Comments for Catbox 15

Comments for Catbox 15

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   Copyrightę 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

Back to Catbox 14

Back Next

OK Gang, PAGE 14 done. Steve & Asha, espec, please go look see. Also, Lurking Lawyer, are you my favorite Lurking Lawyer?

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, December 08, 2000


Becky here,

(((Jay))) you have had a time of it! I'm glad you came through alright!

Suzy, I don't attend college, I am an instructor at a community college, also a librarian at a parochial school. I did go to college as an adult, though, graduating in 1994. I think I've said before that your husband and mine seem to hold similar attitudes. He also was very offended when I told him that I would want what the law says I should have if we divorced. He has tried from the beginning to arrange things so I would get little or nothing, and I think he is dismayed to realize that he may not know as much as he thinks he does about what the law says. For example, he refused to add my name to the house because he does not want to consult me if he ever decides to put the house up for collateral for business purposes. he believes that the house is his alone, even though we finished paying for it after we were married. (He says he used "his" money to pay for it, so it's "his.") My lawyer says that it is marital property.

My husband has a thing against women; he denies it, but others have noticed it too. He uses that as an excuse to accuse me of using him, of wanting to take him, etc. I used to think I had to convince him that he is wrong. No more. I know who I am, I am not the things he says. I'm plain sick of his insecurities!

Theressa, I understand your anger. The injustice of it all gets to me too! I am often told also, that I've "never done anything." Just try to remember that 1. he wants you to lose your temper; it makes him look good in comparison, and 2. you want to be better than that, and that's what's important. Strive to be the person you want to be, focus on that and you'll find yourself engaging less and less. In other words, your purpose will have changed. You'll no longer be wanting to get back or win, you'll be wanting to be dignified and strong, a person with inner calm. You'll be choosing integrity, and you'll feel so much better about yourself! It takes time and practice; stick with it! remember that you are undoing many years of habitual behavior and thinking.

I hope we all have a good weekend!

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, December 09, 2000


Dear Doc and Trubble,

I found this site while looking for another (typical) and have spent the past 3 hours reading about Lynn and Dan as well as the others' stories. May I just say, good luck to all of you. It's crazy how love can be a huge source of stress and pain for many, yet at the same time it possesses some addictive quality that forces us to continue at all costs.

In any case, I'm 26 and for the past 2 and a half years have been single. In this time I've dated, but nothing serious has come of it. I suppose I wasn't ready...

From the age of 15 I was constantly in a relationship... each lasted from six months to three years, with maybe a month in between. When the last one ended I vowed that I would stay single until I no longer feared being alone. I also wanted to know myself, not in the way that significant others defined me, but in the purest way... how I defined myself. For so long I shifted and shaped myself to those around me... suppressing the qualities that weren't compatible with that person, and compromising my values and beliefs, if expressing them would rock the boat. It got to a point where I didn't remember what was important to me, I didn't know what I liked, or who I wanted to become as a person. As you can imagine, this existence was very unsatisfying and very unhealthy. The "true" Tara was buried so deep inside by this time, that I had no clue how to find her and if I did how to "revive" her. I mourned what I thought was her "death" for a long time.

After a year, I somehow slowly chipped away all the thought processes and stagnant behavior that kept "me" dormant for so long. I was no longer a shadow of myself and the happy, independent little girl I once was emerged. This was a beautiful time and the "re-awakening" was evident to everyone around me. I was a positive force to myself and to others. I became extremely picky in those I chose to date and at the first sign of a "red flag" I'd choose to maintain my self-respect and walk away than to stick around... something I hadn't done before.

In any case, I feel that I know myself better than I ever have and I'm grateful for the time I allowed myself to get to know me. Somewhere in all this, however, I forgot or it seems as though I've "unlearned" how to be in a relationship with someone. I tell myself "don't settle!" so at the first sign of imperfection, I run.

I can't imagine that I just haven't met "him" seeing as I used to have no trouble jumping into a long term relationship... I'm wondering if I'm now so afraid of "losing myself" again that I won't let anyone get close enough to be in a relationship.

I guess I'm at some sort of crossroads where I've stopped the co-dependent pattern of having someone just for having someone's sake and I know what I want and what I don't want, but I haven't learned how to apply it. My question to you is... what's the next step? I'm ready to share myself with someone and to be shared with, I just don't know how to do the healthy "give yourself without losing yourself" thing.

Help? :) Tara

P.S. Thank you for listening. 

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, December 09, 2000


Dear Suzy, I know what you mean about the paintbrush/. I went to some art therapy sessions the week I was in hospital earlier this year. One of the best things they did was I got there one day and said what I really wanted was to throw paint representing all my anger onto a huge piece of paper. I was given the biggest piece they could find and I threw the paint. It was really therapeutic and the other people in the room were in stitches by the end. It went from angry to playful. It was the one therapy I wanted to continue when I left.

I do have brushes and paint around, although my real talent seems to be in writing. An artist friend reckons we produce our best work after a time of intense suffering.

For years this friend, who is a trained artist didn't paint. The church we were both in said she had to 'die' to her old nature! Finally she seems to have gone through a whole lot of Christian counseling and started to paint again. She never had the word 'codependency' I think until I told it to her. Things are not that advanced in England. But now she is an absolute shining example of a recovered codependent. And she has a job teaching art. She started to paint again and I think it was really significant for her.

Funnily enough, when she first showed me her pictures I thought she was not very talented. They were really mediocre. Now they are not and I can se the talent was there. Now she is being described by the same church but newer members as a woman of God!!!

It is kind of hopeful to realise that church recognized it's very serious mistakes. Maybe they will eventually get the submission thing right. Now it is a creative place.

On the Paxil/Seroxat front, I think from what I have now read, some people have really bad and some very good reactions to it. I think the danger is its unpredictability. Apparently, according to people close to me I have acted weirdly at times while on it. It seems to have come and gone. Obviously I post when rational!

I got two letters in the same envelope this morning. One saying I was insane and the other they had decided I wasn't. No apology.

I will write suggesting practical changes. Maybe they could get a few tips on patient care from the hospital in my home town.

Also, strangely, as he definitely IS passive aggressive, and has problems I remembered this morning that although initially the depression was linked to the way he was, his issue always was that I was my own person! Also I felt warmer towards him as I remembered that it is not his fault he is so strange! I used just to be thankful he didn't drink and think of him as a gentle person with communication problems.

I have a feeling that Paxil/Seroxat may have nearly ruined all our lives. Also I am now wondering did something really happen to scare my daughter. Either she lied or it did. It has never added up that one day she was telling me what a good mother I was and how I was always there for her and the next making these allegations. I have NO memory of doing anything to her. Maybe something did happen. I think this is definitely going to need a miracle to sort out as it seems to have so many layers.

And thanks. I am very bad at remembering the breathing techniques.

Dr Irene I am dying to know what you think about Paxil!!!!! I think all these drugs are miracles.

Also, Suzy, the advice from the consultant was that I should be OK after about 14 days. I did try to withdraw slowly and that gave me just as many problems. Fortunately, there is no history of heart disease in the family. Having started I may as well carry on to the end! My doctor wasn't against me withdrawing from it (gradually)! very much she seems to respect my opinion on my own health.

I read on a chart in the bad hospital ward that there is a drug called ? Mithril which doesn't have SSRI effects (I presume, serotonin withdrawal symptoms. I have never been offered this. I also had a really bad reaction to the drug Trazadone. Got all the symptoms to indicate discontinuing it. went crazy when I did for a day or two but stopped having fainting fits and feeling really dreadful.

Sorry everyone if these posts are long and boring. I actually have a feeling that as the days go by I am getting very long winded!!

One other thing. I have N EVER thought where we live a cat was a good idea. I am not by nature a cat lover. I have been planning on getting a cat. In the cold rational light of day, it just seems provocative to get a cat when my husband and I have always agreed it is a bad idea. Good grief. some poor moggy would have probably ended up squashed on the main road if I hadn't come to my senses.

Now I have to work through what the reality of everything is.

Dear Tara. If only I had recognized the roots of codependency in myself as young a you. You sound like you have done so well. I guess in the end, what all of us wanted and needed was someone who would give us RESPECT and let us live out 'to thine own self be true.' I NEVER understood what that meant until this year. I hope you find your own true soul mate. Maybe the secret is to be happy whether or not you are in a relationship or single.

They should teach about codependency in schools. I actually think that it would be more helpful than drug education. My daughter started glue sniffing directly as a result of this and I have seen enough of how she reacts in relationships to realise the biggest disservice I have done to her is to give her a role model of co dependency.

For the record. I have only found one English Dr Irene. Interestingly she also operates email advice. No boards though. In some ways it would be helpful to have some reflection of English law which seems very different from American.

I used to think American's were really over the top with their emphasis on therapy. Now I think they have a lot right! (Doubtful. We do so much therapy cuz we need so much therapy! Giggle!) If it hadn't been for all the American websites I wouldn't have got through this far. And when my son helps me get them online (reliant on a 13 year old!) I am definitely having a codependency page and I am going to put as much English law on as I can.

So far, I have got dancing flowers on every page courtesy of my son.

I have to laugh. My son is playing basketball in a tournament at his school from 8 till 8 today. He is the best player in the school so last year he won the best player award, He is quite miffed as the school seem to have realized he would win again and made it 'the best team'. I hope they have put him on the weakest side! I must be one of the few parents who hopes their son will not be made out to be the best. He has a ridiculously high IQ. Is brilliant at art and music. His art teacher says that he is A level standard at 13 (You take A levels around 17-18. He can write really well and he is a computer wizard. Just to add to that the girls like him....... Again, most of the recognition of his needs is in America!!! (Here giftedness is frowned upon.) I believe people need to learn to fail and I do wonder if my husband is giving me a hard time as marriage is the one thing he has not managed to be successful at!

He comes from a family who are all pretty gifted. The difficulties with my daughter and family are the first real difficulty and they are in denial about it. Just close their eyes. Perhaps it has become too painful not to be successful?

meanwhile for us lesser mortals.........I think I would like to get something done really well. love Jay


B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, December 09, 2000


Hi, B. here. I'm much behind on the posts. But I got to what Steve said: "Thanks for your words of encouragement B. Now go twirl around the house topless if you wish...oh my gosh, was I ever shocked when I read that. I must be really sheltered. "

You are most welcome, and oh how you made me laugh!

I feel I need to explain a bit. Many times I'm on my way to the bathroom, I start getting undressed, but too many things get in the way so I'm going around half naked, usually topless. The same happens after the shower. Now, imagine the situation: I am running around, juggling the million things I have to do, H is (usually) sitting on the sofa in front of the TV, not helping at all, but making comments such as: "What's that, the neighbors can see you!", or "hey, you're improperly dressed, get decent" (sheer play acting, this one, and he knows I know that. He imitates certain movie characters) or something like that.

I used to get really angry. I do everything around here, and he sits there and makes controlling, abusive comments? What do I care about the neighbors, What makes him think he can tell me how to dress, etc.

After a long time it suddenly hit me one day: I finally realized he was only ACTING controlling and abusive, because he feels embarrassed and weak to pay me certain compliments! He does not know how to say nice things sometimes, so he acts naughty instead! Just like the boy who loved me when we were 12 used to throw things at me (chalk, toads!!!) or pull my hair because he was too embarrassed to tell me he loved me!

Then I also realized his "you have no sense of humor". He knew he meant to pay me a compliment. He thought his way was funny. But I go and get insulted and angry. He could not see his fear, and he could not see his way was not funny, but controlling, demeaning and yucky.

When I realized all this, the next time he did that I simply "translated" him to himself: I said OUT LOUD the compliment that he MEANT but could not utter. Then I said, that this way was the only way to get a positive reaction from me, and I explained that telling me how much he likes me topless would get him my smiles, hugs and love, whereas disguising his thoughts and displaying abuse instead - would beget him only an angry, hurt wife, who doesn't want him!

Well, when he heard my "translation" and explanation he laughed, and re-told me the compliment, this time properly. He was smiling his smile of "gee, you make me do such embarrassing things!", and seemed to enjoy his own courage, that he was telling me "the truth" and by that giving me the power (the power to know how much he cares about me, so scary). He enjoyed my positive reaction, too. I could see him feeling: "hey, it was scary, but it wasn't so bad!"

And he's doing it the right way more and more.

And I, at my end, am learning more and more to "translate" him, so that instead of seeing the OUTWARD APPEARANCE of abuse, I see what he really feels inside, and I see he is only trying to protect himself from his fears, not trying to hurt me on purpose. So by "translating" I can gently teach him how I want to be treated.

OK, now part of me wants to apologize for the long post, but the other part thinks: maybe now that I explained all the parts and stages of it, it would help someone here. Love, B.

P.S. read till the end of box 14. Theressa, you are doing so great! Asha and Steve, you are working. Boy, what hard work... Becky, how are you? And love to all the rest.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, December 09, 2000


Dear B . Good to find your post. You have certainly put a new perspective on things. I am so glad you got through to a good point with your husband. It really made me think.

I have taken my husband's refusal to talk about divorce as a control issue. He has said clearly this is not what he wants. What if it is just too painful for him to discuss?

What if he just couldn't handle my depression?

What if he has been trying and I have been rejecting him?

What if he isn't as have been seeing him?

Maybe he also felt abused by me.

I am going to take a leaf out of your book and give him some credit.

I was going to file for divorce soon. I am going to wait. Now with the Paxil thing I think I need to wait. It seems unfair to file for divorce when we have only just started family therapy.

What if we have both misunderstood. We have been together since we were really young.

He has been doing loads of housework and said this is "doing what he can' to help. I have wanted hugs. But what if these were his hugs?

What if it is not control but kindness. The best he can do.

What if he is locking his study door as he just can't cope. Maybe he is crying behind there.

Some things he has done are abusive and I do think he has made me a scapegoat. But weirdly I can't hate him any more.

I used to take him as I found him. We used to have some brilliant times. I really did used to think of him as a gentle man with a problem with shyness and communication.

He used to feel safe with me as I was equally shy. I stopped being shy and am now quite gregarious.

What if that made him feel unsafe? 

What if we can find some common ground again.

what if I stop and reassess his actions?

Thanks B. My first step is to go and put on clothes he likes and some make up. He may not be ready for this but that is not the point.

Becky. One thing I am worried about is I don't want you not to take Paxil if that is prescribed as people do have different experiences. I guess the thing is to be aware that some people have bad effects from it and some good.

My guess is, Dr Irene, please comment! that it affects everyone differently as we all have a slightly different chemical make up. Try it; give it a shot and if it is not working for you, stop it. Becky, are you OK? I must have missed your posts...

In my case, please God let the nightmares end! Jay, this is wonderful. I'm sure he's not as bad as he appears and he is hurting inside. Steve, thank you for opening up to us and showing everybody that an angry person is not an escapee from Hell.. Unfortunately, that's the rap guys (yes, especially men) get and unfortunately, live up to the rep -  because they haven't learned the skills to disengage, manage the anger, begin to respect the Self. Plus, they believe the bad rep!

Jay, this doesn't mean it will work. It means you're doing everything in your power to give your marriage a chance. Hopefully hubby will do his part. If he starts to, I hope he joins us here. Then, you both would have to keep on doing your parts until your parts are so over learned, they are automatic. If you can't do your parts, it means you will feel like you wasted more time with him. No promises, just hope.

Love to everyone, Jay.


B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, December 09, 2000


Dear Dr Irene. I felt I have to comment on the comment you made to Steve about not disempowering the guy as he CHOSE to commit suicide.

I don't think people always do. I didn't choose to try when I became suicidal. It was a reaction to events too terrible to live with. I think it can be like an illness. My friend Jim who died of a heart attack also once said that he found this to be true for himself. I think you can just be so distraught the feeling takes you over. The reason I knew I wasn't suicidal the other day was about feeling in control of that kind of feeling.

I ALWAYS thought before things happened to me there WAS a choice. I don't as a result of my own experiences.

There is a choice to get help and live. But I don't think that happens for everyone.

I would say there is an attention seeking non suicide attempt. The cry for help. Sometimes that goes tragically wrong.

My religion, nature, beliefs all meant that I thought I would NEVER act that way.

What I d know is that even despite recent experiences if I ever had suicidal thoughts again I would get myself safe very quickly. The human mind is an odd thing. love, Jay

None of what you are saying is wrong Jay. You are correct; what in fact is choice and what is not in terms of our biology is concerned is something we will probably never know. My point was less about the man's free will than in the irony I saw in Steve's siding with the man. While siding and support are acts civilized humans do to help their downtrodden, the very act tends to disempower the individual being helped. You are most likely to notice this tendency on this site among the disempowered types who support and validate each other - yet remain disempowered because they believe their status. And here was Steve, jubilant in his new empowerment, asking to cut him a break. I was struck by the irony and chuckled....


B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, December 09, 2000


Sorry, the seroxat (Paxil) withdrawal seems to result in messing up my words and spelling. I noticed this as the post was going through.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, December 09, 2000


Dear all,

Sorry for the double entry. My computer was on the fritz and I didn't think it went through. In any case, I wrote something for a friend of mine a few days ago. She asked me to make her what we call a "Cheat Sheet" so I sat down at the computer and put down everything that I've learned about co-dependency and relationships and just being alive in general. I hope some of you find it helpful:

1) Your worth cannot be determined by someone else. For one, no person's affections are guaranteed and two, you know how wonderful you are better than anyone else.

2) Don't force or expect someone to express themselves when you need them to. When and if they're ready, they'll come to you. Be patient and have faith that they will and be willing to listen. Sometimes when we take the "me" out of the equation we see things much more clearly.

3) Remember that people who say things that are meant to hurt you are hurting inside themselves. Be gentle with them, even if only in your thoughts. Negative feelings towards anyone equals a state of negativity within yourself. Losing control and reacting out of pride or bruised egos gives "them" the upper hand.

4) YOU decide how you're going to feel. The only person in control of your mind is you, so make sure your inner dialogue is full of pleasantries. Fake it till you make it! :) It does work.

5) Be accountable for your actions. If your instincts are telling you not to do something, listen to them. If you choose to go along with something you were hesitant about, remember that your body warned you if things do go awry. This awareness should eliminate any surprises.

6) See yourself not better or worse than anyone else. We all come from and strive on the same energy force of the universe. You're as good as YOU CHOOSE to be not as good or bad as someone tells you that you are.

7) Remember how addictive it is when you feel good about yourself around someone else. Aim to make others feel good about themselves and expect nothing in return. In the grand scheme of things, you'll automatically feel good about yourself when you make someone else happy. Furthermore, miss no opportunity to tell someone how wonderful you think they are.

8) Don't expect to click with all people. You can't have all things in common with all persons, but you can respect them and learn from your differences.

9) Don't be discouraged if you feel you've regressed. We repeat experiences when we still have something we need to learn from them. Don't beat yourself up if you find yourself in a place you thought you'd outgrown. Sometimes, we're "there" again as a gentle reminder of which way not to go.

AND last but most certainly... not least...

10) Love yourself!!! It will open the floodgate of receiving love from others.

I think all of you are great, I hope this helps... Thanks Trubble and Doc for letting me share :)


B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, December 10, 2000


Dr I:

Thanks so much for your blue notes.

I haven’t had time to check the other posts, but I will do that later. Just want to respond to Dr. Irene’s blue pencil.

Dr I said <<Steve had to have felt less important to you than the dog. What little, tiny things could you have done to contribute to his feelings? >>

I give the dog “treats” – something special I do from the heart. I don’t do this for Steve nearly as often. Not because I don’t care, but because I *used to* (I’m stressing this because these things have been changing a lot) feel that whatever I did as a “treat” for Steve, wasn’t quite right – if I rubbed his back, he’d sometimes pull away, if I made coffee it often wouldn’t be the right strength, he didn’t seem to like what I cooked etc etc. I started to feel inadequate and stopped offering to do the little special things as much. I just felt I didn’t know how to please him, so I stopped trying so hard. Betcha you were making him happy. He just didn't know how to catch the automatic reactions around his frustration. You let his junk affect you (Yes, this stuff is less satisfying than appreciative behaviors, but the lack of appreciation was not about you.) 

<<How come you didn't find a bed you both liked?>>

I guess we have a bit of a difference preference about soft vs. hard mattresses. The old one I liked was soft, the new one is hard. It’s not as big a deal to me as it is to Steve, but I guess it was another “small sacrifice” that has added up to bigger resentments. Part of the gloomy yukkies Steve carried around, I think.

<<When you "sacrifice" so much, you are going to get really, really mad when you think he should be giving in. Like with the kids, for example.>>

Yes this makes sense. I think I “sacrificed” feeling it was “compromise” and that there would be compromises on his end too. I know he feels there were. I know that he has paid dearly through his kids and his tumultuous relationship with his X, for example. But I still didn’t feel there was healthy, balanced mutuality coming from his end, and that’s where the smaller compromises started to add up into “sacrifice”. The point is when you compromise and compromise, and you don't get big stuff you want back, you get angry! Who wouldn't!

<<"Sacrifice" is a better word. By the way, he does it too. Surprised?>>

yup! :)

I think he may have “sacrificed” in ways I didn’t want him to, though. Compromised We’ve talked about this a bit and he seemed to think I didn’t want him to socialize or look at other women etc. I have *never* been that way! My X boyfriend, while we were together, met X-girlfriends for coffee, socialized without me (with my encouragement – we had time together too), at one time had another female roommate, and I *never* felt the least bit threatened. I think the closest I’ve felt to jealousy was when there was a real possibility of Steve going back to his Ex. I never thought I would be in that sort of situation. I felt like I should have stepped right out of the situation and yet I didn’t. I cared for Steve a lot by this time and because it seemed he cared for me too, the “Ex” stuff seemed like some kind of surreal dream that I couldn’t seem to get a grasp on. Anyway, I’m getting off track. Yes and no. Because Steve could have used the ex thing to bring you in; to comfort you and help you feel emotionally secure, but he didn't know how. (Steve, don't get defensive here, OK? It's true; you're still learning...)

<<Asha, do you see what you are doing? This is very subtle. Tell me instead how mad you are at him! It's OK! I'm sure he acted plenty creepy, but what Steve is referring to, and I'm glad he's disengaged, is that in just reading the post, you are the good guy and he is the bad guy. And, I know from your perspective, that's exactly how it seems. And, that's fine. But, do you see your anger? >>

Yes, I do see the anger. Good. I’m not denying the hurt and the anger that I felt (and still do feel at times, sometimes more than others). I’m not sure if it seems like I want to hurt him when I post my ill feelings. I don’t. It comes across as a zinger, no different from the ones he's put forth that have hurt you. Specifically, it seems like you want to let people know that it's not your fault. I did all this good stuff, and this is what he did back. He's the guilty one, not me.  That's the implication. Steve bristled at this stuff.. 

 I’ve been trying to get at the source of the anger and why I feel it. I hesitate sometimes before posting, because I know certain things will appear hurtful to him. Don't work so hard at protecting him Asha. You will resent him for it later. Instead, speak your piece and hear him if he objects. I don’t want to hurt him, but I want both he and I to understand what my feelings stem from. In no way do I want to make him a “bad person”. I know he isn’t. Just he maybe didn’t have the knowledge and tools to give back what I had hoped he would want to give back. I think Steve would give you anything...when he's not hot under the collar.  I feel like Steve is starting to get those tools now. Yes.

I’m also dealing with fear – the fear of being off balance – my roller coaster riding, where I swing up and down with Steve’s moods. I’m really trying to change this. Good! You are the only one who can fix this one. I think where the dog comes in is that I don’t feel like making radical changes in my lifestyle, then swinging back again. Don't. The dog was representative of some of this backward and forward swinging. Yes. It's not about the dog. It's about the up and down, back and forth. At least that's what it's about for you.  Dog outside, dog on the bed with me when I’m alone, dog downstairs etc all depending on whether Steve and I were together, and if we were getting along. I hate this sort of constant change. I’ve decided lately that I want my journey of growth to be less melodramatic and I don’t want to make “sacrifices” that bring me out of balance. Good.

<<Asha: Do a little soul searching, please. In your frustration with Steve, have you ever gotten back at him by using the pet to make Steve feel less than? (I would be very surprised if you hadn't since this is one of the few places where you did have some power. You certainly didn't over his kids for example. And, you are human. No matter how much you swallow your anger, it's GOT to be there...)>>

Oh yes, the anger is there, as well as hurt and a feeling of rejection. I guess it’s all basically the same thing. Right.

I want to be totally honest. I don’t feel I’ve purposely, consciously tried to use the dog to “get back” at Steve, but it’s possible (probably even maybe? Probable. ) that it happened on a less than conscious level. Exactly. I know you did not do this on purpose - any more than Steve set out to hurt you when he did. For example, when Steve was cold and distant to me it was natural to want to seek out affection from the dog. This is nothing new, because even as a child I did this when I felt hurt or upset. My dogs have always accepted, reassured me, and loved me unconditionally. You reacted to one of Steve's broken pieces (with a broken piece of your own). When Steve, for example, rejected one of your "treats" out of his own stuff, you took the rejection to heart and got solace where you could. Steve reacted to this. And on and on.

I can see right now how it would have appeared to Steve that I was “choosing the dog over him” though it was really more that I felt rejected and was looking for comfort from a source I knew would give it. Exactly. One person's broken piece bouncing off the partner's broken piece. When Steve would sleep downstairs, I used to resent my “compromise” that the dog wasn’t allowed to sleep in the room. It was sorta like giving something up that was of great comfort to me and not getting enough back because I would feel so alone and rejected. Right.

When Steve decided to move out, and was sleeping downstairs, I decided to let the dog sleep upstairs with me again. I sorta decided I wasn’t doing anyone any favors by sleeping alone and being unhappy about it. I guess that could be seen as “getting back” at him, but even if Steve never knew or cared about where the dog slept, I would have wanted the comfort and protection of the dog. I just stopped caring about how he would interpret this. Yes, of course. But do you see the polarization that is occurring simply because each of you is bouncing off the partner?  This is why its so important to find your Center and simply let other be.

I think if anything, my anger came out more towards him in areas where he did seem to respect my input, such as at work. Sure. That's where the balance of power was more even. Also, I think my general tone towards him was basically resentful even when he was feeling happy. We had lots of work power struggles too. I knew I was angry at a certain level, but I also felt sure at that time, that he just didn’t understand me He didn't. and I put a lot of energy into trying to “get” him to understand. I never completely buried my anger – I think I did try to express my concerns as clearly as I knew how. I wrote lots of letters to him and spent lots of time trying to identify the problem but we just kept going round and round and round… until I found this site. And, you're still going round and round, just beginning to understand your respective roles better.

I knew that “getting back at him” wasn’t the answer, maybe subconsciously I did this sort of stuff, but I knew on a conscious level that hurting back wasn’t going to solve anything. A lot of my anger towards him would begin before he left to see the kids (without me) and would remain until a couple of days after he came back. I know that that was a definite pattern for me. That's how big the children issue is for you. Big!

I don’t know if this answers the question. I’ve tried to answer honestly though. I’m sure there are certain things going on in my subconscious that I’m still unaware of. 

Thanks again Dr. Irene. You’ve gotten me thinking some more, as always. Asha Thank you Asha. We're amazing creatures, we human types (Sorry Trubble.). What always amazes me is the scope of our potential power. Look at all the little places identified here, where you and Steve have acted unconsciously, automatically with subsequent negative outcome. Each and every one of those nooks and crannies are opportunities to exercise choice, take control of your life, exercise free will...  Wow!


B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, December 10, 2000


Dear all . This is really a post to the males on the site. But as the seroxat withdrawal is really taking hold I hope I am going to make sense! I seem to have stopped using punctuation and forgotten how to spell and keep hitting the wrong computer keys. Confusion, anxiety, electric shock type feelings weepiness, just about anything happens and my research shows this seems to be from sudden or slow withdrawal. Suzy you were so lucky to have the withdrawal you did. And the way you are thinking, instead of making it smaller, you are making it bigger.

Weird how some people find a miracle from a drug which gives others nightmares. Today seems bad in terms of being hyper sensitive to everything so apologies if I offend someone in advance!

Steve, I could really identify with Asha about the way she stopped bothering about the little treats. I stopped this too. My husband when he did love me used to buy me the most wonderful presents. He is surprisingly god at choosing clothes for me and always did give me wonderful ethnic jewelry and clothes.

But I have never been able to reciprocate. Whatever I bought it was never right. Sometimes it has stayed in one place for over a year. I would love for him to pretend (like the year he cooked me a birthday meal which consisted mostly of cabbage) Or to tell me what he wanted.

You see Steve, the dog gives Asha what she needs. He accepts politely and gratefully what she gives so she gives to the dog again. Steve: Fight the urge to bristle here. She's right and this is valuable info! (But, you may already know that.)

I don't know if this is a male thing. But I think it is about us? females? needing to feel what we give is valid.

In my case my husband won't respond and tell me what he does like and want. In 20 years he has never been able to understand I would appreciate it if he would open up enough to tell me. I still would like to give him something he actually wanted. I would like to feel that what I gave was valued.

Unfortunately for me I am just back at square one.

He doesn't want to post here. He must be getting codependency terminology from somewhere. He has just told me he is "not engaging." THIS DR IRENE IN THE CONTEXT OF MY TELLING HIM YOU HOPED HE WOULD POST!!! That's fine Jay. Why would you have expected otherwise? Just let him be.

Yesterday he thought I was stalking him for being in the kitchen at the same time! I don't think it is me who is crazy.

Trying to give him some credit. It is not easy when someone deliberately blocks out anything you say......

Not easy when he says things like "maybe you should be sectioned while you withdraw from the drug. Again we have the "other people have told him" bit.

I fail to see how they could have. On two occasions when I was depressed they refused to have me in hospital and repeatedly told me I was having cause related depression and was NOT mad.

Probably, what was said was IF I became a danger to myself or others then they would section me (as they would anyone) and this was probably said to allay his fears at a specific time.

How long do I have to keep trying to prove I am NOT suicidal?

I guess in some senses, for quite a while.

What I wish is I could see when he is genuinely worried and when he is being abusive. Literally, my mind furs up.

He ....when I was a danger to myself they told me I was sane. When I definitely wasn't they told me I was.....

Just chosen not to be self controlled and eaten the selection kit I bought for my sons stocking. I knew I couldn't keep chocolate in the house that long/......

Asha and Steve. My husband and I also had the mattress problem. We got two different mattresses and put them together. If you have different beds as well tie the legs together. (Or you end up with a crack you fall down!

Dr Irene...official from my mother in law. She thinks I am demon possessed.....! Maybe I am the escapee from hell!!!!! This is truly ironic as my husband has always insisted that I think he is demon possessed. (Theology from the church we went to.) This is one of his BIG issues. Drop it Jay. This is not your stuff.

Dying to Know how he will cope with this. Drop it. Work your own program.

Hopefully he will see how stupid the whole issue is. He even wrote this on the family therapy agenda. He also appears to want to 'stop' people praying for him!!!! Again an agenda issue. Boy will the therapist and her team have some fun.....How can you counsel a man who refuses to believe that his wife doesn't think he is demon possessed. (To be fair in our very young days we were in the sort of church where everyone decided they were possessed by demons and demons got cast out every other moment.)

Actually. Having genuinely (yes) lived in a haunted house and having some spiritualism in the family I do think there are powers of light and darkness that latch onto people and make the negative things in them worse. I didn't do myself any favors getting interested in witchcraft as a teenager....But I just think that most of the demon theology is hype. You can pray for someone and they can feel better and free without a lot of screaming. Please don't criticize others so...

Personally I think that it is often the way people avoid counseling and therapy. an easy way to avoid the issues.

Well. off to bake a Christmas cake. Love Jay

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, December 10, 2000


Becky here,

I posted last night but I don't see it. Darn! I was so brilliant, too! :-)

I don't have time to try to recreate it, so I'll sum up: First, Jay, my doctor is going to have me try Celexa. He was going with Paxil but when I expressed some concern he willingly changed his mind, said he didn't want me having negative feelings going in. I haven't gotten them yet and with a major storm on the way, I may not get to the store until Tuesday. Steve, I may be reading you wrong, but I go with my gut feelings when I read your posts. I'm aware that I may be projecting my anger at my husband onto you since you seem similar in some of your attitudes. Where you differ is in your willingness to examine what's going on in regards to your own thinking, and I do give you credit for that. I do agree with the Doctor that the dog is not the real issue, just as bath towels, juice glasses, and clutter are not our real issues: it's all about control and one person wanting most or all of it. unfortunately, my husband doesn't want to see that. And unfortunately, (or not depending on how you look at it) my tolerance for the resulting nuttiness is pretty low! Celexa is another super drug. Let us know how it goes...

Gotta go, Becky

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, December 10, 2000


Sorry, thinking about it what I said about demons is offensive. Dr Irene is right. love Jay   Hey, you could have been criticizing cat poop and I would have said the same thing. My point: Stop going outside yourSelf. Stay inside you Jay and don't worry about others. Have you noticed how much time you spend outside???


B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, December 10, 2000


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

First off welcome to all newcomers.

I haven't read any of the posts since I last posted so am afraid that I can't give any comments on what's been happening with your lives.

I guess that I'll start out with Thanksgiving weekend. The first couple of days were really nice, we had a great time with the grandkids and also met some old friends. I had lunch with my High School Sweetheart and we talked about events in our lives after we broke up until the present.

Sunday, Lynn's dad and his lady friend met us for brunch and he started in complaining about the political situation, interrupting and giving his ideas. It went downhill from there. The waiter brought us the wrong bill and I returned it to him, over Lynn's dad's objections and he apologized. When he brought another bill, I took it to make sure that it was the right one, Lynn's dad said Go----- it, give it to me as I'm paying it. Lynn asked me to get her out of there which I was very happy to do. I don't know why but I have had enough of his tactics. I felt pretty good about it too.

On the way home we had car trouble and ended up spending the night in another town till it was fixed. We then proceeded home and got about 20 miles from home and got behind a dump truck towing a trailer with a backhoe on it. I got a little close and Lynn unbuckled her seatbelt. I pulled off at the first wide spot that I found, hopefully to let him get far enough ahead that I wouldn't run into him again, no such luck. When I pulled out Lynn felt that I was only doing 15 MPH, and that I was doing it just to make a statement about no one telling me how to drive.

The other night Lynn said that she wanted to talk, I said OK. She then went on to say how she felt about the truck and about her dad and my road rage. So far so good. She then asked me when she was going to get the respect that I seem to give my elders. Zinger! Ouchhh! Ouchhh! Ouchhh! Lynn, next time try, "When you speed like that, it makes me feel frightened and helpless. Why do that when I'm in the car with you?" Now you're specific, not attacking, and really asking a question he can answer. (Except, it's not funny, but I trust you to find a way to jazz it up.) I didn't give her any reply as I didn't want to be accused of telling her how to feel, as I have done in the past, not knowing that I was doing that. Once again, I thought for myself. She told me that she wanted my feedback. But since I couldn't give her any, then she felt that to kiss me goodnight would compromise her feelings also.

I did tell her that as far as respecting my elders, I didn't consider her one even though she is a year and a half older than I. I think that this was why I felt good about the ending with her dad Giggle!, I had been brought up to adults were right no matter what and you had to respect them for it. He was wrong and didn't deserve any respect, I took a long time to recognize this fact, but I have. I know that when I was teaching, that I earned my students respect and didn't demand it. You lose when you demand and win when you let things occur naturally.

Friday last, we started to decorate the tree, and Lynn didn't seem herself, as she has always looked forward to this time of year, something I haven't for a long time, but am looking forward to this year. I asked her if she wanted to talk and she said that she couldn't talk to/with me about anything. 

I haven't looked forward to Christmas since 90 but this year for some reason, the commercialization and all the hoopla surrounding it doesn't matter, it's the day and the feelings which the day conveys for me. I am even enjoying decorating the tree. Yesterday it was fun watching Lynn decide which ornament to put on, and then me deciding which branch they would be safe on. Safe on... Giggle. The pets...

I went to the therapist last Thursday, and we did a sort of genealogy of my siblings. I told her that I had a chart already drawn up here at home if she wanted me to bring it next time. She said no. She then told me that from the information which I had given her that although I don't necessarily have a depressive personality that I do go too deep into depression when I am there. I already know this. The one thing which I don't understand is why knowing how many brothers and sisters I have and their ages is relevant to the reason that I am going to her. I never thought of this until just now, I am going to have to ask her. She's a family therapist. Good!

The thing that really scares me about the future of our relationship is that Lynn has said that if it works out, it does if not, oh well. I find that there are days that I feel the same way. I know that indifference can be just as harmful to a meaningful relationship as anything else. (Sounds like anger to my uneducated ears.)

Lynn no longer posts when I am around, which is her decision and I don't read the posts or post as I did before, perhaps there is a connection perhaps not.

Now onto a lighter side, it got down below 0 last night and when I went out earlier it was still -1. My truck let me know it too, started hard and then drove like a tractor without power steering.


I think that you and LOCO are forever young and kittenish as it seems that your both getting into the doghouse (pun intended) lately.  And "arf arf" to you too FakeDaddyDan. We should run into each other then. But, I love you even though you don't care about me (I'm trying to butter him up.)



B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, December 10, 2000


Dear Trubble, Nope, it's me, FakeMommy...

Lynn here, try hair around the base of the bird feeder. Or red or cayenne pepper.  Suppose to keep furry critters away. ^_^ Or, "Let them eat trout." hehehe People hair from the beauty shop or dog hair from the groomers is suppose to work. Heck why not. How about cat hair from Trubble? 

I'll be back. I'm just catching up on the posts and reading the blue pencils.



B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, December 10, 2000


Hi CatBox and hello Trubble,

Lynn here I got it! At least I know what the problem is. I don't know the cure yet (yes I do, don't I Dr. Irene?)

Dan asked me 2 nights ago if I wanted to talk and I replied, "I've wanted to talk for 5 or 6 years."

I know what I want. I've had previous experience with Dan of "using" what I've told him and then later on down the road feeling like it was used against me. That's a no no. 

I don't want to talk. I don't want to be heard. Well, yes I do, but what I say I want it left there and kept locked in somewhere and not used as ammunition at a later date. Cool. You have to make sure you do likewise. Zingers, however witty, count.

I think I thought things were getting better and I couldn't even put my finger on it. There it is. And it happened last week, too. I didn't recognize it.

Okay, now that I do, I think I know what to do. This I can disengage. I am mad again. Only at my stupidity. Dan can bring something up not pertinent to the conversation and change the subject. Bingo.  Slippery, huh?

Been there, done that and now I feel better. I need to be his on the head with a stuffed trout, Trubble.

Back to you later,

Love, Lynn 

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, December 10, 2000


Dear Cat Box,

Lynn here again and life is so simple, it's we the "thinking" humans that make it so complicated.

I was so sick all day. I couldn't sleep again last night and my stomach was in turmoil.

Then I read the posts and posted and within minutes I was feeling better.

Herein lies the secret. Amazing as it sounds, Dan can outtalk me. He did it last week when I was down over my dad (hence the Gargoyle reference) and again the other night. I can get taken in by this ALL the time. In the bar business I only once got taken by a short change artist. I don't know how they do it, but I know the lingo and just put a stop to it. I need to do that in my life, too. When the lingo changes, I take everything at face value and believe everything I'm told.

I have to relate a simple story here. Late H and I had a raging battle going on about toilet paper. Me, over the roll, he under the roll. This got so crazy we had to set rules. Whomever used it last got to put the new roll on and it had to stay that way. Well, we got nuttier. If the roll got looking low we would the last 20 feet just so we could put it on "our way." Amazing...

Solution. We bought a holder that held 2 rolls. His went under and mine went over and who cared in the first place??? We sure did and it got so far out of proportion that we couldn't think straight.

Of course it wasn't about TP.

B, I loved your reference (and Steve's) about dancing around the house topless. Ask Dan. I'll bet he'll swear I'd do it home alone in the closet! I take modest to extremes.

I don't remember who posted about the gifts, but we went those rounds, too. Dan NEVER said thank you first. It wasn't that he didn't like the gift. I don't think he ever learned how to say thanks. I think I countered once with something like, "Fine then, go get your own gift." We worked on that one. He also used to have his mother go buy me a gift. I hated it. I would rather have had something from him than something she wanted me to have. We worked on that, too, and now he does his own buying and does it great. He also thanks me for whatever. He'd better!

Well guys, I may go talk now. I have a lot to say.

Loads of love to you all and loads of prayers. Dan just lit a candle tonight for the lost children. Tall one in a glass tube. The cats are still after it. I never saw cats so attracted to flame.

Love, Lynn

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, December 11, 2000


Hi all

First I'll respond to Dr. I's blue posts, then I'll have a closer look at the other posts.

Re: the tone of my posts, Dr I said <<It comes across as a zinger, no different from the ones he's put forth that have hurt you. Specifically, it seems like you want to let people know that it's not your fault. I did all this good stuff, and this is what he did back. He's the guilty one, not me. That's the implication.>>

I think this is, in part at least, accurate - the "I did all this good stuff etc." is true that's how I felt. I felt like if Steve wasn't so angry (whether at me or at anything else) then a lot of things wouldn't have escalated because I did really want to find solutions. Correct. I don't know if it's so much that I'm wanting to let people know it's not my fault, as just laying it out on the table as I see it (through whatever filters I may be wearing - healthy or unhealthy). You are and it's OK. It just comes across as a zinger in that people will tend to sympathize with you and vilify him. This is not "wrong" per se, but it helps create the dynamic between you two that you don't want. Maybe there was a time when having a perfect appearance mattered more to me, but I really don't want anyone to side with me over Steve - I think that would defeat the purpose of my growth. I guess I wouldn't want anyone to "hate my guts" either though. :) I've been quick to doubt my own (sometimes healthy) motives frequently during my relationship, and I'm trying to doubt myself less. Good! Maybe I *am* looking for understanding though, and to see from others that there is light at the end of the tunnel (I already know there is, actually). I don't like being misunderstood, though that's a part of life I think I just have to get used to. Yes. And be OK with it if Steve gets upset instead of getting upset that Steve is upset.

<<When Steve, for example, rejected one of your "treats" out of his own stuff, you took the rejection to heart and got solace where you could.>>

Yes. It's hard to know what things he said he really meant and what things were said out of anger. You can't know. That's why it's each person's job to watch their speech and gesture. I still get confused about interpreting some of it. I guess part of this is first knowing what you *yourself* mean. I'm still not exactly sure when to believe or not to believe someone, but the difference now is, when something feels funny to me, I try to step back and identify it. Excellent. You will then come from a centered position. These things build up rather quickly so I have to really stop and examine them when they happen. Right.

<<But do you see the polarization that is occurring simply because each of you is bouncing off the partner? This is why its so important to find your Center and simply let other be. >>

I think I'm getting the jist of what you mean, and the trick is now to put it into practice until it becomes "normal". For now, I'm trying to at least sense when I'm responding negatively to Steve. Excellent. And he needs to do same. Again, each of you do all this "behaving" to remain true to your own selves... Other just gets to benefit from it.

Some yukky stuff happened to day which relates to this, so I'm going to write it down. I followed my usual unhealthy pattern of bouncing off Steve (I think) and I want to pinpoint what went wrong.

We were hiking with Steve's kids who had been bickering a lot. They put each other down a lot and are quite competitive - their adult role models (and I'm including myself here) have been no help to teach them healthy communication skills! So the whining, complaining and bickering are "normal". I had asked one of Steve's sons to hold the dog leash until the end of the trail, then the other son would hold it on the way back. Steve wanted feedback from me because the son with the leash was complaining that we had taken lots of detours on the way there and the trail back was much shorter, so the other boy wouldn't have to carry the leash nearly as far. I just said that sometimes life's not fair and there would be other times that the other boy would have to do these things too. (Steve agreed.)

Anyways there was more complaining and (this is what *I'm* perceiving - could be wrong here) Steve seems to feel that talking this out isn't enough and that the kids need specific punishments for the competitive, put down, complaining type behavior. I tried to say that these are patterns that they are used to and we can't expect them to break these patterns overnight by using "punishment" - pointing it out, yes, maybe making some sort of exercise about thinking these things out even, I don't know. I think it's no surprise that the kids do this. How can we expect *them* to understand all this, when we are having the exact same problems? Maybe once we have it all figured out ourselves, they will tend to listen a little better (the not listening is another prevalent behavior which I think is a lot to do with getting really mixed messages from our "role modeling"). Anyway Steve basically said that my idea of talking things out with them doesn't work. That he's tried it long enough to see that. I don't agree, and I don't think we've tried it long enough at all. In fact, I think that there is much more for both Steve and I to both learn in this area. (BTW If you can suggest a good "parenting" book, I'm all ears). I just love Assertive Discipline for Children. Incredible Years : A Troubleshooting Guide for Parents of Children Aged 3 to 8 is also excellent.

Anyway, we decided to turn back on the trail, the boy with the leash handed the leash to the other boy, who then proceeded to unwind it and break the spring (it was a "reel in" type leash - breaking it probably wasn't altogether his fault, though he has a repetitive history of breaking things so we tend to "assume" he did which isn't really fair). At this point Steve seemed fairly upset, and I didn't want to get in the middle of it, so I left them to work out a solution. Then Steve came back to me and handed me the broken leash. This made no sense to me and I told him I had asked the other boy to carry it back. (Steve knew that because the first boy had complained about this). It made no sense to me that he broke the leash then was semi-rewarded for this by not having to carry it back. Correct. So Steve turned away from me in an angry way and went ahead on the path. There was no talking about it at this point. I still don't get the logic of what went on. Anyways, we had a fairly silent trip back for awhile, and I figured we'd talk about it later, but I felt rather miffed because I just felt there could have been a more peaceful solution and we were role modeling more bad behavior. I agree. Don't expect Steve to catch his anger right away. It will take him time in most cases. The more he practices, the less time it will take. He just auto piloted...

When we got home, it seemed to me that Steve was being really sensitive about the kids teasing him. The teasing seems pretty normal to me (though perhaps not ideal), but I see it as them looking for affection from their dad. For example they cover their ears when he plays guitar for dramatic effect, call him silly names etc. I'm no expert on how to deal with this stuff, but it seemed to me that Steve got more offended by it than necessary. Probably. But again, he's new at all this and I don't expect him to be able to react calmly most of the time. Especially when one incident follows another.

I mentioned it to Steve and he told me "not to tell him what he was feeling." He was right. It was just my "read" on the situation. I really don't know how he was feeling. (My bouncing off him again, I'm sure.) I just felt uncomfortable with some of his reactions to their behavior - they appeared to me to make the behavior "bigger" than it was. I agree. Anyway, I did feel uncomfortable about the role modeling aspect of it. You don't have to like it and you don't have to participate in it. But, you do have to respect that they are his kids. 

Then the topic of discipline came up again. Steve said that I use the same methods as his ex - just to "talk it all out". I have no idea what methods his ex uses, and it's doesn't really matter to me, but I honestly don't feel that Steve really knows my "methods" cuz I've never had a chance to practice them to any extent. He said that he *has* allowed me to use them, and has watched them and he feels they don't work. Anyway, I feel we both lack knowledge in this area. Asha, your methods seem reasonable to me. I think Steve was just having a yukky day... I have a feeling he was in part bouncing off your disapproval of his ways. Steve: please feel free to correct me; I don't want to put words in your mouth.

The kids (IMO) sensed that something was in the air and started to act up more. Kids are very talented at that! I got them to do the dishes, and one threw the dish stopper down because he couldn't get it working. I told him there was no point getting mad and he said in a low, growly voice "I'm *not* *mad*." I feel like both boys are angry, *very* angry and I'm really concerned about where that could lead. Not much you can do about it Asha, other than alienate Steve.

When Steve came back, I let him deal with the bickering good, and went to do other things. I just felt like anything constructive I could contribute wouldn't be well received by Steve, and I couldn't stand there and watch them all in such foul moods without saying anything. Sure.

When Steve left to drop the kids off, he came in to speak with me privately. I had thought I would try to cool down and then ask him some specific questions but I wasn't "cooled down" when he came in to talk. I said (in a too blunt way) that if "punishment" for the kids patterned behavior works, then it should also work if I "punished" Steve every time he went into an old pattern. I really wish I could have cooled down more before saying this, because the point I wanted to make was constructive, but I unfortunately delivered it in an angry way. Yes, humans tend to do that. Anyway, he was, of course, insulted and said that kids and adults are different. And yes they are, I think... kind of, but not really.

Thanks to anyone who has had the patience to read through all this junk and can offer constructive feedback!

One good thing - After Steve left (mad), I didn't guilt myself or get worked up over him having left on a bad note. Excellent. 

I'm realizing that these are really *BIG*, *really* important issues for me, and I just can't carry on in the relationship, without finding a constructive way to deal with them. The last thing I need is an angry man and two angry teenagers in my life! (And this isn't meant to say that I believe it *has* to be that way - I think we humans can change and have enormous influence on our children, if we so choose.)  Steve is changing Asha. But, he won't transform overnight. Let him make his errors, and give him feedback only if he requests it or he's obviously open to it.. You won't be accomplishing much otherwise.

And to also add some balance to the post, in case it does seem like I'm trying to "one up" Steve, I want to say that we had a really nice time with the kids earlier in the weekend. That I could see at times, Steve was consciously overriding some old typical impulses (maybe I'm wrong, but it seemed this way). Also, he showed affection to me in front of the kids, which he never used to do, and that was nice. Yes! Though I wasn't in the room, he also put on a hilarious puppet show for the kids (who totally get enthralled by this), and did some great guitar playing and singing. When Steve and I behave well ourselves, I see such positive impact in the kids' behavior. Yes! Kids are like barometers...

I'll try to look at the posts and respond to some of them tomorrow, cuz it's getting really late.

love and hugs


B1: Submit
Date: Monday, December 11, 2000


I think I am really just trying to work some stuff through.

Dr Irene, for the first time EVER I felt really mad at you yesterday. I was going to post but decided it was better to work out why I felt so mad. Yes. Get a cool head and then reply.

The good bit being I could now, my rationality has returned, stop and think 'what is going on here? It might not be about Dr Irene." The initial reaction was because you said: "don't criticize so." Instead of ignoring it , I apologize for something I am not even sorry about. Really, I think my thoughts are valid. So I got mad at myself for being dishonest with myself!

Then, it never was about that remark I was mad at you. I found the source later. "He is not as bad as you say he is." He is actually worse. What it was, and still is about, is that it is very difficult when you are not believed. That has been part of my difficulty all along. My husband is abusive and he is sometimes violent. He just doesn't present that way to others. Even my closest friend has problems believing he could ever be violent. This is also why I changed doctors. This is the reason I became depressed. Violence is never ever OK. And you should not have violence in your life. But the reality is that even a creepy person is not always creepy, so it is not a matter of being believed or not. Besides, who cares what anybody thinks!  I find it almost impossible to make global judgments (unless I'm real mad, giggle...).And, if the chemistry between the two of you is such that he is creepy too much of the time, get yourself away from him!

Rationally, although I emailed you so you do know the "story" there is no reason why you shouldn't have your own opinion. So I am even mad at you for validating and then not validating me? (Yes definitely not logical.) I know it can be trying when I support parts of what you do and not others. But, that just goes hand in hand with how I am trained to observe and respond to clinical material. I really take few if any "sides" other than what seems to me to be the side of the other person's healthy Self. Most of the time, I'm pretty good at this.

The root of it is, nothing, of course, to do with you. It is about wanting someone else; e.g., husband to validate my feelings and say he is sorry. About feeling nothing will move forward until I have this from him. It is about wanting him to take responsibility for what he has done. I think really, I want revenge. I would like him to feel as I have. I would LIKE him to experience what I feel and have felt. I understand, promise. Yet, it's my "job" to tell you that if that's what you require, you're probably setting it up so that there will never be a meeting of the minds.

I am sure he might want the same for things I have done to him. But I can't deny my own feelings. Good. Don't deny. Just control the behavior and assess if it's working in your favor. Are you helping yourself get what you want, or are you shooting yourself in the foot?

Now I think the Paxil has worn off and I did have the symptoms I wrote about, I do not think it is a good drug for many people. (my gripe is more about lack of information than it is about the existence of the drug). I still can't just say the reasons I ended up on it are invalid! These drugs are an educated guess for the prescribing physician. But, it's a shotgun approach. Keep trying till something works. 

Looking inside, my problem is on the outside. So is his. We are both so angry at each other. He does do good things. At the height of all our troubles he kept saying he was doing what he could. But what he did felt abusive because of things he had previously done.

So what I'm really mad at you is at making me face how unwilling I am to forgive him. Which needs to happen if we stay together or not. Cool! I appreciate that kind of anger.

(Light aside form the best son in the world. He is off sick today and has just walked in to say he wants to be looked after "because he is worth it!" I wish I has his self esteem!)

So in the end what, and who I am really mad at is me, as I can't forgive and I know that that is what eats people up and destroys them. STOP! You can forgive. You just don't want to. At least right now. So, let it be; don't fight it. Just be aware. I don't want to think of myself as someone unable to forgive. As bitter about what has happened. (The righteous anger I can keep.) I dislike my own bitterness. To balance this, I am a lovely person as well! I know.

But what I can see is that I have forgotten how my anger affects others. The temptation was to write a post starting "Irene" just because I was mad at you. (Steve note this.) Not a big deal. All my clients call me "Irene." I do the Dr. Irene thing on the site for credibility. I used to get annoyed when people would "Irene" me early on. Then, I decided it wasn't worth it. Now, I sign off emails "Dr. Irene" and think I'd rather just be signing my name. To deliberately disrespect and invade what I am perfectly aware of is a means of creating an appropriate professional distance. To hope I could upset you for upsetting me.....Possibly, I have just felt so hurt that I haven't cared how others are affected. Definitely, so hurt that anything that I could do or say to hurt seems justified. Blow the effects on them. (I don't for a minute think I would have affected you in any way, I am just trying to work through the feelings). I know that. And that's where I say "STOP" and ask you to examine whether or not you are shooting yourself in the foot. Why I ask people to chill before they do anything... 

Of course I spend all that time outside myself. If I don't I will have to do what I don't want to....

I guess I will find al the answers through the Christian faith I have. I know them anyway in the head sense so I don't need the sermons (or maybe I do). Right now, if it worked, I would believe in the God of green cheese. I have no "Theology' left. God is inside you and talks to you all the time...

Strangely I remembered some things today. Like my husband comes from an extraordinarily eccentric family. (So, I have to say they are the ones who let him be eccentric.) Like the study door thing originally came about when he worked at home and then it was about locking up valuable equipment. Like this is the man who changed jobs to spend more time with his family....Like this is the man who once did nothing round the house...he may be abusive but he does try. Yes. The whole point is nobody is all good or all bad all the time. We tend to be baddest when we don't control our behavior and do not act in accord with taking care of the Self. Victim types typically think they are all good. My job is to show them otherwise. Angry types tend to pretend they are all good but secretly feel they are all bad. You're not alone in getting angry with me for what I point out. This stuff is often hard to hear, which is why I have a job.. The good news is I'm safe to get mad at since I generally don't retaliate, and if I do, I own it pretty quickly. Thanks for writing all this. Watching people grow makes me feel good.

OK, time to sleep. Be back...


B1: Submit
Date: Monday, December 11, 2000



OH Steve, you don't how much it means to get a post from you about this. IT shows how much you have grown, and helps me see we can all get better. WELL DONE STEVE!!!!

Steve I am glad it was you who replied, because you previously posted about it not all being one sided. WELL your absolutely right. I learnt to be angry with my X who was the negatively empowered one. Though I was the negatively disempowered one. SO I TOO had lots and lots of anger also. I ENGAGED as you rightly pointed out to me and still do.

Though what bothers me is THE DISPLACING of my anger on to others who are nothing to do with all of the chaos. YESTERDAY for instance my sister just asked me HOW come I'd been so long. I SAID "Look I had things to do, why is it everyone needs to know where I am and clock watches for me." SHE SAID YIKES your in a bad mood, you need to sort yourself out, otherwise you'll have no friends left. SHE IS RIGHT!!!

I am even more frustrated because it seems I can't relax for one minute. My daughter sees to this, it seems where ever we go, she is naughty and hitting kids. I end up yelling at her in frustration. I am so hypersensitive at present (GUESS YOU GATHERED THIS ALREADY!!) I am sick of being told "YOU must do something about that child", from friends and family. WHAT ON EARTH CAN I DO!! Its obvious my yelling isn't helping. I've read and read books. THE trouble is if I let up she gets worse and I can't allow her to hit 2 year olds can I? If I am not stood over her saying NO don't do that, she is up to no good.

She has bit my niece who she never got on with very well in the first place (GIRLS eh!!!) but recently she has been even more tense. My niece is only one year younger than MISSY so they clash somewhat.

Its just so difficult!! that is an understatement its impossible!!!

Christmas day we are gonna have the two girls in one house, YIKES how are we gonna cope?

STEVE, YES I do know I am angry and have a problem with it!!! (HARD TO ADMIT but I know I had to if I am gonna get this under control.) You say the money vs. self worth is perfect opportunity, HOW???

GOSH Yes this is a big button for me. How do I sort it out????

I have spent 7 whole years being told that everything I do is NOT contributing. I tried so hard, I just get so angry with having to compete. I WANTED my X to acknowledge whilst we lived together that we were a team and what I did was valuable. BUT NOPE he still to this day thinks he gave more. Maybe materially he did, but I gave emotionally, I also loved after our child. I walked on egg shells so he'd not have more stress on top of work.

MAYBE that is it, maybe I am mad at myself for walking on egg shells and then expecting thanks for this!! FOR years I kept MISSY quiet and tip toed around so he could sleep. HE would still outsiders that I always wake him up with my noise. Normal noise like putting bowls on the sideboard to make MISSY breakfast. Even that I walked heavy. BOY maybe he'd be better in a bed sit I would think a place all on his own!!! I mean what man who yells and curse deserves a family, INDEED what man. (Well I to yell and curse now!!! so maybe I have no room to talk!!) NOW he has the peace and quiet and is all alone so maybe he got what he asked for. AFTER all GOD does give us what we ask for.

I read that the recognition is in seeing how it helped someone else one of your skills and feeling real pride. BUT where does that go in this case???

I mean he wasn't pleased when I was trying to be quiet, he even blamed me for not being. SO how can I be okay about all this???

Thanks a million, GOD I wish you would send the answers cuz I am so fed up and worn out!!!

Thanks Steve.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, December 11, 2000


Dear Dr. Irene,

Lynn here. Hello All. Have a migraine today, one of the in the toilet ones, but things are going better and I need to post. This was about Steve and I was weeping over the post. I did it to Dan again. 2 days later he decided I was upset and then he offered to talk. I said I'd wanted to talk for 5 or 6 years. Yeah! Dropping those old bad habits is tough!  

Gave me a chance and I threw it back in his face. Well after we both posted (We communicate sooo well on the boards), I asked him just to listen. I may have been wording these wrong. It was about the warning to Steve to use the knowledge but NEVER use it against Asha. Bingo. Dan and I can get into discussions, fights and whatever and then zoom, out of somewhere comes something else (usually something I've shared with him). Last night I tried to use a pretty generic example and used the time in an argument when he called me a lousy mother, rotten daughter and a slut. Not meaning to bring that up again (I never told him any different) but because it was so impertinent to the argument. He right away said, "Correct me if I'm wrong. Were we both not fighting below the belt that night?" Sheesh Dan says, that's not the point. The point is that I don't like this stuff being used against me at a later date. Right.

Conversation got better and thoughtful after that. Same about the driving. I asked him to slow down. He was being nasty. He hasn't done that in a long time.

Jist of this, I think is we do so well posting. The talk to talk still is like a competition. I really think I/we had a better relationship when I'd reply to him to stick it in his ear or go do unnatural (or natural) acts in the closet I quit that because that is not the way I want to talk to a loved one. It seems if I get the least off guard though I get zoomed in on.

My next one is "DON'T call me HONEY! When we don't talk, solve, resolve, whatever... Dan gets up the next day and starts calling me Honey. I ain't his honey. It ain't over, it ain't resolved, etc. Then I get zingy. Giggle! 

Okay. Not as bad as it sounds. Actually got a lot accomplished between us last night. Mostly for Steve and I. Get it out and let it go. And to Dan not to stockpile confidences to use against me just to win. This one is big. It strikes at the very heart of your relationship. About trust... He wins alright. And don't call me honey till I tell you can call me honey. If it isn't over I don't feel like your honey. And, not only don't I feel like your honey, but I reserve the right to hold onto my anger as long as I want and if you mess with me, watch it buddy!

Thanks Doc and sorry about the typos. Head too bad to read and edit and anyhow, who cares?

PS I did disengage and GOWYL. Funny outcome, but I don't want to post it yet.. I don't think he even knows what he did.

Thanks and Love a bunch, Feel better soon!


B1: Submit
Date: Monday, December 11, 2000



I didn't understand Dr. I's post to you at first either, but her second post made a lot of sense.

<<Of course I spend all that time outside myself. If I don't I will have to do what I don't want to.... >>

Yes! It's the "having to do what you don't want to" that prevents us from seeing things clearly. But Jay, I honestly feel that when you take charge of your own life and live with integrity great things can happen. Close relationships are forced to rise up with you, or move away from your life. I think that living in denial (as I did) was a sort of "half life". It's the kind of life that results in a lot of stress related symptoms, and even disease. It slowly kills you spirit.

I notice too that you often focus more on others than yourself. The answer isn't to beat yourself up over it - just change the focus. :) We're all here on this forum, because we're doing *something* wrong. If no-one points it out, we can't progress. Having said this, I totally understand the feeling of "invalidation" you spoke of when you feel no-one believes what's really going on. I felt a little fear of this when Dr. I asked if I used the dog to express my anger, though I know she wasn't invalidating me - she was just asking a question to identify the problem. Like you, at first, I felt like I was "supposed to" "admit" to doing this, though I didn't feel like I did it (at least consciously), but I realized the point of the exercise was to be fully honest, ego aside, and I just tried to really look at my feelings. Yes. But you can bet that once upon a time, you were invalidated, most likely as a child by a parent. As Asha so well puts it, "you were supposed to admit..." Or else. Scary... So, you get into the habit of feeling as though you are doing something wrong when questioned because that was the implication when you were a kid, and there is a sense of fear and intimidation and powerlessness attached to it. When you feel other is invalidating you, you are either buying into other's attempts to be intimidating and achieve power over you, or you are tacking on lots of extra junk to what should be a neutral exchange. Either way, you are just reacting to old stuff and letting others push your buttons. 

The Fix: Recognize you are doing some variation of this. You don't need to convince anybody of anything, and it really doesn't matter whether or not other "believes" you. You don't need anybody's permission to feel as you feel. The only thing that matters is knowing how you feel and trusting your right to feel the way you feel, whether your feelings are right or wrong, good or bad, etc.  They just are. Once you can let yourself feel the way you feel, you no longer require other to validate you. Validation becomes a nice extra that feels good rather than a requirement to feel OK. You are now taking care of yourself rather than asking other to take care of you. You are taking your power...  Good stuff!

I'm glad that you took a closer look at your feelings before posting back angrily. I'm also glad that you spoke about your temptation to "get back". Maybe things would be better if we didn't all try to be so perfect?

take care


B1: Submit
Date: Monday, December 11, 2000


I am new to this site, but have spent the weekend in "withdrawal" after missing Th./Fr. work due to attempting breakup with boyfriend. I slept most of Thurs., Fri., Sat. I initiated the breakup or " distancing" because after 1.5 years, I continue to have periodic bouts of anxiety and depression. (I already take medication, which works to keep me balanced emotionally.) I met him by answering an ad in the newspaper singles site. He described himself as a well-rounded gentleman, and physically fit. After several months of dating, we became intimate. Only after this did he reveal to me that he had a serious kidney disease with impending dialysis and eventual transplant. By that time, I was very devoted and vowed to be there for him through it all!! That was over a year ago. While he IS a gentleman, he is also very vague and noncommittal, while I have tried to draw from him some specific forms of commitment. He deliberately avoids discussion of marriage, money, or past relationships. I have responded to this in true codependent fashion by having bouts of anxiety, and self-recrimination for expecting too much from a sick man, or....swinging the other direction with accusations of using me for convenience, since I have been such a devoted caregiver. (I often drive him to the hospital, or go with him to the doctor, etc.) Early in the relationship, I was troubled by his secretive nature. This resulted in my snooping around while in his house. I discovered a list of all the women he met as a result of running the singles ad. There were notes about each of us, rating us as "very nice person," "got interrogated," or "unbelievable!" There were about 12 women on the list. I realize he was probably just trying to keep track of each of us, our personalities, phone #'s, etc., and after all, that's what you get when you respond to an ad. That incident DID prompt anxiety on my part, however, and my confronting him about it. That was the first such incident. There have been others, which seem to flare up in me about every couple of months. It's all pretty embarrassing. I have finally become somewhat indifferent to him. And so, with this past attempted distancing, I was able to express myself rationally. Rather than sounding hurt, angry, or accusatory, I stated that, due to my emotional makeup -- bouts of anxiety -- we spend some time apart. (I have spent every weekend with him at his house since his dialysis machine requires he be there.) Formerly, when I confronted him with anger or hurt, he would respond in patient, kind tones, reassuring me of his devotion, etc. To this I would respond with shame and apology for being so weak and unreasonable in my expectations, etc. As I said, this time I did speak to him more rationally. And instead of succumbing to the very real pangs of withdrawal I feel after a couple days away from him without communication, THIS time, I got through it. To my surprise, the next day, he called ME. I still managed to maintain my balance, and keep the resolution to spend time apart. He seemed to be communicating on the edge of anger, and also in a fashion suggesting that he might just follow my suggestion to see other women. Based upon what I have described, I would appreciate objective feedback. Oh, also, I am 50 years old, and divorced 4 years now. I am a teacher, own my home, have a daughter in college, and manage to take care of myself financially . Emotionally, well, I haven't done as well. So I would appreciate the insights of others... Thanks, PAW.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, December 11, 2000



Is there any chance you could be "bouncing" off your daughters' feelings the way that you "bounce" off your X's negative behavior?

I spoke to Steve last night about this sort of thing, because I see him doing it with his kids. They act out, then he seems to respond negatively to their behavior. It's so similar to what Steve and I both do to each other.

I'm looking for answers to this too. Obviously you can't allow Missy to hit other children, but it sounds like you are reacting to her moods and feeling "responsible" for them. Can you instead, decide *not* to be responsible for her bad moods and try to keep yourself calm, role modeling the kind of behavior you would like to see in her? If she's acting aggressively could you give her a "time out" so she can be alone and cool down? Yeah! I'll come out from under the bed when I'm good and ready!

I notice that not only does Steve bounce off his kids feelings, but they bounce right back off his. So if they are angry, then Steve reacts angrily, they start getting even wackier. But I've also seen them get angry, Steve react calmly, and then they calm down too. I don't know if this happens with you.

<<I have spent 7 whole years being told that everything I do is NOT contributing. I tried so hard, I just get so angry with having to compete.>>

So don't. Why do you have to prove anything to anyone? I think it's *you* that's not feeling adequate, and that's probably what you have to work on. You are perfectly imperfect, and don't have to justify it to anyone, including yourself. It occurs to me that you might feel bad about me pointing this out to you. Instead of feeling bad, why not realize we're all this way and that you're no different or "worse" than anyone else. We all have "stuff" to work on otherwise I don't think we'd be human.

<<I mean he wasn't pleased when I was trying to be quiet, he even blamed me for not being. SO how can I be okay about all this??? >>

I think you were making him responsible for your feelings, as I have done. It was ridiculous for you to be as quiet as he expected, impossible probably, and the reality was that you needed for him to validate you so much that you tried to appease him - I know because I did the same!! It's us that engaged in the silly behavior - sure he pressured and gave negative consequences but we have free will, and it was ultimately our choice to go along with this silliness.

<<I am so fed up and worn out!!!>>

Theressa - I think this is a choice too. We can choose our frame of mind. I think we get "worn out" when we feel hopeless, but there is plenty of hope, so don't get discouraged. Sometimes it seems like it would be nice to take a vacation from life, but it wouldn't really solve anything.

take care Theressa


B1: Submit
Date: Monday, December 11, 2000


Dear Asha,

I read your post about the boys and here are some of my thoughts. Feel free to take what you want and leave the rest!

First, I think that children are like adults in that, that they deserve equal respect. We grownups think that just because we're bigger and wiser, we should control them. But that is practically unwise (look where it gets all of us) and theoretically unbiased.

Good parenting books: look up books that La Leche League recommends. Their site is

Again and again in your story what I saw was, that no one acknowledged and/or validated the other people's FEELINGS. Also, none of you (especially Steve and the kids) knows HOW exactly to express your feelings, so they come out as complaining and directing anger of all sorts at others.

About the boys complaining when you asked them to take the leash: The kids tried to say "I feel used. Nobody understands me. I feel helpless. I feel unloved. I feel controlled".

When one complained he had it harder, you told him the "rational" answer, that life is unfair etc. But you ignored what he wanted to convey: DISTRESS. Another way to handle the complaining could be:

1. First reflect to the kid his feelings. For example: "You are upset because you don't want to hold the leash at all, and here you find yourself holding it more than xxx (the other kid)". That way the kid feels HEARD, Cared for and UNDERSTOOD. If you identified the feeling wrongly (maybe he's not upset to hold it, just upset he's doing more than his perceived share) - the kid will let you know, but nevertheless will feel that you listen to him and that you care.

2. Define the problem (see 1.), For example: "so your problem is that the burden is not equally divided?"

3. ASK ASK ASK the kid for his input. Ask for HIS advice on the solution, instead of imposing one on him: "How would you suggest we solve it? Can we measure by minutes instead of by the direction of the walk? Can we agree that you do this thing more, and your sibling will do more of yyyy later (another job the kids don't like but have to do)?"

Doesn't matter what the solution is. What does matter is, that the complaining one gets to air his feelings, be heard, validated, not ignored, not contradicted, not told how he *should* feel or think (if he has to do what you tell him, and his complaints are deemed rationally unfounded, he feels doubly ignored and belittled), and also gets to offer his own fair solution to the problem at hand.

Note! After the complainer offers the solution, that necessarily involves others, you ask each of the others (including yourself, if it involves you) to agree or disagree with the solution. If someone disagrees, he has to explain why, and offer a better solution, and so on until everyone is satisfied on the compromise.

Always make sure to validate the feelings, but at the same time stay firm on what needs to be done. For instance, my daughter may not want to fasten her car seat belt. I will tell her I understand she does not like it, but we cannot move the car without everybody fastened and safe. Full stop. On the other hand, if she does not want to wear her coat on a cold day, or insists on boots when it's sunny and hot, I let her. Why argue? No reason to "control" her over stuff that hurts none. I'll take the coat with me, because she'll surely ask for it once we're out. That's all. (she's 3). Note: if I don't take the coat, thinking that "she'll get cold and then she'll know next time to listen to me!" - that's angry punishment. Stupid solution that helps no one. She would learn from it that she is small and stupid and mommy is against her. Now if my mommies treated me like that, I'd never go under the bed!

Now to Steve and the kids making fun of him: Again you tried the "rational" way instead of validating his feelings, and he made the mistake first by NOT TELLING the kids how he feels. That reminds me of myself - hiding that I am hurt, angry or afraid. Steve should have simply expressed his feelings, calmly, not in anger, complaint or tantrum: "Listen kids, I don't like it when you do xxxx. I get offended and I feel like you are deliberately trying to hurt me" (MY WILD GUESS, just to illustrate the general idea).

Then the kids will have a chance to relate to HIS FEELINGS, and probably will stop the hurtful behaviour and maybe even say they never meant to hurt. It would also help if Steve could tell them what he would like them to do instead: "I would love it if you would sing along with me instead" or something (again, I freely invent, just to give you ideas).

Now, Asha, suppose Steve is caught up in his hurt and does not do that, and you want to help out. So instead of telling Steve he overreacted (he knows that, and feels bad inside already, both because he's hurt and because he knows he engaged), you can express his feelings for him, either directly to him, like in: "Steve, I see you feel hurt at the kids' doing xxx", or to all of them: "Kids, Steve is reacting zzzzz (description of what he does and says) because he feels hurt and upset by your pppppp (description of what they did), and does not know how to tell you to please stop because it upsets him".

Key words: HRE (Human Relations) stuff, Validation, Reflecting back what the other says/feels, Identify feelings instead of finding reasons (the reasons are true, but they fail to address the problem, so everyone feels hurt, punished, unloved and generally yucky).

Hope this helps, because I send it with all my love! B. *Maybe you are my RealMommy?*


B1: Submit
Date: Monday, December 11, 2000


Dear Theressa, I think it might help to look at information on timeouts for your daughter. I have done research on this and one thing its important to know is that one minute for every year of the child is enough. 5 minutes is as effective as any longer period.

Make the timeout for aggressive behaviour only and have a designated place. And don't be put off by "audiences." One woman I heard about gave a time out in the British Museum.

Timeouts are shown to be most effective quickly not combined with spanking. For leaving the timeout.)

In your home you could have a timeout cushion. The idea is the child stays on the cushion until the timeout is completed. Coming out of timeout means you start to time al over again. An egg timer is useful. You do not start timeouts without explaining what the timeouts are for but you do not say anything when the time out is ended . (No "now if you had been a good girl stuff"). The idea is the child will learn to use the timeout him or herself eventually.

To make this more effective make up a star chart with your child (include her in doing it) Include small prizes (can just be an extra bedtime story) and a bigger reward at the end of the week: something your daughter would like. Make sure it is something she can achievable and don't make the star chart for more than behaviour and keep time spans realistic from your daughter's point of view.

This will take time and perseverance and is much easier if the other adults in your life are supportive.

Timeouts are not (not that I think you would but who knows who is looking in): leaving the child in the bedroom and forgetting she is there: Locking the child outside the house or in a scary place. It is OK for an adult to sit with the child but not to talk to him/her during the timeout.

Timeout is not meant to be punishment. More it is about thinking I have made a mistake and calming down.

A reward is not the same as a bribe/ The reward only gets given after the good behaviour.

Love jay


B1: Submit
Date: Monday, December 11, 2000


Long time no hear Dan!

I wanted to respond to your post, but didn't have time earlier.

Something I noticed that I wanted to comment on:

<<When I pulled out Lynn felt that I was only doing 15 MPH, and that I was doing it just to make a statement about no one telling me how to drive.>>

I found it interesting that you did a narrative here about Lynn, but didn't say anything about what *you* felt was going on. It would be interesting for you to rephrase this without the reference to Lynn, as in "I was angry at Lynn for criticizing my driving, so I *really* slowed down", or "I realized I was driving erratically and I slowed right down for reasons of safety". It's hard to know from the statement you made, how *you* really felt about it. Maybe you don't know. I think this is similar to the "bouncing off" Dr I speaks of where you forget to think about how you feel, but instead react to Lynn's feeling. It gets so convoluted that your own feelings get buried away somewhere and it becomes hard to identify them.

<<I asked her if she wanted to talk and she said that she couldn't talk to/with me about anything. >>

I hope you don't let her reactions influence you about reaching out to her. I think you did the right thing here. It's okay that she's mad. But I hope you don't experience her anger at you as punishment for reaching out. Keep reaching out and I bet the anger will diminish.

<<Lynn no longer posts when I am around, which is her decision and I don't read the posts or post as I did before, perhaps there is a connection perhaps not. >>

Dan, do you read her posts?

Anyways, glad to see you back! I'm sure we'll talk again.


B1: Submit
Date: Monday, December 11, 2000


Dear B

Thanks for your post! I'm in a hurry so I don't have time to respond just yet, but I'm going to re-read it later and ask Steve to read it too.

Just wanted to quickly thank you for taking the time to offer your input.

Also, Jay, I think your info on time outs as "cool down" time rather than punishment is very interesting.

take care all


B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, December 12, 2000


This is advice from a hypocrite in a house where two adults can't agree. BUT it is a big issue for me. What use talking things through is hard to tell as I don't know the kids ages.

Asha is right about the role modeling and Steve, it might help to work out what household rules you have (not too maybe I hope) and keep specific punishments for them. Let the rest go.

I can identify, Steve with how you feel when your kids tease you. My family do this to me. I am sick of being called THE PARROT! (Don't ask!) But from the family it is affection. They cannot know about the childhood years of being teased in a cruel way. My reaction is not fair if I make it about the family. If you think about it they are affectionate and get their head bitten off for being affectionate so they will stop the affection as they are afraid of your reaction. Then you might well find you feel rejected...(There is a lot of my own stuff mixed in here but I hope you see what I am trying to say.

Sadheart : Hugs and prayers. I saw your post on the message board.

Lynn and Dan? The candle for the lost children. What is that? I was in a Jewish friends house the other day. They are lovely people who follow all the traditions and I used to use my friend a lot when I ran a preschool....Anyway she lit a candle while I was there. Apparently they do it on the anniversary of the death of someone close.

I think I will do that in April (when my husband's best friend died.)

I think a lot of the way I feel is tied up with intense grief over things. I can't remember the sequence but I know anger is a part as is acceptance.

I love the story about the loo rolls. I think that it was a good compromise. In this house we are having a friendly battle over a tree decoration...I really don't understand why they don't like the red apple but they do not....I will hide it at the back of the tree where none can see of I can se we will be moving it around a lot!

My daughter was just so nasty today I lost it in front of my son. I fell so bad about this. It was a reaction that just came out: no control. My dad then rang her and talked for a long time explaining that the way she is does not just affect me and she talked to him for a long time.

So something between me and my dad healed despite his denial of things that happened when I was a child. I think I lost some of my fear of him. Maybe people do change......

Also whoever was off track today except for the communication bit it wasn't my husband. Again reacting to what was not even implied. I decided the day had been so bad I wanted a glass of wine. I very rarely drink and don't drink enough to get drunk. He said "Is that a good idea." Which immediately made me feel criticized. He wasn't criticizing at all just concerned as I have been so distraught and also it is clear the Paxil withdrawal is not complete.

Analyzing it what I felt criticized for was I knew it wasn't a sensible thing to drink the wine in the first place. Now it is 4 am and I can't sleep.....

also I am mad at him over the family therapy agenda as he has not shown me his points and made the excuse I have not been around much this week. It was Sunday yesterday. So now we have or rather he has sent it without me having a clue what he wanted to discuss or if I agreed to it which was the point of the exercise.

But he did make dinner and open the wine even though he didn't want any. he did offer a taxi to the doctor although in the end I couldn't face going.

But I am still angry at him and I still can't forgive. I thought about saying sorry today and felt too freaked out by fear of bang controlled or him thinking the unacceptable things are o.k.

If the truth be known he is trying hard and I still want revenge. I know this isn't o.k. I never even knew there was a vindictive side to my nature. I want him to hurt like I have been hurt. I want to MA KE him empathic which just will never happen. I want him punished for the hurt he has put me through....Not good thoughts at all. But that is what is inside.

And after his comment to me about computer programming - he is one and says I would not be able to learn to programme which is the only sort f job change I can think of short of becoming Mrs. Mop which would just take away my self respect....I have this urge to try and learn...but it is just really to spite him......

I think maybe what is surfacing is all the rubbish I have carried around for the last few years.

Maybe I will get through it and love him again? Maybe it is all about a kind of catharsis. I hope so as I do not want to stay like this. It is unusual for me to stick in this mode.

I am definitely his scapegoat but I think I am starting to do this back. I think he stands for a lot of other people who have hurt me.

I HATE being this screwed up. I was meant to be the together sort and I don't like losing my personality like this. This is the oppressed becomes the oppressor stuff. This is not my image. I would like not to want to feel like this.

But that is what is inside just now. Yuk.

Hopefully I will change in mood soon and deal with all this stuff. getting it out on paper helped. AARGH I need to clean my own CatBox! I will work on me as I am worth it.....See son's earlier comment!


Trubble and official note from me and my son we are having Salmon for Christmas lunch. Now how do you put the stuffing in a Salmon..?

love, jay

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, December 12, 2000


Hi All, and HI to all the newcomers,

Thanks B, I've read positive discipline - mistaken goals, timeouts, telling children how their behaviour makes you feel, choices, consequences etc. SO WHAT IS MY PROBLEM? Well this is hard to admit but I did it in therapy last night, the point is I have to admit to fix RIGHT!!

Well I have to admit I am a big part of the problems with MISSY, not been a good role model. There are few reasons for this, 1) I became so frustrated and unsure of consequences that weren't punishment. 2)I became so frustrated when my daughter continued to hit the children, and I'd say why are you hitting the children are you hurting. Come here and have a hug. - THOUGH she seemed to still hit the kids, so I ended up so damn fed up and reverting back to the same old.

3) I am disorganized - I am easily side tracked into resting, or in the evening reading or watching TV instead of getting school things ready, and ironing, I am just tired some days, therefore in the morning I end up with loads to do. Like washing my hair. You see I want to take care of myself and do my hair and have self respect BUT I don't have time so I end up doing it not the way I want, but then envying those at work whose hair is blow dried every day and not just put up in a hair bobble.

4) I also had MISSY to blame since she also was misbehaving in the mornings. Though so was I. I was disorganized and not following my routine and yet telling her to get ready. So role modeling was modeling how to be late.

SO If any of you can help me I'd appreciate it, I need help knowing what consequences are positive and teach for the future ANY IDEAS???

Also my counselor pointed out one very significant thing to me. BOUNDARIES, he said "Theressa you know about them but aren't using them why?" I told him, well firstly if there is a PAYOFF involved in the form of help from these people I end up allowing myself to be used. YOU see I can't do some jobs yet and need help learning and sometimes even relying on them to do the job so if I alienate them they won't help.

Secondly sometimes I am unsure about enforcing boundaries. I've read about boundaries in fact I have even enforced them, BUT with MISSY I find it hard, since as I say above I am unsure of what consequences are appropriate and teach for the future instead of punishing for the past.

Finally how can I stop a child hitting another child, MAYBE REMOVE THEM FROM THE ROOM, but won't they continue?

Jay and Asha thanks also, I am a little busy now so I won't go into details answering you both but I think what I've said above is enough.

Take care Theressa

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, December 12, 2000


Dear Theressa,

I think setting boundaries is always the most hard with people you love, like Missy, because you get so scared of the consequences. But, think what the consequences will be if you do not set boundaries!! Not only will you get more and more frustrated, and consequently will eventually take it out on Missy (you will, even if you do not want to), but also she will not learn about boundaries. Also having people around with firm boundaries makes live easier, cause you know what to expect, you do not have to walk on eggshells, you can trust them to say what they need and want, without having to guess. Missy will get mad at first, but after a while, I am quite sure she will feel more safe and secure because of these boundaries. She will no what she can and cannot do. Boundaries make life much more clear.

Just start maybe with small boundaries, and teach her what it means that you say no. Not by hitting, or yelling, but by being calm and sure about it. You are learning to do that with your Ex and you can learn to do it with her too. I think, the main thing to remember when you are afraid of consequences is: what are the consequences if I don not set boundaries. I can tell you, my own mother always ‘sacrificed' for us, and always told us so and I really hate her for it. If she would have had and set her own boundaries, I am sure we would have stood a better change. Take care, and remember, practice, practice :-). And remember, you said to me, don't throw the towel in. Now, you don't either!!!!

Dear Jay,

(((((Hugs hugs hugs.))))) It is all right to want revenge, it is all right to be angry, to feel you cannot forgive. It's part of the process. We are all going trough it time and time again. But it will get less over time, less frequent, less powerful. I know the feeling of not wanting to be so upset, so angry, so ready to take revenge. But give yourself some space to feel it, without acting out too much. As for forgiveness, remember you forgive someone not for their sakes, but for your own. You do not want to drag that anger with you for the rest of your life!

I read a good advice on forgiveness somewhere: you say out loud: I forgive *name* for *...*. I try to do it with as much feeling of forgiveness as you can muster. You may have to do it several times and for several thins. It does help. First time, I really started crying, could not say it out loud. I simply did not WANT to forgive. Not forgiving and feeling angry, made me feel strong. But letting go of the anger and forgiving made it possible to feel other emotions like joy and love again. And I feel it is worth it. Try it.! Right now, I am not angry anymore, I know it may come again, but I also know I can handle it.

I am doing OK right now. I like my new therapist, even if I do not go too often. But she is great for talking things through. Like Dr. I. she is constantly trying to get me to feel what *I* want instead of trying to guess what C. wants. And it is so good to have that reminder as it is still a hard thing to do for me. But when I get afraid of the consequences I tell myself what I told Theressa: what are the consequences if I do not look out for my own needs and feelings? It's hard, sure, because I have not done it for quite a while and it is difficult to know true feelings. But I feel I am learning, thanks also to all of you here. Forward is the only way, as we already know what is behind and we do not want that anymore. I am looking forward to going away with the holidays, though I will really miss you all. I will be extra lucky: not only will I have Christmas and New Year, but I'll join in a major Islamic holiday as well.

Dear Becky, how are you? And Suzy, and Astrid. Long time no hear..... Love to all of you and remember, the days will get longer again and just as the seasons change, so will we. Natural law.....



B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, December 12, 2000


Hi, it's B.

Theressa, I loved Asha's advice to you.

About "punishments" and "consequences" - I do not believe in any kind of punishment for a child. I believe it only hurts, and teaches the child to be 1. afraid of you, and 2. want to please you! And then when we're grown ups we're trying to get rid of that programming 'cause it ruins our lives!!!!

"natural consequences": Missy hits children - and then they don't want to be near her, or hit her back.

"natural consequences": Missy isn't ready on time - she is late for school and that is not pleasant.

However, I agree, that hitting younger children is not OK, you can't allow it. One way would be to "rescue" the child she hits just before she does it. A better way would be, to stay close to her, and stop her physically when she tries to hit. Simply by hugging or something gentle like this, saying at the same time calmly and surely: "Missy, we treat other children kindly. Especially those who are smaller and weaker than you".

Note: it is better to state a positive boundary, i.e.: treat people kindly, instead of negatively, i.e.: we don't hit.

THink: this is what we do. These are our customs. This is what our family believes. Try to convey that to her in that spirit - these are boundaries. Not as criticism, not in anger, not as punishment. And don't expect that she learns it all quickly... And of course, modelling is the best way of teaching that.

Obviously, Missy is full of anger and upset, coming from you. Don't blame yourself for that, just see it, understand it, and just accept her. Accept both of you. You are in a tough situation! Life is so hard and upsetting right now! I think you should not punish or shame her in any way because of it. You can only prevent certain damages (such as preventing any hitting), you can tell her the behaviour you expect, you can give her extra love - and you can validate her feelings again and again. "You seem to be very angry today. What can I do to help you relieve it?" or "Something seems to be upsetting you. It makes me sad, because I don't know how to help you".

All these are suggestions. I'm sure you got the gist of it.

You can also be honest with her and apologize to her when you feel you modelled badly. It's all right to say, for instance, that actually, you're sorry you just yelled at her. You can tell her you feel upset yourself. You can tell her you are afraid that you were disorganized and influenced her, and you are sorry about that. Try not to punish her for being such a good daughter. She is totally "tied" to you. She feels you, she is so close to you, she loves you, she depends on you. She does what you do. It's difficult enough. Give her the validation you need yourself, give yourself a break too - you are human and you are allowed to err - and you are allowed to tell your child you made a mistake! We want so much to be perfect with our children, but I think this perfectionism damages them more than our mistakes do!!

Ah, it's so easy to give advice to OTHERS... I'm going now to listen to my own advice and take care of my sweet little girl...

Love, B.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, December 12, 2000


Theressa - URGENT message to you. DO NOT give your daughter a hug when she hits someone. She will hit then to get your attention. You wil be reinforcing the hitting. Give her lots of hugs when she is not hitting. This is the root of why my daughter could be so aggressive to me (how I got to run parenting programmes without seeing this........) . You are confusing this with unconditional love. I told my daughter I loved her when she hit me. This I can now see aggravated the problem.

I bet the people at work with blow dried hair don't have kids. Or maybe older kids. Organisation and working at the same time with small children is just not easy. Give yourself credit for managing to keep working.

You are more than half way there to excellent parenting if you are aware of the consequences of role modeling. Don't bash yourself up but instead work out the trigger points and what you can do to change them. E.G. Do you get Missy's breakfast laid in the morning or the night before.

For consequences try If....(you do that) then. I will....when you have/

Probably like almost al parents you are trying to change too many things in Missy's behaviour at once. Work out the really important thing to change, concentrate on that and leave the rest for now.

Also one think I KNOW changes a chi;d's behaviour more than anything: I have heard parents testify to this time and time again is to spend about 10 minutes a day "special time" with the child.

Where Missy's play is concerned, I wonder if you know about letting her take the lead? Let her choose how the play goes and ask her about it but don't take over. This is the area where Missy as long as the play is appropriate can have control. It is amaazing how many parents organise or take over the parents play. I wish I could do one of my childcare role plays for you. (about play). Let missy choose and follow her lead in the special time. (I think she is 6?)

Yes, if you take missy out of the room she WILL continue to hit. You will not get progress in a day. It may take several months of perseverance.

It would be so good if you could find a parenting programme in your home town. In the end, most of them have a variation on the same themes but different approaches. Also you would find you really are not alone. I will not be offended if you don't take up the offer, but if you would like some free email support on parenting this is what I am trained in to a high degree (Nobody who runs parenting programmes should think they come from the perfect family.). I worked with parents with significant need and couldn't carry on with doing that after I got ill. But I would LOVE to use the skills i have again. In the end, like the CatBox, 99% of the time the answers are within ourselves, but we can sure use bending someone's ear. I will email my email address to Dr Irene and if you want this then you can email her. ABSOLUTELY no offense if you don't want to take up the offer. Prior to my illness I had an excellent reputation and I am still getting students coming up to me expressing sadness at my courses stopping.

AJ's advice on boundaries are also good.

Hey Theressa, you just made my day! I just realised I do have some confidence left. I have felt like I had none ever since all the bad things happened.

Thanks AJ. Today despite volatile mood swings which are probably due to the wine and lack of sleep, I do feel o,k with the revenge thing! I think, about time I stopped covering up with niceness.

Some days I think that I am being tested about all the advice I have given others in the past! You say about forgiveness is advice I have given others. Reminds me of the song that goes "I've looked at love from both sides now."

I got in quite a state feeling everything I worked for got thrown on the scrap heap. It hasn't. I just have to be patient and think how I can get healthy and expand my skills. There is NO reason why I can't do something new.

In fact the "sectioning' experience has probably done some good as now I have got in touch with an advocacy agency and I hope to train as a volunteer with them. I am also writing to my MP to try and get that hospital's policy changed. I talked to our local MIND office and they were horrified.

I realised today I can either stay stuck or move forward. I need to push myself. Like Theressa I can find plenty to do other than the things that need doing. I am going to take my life back.

About my daughter. I think she may well be Bipolar. I have been blaming myself. Yet it was me who acted responsibly in the first place and looked for help for her. I got the "we don't want to label her" treatment. I am not the doctor, who dismissed things at a time she could be helped. Also, she may change again.

Actually, because she was so unhappy I was all in favour of her leaving school. I would have supported her leaving home when she was 16 as I do think she needed space.

I can't blame her for blaming me. I need to put the anger where it belongs: on the pedophile who abused her.

She could have disappeared and be on the streets on heroin. Lots of kids rebel against their parents. I left home at 16 myself and didn't speak to my parents for the whole summer. I did survive. Just I wish I had known about codependency then. And I did do the drugs and sex bit....

I had an idea today. My husband [resented his agenda topics. Actually I can go along with them as to be really fair he has not put down things as him or me.

I am going as he won't post here to ask him if we can create our own private catbox and post in it rather than talking. The ground rule being that I do not then try to talk to him about things as well.

In fact maybe that kind of thing would be helpful for my son as he is finding it hard to talk about how he feels. (different cat box).

And I had a great idea so I can do voluntary work and write. I am going to start my own cleaning agency. I know just how much I have paid for cleaners and I know how hard I have found it to get them. I used to clean a real Lord's house when I was a student. It was fun.

And I am still going to look at how to do computer programming.

Another thing that hapened today was I told my recovered codependent friend about worries I have that I got codependent onthe church and we both realised that now in the church we want to go to there are people who have joined who are definitely not codependent and they are changing things.

I am delaying setting the divorce in motion on the basis of the way the agenda is written. He has actually put down as main areas of concern controlling behaviour and abuse and left that neutral. He has put down we need to explore why I feel like a victim. I am going to take my poem to the therapy.

I know this could all be hype on his part but I have a gut feeling he is trying and I have to go with that.

Also I am feeling so much better without the drug seroxat. I asked the doctor today about something else but she was reluctant. She gave me sleeping tablets instead.

Had a very funny time in town visiting the doc. I went into a department store and while I was there a woman squeezed a teddy bear. It farted! Then as I was leaving I couldn't resist squeezing a female bear. It made all the sounds of a woman ......well you can guess. (I missed the sign saying bears for adults!)

Then in the street, I heard a male voice saying "I am going to terminate him when he arrives" . Turned round and to my belief it was the bus superintendent and he was talking about the bus conductor stopping.

Must go and cook some fish for my son. He will be purring soon. He is a healthy human cat. Yeah. And, he invited me to dinner.  Better make lots extra.

Hey this feels good. I am smiling. I feel happy for the first time in a long time. I have energy. love Jay. 


B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, December 12, 2000


Oh, Dr I. just made my week- her FAVORITE lurking lawyer! Ah, yippeee! And I'll be back as soon as I get through the posts... OK, I'm back.Flattery will get you not worms, but free legal advice anytime- but remember, it's only worth what you pay for! Some kind soul asked why am I lurking here? I'm a divorce attorney with fifteen years experience. My undergrad degree is in psychology- Cognitive Development, to be more specific than my diploma. That's why Dr. I's advice always hits a good spot with me. It's about how the brain takes in and processes information, how thoughts translate into conduct. My focus is on kids, custody, schedules, support, etc. (I do write a mean Will, however!) and I find this kind of website very very informative. 

Years ago, when I prosecuted child abusers, I would marvel, "How does a person allow this to happen to him (or her?) (or their child?)" I found the same internal questions when I got into private practice. Now I'm more experienced, and I don't wonder anymore. You all give me wonderful insight, and I certainly need an injection of compassion every once in a while. The cops told me once I had bigger balls than most of the men in the county ;) which I took as a great compliment. You must be Lynn's long lost sister! So, no, I'm not a co-dependant abusee, hopefully not the opposite, either. I believe as an attorney I'm pretty darned empowered, perhaps more than is good for me at times. ( A "good" woman in these here parts is barefoot, pregnant, and six miles from town.) I'm here because you all help me, and I hope I can give a little help in return. The concept of "emotional maturity" helps me to understand my clients' behaviors. Greenspan's book "Growth of the Mind" is good, but a little scholarly for someone without the clinical terms (What's your Amygdula? and where is it? Hehehehe!

It sounds like Steve is on the same emotional development level as his kids, with the dog leash story. Good advice in general about giving kids the right to have input, but that may not have worked in that situation. Kid's solution would be "you carry the darned thing, lady!" Just pushing buttons they think they're supposed to. It's not about the leash. It's about somebody being the leader and giving firm, loving guidance. And, NO HITTING! That must be the most basic concept with (????-sorry!)'s daughter. Do NOT hug her after she hits! Good heavens. Separate her from everybody, give her a timeout, (one minute per year) and hug her after she acknowledges that she did wrong. This will take years of consistency, since she had years to get to the "I can hit" point. Same with those who still agonize over an ex-spouse, what they believe or think or do. It took years to get bad, it will take just as long to get good.  Common sense stuff...

(.....And, I must mention to Trubble that we have a new kitten in our home- Sylvia has killed all out hands, several times. We're lucky she does not want to drag us out and bury us in the yard! Salmon and season's greetings to all) Sounds like Sylvia could use some anger management training... Or, maybe she's just looking for her "Real" parents too.

"Lurking Lawyer" is a dedicated, straight-talking, abuse-aware professional I respect. We've had some rather humorous "run ins" in the past. Anyway, she sent me some stuff a while ago on violence and types of battery. I started turning it into a joint article, and it's still on line, unfinished. Mostly because I've been tending not to do anything that feels like work lately, even though doing it was my idea. (Giggle.) Anyway, I'll snap out of it when I do. For those who want a preview, it's here.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, December 12, 2000


Dear Lurking lawyer.

I can tell you from experience how we end up with our kids getting abused. pedophiles are very plausible people.

They are plausible in or outside the home.

In my case the law was also to blame for making it possible for a pedophile who was actually known to be in a group of flats with children in. 2 other girls were abused at the some time as my daughter. She was abused when we visited them. Unbelievably, when my daughter wanted to prosecute both the police and social services had lost the files both on the pedophile and the two other girls. This is the UK not the US.

It happened to my daughter because I listened to someone's reassurances despite my own doubts. It has taken me years to forgive myself. It's not your fault...

Amygdula? Yes what is it? Something in the brain that mediates anger, among other things.

Dear all. My brain is back in order. Yes definitely I am going to give husband a chance. I read the poem on this site about flowers and asked myself, is this going to happen to me? (I got flowers yesterday.) No I do not have even a doubt that it will. I think he has scared himself enough.

Really I think he is confused and trying hard. love `Jay  Jay, he will need help; the chances of him finding his way out of the place he's in alone are slim. Get yourselves to counseling!

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, December 12, 2000


Steve here.

Now I understand why I see anger and distortion/exaggeration in many of Asha's posts referring to me. Because it's there.

Her last post about the "leash". The "slant" was throughout. I think we all do this to some degree. Unfortunately, when Dr Irene or someone else responds to the post, their response ends up being slanted as well, through no fault of their own.

Today, I understood something (actually I saw it firsthand). Asha is very very angry. And not in control of her anger. If she could see it, like Jay has, things would move a lot faster. As I saw and faced Asha's anger, I also saw how far I had come. I didn't engage at all. Not at all. I mean zero. I was so happy with my SELF.

Asha showed me how her anger IS capable of being harnessed as a method of revenge and hurt. I was feeling this very often in her posts. Sure they were her feelings, but there always seemed to be this "extra effort", an almost subtle demonizing of me. OK Steve, you did the first step of not engage. You did the behavioral part, but there is more. You are furious with Asha for being human and having the feelings she has! You are not acting angrily, but you are nevertheless angry! And, your codependence is showing in that you're overly concerned with what she's doing rather than with what you're doing! (Which is paying so much attention to Asha!)

A little more on what I mean by "disengage:" To allow the other person to feel what they feel, whether or not you agree with how they feel. When you "disengage," you are OK with the fact that your partner has an entirely different viewpoint than you do. You do not bounce off your partner by reacting emotionally yourself to their emotional stuff. 

So Steve, you are not disengaged because you are obviously put off  by how you perceive Asha!  In other words, you have given Asha the power to create yukky feelings in you. You are bouncing off her feelings and emotionally reacting because you still put too much stock in Asha's approval, agreement, etc., which for you must equate with love, etc. 

Stop! Please recognize that you are bouncing off Asha. This is the interactional process you identified some pages ago. It is destructive stuff you don't have to engage in when you realize that it's OK for Asha to be angry or whatever it is that she is - which has nothing to do with you unless you make it your business - as you are doing now!!!

Then others (not all) here will jump on the ball (maybe it's their own anger and desire for revenge) and run it down for a touchdown. (I love my dramatizations, excuse me). Aren't you doing that to her? Unfortunately, they're not running with the real game ball. Then I feel the need to clarify things, and there's just too much to deal with. So I don't respond. And I think my lack of response seems to validate Asha's profiles of me. Garbage.

I'm ok with that. I know I can't spend all day addressing and clarifying every issue. I've admitted many of my problems here. I'm working very hard and I know it, which is what really matters.

Here's an example of what I DON'T like to respond to because it is commentary (and more of an anger-based put-down than a useful observation, IMO) on a story told by an angry person who wrote it while angry.

The lawyer: "It sounds like Steve is on the same emotional development level as his kids, with the dog leash story." You don't like this post and you are engaging with this post exactly as you engage with Asha, . Giving it too much power Steve...  

Back to my original thread...

Seeing how easy it is to create a negative profile of someone is a very powerful lesson to me - in what NOT to do.

I am hoping Asha will see her anger-management problem and talk about it publicly. Wrong. Now you are focused on her and blaming her. Asha has the problem. Well, of course Asha has a problem. It's called being human. I call on Asha to deal with her own stuff, and she does. 

You need to deal with your tendency to want to focus on Asha's misbehaviors instead of how Steve chooses to make a big deal out of Asha's misbehaviors. That is big Steve. HUGE! I respect Jay so much for being willing to look at her own anger and revenge feelings. I know how hard all this stuff is. But just to see Jay go for it like that is so encouraging for our situation right now. I still have hope but I'll be ok without it.

I am very pleased to say this: Irene, you have taken the number 1 spot in my list of most influential people in my life. Really. Not after this post, I'm sure.

Every day gets better. And yes, there is "backsliding", but I now KNOW that the progress is there.

Irene is my personal Angel whether she likes it or not. She's gone way past the Doctor stage. Way beyond the call of duty. Fine. Personal Angel Irene here asking Steve to please look inside. Steve, you have choices. You can remain in the yukky comfort zone you spend entirely too much time in and are in right now, or you can accept the fact that Asha is human, will never be perfect, will never be all-accepting, etc., and all of that is OK. 

It seems that if Asha isn't in the frame of mind to be all-loving, all-giving Perfect Mommy, you choose to bounce off her mood state and you make yourself feel upset. Like, she somehow let you down because she's got her own, very normal stuff. Kind of like Trubble, when he hides under the bed, sulking because each person he picks to be RealMommy/Daddy inevitably disappoints him... This stuff is very big... Huge...

Now, I need to give more credit where it's due. Without Asha, I could never have found this place. She has also helped me find my own anger places. She IS a very loving person.

And I love her. Always. Whether we make it or not. And, I would like you to make it, and have a satisfying, wonderful life. That's why I'm being so tough on you...



B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, December 12, 2000


B. I found much of your post very enlightening. There's a lot to work with there. Thank you very much for responding. I've been seeking better ways to deal with my kids than we are currently using. Your ideas are very plausible. I'm definitely going to try them out.


B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, December 13, 2000


Asha here

I had just read the Lurking Lawyer's post about "emotional development level" and felt uncomfortable with that.  My objective when I post isn't to get anyone to "side" with me. But, that is the effect you often have. No reason to get uncomfortable/defensive. The lady just tells it the way she sees it. I'm sure my own emotional development isn't so advanced either. I think that she (you) had other interesting things to say, but the emotional development stuff made it hard for me to respond objectively. You are letting your buttons get pushed. Actually, I don't think Lurking Lawyer's analogy is a bad one. Steve is tough enough to handle it, but I think we have to remember that no-one here is Jesus or Buddha and we are all at various states of emotional immaturity (or maturity depending on how you see it). BTW Steve apologized for a lot of what happened on that day.

Re: my anger. Yes I'm angry. I don't know if I'm "not in control" of it, so much as allowing myself to express it when I feel it. I'm not driving like a maniac, throwing stuff around or calling anyone names, which is what I envision when a person allows anger to take a grip on them. Not to say I've never acted on my anger in the past - I have. But I don't think that's what's going on now. I think what's going on is that I'm feeling a little safer to express some of my anger. In particular, I was angry today because Steve told me that he and his X had decided the kids wouldn't be back to see Steve and I until after Xmas. I told Steve I was really pissed off, and I *am* pissed off! I'm the last person to be consulted about these things, and I had bought supplies, and started with the kids to make Xmas gifts (for the kids to give to their family members for Xmas). It's basically a waste now because I won't see them. They had left behind the projects they started, so they won't be able to give them to anyone. Steve did mention that he could speak to his X to see if the plans could be changed. I have no idea if he will, because I feel like my feelings on the matter are basically insignificant (or at least they have been in the past). As long as it works for Steve and his X, the plans usually move ahead. I'm just realizing how I really hate this, and have hated this for so long - the lack of consideration of what *I* want and need. And not being consulted about these weekend plans. It brings up a whole wad of old stuff that yes indeed, I'm *angry* about. And I *know* that it's old stuff and that Steve is working on lots of change, but I no longer want to bury what I feel about all of it. Logically speaking, I forgive for the past, and I know Steve didn't intentionally hurt me etc etc, but I still *feel* hurt about all of it, and *really* don't want to set myself up for more hurt in the future.

And know what? It felt safe for once to express some of this, because Steve *didn't* engage. Though I doubt he understood what the anger was about, I at least felt he *heard* me, and didn't deny me the anger.

We went to his kids' Xmas concert and before his boys went to perform there was a group of little 5 year old elves and mice, all looking nervous, some wearing their hats crooked - it was the epitome of innocence - so touching! And I felt like bursting into tears! I don't know what that's about, except that something has been getting stored up inside me, and it's something really painful. Maybe it's just that I want to be able to *not* be perfect sometimes and to have someone support *me*. Maybe I'd like to just give up adulthood for awhile, or maybe the kids represented the family I don't have, or it was some sentimental thing - actually I have no idea why I felt so emotional.

I don't feel I have an "anger management problem" but I do feel anger towards Steve right now. On a logical, thinking level I know he's working hard at change and I respect that. On an emotional, feeling level, I feel hurt, worn out and unsure of the future. I can't make anyone any guarantees right now because there are wounds from the past that haven't healed.

The problem, IMO, isn't managing the anger, it's acknowledging it, and not letting any more of it build so I can begin to let it go. I gave so much of my own power away for the last few years that I need to learn how much to take back, and how to be "empowered" in healthy ways, without having to "have my way" all the time. This is tricky because I can give on most of the little things, but even they add up over time.

I wish I could be of more help to Steve, but my choice right now is to acknowledge and verbalize the anger I feel - not as in name calling, violent outbursts etc., but in just being able to say "yes! I'm mad! Yes, I'm pissed off about this!" It doesn't feel unhealthy to me - it feels far more unhealthy to bury it. I know there are times to walk away and talk more about it later, and I can do that, but that's not what I feel I need to learn. I guess I'd like to know that I can say something really upsets me and for that to be okay!

I do wish I didn't feel angry at Steve - it's not the Steve who's trying so hard, who's growing and learning I'm mad at. It's the old Steve who kept me at arms length for so so long. It's as if I can't get any closer than arms length right now for fear of the old ugly patterns. I'm not good at dealing with them without involving my emotions, so I seem to need to step back right now.

Maybe I'll just go have a good cry. Thanks for listening.


p.s. I'm not PMSing either - wrong time of the month, so we can rule that one out.

Excellent! Excellent, excellent! You are self aware, you trust your feelings despite not liking them, and you refuse to hurt yourself by either squashing them or angrily acting them out. 

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, December 13, 2000


Oh m'gosh - triple posting!

Sorry 'bout that - that's the first time the posts haven't appeared for me after hitting refresh. Don't know what that's all about. Trubble, were you toying with me? All the time FakeMommy Akasha Vampire-Lady. who isn't there for me always, like I expect. Your job is to take your feelings, whatever they are and put them aside for me so you are always available to tend to me.  

Oh well, I guess the heavens are allowing me to express my anger *extra*. Loud and clear. teehee.


B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, December 13, 2000


HELLO ALL, Suzy here, Did you think I got lost? My internet server went down a couple of days. Well, it's late, just wanted to check in and say I was alive and well. My abusive husband and violent son are moving out soon. We have filed for a legal separation. In this year we will all work on our emotional health, and if we begin to heal, there is a chance, if not, divorce will be final in a year. This brings many emotions, happiness for no more abuse in the home, sadness for what might have been, hope for what could be , and doubt for the reality of strong in born behaviors to change, anger, for not having a nice marriage both at my self for allowing the abuse and anger at him for doing it. But, all in all my spirits are good, and I look forward to a year of hope and healing. I hope I can catch up on the posts soon.>Love, to you all, Thanks, Suzy

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, December 13, 2000


Steve here.


I wish you all the best, now and in the future.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, December 13, 2000


Asha here

Steve was just talking to me by phone about my "anger problem" and my "slant" on things, and then I got even angrier! Of course. Steve is taking your inventory instead of his own. His codependency is showing, that's all.

Dr I - Is it wrong to tell Steve that I'm mad about something? No.

I don't mean doing hidden stuff like little zingers etc which I'm *really* honest to goodness not trying to do. I mean expressing that I'm really hurt, mad, upset etc. I can't always do this in an expressionless, robotic, factual type way. Is it wrong to say that I'm angry? No. Steve has to deal with it. 

I get even more irritated when he starts focusing on how I should admit/fix this huge problem I apparently have. It just gets me more riled! I think because I *don't* want to focus on the problems he thinks I have, I want to focus on the problems *I* think I have. Purrrrfect. Steve's stepping into your boundaries. And you're ticked! Good!

The only thing I can think to do is retreat because this sort of talk just goes in circles. Right. Give him time to get out of his yukky space. He's hurting right now, but he's the only one who can get himself out of there, though he mistakenly thinks that if you just do x y and z with your anger, he'll feel better.

If there is a specific thing I do that he is unhappy with, I'm fine with that. If he sees something differently than I do, I'm open to hearing it. But to just make blanket statements about my slants, my "anger problems" etc. isn't helping! No. And only Steve has the power to recognize that he's putting all this stuff on you and trying to make you responsible for his well being. Kind of like, "If Asha is never upset, Steve will be fine." Wrong! (Steve: I know you don't want to give anybody this kind of power! Do you see how you do it? Which means, you can also stop doing it.)

I don't think I'm generally an angry person. But I'm angry at Steve (though I really don't want to demonize him either - he has his reasons for where he is in life - I understand this logically, but not emotionally). I need to figure out how to be able to avoid burying this, and express some of it. I think you've figured it out. You are doing it. And besides trying to live up to Jesus or Buddha, can't I sometimes just tell Steve I'm upset about things and show that I'm upset? Again, not by shrieking or screaming, or with sarcastic remarks etc., just allowing my face and words to show that I am upset? Absolutely! Doing that in fact is your goal.

It's nothing against him. It's about me. Yes. Everything about you is only about you. That's why I tell Steve that his upset has nothing to do with you or your anger, which you have a right to and are handling responsibly. But I *am* upset about lots of things - a lot of built up stuff, and it's hard to deal with this when Steve is wanting me to "admit" to an anger management problem which I don't feel I have. I feel that focusing on that would be lying to myself, and I would allowing Steve's "take" on the situation override my own gut feelings by doing that. Agreed.

It's the "expression" of my anger to Steve that seems to be a problem. Through posting I really don't intend to demonize him, but if I don't post what I feel then there's no point in posting at all. Steve will be much happier when he realizes he does not need your constant support, approval, etc. to be OK. That's why he's so sensitive now to angry nuance. I'm hoping to help him see how much responsibility he tries to pin on you for his happiness, responsibility that up until recently, you accepted. A no win for all.

It would really help the relationship if some of the specifics of my anger were dealt with. i.e. the weekend plans when I am not consulted.

It seems that when I get angry, Steve feels a wall has gone up and he can't get through, and I don't see attempts from his end to reassure me about the issues. It's as if he feels there's no point, as soon as he knows I'm really angry about it. When I'm really angry about it, I need those attempts from him most of all! His choice, obviously, but then my only option is to withdraw from a situation where I feel no solutions are offered other than ones which I have complete power over.

I'm trying to break this down, especially because I want to let Steve know what I feel is going on.

I *don't* think Steve is Satan when I show this anger towards him. I have a hunch that's how he translates it. It's *not* tit for tat. But I'm human. I have feelings. Yes.

I think I'll try to calm down now.


B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, December 13, 2000


Dear Asha and Steve,

When I read your posts, what became obvious all of a sudden that you two are continually analyzing every interaction that you have. What did he/she mean, what did I feel, did I really feel this, was I reacting, was I true to mySelf etc. I think that, however much useful analyzing is, it is not healthy to do it all the time. You get so entangled in your own analysis (at least I do ;-)) that it becomes increasingly hard to act normally. You start looking for clues, for meanings where there are none, you start taking things apart, just for the tearing apart. I do not mean you should let things pass just like that, but to ‘pick you battles' as Dr. I. says. I know it is a hard thing to do, but you are not doing yourselves any favors by bickering over all the things that come.

I do feel for you Asha, when you tell about all the old feelings that come up associated with events that are happening now, but I think that it is really your job to sort them out, in order not to let hem rule your present decisions. IMO you are entitled to show your emotions, sure, you have feelings too! If that bothers you Steve, I feel that is your problem to solve. If she is angry or upset, that does not automatically mean you have to fix it and that you fail if you cannot fix her negative feelings. Let her feel them, talk about them and see if you can talk to her about what her feelings mean without searching for a solution. I think when you say (as Asha told) that you might talk to your X about having the children to come in before Christmas, that it would mean a lot to her, if you really would put in an effort to find a solution that is agreeable to both of her (I do not mean do everything she want btw!)

And Steve, good for you for not engaging. Did you read that Asha said that this made her feel safe enough to show what she feels! I think that great progress for both of you!!! One more thing Steve, I don't think it will help you if you keep telling her you want her to see her anger management problem. It is like you want to control again: you decide she has an anger problem, so she should do something about it. It simply won't work that way. She will only do something about it, when she feels she has an anger problem, and pushing will only make it harder for her to recognize it if she has it.

Take care, both of you

Love AJ Nice.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, December 13, 2000


Hold down the shift-key when you hit refresh.

Then you will see your post. If you don't, your browser will usually use the page from the cache on YOUR computer. (unless you set it to specifically check for changes on remote websites).

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, December 13, 2000


Oops. I meant "CTRL" KEY.


B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, December 13, 2000


AJ - thanks for your input.

<<When I read your posts, what became obvious all of a sudden that you two are continually analyzing every interaction that you have. What did he/she mean, what did I feel, did I really feel this, was I reacting, was I true to mySelf etc. I think that, however much useful analyzing is, it is not healthy to do it all the time. You get so entangled in your own analyses (at least I do ;-)) that it becomes increasingly hard to act normally. You start looking for clues, for meanings where there are none, you start taking things apart, just for the tearing apart. I do not mean you should let things pass just like that, but to ‘pick you battles' as Dr. I. says. I know it is a hard thing to do, but you are not doing yourselves any favours by bickering over all the things that come.>>

I understand what you're saying (I think), but in the past I let a lot of things go by, including my own feelings and reactions to things. It feels really important to me right now *not* to do this. I agree that the subject matter seems petty - dog leashes etc. but the underneath stuff is really important for me to look at right now, and I have to trust my own judgment that it feels healthy for me to examine it. I don't want to keep living in limbo, and I see this power struggling etc as harboring some very big issues in Steve and my relationship. Every time something feels yukky, I now stop, and take a look. Maybe I am missing your point, but I feel I have to *not* overlook any yukky stuff, in order to act out of a position of Self empowerment. I suppose what's right for me isn't right for everyone.

However, I just finished having another argument with Steve who seems to think that Dr. Irene said I shouldn't be feeling angry. He went on to analyze the slant of this line from an earlier post: <<Steve wanted feedback from me because the son with the leash was complaining that we had taken lots of detours on the way there and the trail back was much shorter, so the other boy wouldn't have to carry the leash nearly as far.>> saying that I exaggerated the detours etc. Something felt really yukky about going into such depth about my "angle" and the perception of others about this line etc etc. and I got very angry again. I didn't want to talk about that line anymore, and he said that I don't care how he feels. I had pretty much had it and should have ended the conversation earlier because I did lose it, telling him that no I don’t care and to get out of my life (which he's been threatening to do forever anyway), and that I’m tired of this stupid stuff. Yes, it was misbehavior, abuse etc. on my part. I let my anger get out of control at that point, rather than stopping the conversation before I got to that point. The thing is, that I don't feel our talking about it was going anywhere and I just wanted him to leave at that point, which he did.

Obviously things aren't improving and we're not moving ahead, so it's probably best we just leave each other be and just have a work relationship. He can't understand me, and my feelings of anger are unmanageable to him, so maybe we just can't progress as a couple. I certainly don't like how I'm reacting to him right now, and I probably need to back away.

My needs around the kids seem like too much for him to handle and he definitely doesn't want me to feel the anger I feel. I don't know how to *not* feel it, and somehow I don't think that's the solution.

I think there *is* a point where you can just try too hard to make things work when they're obviously not working. I need some peace of mind, and neither Steve and I appear to be getting it. I can't seem to work on the couple aspect of the relationship, so I should probably just be alone.

Maybe I need to stop focusing on the relationship completely other than how we work together, and just make my plans alone. I think I'm wasting both Steve and my own time by trying to work things through, when I feel like we have such different perceptions of the problem. Neither of us are happy together much anymore.

The ironic thing is that what would have made me far less angry would have been some sort of validation by Steve of my feelings, and some show of concern for a resolution. Empathy, concern, compassion for your feelings... Of course, he has no obligation to do that, and maybe it's not even healthy for him at this point No Asha, he has absolutely no obligation to go to these places, but it would be very healthy for him to do so. Steve hurts himself when he takes your anger personally., but then I have no reason to feel safe that my needs/desires will get met through the relationship.

hope you're all having a better day than me.


B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, December 13, 2000


Steve here

Asha has asked me to "get out of her life". Yes she was angry when she said this. But I can only hear this so much before I start wondering when it will ever end...

I feel caught in the middle again (or still), between my X and Asha. When the smoke clears, I see myself on the sidelines of my kid's life. Struggling to keep the peace and both women's needs met.

Not much left for me. I don't think I can live this way any longer.

I am not who I was. I am not who I will be. But I'm someone going somewhere I want to go.

I just wanted to say how great everyone here has been to me.

AJ, your last post was right on. Except, Asha and I cannot communicate. I don't feel like I want to put any more time into it. I want to keep working on me. The more progress I make, the more inspired I feel to keep at it.

Oh, while I was composing this, I noticed Asha posted. She posted about me analyzing her slant...well, she never let me speak a word hardly, so again I just see her venting or whatever it is she does when she does that. I never had a chance to say what I wanted to say. I am not allowed to have feelings of my own. She doesn't want to hear anything *I* have to say. She just gets angry and posts stuff which is pretty meaningless to me, except perhaps the underlying hostility, which has gone way to far in my opinion.

The word "Yukky" seems to symbolize her profile of me now.

Well, her attitude lately makes me feel physically sick. Unhealthy. It's Very unhealthy. Damaging. Destructive. She seems Vengeful. Vindictive, and very much out of control.

I don't want to be involved anymore. I am finding myself repulsed by her maddy face. Her voice, her body language, everything seems so aggressive and ugly.

The more I expose myself to it, the worse my memories will be. I want to remember her smile, her laugh, her tenderness...not all this ugliness.  No no no no! You are creating this mess for yourself Steve. All because you are taking her every word so seriously, bouncing off her every gesture, requiring her to be perfect so you can feel OK! You don't have to do this Steve...



B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, December 14, 2000


Hi All,

Dr Irene I just read your blue pencil. I am impatient aren't I. Well I guess Practice, practice and more practice.

Why am I so anxious well, I just am finding it hard to know what to do when Missy is misbehaving. You see if my X plays up then I won't be late for work, and I can ask him to leave, with MISSY I obviously can't. I always get stuck on consequences etc. I wrote to Jay today she offered to help me. She is one kind lady. (Friend!!)

STEVE how did you manage to see the physiology in your self, the awareness of how your body feels etc?

I have ordered the book on anger management from the site you advised.

DR Irene my therapist frowns when ever he hears I ordered a self help book. He says "Another book". Is it so bad reading books? He says "Theressa you know yourself and only you can help you. You get so tied up in reading and yet doing is what reaps rewards." BUT Dr Irene how can I do if I don't know how to do?

This is what frustrates me, I am unsure about one thing my therapist said, he said "If Missy misbehaves take something important to her away from her". YET in positive discipline book it says don't punish. GOODNESS I am confused. Hope Jay can help me.

Dr Irene is it correct that you should teach for the future and not punish for the past?

If it is true then how can anyone get a child to do what needs doing especially if the child won't budge? (some say smack em, some say take xxx away from em. I say I don't know what the hell to do, cuz I don't know how to get a child to not manipulate me.)

Positive discipline is fine but it doesn't help you work out consequences.

The more I was being positive the more MISSY was pushing me. She was walking all over me. She is harder to sort out than her father.

Thanks, I hope Dr Irene replies.

Love to you all, I have another cold.

Dr Irene if your feeling run down are you more attracted to colds?

Love Theressa

PS All keep up the good work. STEVE you are doing cartwheels of growth WELL DONE.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, December 14, 2000


Dear Dt Irene, rubble, and the rest of the family,

I've been remiss in that I haven't checked the posts or posted in a couple of days.

Lynn has had a killer of a headache for the last three days but has been busy trying to set up a genealogical web site for my family. The lady is very talented so I know that she will eventually do it. Hope she's feeling better soon. Please give us the url!

The other morning she asked me to just listen, and not reinterpret what she said. I listened, kept my mouth shut.

Yesterday we received a card from her dad with his usual gift of money. I told Lynn to return my portion to him, although I can do it, as I really don't feel that is what I need from him after his behavior Thanksgiving Sunday. I would appreciate an apology to both Lynn and I, but he won't do that as he never has, when he's acted in a spiteful (wrong word) way. 

I go to the therapist today and have to remember about my family relevancy. One of the question she asked me last was how was my long/short term memory. It's very bad, some things I remember, others????? I've even started to write myself notes at work.

Lynn told me that when I'm not on her good side that she wished that I would not call her Honey, it's very hard for me to do a that is what I call her, like some couples call each other snookems, sweetheart, etc. I have to make a concentrated effort. Only if you want to Dan. She is requesting that you make a change, when in fact, she needs to deal with the fact that you call her Honey when she doesn't want to be called Honey. Are you mad at her that you have agreed to make this effort now? Don't be too quick to answer. 


You asked how I felt the day coming home, I was angry, angry at Lynn taking off her seatbelt, angry at her idea that I would intentionally endanger her. We have had this discussion before and I can understand her phobia about it as I am claustrophobic, although I have been getting into areas where before, no way. Under the bed, in elevators, etc. I'm still uncomfortable doing this but there are times when it has to be done. Lynn jokes about my fear of flying, which isn't, I love to fly, I just wish that they would put all the other passengers on another plane. I do feel closed in when there are two other people sitting next to me and we're rubbing shoulders.

Will try and post later



B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, December 14, 2000


Steve here

Irene: "You need to deal with your tendency to want to focus on Asha's misbehaviors instead of how Steve chooses to make a big deal out of Asha's misbehaviors. That is big Steve. HUGE!"

I agree. I don't want to ONLY *focus* on Asha's behaviour. But I need to see things clearly. I do want to focus on how I react to Asha's anger, but first I need to focus on her anger so I can see what it is I'm reacting to. I'm not understanding what is wrong with this Irene? Good question. Here is where you get to put most all of my lessons together: You say above, "I do want to focus on how I react to Asha's anger..." This is good because the target is your reaction to (bouncing off) Asha's behavior. This is different from the target being Asha's behavior.  So, Asha's behavior does not matter. How you process and subsequently react to Asha's behavior matters. 

This means that all you have to worry about is what you are doing with her behavior rather than her behavior itself. This is good because you can't control Asha's behavior (only Asha can do that), but you can control Steve's processing and interpretation of Asha's behavior.


Again, because I don't post as much as Asha, you don't get a complete picture. I understand all the stuff about not letting her anger get to me. The problem I am having is, the amount, and level of the anger. It is so strong that I am drowning in it. In other words, I am unable to speak. So, my dilemma is, do I just submit myself to the anger (and it's not just a mad-looking face Irene, as Asha says. It's a very loud aggressive voice. I'm more sensitive to volume and inflection than I am to facial posturing) and live constantly amidst it? I can't seem to find a way of agreeing that this can be healthy for me. Even if I don't engage, I feel that it's this powerful negative energy that is lashing me. I feel like I don't want to live in this state. What is the point? I need to do what's right for me. Irene, you haven't convinced me that this is good for me. What am I missing? Reciprocity.

"I'm hoping to help him see how much responsibility he tries to pin on you for his happiness"

Hmm. There's a "degree" factor here. I am in a reduction process. I do know, that it feels incredibly icky to be around Asha's anger. She isn't responsible for me feeling the ickiness. I can change that. But it still won't make me want to be around someone who's so angry so often. Again, it's a degree thing. I want to make healthy choices for my life. I want to be in a warm, happy and positive environment. You don't understand how much control you have in creating a happy and positive environment! I would like that to be the more common and prevalent situation. I don't think a person should commit their lives away to a situation where the dominating (time-wise) environment is angry. We agree. So, why are you making yourself so upset? Why can you not take Asha as she is, good and bad? Why are you focusing on her bad stuff instead of her good stuff? 

I think the reason you allow Asha's anger to affect you the way it does is because your subconscious stuff (underlying expectations, irrational thoughts, schema, call it what you want) goes somewhere along one or more of these lines: 

bullet"Asha must always be loving and considerate towards me. 
bullet"It hurts so much when she isn't there for me, rejects me, slams me.
bullet"If she loves me, she should accept all of me and my flaws because my intentions are good. Therefore, she must not really love me since her anger is shutting me out so.
bullet"When Asha is angry with me, that means I have disappointed her, let her down, whatever, so I have messed up and that makes me somehow worthless.
bullet"I can't stand it when she's mad at me. It just makes me feel awful and unloved!
bullet"How dare she get mad at me after all I do for her!

I don't know what your specifics are, but, in one way or another, you expect her to let you down and not love you, so you are unconsciously focused on every little cue that "proves" to you that she doesn't love you. You expect her to disappoint you because somebody in your early life was not there for you. Somebody taught you that you cannot rely on the person you love to comfort you when you need them to. 

You also think that somehow, if she could only be the loving woman you fell in love with, your own hurts would go away. Because you give her the power to make you feel really good. So, you think you can't stand it when she is not being loving. You don't understand that she has emotional needs too, and cannot always be ready to drop her needs to tend to yours without paying a heavy price. When she won't drop her needs for your sake (which is what I am trying to teach her to do), you equate her taking care of herself with not loving you, which is not the case.

I think you have very little idea of what it is to soothe yourself, to take care of yourSelf. You were never taught to care for Steve because somebody in your early life was not reliably there for you - and left you wanting at a time when you were helpless. Had they been there, you would have learned to trust that it will all be OK. You would have learned to soothe you.

Well, it wasn't OK. And, because you were left hurting and you never learned to soothe yourSelf (what I am trying to teach you do do), you look to Asha to do it for you. That's why you are so sensitive to her anger and almost require Asha not to be angry with you. Have you noticed that you interpret her anger as rejection? If she is angry, you feel rejected! Your subliminal experience of her "rejection" takes you right back to the emotional memory of an old,  horrible place you no longer remember: Young Steve at the mercy of a caretaker who for whatever reason was unable to be there for you enough...and the anger you had towards that important person who let you down, but shouldn't have let you down. 

So, you think you need a loving partner who never lets you down, never gets mad at you, is always there for you. But, first, no such person exists, and second, you don't need this person. You do want a loving, giving woman, just like Asha, who has her great capacity to give, but each of you need to do your parts:

Asha needs to put her needs first. If she continues to consistently put your needs or anybody else's needs ahead of her own, she will end up depressed, confused, miserable, and angry. All the symptoms on Beatty's codependency list. This is why I validate her right to feel the way she feels and urge her to care for herSelf first, you second.

You need to "internalize", or deeply recognize that no human being other than yourself can comfort you. I know you know this in  your head, but that knowledge needs to seep through your very being. You need to stop asking your partner to deny her feelings (because she will eventually break if she does...). You need to recognize that it is really OK (and healthy even) for her to be mad at you and you must stop yourself from going into horrible helpless awful angry place when she is mad. Asha is not putting you there, neither is her anger. You are bouncing off her anger and unwittingly putting yourself there. 

Your job is to identify these feelings, understand the connections you implicitly make, and retrain yourself to create healthier underlying thinking auto-pilot habits. The wonderful thing about all this is that it puts you in the driver's seat. You are in control No one else!

Am I making sense? I'll wait to hear from you...  Irene


Asha: "The ironic thing is that what would have made me far less angry would have been some sort of validation by Steve of my feelings, and some show of concern for a resolution."

Irene: "Empathy, concern, compassion for your feelings..."

Asha: "Of course, he has no obligation to do that, and maybe it's not even healthy for him at this point."

Irene: "No Asha, he has absolutely no obligation to go to these places, but it would be very healthy for him to do so."

I have not made things clear enough. I cannot get through Asha's anger wall to give those things (empathy etc). You have to be there to understand what I mean. I feel pretty helpless to make you understand this Irene. I promise Steve, I do understand! I know just how awful a frustrated, fed up, self-sacrificing hysterically angry woman can behave. But it's just her anger Steve. It's not a gun she's put to your head, though I can understand that this is how it feels. But, it feels this way only because you think you can't stand it. In reality, you simply don't know how to deal with it well, which is easier said than done, but do-able.

You know how frustrating it feels to you that you think I may not understand Asha's anger? Well, likewise for Asha. She is frustrated that she cannot get you to acknowledge that she feels the way she feels. The more frustrated she gets, the louder she gets. Human nature... You are not being asked to admit to every wrong in the world, you are being asked to understand that x, y and z is experienced as hurtful, hateful, awful, or whatever by her.  

You have to give her space and time to chill out! Let her be angry and do nothing but let her know you hear her; especially do not make implicit assumptions about what her anger means to you. If you can let her be angry and if you do nothing about it but hear her message, her anger will go away. But, give it a little time! You need to give her time and give yourself time. You need to learn to deal with her anger as per the above... Have you ever tried to get a word in when someone is raving much louder than you feel like doing? And if you open your mouth, all your energy just goes swooosh, out the lungs and into an enormous vacuum? Please believe me Irene, inside my mind I was doing all those good things. I was thinking of the various resolutions, like calling my X and seeing about different arrangements etc...but I couldn't get it out my mind and into the situation. I was highly aware, and quite frustrated inside at not being able to get it out. I think I have learned thru past experiences that there are times when Asha's anger wall is too thick to break through. I usually choose to withdraw under those conditions. Is that a mistake? What are my options at that point? Do nothing. Recognize that you don't have to fix her anger. She just wants you to hear the message. It's OK to tell her you heard her later on, when she's calmer. Can you identify what kept you from getting the good stuff out of your mouth? My guess is your irrational anger and perceived blame kept you too angry to "give it" to her. I may be off here, but it's something along those lines, I think..

It's not just Asha's anger per se. It's the level of it, the intensity and consistency. I find it all-consuming. I own my feelings on this Irene, although you don't think so. I am not making Asha responsible for my feelings about her anger. At the same time, I am not making my self responsible for her anger. You are telling me you can't stand her anger. I am insisting that you can - and in fact must, for your own sake. A partner without anger does not exist. I also think you can trust Asha not to let herself get too carried away with her junk. She certainly has convinced me she can be trusted. She has the ability to look inside and check herself  when I ask her to take a look at something; so I know she won't go haywire on you, at least for too long!.

For me, it's a matter of life energy. I have a choice to be around positive or negative energy. Sure I can immerse myself in negative energy and battle it out on a daily basis, reaching a point where I don't let it affect me at all Your idea of not letting it affect you and my idea of same are different. I don't want you sitting there like a piece of stone, letting her beat you up so to speak. That's nowhere. Yuk yuk yuk! But, you imply that your only choices are to either be around her anger or get out of the negative energy. No! I am suggesting that you question how you deal with/react to her anger - and hurt yourself, as well as behave in ways that contribute to her perpetuation of her anger (though the last one is not your job, it is certainly in your interest not to help her perpetuate her anger). , and look forward to a future full of the same, but why would I? Even attaining a perfect Buddha state amongst negative energy would still leave me wondering "well, now what?". Where's the fun? What's the point in being with someone if you don't have any fun?  The fun: If the two of you can allow the other to be angry, hear the message, not make it a big deal, not have awful feelings, get past it quickly - you can go have fun. 

No, I don't get it Irene. Work on me some more.


Asha: "Is it wrong to say that I'm angry?"

Irene "No. Steve has to deal with it."

Asha's question is like asking "Do you want to live forever in Paradise"?

Of course the answer is obvious. But the question is general. *Saying* you are angry is one thing. How you act on it is something else altogether. Steve can "deal with" saying you're angry. No problem whatsoever. Can Steve "deal with" the fact that he cannot speak, cannot communicate, is unable to talk about his feeling due to the fact that your anger is so loud and un-interruptable?

Yes, Steve can "deal with" this too. But how should he deal with it? He doesn't want to raise his voice. He wants to speak calmly and clearly. But he wont be heard. So then what?

I think more than anything, I am feeling that the current icky pattern of anger is going to be a permanent part of any future with Asha. I can deal put up with it, with Irene's help and advice, but do I really want to? You are now putting up with it. That is not the goal. You don't want to put up with it, you want to learn to deal with it.  I have a gut feeling that cries out quite emphatically at times. It's saying no. "No Steve, you will not be happy like this. You have one kick at the cat (sorry Trubble) and do you really want to use it up this way? No way! Wouldn't you rather be running wild on the beach with a pack of wolves? Wouldn't you rather have a mate whom you can talk to and be heard?"  You assume that the anger resides in Asha - when in fact, it resides in you. You will take it with you everywhere you go. Until you put your baggage down. Put your bags down and talk and hear your mate. 

Yes, I am *looking* at Asha's anger. At times, I feel I need to focus on certain things to see them clearly.


PS, You are still number 1 Irene. Never a doubt in my mind. I could say more, but we'd both be blushing...   Cool, but please don't make the pedestal too high... I hate the crash landing.


B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, December 14, 2000


Hi everyone,

I read just a few of the newer posts, as I haven't had any time lately. Things are pretty good right now, and somehow that is more confusing than anything. I, too, am beginning to wonder if I may have just taken him the wrong way. Though he really DID do and say (on a regular basis) most of the things which constitute verbal/emotional abuse, I still feel that I should look at the way he is now differently. If he really is getting better, but we haven't resolved all the past issues, should I forget what has happened in the past? Start with a clean slate, but with everything I have learned here an integral part of my outlook? I don't know. The thing that scares me is that he is getting "better", but there has been no acknowledgement of the past abuse. Could it be that he "got it" on his own and is going about fixing his stuff without actually talking about it? Wow. I am so turned around! I hope you are all able to make sense of this!

I am getting stronger, not engaging as much, and that could have a lot to do with it. There were so many bad times, so many times I allowed him to yell & curse me into agreeing with him just to end the attack. Lots of other things, too, like not speaking to me for days if he felt he wasn't getting enough sex, for example. What a turn on THAT was!

I know I'm rambling. It just seems like my feelings go from one extreme to the other. This weekend, for example, he was ugly and I thought, "OK, that's it. I'm going to tell him about this site. If he reads the material and still refuses to at least acknowledge that there is a problem then I am leaving." But then he acts genuinely nice, as if he realizes he misbehaved and is making amends for it. Without actually coming out and saying it. So I give him the benefit of the doubt. I suppose the question is, is there a healthy relationship lurking here? Is my mind so clouded by what I perceive to be abuse that I have completely lost the ability to see him objectively?



B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, December 14, 2000


Steve here

Theressa: I find the most telling part of my physiology is my neck muscles. (If I had blood pressure monitor handy I'm sure that would work too)

When I am angry or absorbed in unhealthy thought patterns, I can almost guarantee my neck muscles will be tense. The interesting thing is, if I consciously relax them, I actually feel much less angry, sometimes completely free of anger. My thought patterns become more logical, almost mathematical as opposed to the emotional programming that is usually at the helm during anger or frustration. You are learning self control of your anger, and that is good. But, you need to look at your feelings too, rather than try to just squash them. The feelings I am trying to point you towards are subtle. Like a whisper.

The other interesting thing is, it's EXTREMELY easy to tense up again if you aren't paying attention. There is thinking in there kicking rage back in... Look at it; identify the thoughts. Write them down. My unhealthy program is still there and wants to be heard and wants full control of the operating system. It's used to having all the power. You cannot replace it overnight, but you can replace it eventually. The more time you put into it the better of course. Yes.

Another observation I want to share...I have found that it was very hard for me to relax (unless I was in a virgin forest, miles away from civilization - don't ask me why, I haven't figured it out yet) even when I had decided I wanted to relax.

I would pour a bath, turn out the lights, light a candle, and lay in the tub. My intention was to just relax, relax. I found it was nearly impossible. My mind was racing, usually stuff about Asha, my kids, or my X, sometimes work also. I would cut my bath short - NOT EVEN REALIZING IT! - and get dressed and start performing some task.

This was totally bizarre. I was on some sort of auto-pilot.

The solution? Awareness...major awareness. Almost like I was training a puppy to sit. Every time I would get up, I would lie myself back down again. At first I was up and down every 2 minutes. Amazing eh? I started realizing the obvious. I needed practice. Lots of it. So now, I take 4-5 relaxing baths a day just to practice. I am turning into an amphibian but it's working.


B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, December 14, 2000


Asha here

I won't try to suggest solutions for Steve because I'm too close to the situation to be able to do that. But I want to offer my perspective here.

<<I think I have learned thru past experiences that there are times when Asha's anger wall is too thick to break through. I usually choose to withdraw under those conditions.>>

I find this so perplexing. Each time I've shown anger/upset and hoped for Steve (you) to offer compassion and potential solutions, and yet what I usually see from my end, is anger at my anger. Steve: Do you see this? See how you can't tolerate her anger? Check out your internal monologue. See if you can track what you are telling yourself when she's mad... How could you know that my wall is too thick to break through if you don't show your compassion and offer your solutions, and instead show anger and repulsion? Have you really tried to "break though" my "wall"? I admit that when you don't show empathy, and when you act "repulsed" by my upset feelings, and depict your choices as lose-lose, as in either *I* win, or the X wins, but you never win, I lose the desire to be considered in your life with your kids.

If you are thinking of various resolutions, it's really hard for me to see that. My impression was that you would be sacrificing something by changing the kids plans before Xmas - that you would be doing it out of the "struggle to keep the peace and both women's needs met" with you on the sidelines of his kids' life. And naturally I don't want you to make that sort of sacrifice. That doesn't feel in the least good to me. I don't want my own way. I want a way that works for all involved *including* me.

I would like to understand what you really deep down want. Because it seems to me that your having to consider me around your kids plans is just one burden too many for you. And I don't want to be a burden - I want to be someone's gift.

When I express my upset feelings and it's interpreted as "damaging, destructive, vengeful, vindictive, and very much out of control" and that you are "repulsed" I feel extremely misunderstood and misread. I know that I am not vindictive, out of control etc., yet I can't affect how you see (or don't see) that.

<<Yes, Steve can "deal with" this too. But how should he deal with it? He doesn't want to raise his voice. He wants to speak calmly and clearly. But he wont be heard. So then what?>>

Why are you so sure you won't be heard? Then again, if what you have to say is about my "anger management" problem or other problems you think I have, then I guess you're right, because I don't want to hear about that from you.  

Will be back later to read other people's posts.

Asha   You're doing OK kiddo.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, December 14, 2000


Becky crawling out from under the snow drifts--

There is a lot of talk about anger here, lately. I seem to go between anger so strong it's almost rage, to weak, tearful crumbling at the slightest hint of his disapproval. Last night he was angry because our decrepit snow blower wouldn't work and he took it out on me. I was crushed. I didn't say much, just went upstairs to bed. This morning I told him that my feelings had been hurt. he apologized-- but only after defending and justifying himself and criticizing how my son and I had shoveled the snow. I called him on his habit of being instantly angry and contentious and told him that he just puts walls up when he does that: normal conversation and problem solving aren't possible.

I get the feeling that he is angry and resentful over some things that happened in the past. Example: he quite angrily talks about having to shovel the entire driveway and parking area himself when he lived here as a kid. I told him flat out that i am tired of hearing about that, and how he had to mow, and take the garbage out, etc. etc. He sounds resentful when he talks about these things, and he always follows with some variation of how I (or my son) don't do enough. He ignores the fact that we do and have always done most of these kinds of things.

Anyway, I said that his having had to do those things alone didn't make him any more virtuous than anyone else, and that I wanted him to stop taking his resentment out on me. He said, "Okay," very quietly.

I felt awful! Like I'd been too hard on him! I wasn't yelling, or crying, just firm. It hurts me that he may be facing some painful things about himself, like the idea that he is angry about certain aspects of his childhood. I know how much it hurts to deal with that.

But it seems to me that we have to be brave and go into those dark angry places. Once we face and deal with them, we can leave them behind. I think he wants to hold on to the idea that his parents and childhood were perfect, or nearly so, yet resentment surfaces every now and then when he talks about certain things. I wish he'd deal with this!

Strong anger in another person can be very scary, and I think that is why he seems to not want me to express anger. I have worked very hard to find appropriate ways of expressing it, and I do fail; this past summer I was barely able to contain myself at times. Truth is I feel duped, used, disregarded, disrespected, blown off--you name it. And yes, I'm mad!!!!

While I know that I have to be careful in how I express my anger, I also realize that this is a necessary stage I'm going through. If he can't handle it, he needs to ask himself why he was so willing, for so long, to turn a blind eye to our situation. You can't ignore cancer and expect it to go away.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this. I do understand the anger, and I understand the fear felt by both parties when anger is strong and deep-seated.

I'm waiting for the weekend to start the Celexa. Hope it helps. Paws crossed



B1: Submit
Date: Friday, December 15, 2000


Dear Asha,

<<<<Maybe I am missing your point, but I feel I have to *not* overlook any yukky stuff, in order to act out of a position of Self empowerment. I suppose what's right for me isn't right for everyone. >>>>

What I meant to say is not to overlook the yukky stuff, at least not for Steve's sake, but maybe not to get so upset over everything that happens, for your own sake. You can feel and see the yukky stuff, that's important, but I feel it might be easier to let some of it rest for now, as you cannot expect things to change all at once. It has to do with priorities: concentrate on the most important things, like you would do in a work project.

Also, when you are constantly analyzing and trying to find what things are about, that's very hard work, and if you do not give yourselve(s) time off every now and then, you get less effective in learning IMO, cause it is too hard to concentrate all the time: all work, no play. So my advice was not about giving up your power, but instead to use it in what I feel would be a more efficient/effective way. And of course, these are my feelings, and it might be wrong for you.

I seem to have let go of my anger all together. I am not sure whether this is a good thing, am I denying, am I taking a break, or is it really gone. I feel very peaceful, a bit I think like Lynn said just before Dan returned: I seem to not really care anymore what the outcome will be. It feels so strange, after all the turmoil, and I find myself wondering, whether this peacefulness means I do not love him anymore, so that is why I do not care any more. I am not sure yet. It is maybe like Dr. I. said to Steve: it is hard to hear your inner voice talking normally when you are used to screaming (and drama, I might add). Without the screaming, crying and the big emotions, life seems too quiet, and I do not know whether to trust it, whether this is what I want. It seems I somehow feel that loving should go together with drama and without it there can be no, or probably is no love........

Will see what happens. I have no desire to get back into turmoil right now, just for the sake of turmoil. But it doesn't scare me anymore, somehow.

Trubble, are you oke? I have been thinking, maybe we should stop looking for new mommies and daddies all the time, and start making friends???!!!! NO NO NO BadFakeMommyAJ, yukkies to you! I want to find my RealMommy and my RealDaddy and get them to marry each other so they can take good care of me. BAD BAD BAD stuff you talk about. No family values! Bad!

Love to all,



B1: Submit
Date: Friday, December 15, 2000


I haven't read the posts just now. I am going to take time to do some things to fill my brain with anything, anything other than my problems. I have a few goals like writing a short story and a simple computer program and the Xmas baking.

Family therapy was an out and out disaster. I can't even make my husband out. Why has he refused to tell me he has been going to marriage therapy and then does he announce in family therapy that he has been going for months.

Ended up a gibbering wreck and it was obvious the therapist does not know about codependency. Some of the remarks she made like why have you stayed so long just made me think please go and do some research.

Really, in all reality I think I just have never liked or felt comfortable with her. The therapist we had at work was lovely. So I think this may be a personality clash.

Basically I think my brain is on some kind of overload and I don't want to think about things for a bit. Looking inside is healthy and I have at least expressed the anger but I need some therapy taking time off thinking.

My guess is that this is where the withdrawal is complete and I find out if I am depressed still. Distraught and weepy, yes. Unable to handle things, yes. Suicidal NOT!

Just now I feel like having a rest from it all.

The anger hasn't gone. I am so tired of it. I am hoping it will work itself out in doing. Like this great big animal got released inside! If I was a cat I would be the sort of cat who uses CLAWS.

In reality it feels like I am getting my 'pound of flesh'.

I know I am not giving him credit for trying (to his face).

I can't work out why I have locked myself into a dangerous game of not letting anything work. He can't please me.

When I am calmer I am going to write to him and his marriage therapist. At least I now know who "other people' are.

I have been a screaming wreck most of the morning but now I am off to prove him wrong about my aptitude to learn to program a computer. Huh. I couldn't do it and there are programs for kids?

Somewhere in this is a part of me that wants to prove I am an equal intellectual. That isn't about him it is something in me. About needing to be seen as clever as anyone else and it probably comes from when I was in the Nursery and infants and was too shy to say I found everything really easy!!!!!!(So they thought I couldn't read as well as I could!).

How dumb can I get to react like this but I am going to.

Sometimes I wonder if I am programmed to self destruct!

And all the time I know it is about the anger. It is about not liking others to know that I am angry and not liking myself for not being able to stop shouting at him. I don't mean to but I open my mouth at present and the anger comes out. I think I am calm and then I find I am not. All my boundaries for the way I act seem on hold.

Yet other people tell me I am calm and rational. It only happens inspecific situations. But I do know I will never visit that particular therapist again.

Rationally I can see I am running scared. I think my trust has got fractured. Maybe if I switch off for a bit as none of the things I plan on doing won't benefit me (just the motivation is all wrong). I can calm down and be a bit more rational.

Sorry It just helped to post this rubbish! love Jay

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, December 15, 2000


Hi All,

I need to check some things out about my co-dependency.

When I lived with my X he worked shifts. On the night shift this is what happened: in the mornings whilst he was in bed Missy, and I would be going about our normal morning routine. Missy sometimes slammed the door, (Not on purpose just as kids sometimes do!!) I would say please try to be quieter. We'd walk around trying to be as quiet as possible, BUT it is impossible to be silent. So YES you'd hear the bowl bang on the sideboard perhaps, or you might hear the tap running if you were My X asleep in bed. THOUGH so did I used to hear these things when he came in early in the morning.

Some mornings at 4 am he'd come in to our bedroom and bang the drawers on days when he was on day shifts cuz he needed to get a pair of socks out of his draw.

But I understood that it is impossible to be silent all the time.

Though he didn't understand this, or didn't want to. So he could bang and be normal but we couldn't.

I know that it is said that I allowed him to do this, I people pleased so its my fault. And he never made me do this. THOUGH what I can't understand is this:

If someone is on a night shift shouldn't you be quiet so they can sleep? IS this people pleasing, being quiet or is it having respect?

What is the difference between having normal healthy respect for someone on a night shift who needs sleep vs people pleasing???

I hope someone can help me with this.

Thanks Theressa


B1: Submit
Date: Friday, December 15, 2000


Hi Steve and Dr Irene,

I am learning a lot from Steve and Asha's posts. (I get to see All sides)

I see a lot here about how I have been with Missy. I have been trying to control her. YEAH Me!! I was the disempowered one in my relationship but guess what I was the one trying to be in control of my mother/daughter relationship with MISSY. This realisation is important I think!!

I find it hard to just accept MISSY might be angry, or might be in a mood to play up. She might misbehave sometimes. AND also very importantly she might not get along with my niece (her cousin) all the time.

I also noticed that my sister expects and ME TO Missy to go to my Nan's house and behave all day. A FULL DAY, even grown ups find this tough, being GOOD all day. None of us are saints are we! I am sure unintentionally we offend lots of times in an average day. So I think that Missy's behaviour has been blown out of proportion at times.

I listened to others too much, telling me how she has started doing x, well when I look closely her dad is right, she didn't get on with Abie (my niece) alot even before we separated. So its not a new problem. THEY have different opinions.

I still find it hard myself to understand how one can get along with another and HAVE different opinions and ideas. ITS like someone may have been AJ or Asha or B. Said if you both have different values how can you both live together, well its the same for children i think.

How can they get along?

I realised that I am co-dependent in all of my significant relationships.

GOODNESS look at the co-dependent list from Co-dependent No more, I have so much to unlearn. And learn. MY GOODNESS, do healthy people have to know all of this?

Anyway must go and do some work.

Love Theressa



B1: Submit
Date: Friday, December 15, 2000


Dear Theressa,

I understand your confusion. I often feel the seem in situations like that. What's the distinction between caring and people pleasing? It seems to be a thin line sometimes. But I think that what you should do is consider you own needs (like you need to open the door the get out/in, you need to take cups from the cupboard to feed yourself and Missy). Then you consider what the other person needs (he/she should clearly state them, no guessing there), and see if you can fulfill their needs without compromising your own too much. If you are always tiptoeing because he ‘needs' you to be quiet, you ask too much of yourself and you will get irritated. Finding a solution, like maybe putting the bedroom as far away from other living quarters as possible would have been the best maybe.

But I think, always identify your own needs, before you consider someone else's needs. And then weigh them in a kind and considerate way. Hope this helps.

Love AJ

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, December 15, 2000


Dear Everyone,

Lynn here and doing much better. In fact I was doing OK, I just couldn't think so I was working on building a web site. hehehe.

Sooo funny. Small town living. I called the Dr. to see if I could get this RX. He had given it to me before but I went down and it was $104 for 6 inhalers. Sheesh!! (My insurance is now through computer so I get the cost share when I buy and don't have to submit forms later). Anyhow the Dr. had an emergency and couldn't even get to his nurse. The next day she called and then the drug store called. They couldn't get the imitrex (sp?) in till the next day. Then when Dan went and got the prescription the pharmacist suggested he let him know in advance if I needed this.

As for Dan and the calling me "Honey." Oh boy, I created quite a monster there. It seems if we have "words" and he gets up the next day and I respond to "Honey" all is better. WEll there was an old country song, "You don't have to call me darlin, darlin." love country, bur this was a little too twangy for me and all I could do was go over in my mind, "Don't wake up and call me honey, honey." The tune and my words started sticking.

About the driving. Crazy making stuff. Dan has been right behind a car before and told me that the guy behind him was going so fast he had to go faster and that's why he was on top of the car in front of us. Since when does the guy behind determine how fast a person drives? Crazy making stuff this and I don't have a phobia about driving. My phobia is driving with Dan when he gets in these driving modes. The road is treacherous anyhow without my driver being crazy, too. Dan and I were coming home from dinner one night from a town about 11 miles north and there were two horses trotting down the road in the other lane, but going our direction.

Enough. We lit a candle one night because it was a "special time" to light a candle for a lost child. i.e. Wednesday night at 7 PM. We read about it in Ann Landers. I guess I thought others read it, too. Then we had to baby-sit the candle. Our cats have a firefighter (seasonal) for a daddy and they do like flames.  HotChaCha!

I've been keeping busy, at least getting other interests that Dan. I've sat here for days (with a headache) playing with the computer (web tv). I haven't done much but learn new tricks. I still have a bundle to learn. As crazy as this seems to me, I have better luck writing my own html rather than copying someone's anything and adding it. I guess I'm one who works better at the innards than the outters. So as for page building I'm in kindergarten and have a long way to go. I want this to be as right as I can make it so I keep on with the trial and error and don't have much else. We did write a group sheet and a pedigree chart from scratch so we are making progress. I even got backgrounds.

I will talk to you all later and good luck. It sounds like we are all making progress. Hi Trubble. If you get bored or in trubble jump (fly) over to our family tree and you can help me enter data. We could do your real family tree! And remember not to call me honey, honey when you get on my list (which I doubt could happen). 

Much love, Lynn

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, December 15, 2000


Dear Lynn. Clearly computers are the best therapy!

I have been trying to learn HTML code and how to program all day but I seem to my annoyance to be a complete Klutz.

Fun though.

love Jay/

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, December 15, 2000


Asha here.

Earlier I said: <<I had just read the Lurking Lawyer's post about "emotional development level" and felt uncomfortable with that. My objective when I post isn't to get anyone to "side" with me.>> Dr I said <<But, that is the effect you often have. No reason to get uncomfortable/defensive. The lady just tells it the way she sees it. >>

I understand that, and it's no biggie - just that I know if someone questioned my emotional development that would probably not be helpful to me. She had other comments that were interesting. I understand that *is* the effect I have, which is why I posted about my discomfort. It's not my wish to have that effect. No offense to the writer. My personal vision of this site would be a place where the "negatively empowered" (as coined by Dr. I) can come and feel relatively safe against personal attacks. I think it's much harder for a negatively empowered person to post here and I personally want to encourage those who do by offering constructive (hopefully) input and avoiding personal attacks (again, I realize that's not what was intended - just wanted to clarify my feeling about this). Then again we're all here to make mistakes, and we'll often be misinterpreted regardless of our intentions. I think it's courageous of all of us (including Lurking Lawyer!) to post here and read the feedback later.

Thanks Dr Irene for the blue pencil - very insightful, and right on target, I think. Thanks also to others for your comments.


<<You asked how I felt the day coming home, I was angry, angry at Lynn taking off her seatbelt, angry at her idea that I would intentionally endanger her. We have had this discussion before and I can understand her phobia>>

Hi - nice that you're posting again. Are you still angry with Lynn about this or do you feel like it's resolved?

I think the "driving" issues are classic. Similar situations have happened between Steve and I. I guess I'm interested in your viewpoint, because like Lynn, I can react with a certain panic if I don't feel safe and I wonder how I could better communicate this without invoking a negative reaction. How could Lynn tell you she's uncomfortable in a way that would feel okay to you?


Hi Suzy, and newcomers!


I don’t think the answer is to “forget” the past. Forgive yes, but your first priority is to keep yourself safe, and when you see an old unhealthy pattern you need to know how to deal with it.

I don’t think there’s any way of knowing what’s going on in your partner’s head, but don’t assume everything is worked out just because it looks that way. Sometimes I would falsely assume that Steve understood my anger just to have the exact same issue come up all over again. Having said that, it also doesn’t help to “expect” bad behavior because you can create a negative atmosphere that doesn’t exist.

So I think there is no way of knowing – do you ask him about these things and talk about your concerns? Other than that all you can do (that I know of) is take care of yourself.

I’d love to see him here at the catbox.



Your post demonstrated to me how quickly our partners can gain our compassion by not being defensive and just accepting your hurt. I’m sure your H *is* hurting. Anybody that’s angry obviously is.

You had said earlier something to the effect that you worked on having a “blank” sort of expression. I think your objective now would be like mine – *not* to be blank, but to express the anger – not through insults, sarcasm, throwing things etc., but just to be able to say – “I feel hurt, angry” etc and don’t be thrown off by his reactions to it; know that it’s okay and normal to feel those feelings. I was starting to feel uncomfortable with my own normal reactions of hurt, and it just adds to self-doubt when you respond to someone else’s lack of compassion or understanding, with thoughts that you are some kind of nut case for having bad feelings. Dr Irene has been really helpful to me in realizing that I don’t have to be perfect, and in fact my goal isn’t even to be perfect – it’s to feel what I feel and then deal appropriately with the source of the feelings. That means identifying what the feelings are, where they come from, then deciding what is within my power to do. Firstly, not letting the feelings pile up and secondly creating an atmosphere for myself where I am able to let them go.

I feel like I understand you Becky and none of this is easy. You have to be absolutely committed to your strength, integrity and ability to focus on this higher path. I feel that inside I have known what was right, but my self-doubt sometimes gets in the way. Dr Irene’s blue pencil has really affirmed to me that negative feelings are natural and though it’s important not to let anger get control of you in destructive ways, it’s also important to acknowledge the anger, and not bury it.


I think what I most agree with in your post is deciding when you are no longer being productive in problem solving, and stepping away for a bit. For me my “Self-work” is to identify what went wrong (not necessarily for Steve’s sake, but for my own, so that I don’t need to repeat it), but that doesn’t mean we have to immediately work it out, especially if one of us is not in a “work it out” mindset. I think that it’s important to look at why something becomes an “issue”. Often I agree some things are just plain not worth it.

BTW you sounded really grounded and peaceful in your last few posts. You sound like you’re doing well.


How can your husband go to “marriage therapy” on his own? Isn’t that individual therapy? Is your family therapist the same person as his marriage therapist? If so, maybe you need some of your own private sessions with her so you don’t feel “ganged up” on.

<<I can't work out why I have locked myself into a dangerous game of not letting anything work. He can't please me. >>

Are you sure that this is what’s happening or are you doubting your fears of having therapy used against you? Instead of beating yourself up by saying that you don’t “let anything work” maybe you could instead look at specifically what is *not* working. Don’t worry about whether he can please you or not - you can learn to please yourself.


<<If someone is on a night shift shouldn't you be quiet so they can sleep? IS this people pleasing, being quiet or is it having respect? >>

You were probably trying to be respectful, but there is a limit to what is humanly reasonable. Shift work is tough for everyone involved. There may have been other solutions besides having to be unrealistically quiet – like earplugs, sound proofing the room etc. This doesn’t mean you would have been “empowered” to bang around, make tons of noise etc. I think you can usually tell when you’ve tried *too* hard because it’s more than inconvenient, it’s the “walking on eggshells” feeling.

Lynn, honey (hehe)

Glad you’re keeping busy. (I don’t have any comments but I just *had* to say that.) Hope your headache is gone now.

Take care anyone I’ve missed.

Love Asha

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, December 15, 2000


Dear Asha,

You CAN call me honey, honey! Whazza matter, you don't like my way of telling Dan to slow down? Take off my seat belt and hope to be killed outright rather than maimed and mutilated?? I get results my way!

Hi Jay, Me, too. Crash course in html. This is so silly, but I'm told to "simply" cut, copy and paste "their" codes in and they work. Not for me. It's easier on me to start from scratch. I've got some pretty nifty looking backs.

Hi the rest of you. I'm just (was going to say venting, but I'm not) Just saying that (with a sarcastic nasal twang), If you feel that way, I'm sorry and FINE, It will NEVER happen again!" is not an apology.

Actually, I'm having pretty much fun playing with the computer. About 16 hours a day and not a lot of couples interaction is working for me.

Cold, snowy and blowing here today. Warm fire in the stove and it's great. Hot cocao time!

Trubble, Little one who is now Garbo still nurses. He prefers inside my left elbow. The other night he was nursing on LOCO and LOCO was just grooming and a cleaning him like a good mommy cat. They are both males.  I love my HoneyFakeMommy!

Our old male dog was like a mama nurse. He loved kitties and once took the pick of the litter or himself (9 hours or so old). After we returned it he would check and make sure the mama's were doing a good job and help clean the babies up.

Well, that's my therapy for the day. Love to you all and have a good weekend.

Lynn (honey)

To Catbox 16

Back Next