely, YOU see my denial for along time stopped me looking closely, I SAW the evidence of how my daughter behaved and how all this was gonna effect her long term. SO I decided to start replacing the messages I was sending her. I saw her low self esteem, YOU'D never have know she had low self esteem, not until you saw how she acted with others. How she people pleased and approval sought.

YES I stayed until I was ready to leave. I stayed until I woke up and saw the reality of what I thought was no harm. I couldn't deny the damage any longer and I woke up. Even up until a week or two ago I didn't see how damaging my X was, I didn't see the harm.

YES I had a selective memory, remembering the good times, but when I looked closely even they were marked by me people pleasing, and feeling not good enough. SO THE REALITY HIT HOME, did I really deserve this fate of staying in this relationship forever. NO I was worth much more than just mere surviving. MY X worked long hours and different shifts than me but the REALITY was this didn't matter much, cuz I felt dead inside, no matter where he was. I couldn't live my life the way I wanted to, I couldn't be healthy.

NOW I feel much richer than I ever did, emotionally. YOU can't buy emotional health, like you can buy material goods. I didn't want my daughter having to experience behaviours and things which she would be debited with for years to come. YOU see each experience is one too many, for them to sort out later, or worse still never sort out and have it running their lives for ever more in the background.

Jay you know as well as I do unless your husband goes to therapy he isn't gonna change. YOU know that unless he unweeds the behaviours that are running behind the scenes of his life nothing will change. OKAY so he was okay once upon a time, no denying that, though something happened along the line and he learnt these new coping behaviours which he has relied on ever since, though they were put their perhaps in times of stress, they are useless now, though they work cos you enable them, so he has no reason to change. AND you keep on and on for the sake of your son. WOULD you knowingly subject your son to such pain? as having such destructive learnt behaviours running his life? ME I WOULDN'T my little girl means far too much to me.

Love Theressa

[I am not judging you just telling you like it is, you see our denial keeps us STUCK the truth frees us!!] Yes...

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, November 24, 2000


Dear Steve (and Asha)

You know Steve, you just cannot erase her words, wipe her away. You will have to deal, one way or the other and running, denying is NOT a solution. I feel so sad about the two of you. If you feel the need to holler, cry, yell, by all means do so. Take your car and yell away! It helps. But it does not help to yell at other people. You cry, OK, cry a little more. Crying helps to heal. I wish men would learn to cry as kids. That part is usually so much easier for us women.

As Becky said, it's just impossible for anyone else but you two to know what's really going on. But I do relate to her words. I too have so often been in a situation that I felt angry (cause unhappy, or afraid) and then just decided that C. must be the reason. Later to find out he really had nothing to do with it. Somehow there comes a moment when we just seem to expect the other to behave bad, say things that hurt us, are sure they must be intending to hurt us, even if they are not.

These things are not solved by running and just trying a new and fresh partner. I sincerely belief you will just get stuck in the same issues again, just maybe in a different disguise. You will think it's politics, or religion or whatever. But as long as you do not get to the bottem and really understand what these fights are about (power, wanting control, fear of being used, insecuritytake your pick) you will not be able to even start to solve these issues. I am not trying to tell you to give it another try, or to not care or whatever. Give yourselves a break, take a holiday and respect her feelings of not wanting to talk to you right now, without feeling the need to pay back. Let it go, drop it.

Of course this all goes for Asha as well.

Please take care, both of you. Don't get ruled by anger, by spite, by fear. Cry if you need to, holler if you want, but don't set out to pay bakc, to hurt, whatever the reason. Take the High Road, always.

Lots of love to you both,


B1: Submit
Date: Friday, November 24, 2000


Dear Suzy,

welcome. You really seem to have been in an abusive marriage. His behaviour is very very controlling and I think you have every right to say you do not want to put up with it anymore. As for divorce, who can tell but you? I have one question though: do you still feel love for this man and do you think he might just love you back? If you just stay out of obligation, don't think you stand a change to make this marriage into what you want. I know it will be a hard question to answer under the circumstances, but I do think it is very important. Cause if you do not feel any love, what s there to work with. You say he admits he has a problem, but hasn't been able to get the help he needs. How come, are there no right therapists, or doesn't he want to go?

You might want to take a look at his families believes. You say you grew up in an dysfunctional family, and his was a military and strictly religious home. Changes are, his family was pretty dysfunctional too. Does he acknowledge that possibility at all?

Take care and try him to get to read these pages too. It might be helpful.

Lots of love, AJ

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, November 24, 2000


Hi Asha,

FIRST I was the mystery poster who posted change article. Why am I not surprised?

Secondly I found these articles for you to help with Steve's kids:

Thirdly here is a good book: Positive Discipline for Blended Families

Finally Asha what would you like in your future with Steve, just because your priorities were career doesn't mean you can't have fun now. WHAT DO YOU AND STEVE LIKE TO DO, THAT YOU COULD DO TOGETHER. ANYTHING? Even sitting holding one another, or a hobby. TIME for you two to have a family meeting and talk out.

Also maybe in time you and the kids and Steve could hold a family meeting. Where there could be suggestions on days out etc. Finally Asha at the time you and Steve got together the kids were hurt. Even if you'd not been around the kids would still have been hurt and wanted to lash out at someone, probably their dad or mom. Children also see anyone who seems to be part of the new life, new step parents, even dad is an enemy, so is mom cuz they broke up the child's familiar world. Even if the separation is for the best, children still experience pain. SO its not personal to you. I hope this helps.

Love Theressa


B1: Submit
Date: Friday, November 24, 2000



STEVE please hear AJ's words. Please take some much needed time out.

You've not wasted time, you have been growing. When we feel hurt we lash out. It is in quiet times we can work things out, ASHA just needs some time out. SO do you. IT is hardwork changing together and growing.

REMEMBER THESE BUTTONS of anger, fear, insecurities whatever you call them are what will draw you both closer, if you opt for active listen, giving time out - each other time to cool off. No matter who is responsible etc. There are solutions, do you realise this is the TEST the test where you get to show you can handle your anger, you don't have to control the situation, a time for you to not take others hurts personally.


Love Theressa

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, November 24, 2000



STEVE please hear AJ's words. Please take some much needed time out.

You've not wasted time, you have been growing. When we feel hurt we lash out. It is in quiet times we can work things out, ASHA just needs some time out. SO do you. IT is hard work changing together and growing.

REMEMBER THESE BUTTONS of anger, fear, insecurities whatever you call them are what will draw you both closer, if you opt for active listen, giving time out - each other time to cool off. No matter who is responsible etc. There are solutions, do you realise this is the TEST the test where you get to show you can handle your anger, you don't have to control the situation, a time for you to not take others hurts personally.


Love Theressa

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