Comments for Catbox 27

Comments for Catbox 27

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How important is it for an abusive man to look into his abusive childhood deeply? Is it enough to acknowledge memories as they come back incidentally and say that he won't do this to his family, the way his father did? In therapy, is it enough to focus on what is acceptable now? Maybe generalizations can't be made here...For all of the abusers that gained insight and successfully took the steps to change, was an in depth analysis of childhood a needed part of recovery? If anybody has any thoughts on this...thanks TZ

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Hi catbox and Trubble, B. here. Hi RealMommy! I'll be presenting my "Religious Equality Fix" to the UN next week. Then you can marry ReadDaddy. Your RealSon, Trubble 

Concerning the child care issue: of course one face of it is cultural. However, it has been changing for a long time and the fact is, we are women who expect equality. Another thing is, that it seems that only abusive men hold on to the "old norms", where the home and children are the woman's business. Non-abusive men (most of them co-dependent, in my opinion) accept the new norms, and expect to be equal partners as much in the house as out of it. My codependent-ish hubby would have a fit if he saw this. (Good thing he doesn't look!) I think you're right, at least from what I observe as well.

I work in 2 jobs (in 2 universities), my husband has only 1 workplace. I have vast responsibilities and many things I have to work on at home, such as preparing for my next lecture, writing a paper to be presented at some coming conference, right now I should be working on one of those instead of writing here :-), and I should also be updating my CV for 2 universities (one current, one new). Such things are often done at home. I have no "working hours" - only on 1 of my jobs, and there also I have all kinds of deadlines. For example, to check 75 student tests within a few days. Of course I have to do it ASAP. H, on the other hand, goes to work and works from 9:00 to 17:30. He is free before and after, unlike me. I always have urgent and complicated things to do, waiting for me. He does his hours and that's it. But I also do most of the rest - child, house etc.

Most of our time together I earned much more money than him.

So, my job is not "a housewife" to my H who brings the money!

My father was the mother in my family. I also see how my sister husband's is. So I can't say "men are..." and "women are...". I don't accept it.

Abusers adopt every norm that lets them do as little as possible and expect YOU to care for them. They are still 2 year olds who want and need mama's care. So are we, but we've got the message that NOBODY will ever take care of us, so we do everything ourselves. This is one way of supporting our partner's minimal participation. This is what narcissism is about... Minimal possible effort. Do for me...

The thing is: lets assume it's a cultural thing. OK, so we know why they came to think what they think (Yeah, right - so how come my H has two brothers who do much more and believe in equality? Are they from a different culture?). Now we ask: what do they do, how do they react, when their (supposedly beloved) partner comes to them with the problem of equality?

There lies the rub: an abuser would a. justify himself (or herself, it could go either way, you know, I talk about husbands because that's what Theressa and I have...), b. attack you, c. blame you, d. refuse to understand/accept what you are telling him (if reality does not fit the way he would like it, his reaction is not to change either himself or the reality - but to pretend or convince himself that the reality is different), and e. sees a-d as valid reasons not to change a thing.

This is, at best, uncooperative. This is not a "partner", this is "living with the enemy". His basic style is "being against you". Sad... A personality thing...

A normal (or a co-dependent) partner can also come with cultural assumptions about gender roles, and can also be totally oblivious to the fact that he actually expected you to take care of your child. However, the difference lies in his reaction to the unease you express, when you express it. Even if you go about it the wrong way (such as in "You never help with the child! You dump everything on me!" instead of "Listen, I have a problem. I feel used [again, I am still upset over the fact that I don't think this is the feeling, but I am not very good yet at identifying the correct feeling's name behind various yucky feelings. I wish Dr. Irene would suggest a good name to what I'm talking about. Or maybe Trubble can help, I think cats understand a lot about equality and independence] "I have a problem" is enough; no need to be more specific. But, not even I can intuit what specific feelings my RealMommy has... :(  when the load of childrearing falls mainly on me. I would like us to share it in a more balanced way"). This type LISTENS to you. The fact that he loves you translates into wanting to help you, to respect you, to understand you, and to reach a common agreement. This type is FAIR, or wants to be fair.

Our guys don't seem to want to be fair. They fundamentally want to WIN over us. I know my H "loses" this attitude more and more, and there are days of full cooperation and companionship, but I also feel that one thing that's going on is, that many times he "sacrifices" himself because he loves me, instead of stating what he wants or does not want. He does not get "cooperation" at all. It's so difficult. If he feels I love him, he will do a lot in the house (he feels loved, he feels accepted, so he is not in a passive-aggressive mood). If, for any reason (like, he just watched TV and heard upsetting news!), he feels yucky - oops, Mr. hostile is back in. It's as if he has no responsibility but to himself - HIS work, HIS studies. All the shared responsibilities seem to him something that he can dump whenever. If he feels good about himself (again, something that relies on external forces - like my loving behaviour) he does the things. If not - he does not. He does not know it, but everything he does do he sees as "extra", so it seems a lot, whereas what *I* do seems like "the normal expected" things. I'm expected to take care of our child, in his eyes, so the fact that I do it 21 out of 24 hours does not count. His help during part of the rest of the hours (3) is a major contribution on his side!

OK, enough for today. B.

FakeMommy found an email she tucked away back in August that she thinks is from you. She sort of answered it: Look here.

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Reading that last post about childcare, housework, etc is making my eye twitch. No, it's been doing that for about three months now. I guess my H has such a clever (not really) way of getting his way around the house I just gave up and would rather do whatever has to be done to keep the peace. He is just so busy all of the time. Busy busy busy. Trying to develop this and do that. All for the family. For us. He works so very very VERY hard. What could I possibly say...I stopped working, going to school to accommodate my child's special needs. That was the right move. Do not have one drop of regret for that. And by the way, if you haven't been there, done that you couldn't possibly understand. (too many funny looks and worse from people with normal kids "oh my god did you see that? what is wrong with that mother?" she must not be doing her job) but, I have felt so lost... recently... maybe the past ten years, whatever. I am a different person. Who was that person before? I have no idea. Where will this end up? I have no idea.

Very clever. Any request for help on my part - either screw it up so I never ask again, or tell me how you work so hard 'for the family' and it's true. Now how do you deal with that? Housework or time together taking time away from '**the future** heaven forbid. Toys on the floor? They are called children. Children play with toys - leave them on the floor. What is the big deal? I am delirious. sorry TZ

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Tim B. again,

It it about FEELING those "Frozen Feelings" and processing them. I can know what I experienced as a child, I continue to work on my feelings about those experiences. It isn't intellectual, the journey, the long one, is from the head to the heart. It is the loneliest distance that most of us will travel in a lifetime...   As well as the most rewarding...

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Dear Jay,

I do mean Oxford UK. I am going there for a conference from April 2-5. So if there is any possibility to meet I would love to. I asked dr. I for your address, so will mail you later.

Yesterday I felt more whole then I have felt in a long time. I went to my therapist and it was good to be able to talk through what happened the other night. I asked her does she see any progress, and of course she first wanted to know did I see any myself :-). I said I did nut was still unsure. She then told me she felt I was more aware of my feelings and was taking risks in putting boundaries. I think I do, though it still feels like hard stuff.

When I came home I really felt good, full of energy and love. Such a strange experience to feel this after having a confrontation like that with C. But I think I feel his too is being more honest then he ever was. He may not be saying the things I might ant to hear, but a feel more that I can trust what he does say. That he is not ‘peoplepleasing' on me. I could never have imagined how important that is.

Also taking the risk of really being myself and still know he loves me. Knowing that even though he feels very uncomfortable with these kind of conversations, he does not run. So he probably want to be with me.


Dear B.

What you write about your situation is very familiar: doing more work outside and also feeling it is expected to do all the work in the house. I know I always felt it would be ok to have a role reversal, that i would earn the money and he would do most of the housework. For years I have told myself that it was ok. But then it dawned to me he was not earning money, but neither he was doing housework and gradually I got really pissed. Only at the time I had no clue, I felt I had no right to feel pissed, that he should have the possibility to be what he was etc etc. Right of course. Only I forgot that I should have these possibilities too!!! :-) I got very passive aggressive (hindsight), not saying what was bothering me, but acting mad all the time, nagging and criticizing. So he went away, feeling very unhappy.

Wish I would have known at the time what I know now. We do try to work on it, but after 14 years it is so much harder. But still, there is love and that is important, that makes me want to stick around, even though we are not living together, and I get really really mad sometimes. We try working towards more equality, towards more self-esteem for both of us. C. Has a tendency to do it all by himself, no talking, he'll tell me when he knows the solution. I want to talk even if we will no get to a solution right away. Does your H talk?

A well, maybe you should stay a while longer and try to work things out before you go off to Washington to marry Trubble's real Daddy. I understand that sometime you get so fed up, we all do I suppose. I have a question for you: I have realized that I tend(ed :-)) to walk over C. Cause he behaved so passive. I arranged everything, cause he did not. I did not want it either, but I could not live with thing not being arranged and planned. So I was pretty controlling I guess. Do you recognize this and how do you deal with it?


Take care, hugs and love to everyone. And Trubble, did you visit Lynn and Dan of late, or did you decide that now you found your real Daddy, you won't need them anymore??? Oh no, I love Lynn and Dan! Never too many people to love!

Love, AJ

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AJ I live there! Do feel free to come and stay if you can stand a rather chaotic mess. Feel free to come and go...... Have a spare room just now and am near to town centre etc.......jay

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Lesson for the day. Do not try to write MA dissertation with son and friend in house paying loud guitar and throwing sweets at you! Posting in the catbox seems a better alternative...Whether I also end up writing rubbish here....

Actually Theressa you kind of healed with your posts about organization. Today I wrote before I clicked onto Dr Irene.

B I really sympathize. Sometimes it feels like these men play and we just work, Funnily enough now I have to rest.......You do sound like me before I got signed off from work with stress and so I hope you will set some time aside to play even if you have to pay a babysitter...

One priority I found when I was working was to pay a cleaner. Anything to stop the resentment. Just a small suggestion.

And how are Jake and I doing? Well, everything feels a lot better.

I am less mad at him and he is more accommodating as if we finally found a way through the muddle. HumanKatKid is GREAT if totally driving me mad with friend at moment as they appear to have progressed to ransacking the kitchen! The two of them are just so funny and like miniature hippies at present.

I actually feel ok about the therapist this week. Feel there is a point in going. feel there can be headway and if it isn't on Jake's side I will be able to take away what is for me.

The anger seems to have got less and I think it helps that my daughter is in her seeing her mother mood! I realised on speaking to him she has a very perceptive boyfriend just now and I think this one might be good for her. Jus have not to push her tooo fast!

Trubble I always knew you would realise I was your aunt! This post seems mostly about nothing! More than anything this week i have just felt a sense of relief. Jay

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This is to Summer,

I understand how you feel, it is difficult to change not only our living environment but also our living arrangements. Change is a little frightening for me. Seems like I got used to the hell I was living in and didn't realize that I could get out. The first week I had difficulty sleeping. I would lay there and think, "he's not here, I can't sleep without him." Then I would realize that he wasn't there when we were together. Had to laugh at myself! That very thought made me realize how off my thinking had been. Now, I'm just keeping myself busy with things I've wanted to do but never seemed to have the time for. And, oh, how my beloved cat family (4) has sustained me. And thanks for reminding me of the great healing force of nature. Once upon a time I hiked, canoed, camped . . . so soothing to the spirit. Sounds like you are making some great choices.

This past weekend he came over to "visit with his family." It only took him coming to the door and I started getting sick at my stomach. Just another "hint" that I might be going the right direction, ya think?!!

Hugs, Lottie

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Dear all, Sharon here. Well.......I kinda blew it with Dr. Psycho. Yep, I caved in and stayed 2 nights at his house. There was a warm exchange between us the last few weeks, so I took up his invitation to go over on Sunday. It was fun and light hearted. However, last night the dark mood and clouds started to come over us. We went to bed around 11 and I woke up around 1am and he wasn't in bed. I got up and found him in the computer room. He claims he couldn't sleep because he was looking for a CD for his car. He was planning for his trip for today - going to Monterey - and won't be back until Saturday night. Anyway, he finally got back to sleep around 3:45. We woke up at 7:00 - I left at 8:00. Then........I got a phone hang up at my house at 10:30 (I called in sick for 4 hours). So, I called him - he answered the phone "everything on schedule" - and then I said "what?" and he said that he was waiting for a important phone call. I said "oh, you aren't going alone to Monterey"? and he said very odd "no." And I said, "are you taking a woman"? and he started screaming and hollering saying "you haven't changed." and I said "what?" and he just started being abusive 'go ahead, get all stressed out". and I'm just standing there with my phone in my hand just saying "what? what?" and he said something about "playing by my rules" whatever that means. And saying something that "the game was, if I'm having sex with someone else I'd tell you" that was the only logistical thing he did say - the other stuff didn't make any sense. He just started screaming. I kept saying "I know that you aren't having sex with someone else" and he said "don't come by my house, I've given your license plate to my neighbors, etc." and I was just in shock. It was totally unbelievably weird and it reminds me now of what my life was about when I was with him. Complete drama and complete chaos. I could care less if he took some one else. He told me this morning that he "wants me to cheat on him" (this was before our fight) and that when I meet someone and fall in love, he still wants me to come over and have sex. This man has some problems. I know now that he was "projecting" his crap onto me about this. Staying over there and having this quick encounter with him really helped me realize that I missed my sweet life without him. It brought me to closure!

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Dear all, Sharon here. Well, I'm pretty calm today about Dr. Psycho. He's gone off to a trip to the coast for some mental health conference - and after the bon voyage fight with him yesterday morning before he left, it just makes me feel happy inside that I am no longer under his thumb, his girlfriend, etc. I could not believe that within 48 hours he was back to his abusive behaviors. This relationship has run out of gas as he refuses to change. I've been reading about borderline personality disorder as well as the narcissism behaviors and he FITS everything these have to say. He told me a year ago that he was a narcissist and I really didn't know that about him at the beginning but then as time went on, everything going on was about him. Our time spent together was because we had to go look for a new car for HIM, a new watch for HIM, new clothes for HIM, his friends, his house - everything was for HIM, HIM, HIM. He's a little boy with broken toys!!!!!!!!!!

On the other hand.......I have met someone new that I'll keep you posted about. Going to his house for dinner tonight. I've drilled him on all kinds of issues, and so far no red, we shall see.

My mom is doing better. She is home from the hospital. I hope that they found all of the cancer!! Thanks for the kind words and thoughts.

Hugs, Sharon

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Dear all,

I feel I finally got it! Somehow I feel so much more relaxed. I am not afraid anymore and the absence of fear is very new to me. I still want to make things work between C. and me (or rather would like things to work between us, I know I can't MAKE them). But somehow deep inside I know I do not want to and do not have to make myself into his desired image to do that. I am not afraid to be ME anymore. It kind of seems things are falling into place for me.

All the things I knew in my head, are finding a way to my heart. Instead of just knowing I should not want to make him do things, I just do not want it anymore. Letting go is becoming more natural and it is a thing that is hard to imagine while you are still in the middle of the process, but once you are there, it feels like you have always been there. I know I am doing the right thing by not cringing, or giving in if he gets angry, by not acting out and getting angry too. I just say what i want, I what's more important, I know what I want. And I am not quite sure now, if I will get what I want in this relationship, but at least I am able to voice it, and stand by it. I know I do not want unrealistic things when I ask for commitment or sharing plans. So I do not care if C. says I should not feel that way by getting angry at me. I KNOW, deep down inside it is his anger, not my faulty wants and needs. I KNOW it is alright to be me, and it is alright or him to be him, even though I might want him to be different.

The most important thing is that this knowing is a part of me now and I am so happy about it. I know I will probably slip back, but I also know I can trust myself now to come back again. I could not have made it this far without the help of you all writing your stories here, of listening to comments from all of you and Dr. I. Too. So THANK YOU ALL again and again.

Lots of love, :)



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My last few posts disappeared. I'm starting to take this personally...TZ  Giggle! I want to take this opportunity on 3/27 to apologize to everyone for lost posts, down time, etc. Changing servers was a nightmare. Lots of stuff got lost...  Doc

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OMG All! I started reading the posts from the beginning to see where you all have come from so I can understand the more recent posts. Since I'm at work I can't be on the internet all day for personal purposes so I printed out what I thought would be a short stack. What I got was 1 1/2 inches of printouts! Well, I have plenty of reading material for the night!

My first and only post thus far is not on the board at this time so I am figuring it is in editing. Nope. In cyberspace. Sorry...

My head has been swimming with "What do I need to do?" and looking for answers into myself and my relationship problems. I do realize my mistakes in my relationship with Tim though am having difficulty trying to retract and move on. Here's the scenario: I shared with him very early on in our dating things that happened in my marriage (now am divorced) that helped lead to the destruction of the marriage, things I am ashamed of... My rational for sharing this with him was to be honest. I am finding perhaps honesty is not always the best policy. What is happening is that he takes that honesty and tries to dig into every very personal and private matter in my life. He will not accept that there are things I will not share with him. He will even go as far as using these things against me and torture me with them. Although this is a big problem my question is not on how to fix it, my question is, when you begin a new relationship how much do you divulge? Should past stay in the past or should people share? I know, I know! "Should" is not a good word to use though it is how it's coming out right now! I never, ever want to go through this again and would love to avoid this sort of thing in the future!!!!

What are your experiences, thoughts and feelings on this?


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agree with the verbal abuse theme

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TZ don't take it personally as I a SURE I didn't dream posting as well and I clicked on to answer some stuff from Theresa for me! I know I have gone mad trying to write an MA on parenting programmes: but I am SURE I didn't dream Theressa writing about one and it is not here!!!!Anyway Theressa, just in case this post gets through. I think I had reached the conclusion letting go was the way forward.

I am glad you and Missy are going to a programme and intrigued to know who is running it as have been to so many conferences. It doesn't sound like Webster-Stratton stuff cos you would have written about the pyramid.

Actually seeing as the above statement is Greek (or Egyptian?) to anyone who hasn't a clue what I am waffling on about. The pyramid is basically Play (i.e. doing stuff to build relationships at the bottom and the largest part. Then Praise almost equally as large. Then it moves on up through to limit setting and finally consequences. A good principle for adults as well as children. Do the relationship, doing stuff together MOST and say almost as much of the nice things.......leave the horrid stuff to the top of the pyramid and make it the least big part. I never got to see her adult relationship programme properly (called the Advance programme; but I am sure she does have an adult version in it. If not I think I will write my own.

Tomorrow and the therapy session again. Daughter and Boyfriend came for a meal with me last night and I suddenly thought. "You may not say it in words. but your actions show how you distorted the truth and I think they are kind of the sorry in themselves. I think I will take it like that and let go. It was all pretty crazy as daughter and I both ended up helping out a friend in the cafe we met with problems with HER daughter and own abusive relationship!!!!!!!!!!

Sometimes I think my life is kind of Alice in Wonderland like! HumanKatKid is so wise. Says "leave her alone and she will come home". I don't want to polarise my kids but isn't it odd how two such different ones are part of the same family. One so emotionally strong and the other so emotionally fragile; though I guess she had harder knocks from outside the family.

Just want Jake to acknowledge in therapy tomorrow that daughter does need help; but I guess it probably won't happen. Learning to expect absolutely NOTHING from him and throwing myself into a life that seems to get busier by the day. I think I need that business just now and to just forget the past ever happened. Guess my confidence is back to where it was. Feel I could happily run seminars and lectures and not get phased again. A work acquaintance came up and asked me to join a forum I never had time to before and mentioned a job opportunity and I just felt so HEALED by it. Won't apply as we both agreed on reflection I am a people person and not an organised one and this wanted someone organised.......

What am I saying here? Something about overcoming codependency. I don't need anyone to tell me I am ok any more. I KNOW I have strengths and weaknesses but I don't have to doubt myself and there IS a life for me out there. NOBODY is looking at me and saying "that woman is depressed and ill." I am just one normal human in the normal crowd (or I guess abnormal? used to have fun asking my students "what is normal?"

Another rambling post and I think I had better end. Hope all the catbox cats are ok and our disappearing posts reappear! :( Jay

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Hi Lottie, this is Summer! Thanks for your post. Yes it is hard to change living arrangements. And if you've ever liked to do things in the outdoors- do them now, just for yourself. That is what I'm trying to do. Take a class on canoeing or camping/backpacking through your local community college or recreation center. I think the people who are attracted to this are like us. I hope I meet new friends who are healthy and not into smoking (YUK!!!) or have drinking problems, like those you'd meet going out to clubs or bars. Even when you meet women (which are great of course!) they always know other men and maybe someone single who might become a friend or better! Hey Spring has Sprung! So let's go out and get hiking or biking? If you do NOTHING else- get back into your love of nature- make the time for yourself, you won't regret it! If you can't find a local hiking club or course, do something similar like learning bird watching or getting into a gardening class. Write back, hugs to you as well, Summer.

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Dear Everybody in the Cat Box, Lynn here and me, too. I posted today and it went bye-bye. Maybe Trubble thought it was salmon and ate it. It was up, too, when I checked. No biggie and it wasn't anything that had a pressing need or an SOS. Just a brief update and a bunch of hello's. Hello FakeMommyLynn (and FakeDaddyDan!)

So again, hello to you new ones and a special hi to the oldies.

All is not fine here in double, but I am doing fine. I had a new granddaughter who is adorable and healthy and we went and saw her when she was about 2 weeks old. Then our other bunch came to visit us here on the return from the new niece and cousin visit.

As for Dan and I, well..... I felt he rather betrayed and deceived (lied to) me last week and amazingly I'm in a Rhett Butler mode and I don't seem to give a darn. No sleeping pills, no Mylanta and no Excedrin. No explanations, either. He knew what he did and he knows how I feel. I've only told him about 300 or more times (eh, Trubble? ^_^) :(

I have been reading for about 3 or 4 days and WOW you guys. I still think B gets to be our surrogate therapist. And yes, I have to confess, Trubble has been here! Dan is out of town and the little stinker (Trubble ("Shhhhhh... They think I was at the White House...), not Dan) had to come and see if I really could clean my own cat boxes. You bet I can! I can even clean the bird cages and had 3 dead fish for good measure. Guppies so Trubble didn't bother to eat them! hehe hehehe

How are you Dr. Irene? If Trubble is ready for Chattanooga (sp?) so am I. He's been doing such a good job maybe you'll let him be my chaperone on vacation. As if I need another one this year. I just got back from 2. Got gloriously snowed in on one and had to spend an extra day in 24 or so inches of snow and loved it. We could get around town, just not out of it. What fun.

As for what's going on here, it isn't worth repeating as it's the same old stuff (no communicating) so I won't repeat it.

I just wrote in to say howdy and tell you all that I am thinking of you and especially Dr. Irene who will never teach me to keep my mouth shut completely (Yeah, me neither FakeMommyLynn!), but I'm getting selective and am not engaging with Dan on this one! In fact I can barely stand to talk to him and am glad he's gone for a few days because I probably wouldn't want to be in the same house with him at the moment. And the dog eagerly took over his pillow!

This was a deception about money and I think I made a positive decision on this and suggested when he get home he get a separate checking account. Time to cut some of those codependent strings. First step into my own boundary might just be my own money.

Funny thing about this one, but it wasn't even bad or a broke type of thing. It was withholding information that I asked for and got vague responses and no answers to. Then I found out that he knew all along and kept it from me. (And I wasn't going to tell and here I go).

I guess I needed to talk, but it's not necessary to go into the boring details. And I still maintain that the 11th Commandment is NOT...Thou shall not get caught!

Oh well, such is life, and a good life it's been lately, and still is. I've been doing some of the things I want to do and getting some of the things around the house finished. I'm even back to sewing which feels good and the genealogy has been put to rest briefly, because I've got lots of other things I'm doing and just don't have the time to get it all in.

Dr. Irene, I think you know I'm having company next month and I'm really excited. :) Even if this headed a different direction than we had planned, we're going to meet anyhow. It just might work out after all.

Ok guys, that's enough. Love and Hugs to all of you and especially to you men posting. I know how tough this is for you and I'm glad you are here.

Take Care,


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Lynn here,

Afterthought to DJ. When I met Dan I had been married, divorced, annulled, widowed and shaken up. I also had 3 steady boy friends at one time and didn't cheat on any of them. What I'm trying to say is I had a past.

I simply told Dan from the beginning that if he heard anything about me and wanted the truth I would tell him. If he didn't want to know, don't ask as I would tell the truth. My past before Dan is one of our least problems. This has turned out well because his mother came up with some stories about me that turned laughable, because if she knew the truth she wouldn't have had to make up such silly things.

Good luck to you and I'm sorry he isn't able to love you from your time together, period. I truly feel what I did in the past has no bearing on the future as I didn't even know Dan then, and he wasn't the innocent he seems either. Who cares. Learning experiences from way back when.


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Becky here...

Glad to see that Lynn has checked in. Sorry to hear that there is trouble, but glad that Trubble went for a visit! Shhhhhhhh! What visit?

I have been keeping on keeping on. Had a few bad times lately, allowed myself to become frustrated to the point of exploding. But on the whole, I am doing well at letting go. An example: last week he said "I looked for that book but couldn't find it." He was talking about a book called He Wins She Wins. I've asked him several times to read it. I had it out recently then put it away. The "old me" would have hopped right up and gotten it for him. The new me simply said "Oh, I put it in the other room, on the bookshelf above the typewriter." If he really wants it, he'll get it. So far it's still on the shelf. He snapped at me the other night, kept at it and wouldn't back off. Later he apologized and we talked and came to the conclusion that we were each confused as to what the other was saying. I guess that's some kind of progress. But I'm sooooo tired! I don't know if I have the energy to work on this, even if he proves that he wants to. I guess that's normal? I start with a new therapist on Monday. Mine went into private practice, and I can't afford her fee. I am somewhat acquainted with the new one; she co-led a support group I was a part of years ago. Dr. Z said that she (Cindy) remembers me, so this shouldn't be as stressful as starting at square one with a stranger. The jobs are going fine. I may get to teach summer school. It won't be a lot of money since it is only 2 hrs. a day for 2 weeks, but it will be good experience and will perhaps open some doors. It is after 10pm and I'm tired so will go. Sorry I can't speak to everyone on a specific basis. I just can't keep up! Take care everyone, Becky

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Dear Trubble

Auntie jay here! Hi *My* Auntie! Oh my goodness me; an evening without you. To click on and find the catbox link not working... I knew it was about the server problems) and your Auntie Jay is in Panic. What if the catbox never works again? What if I can't reach my favourite cat? I'll come visit. Will I need therapy for the loss of a catbox? Just how reliant on this CatBox am I? Suppose Trubble is lost on his way to Lynn and Dan's? He got lost once before. Suppose he finally decides he will come and see Tony Blair after all and stows away on the wrong plane and ends up in the wrong country and thinks it is in England and finds a new FakeMommy and forgets us all. They say cats go where the salmon is. Suppose he finds a new source of fresh salmon.......Flash frozen might not be enough.....Suppose he decides to be a therapist for cats and not humans. Suppose he decides to move to a different catbox? 

Just his Auntie Jay laughing at her own insecurities! Giggle!

A new discovery. After the anger. After the exhaustion comes a kind of refusal to take myself seriously?????

Just hope no psychologist or doctor who clicks on here notices this probably very unfunny post except top me and decides maybe I am crazy after all! Like a fox!

Seriously though. One thing that is bothering me is I have done all the right stuff to get over the anger; have organised life so in a way it can work without Jake in it. Stopped looking for the blood out of a stone (Yes, Dr Irene, I have!). Wow! Hop do I stop my VOICE reacting. Self control. Practice practice practice. To the rest of the world I am a sane reasonable person unless they are one of the people who misjudged me about my daughter; but I look at Jake and the voice shouts no matter how calm I feel inside. As if for years I have been so UNHEARD my idiotic brain thinks that if it SHOUTS his closed ears will open. Of course they won't. If you shout at people they stop hearing. I KNOW this. Why are my brain and common sense unconnected? Nope. They are very connected! It's called "anger." I deal with serious situations outside the home calmly. (Oh good grief this is what the abusive do? Oh no is HE the victim? I guess he is in the moment I am shouting.....). HOW do two very gentle people who loved each other end up in this mess?  

Also I am still so confused over that therapist. I get so psyched up seeing her and to me it just seems to end up opening all the wounds and any moves forward happen it seems to me outside the therapy. Who cares! As long as it happens!

Can it be good, even if therapy is painful (I know all about how it can be and that is NOT always bad); but she leaves the session ended with me in desperation and tears and just walks off. Ultimately, you have to deal with your feelings. It's just a therapeutic style; try not to take it personally. By the way, you are free to communicate your feelings to her. Maybe she'll listen, maybe she won't. 

She doesn't, Dr Irene, have control of the session. I do. I know that and how do I give it back to her if she doesn't have the ability to step in and stop things spiraling out of control at a point in the session where she can bring the whole thing back to calm?  You stop expecting her to control the session when she cannot or will not. 

I am SURE you shouldn't be left ringing a day centre at a hospital and saying "this therapist left me in such a state that I am desperate and frightened. There is no control in the session. I am absolutely sure on one occasion that her 'team' intervened. I am not stupid and she works it seems to me, to a timetable and they didn't leave her with the timetable....Frankly, the person who came in looked really concerned.

I am not against any form of therapy. But I do think that damage can be done by having the wrong form of therapy. Even the wrong therapist. Yes. Except, it seems to be working for you guys... 

This one I suspect suits Jake just because I do get left in a state. Is she unknowingly playing into an abuser's tactics? Possible. But, it is equally possible that, for your benefit, the team is trying to underline your dependency and expectations you place on others.

When I ask for reassurance on her knowledge she garbles at me. She doesn't say 'my credentials are, and my theoretical approach is in a calm way." And this woman has consultancy status. So, you can assume that she has the credentials.

Try to understand that that method of therapy is not necessarily straightforward. It may sound cruel, but it really was not. I remember one time, as one of the two co-therapists with a team behind a mirror. I had to run into the room before I burst out laughing... The husband had just asked me if he could use my garbage can. I had said, "no." I couldn't contain my mirth! I said "No" because I wanted him to recognize how absurd it is for him to ask permission for ... breathing. Eventually, he got it. (But not until after he got real mad at me. I HAD to stay poker faced.)

I ask her not to make a new appointment and she just continues making it anyway. Take your power kiddo. She can make all the appointments she wants. You don't have to attend. So knock off the complaining. It's doing you guys good. She could invite Jake without me. Most of the time I feel disrespected. A request she doesn't write results in a letter......I Feel unsafe. I do know therapists in the field I would feel safe with. But this of course is the ONLY one Jake will see... She is fine Jay. You just prefer a straight approach. Yet, she's bringing your stuff to the foreground. It's working!

It is NOT about someone saying things I don't want to hear. If so Dr Irene and I would have fallen out in the first email I sent to her! Giggle... I would have walked put of the psychotherapist I saw. (The second one). I would have fallen out with my best friend....It is not about not being able to take criticism....The job I worked in I would not have survived in if I didn't have the ability to be self critical and take criticism, as every thing I did was videoed and scrutinized by the whole team. 

It is not even about this woman never validating my feelings. It is simply about the state she leaves me in at the end of the session. Translation: It's about the state you allow her to put yourself in at the end of a session. STOP EXPECTING HER TO DO FOR YOU!!!! 

Sometimes I wonder if it is also about too much knowledge and also about a fear that for certain men participation in family therapy is never a good idea? Don't go here. Since you've been going to this therapy, you've been getting better and better.

Should I just quit? Don't you dare!

The trouble is it is the only place I can effect changes because Jake can only ever do anything if a second person thinks it is a good idea! 

Also given waiting lists I feel bad someone on that list who could be helped; (I think TRUST in the therapist is the all important factor) could be helped. 

Is it just the wrong intervention? No. Just not an intervention you prefer. Again, you prefer a straight approach like mine. That doesn't mean another approach won't help you. 

Is it just that having had training in therapeutic contexts it is like the situation where doctors and nurses become the worst patients?

Is it just me being perverse?

Also WHY do I always go back? Because it's actually helping.

So much else positive in my life. I feel confident I can address the problems with Jake creatively since our agreement. I am handling incredible stresses well. I know whatever Jake thinks I have plenty of great qualities and a lot I can do. I know I will never give up and end up even after all the stress saying Life has ended. Can also be so self critical that if this sounds big headed it is only because one of my biggest criticisms of myself is I put myself down and I am practicing not doing so...... Good. Putting yourself down is a BIG no no.

Oh good grief. Anyone here read "Knots" by RD Laing? Oh yes... "He said she said he said he thinks she thought....: and so it goes on. Can't find the book; but it is a good one for the study of communication as well as schizophrenia! Yes.

OK: self absorption and venting for the day finished. SOOOOO selfish not to look at everyone else's needs and reply to them first....Will now read everyone else's posts if they haven't all vanished again; and I still think that Trubble ate them! (I think he had a surfeit of salmon in a secret midnight feast!) Jay Hey, hey AuntieJay, I didn't eat no stupid posts! (slurp slurp)


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B and Dr Irene; that link on B's email was so helpful. Heh, B we both resort to the catbox when the academic calls?

Sharon, maybe you needed your one last fling with Dr Psycho to REALLY know he won't change. Reminded mw of a really odd thing that happened in a place a worked in. We all had to go to a conference. The boss tried to book a hotel and then announced to the staff that the only hotel booking she could find meant we, all women would have to share double beds!!!!!!!! She was serious. I suddenly decided it was worth an awfully long drive to prevent a situation where I would end up sharing a double bed with a female boss (Guess who got the short straw!) and fortunately another work colleague worked out a fantastic deal with a really good hotel where we all got our own room and the use of a Jacuzzi and Sauna....No, the boss it not a lesbian. In the end we decided it was something cultural that she could even MAKE the suggestion as she wasn't English!

Glad your mum seems better, Sharon

DJ. I think it is different for different people. I needed to put the past into a context to see how I arrived at the present; then it became non productive to think on it further. As I just started to rehash the old issues. What I do think does the damage is denial the past ever happened and that how you react is impacted on by the things that happened in the past. One day I realised that Jake locking his study had such a bad effect as my father locked me at night out of the house. He may be wrong in what he does; but my REACTION is about a past hurt he is NOT responsible for.

LYNN!!!!!!!!!! HI just soooo good to hear from you and know how you are. SNOW I ma soooo jealous. Here we just get icing sugar and I so miss it when I lived in the North and there was the real deep stuff and we could toboggan from the top of a very high hill to the bottom.......SUCH FUN and I would LOVE to do that just now. Readers: Lynn's letter started the CatBox... See what you did Lynn?

Becky; so you are exhausted too. Do you think it is "after the anger." You actually sound really good. Glad you feel more in control.

Had better stop writing in the catbox and do something sensible like get up for the day! I just realised it is 12:33 and I haven't even had a catlick because I spent so long in the CatBox...Talking of which HumanKatKid???????Oh my goodness he has gone into HIBERNATION! Jay


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Date: Monday, March 26, 2001


Theressa just to let you know I will go to the therapist on Friday! Looking back at my post on the subject and realising I wrote this on a day when the woman couldn't even get to the session....Makes me think that some days I am just still so angry whatever happens on that day gets it. Only I am so anxious to be over the anger that I can't admit it. Giggle... You just did!

And I realised Jake is so angry with me and he just has NO words. He just starts being totally "off the wall." Gives me flowers and then says they are not mine and then refuses to let me give him a hug and when I innocently sit down by him because HumanKatkid is on the sofa too he jumps up like a scalded cat and to protect him. I just have to make a joke out of the silliness. Good! It really worries me though. HumanKatkid is really into group hugs. Family group hugs. He is one of the Huggiest people I know. :) If his father has become anti hug. Fortunately at the moment only to me, what does this say to HumanKatkid? That he can't have both his parents hug him together anymore because his father can't hug his mother? STOP! Let HumanKatKid deal with it. I'm confidant he will.

I guess some kids don't get hugs from their parents at all. Guess some kids at 13 won't accept them!

Is this a phase???? Also why buy your wife flowers and then reject her? Why not? (He makes no sense because he's not opening his mouth. So, you don't know.)

Yesterday or maybe the day before I got told I "needed to listen to the therapist and I wasn't trying. When I tried to find out exactly which bit he meant, he wouldn't tell me.

This is the week before his best friend died. Two years ago. Could it al be that he is projecting grief onto me? Ouchhh....

It is really weird as he talks nicely to me to say "good morning." Physically does all sorts and then emotionally blocks me out completely. He can't help it Jay... I even get my breakfast made for me. For the first time in our lives he is wanting to know where I am. Yet he doesn't seem to want me. Could it be that he is showing you he wants you in the only way he finds safe?

NOT mid life crisis or we will have been there twice.

OH no there I go again analyzing Jake when ..... Yep.

Meanwhile daughter knew I was at a pub today meeting a friend before we did some teaching together and she turned up. (So did the boyfriend, but you can't have everything.) Just kind of stayed for ages. Had chosen stuff for the grand highlighting event and to my amazement for the first time ever didn't seem to want money.

I guess I feel like a very rocky wheel coming off it's axle and the whole coach is dependent on me but also thinks I can cause it to crash. Hope that makes sense.

Logically I should be saying. Hey that is pretty amazing about the daughter and the flowers. Maybe it is that I have to relearn to trust both daughter and husband? Could be.

Trubble your Auntie Jay is as confused by her family as a cat surrounded by mice! jay  AuntieJay, when I'm surrounded by mice, and I don't know where to leap first, I sit real, real still...

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Date: Monday, March 26, 2001


Dear all, Sharon here. Well, no news on the Dr. Psycho front. Its Monday. Last Tuesday we had a huge "blow-out" where I think I posted about it - his trip to Monterey and when I asked who he was going with, he exploded with rage, started calling me names, etc. Then he puts a block on his phone. I then emailed him a note and told him that his behavior was immature, definitely not justified, and besides - I met some one else that I think is pretty special. So there! So there! Told him not to contact me anymore, don't send me a note with a "I'm so happy for you", just move on with your life like I did. I told him that I was just waiting for the right moment to cut the ties because I knew basically it was just a matter of time before the abuse would start up again. I remembered the pain only too well when I was with him, and I saw that past life with him that I don't miss. I don't want to live with him in my life anymore! I don't even want to see him! I totally avoid driving down his street because it just reminds me of the abuse! (he lives near me) Is this normal, Dr. Irene? That you hate anything that reminds you of your pain? Is it "normal" to wince when you think of the last time you hurt yourself really, really bad? I really hate him for how he treated me. I feel used by him (for at least a year, he was NOT emotionally right), and when I read the narcissist stories, it was Dr. Psycho!! Giggle! Just goes to show, nuttiness knows no bounds... From what I've been reading about this, the "supplier" was me, as long as he needed me and I fed his ego, which I did, then when he no longer needed me, he discarded me with abusive anger. Or, when he became afraid that you might dump him first, he orchestrated your being pushed away... Then we'd get back together, and the dance would begin again. I kept the supply going, but the love and warm feelings were gone. That was only in the early days of the relationship. It is very interesting reading! Thank you for your website. 

Love, Sharon

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Date: Monday, March 26, 2001


Whoops, I think my post disappeared. Here it is again.

Hi everyone!

I've never posted in the Catbox before, but somebody asked me a question I don't have an answer to, and I thought this might be a good place to get an answer, maybe from Dr. Irene, or from someone anyway.

"How exactly do you get in touch with your feelings, if it's something you've never really done?" Not easy, but do-able. Have you read this?

I know Dr. Irene has often discussed the need for some people to do this, but the question itself intrigued me, for two reasons. The first is that it's like being asked "How do you walk?" or even "How do you smile?" What's the sound of one hand clapping? How the heck *do* you answer a question like that? "Well, you put one foot in front of the other--then you keep on doing it!" Or "You 'go like this' with your face!" :-) I'm guessing that practice *is* the answer, really Yep. --that if somebody isn't in touch with their feelings, they have to instill the habit of looking at them, of asking themselves constantly "How do I feel right now?" and exploring that, perhaps trying to express it in writing, until it becomes automatic. Yep. And maybe of asking what, if anything, might be getting in the way of doing that. The second thing that struck me is that I can't even remember hearing off hand of a book devoted to this topic. That seemed surprising too, when there are books on everything from "How to Be More Assertive" to finding "Safe People" to what to do if you're "Angry All the Time." Anyway, I'll be interested to hear if anybody does know of a book on the topic.


- Gordon Gordon, all the books in the "Spiritual Growth" section of The Bookshelf are intended to help you get in touch with You...


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Date: Monday, March 26, 2001


I can't believe it! Just wrote another long post which got lost! B. Oh B! I'm so sorry! I think now the problem is over... I hope! 

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, March 27, 2001


Hi Jay,

Methinks that it is good that your husband sends you flowers, because sometimes actions come first and with our actions our thoughts change and thus eventually our feelings change.

However, you can't always put the cart before the horse, everything happens as part of a process. Maybe Jake is distancing because he unsure and confused. :) You remember that whenever we are on unfamiliar territory we feel FEAR well, this might be what is happening with JAKE. He knows how to do physical stuff but isn't so sure about emotional stuff.

ALSO and this is a biggy, he might be processing his ANGER this way, as in ACTING out. In other words showing his anger in his lack of emotional closeness. I DID THIS MYSELF, I was passive aggressive at times. MOST of us are in the anger stage. WHEN we are still trying to process past ANGER.

What can you do? Not engage. Let him do this, don't tell him not to. He will sort out himself with the help of the therapist. THIS is when Jay has to step back and not try to influence JAKE in any way. A GOOD thing you can do is leave a note where Jake can see it saying Thank you for the flowers they are lovely. (Don't say it is about time or why have you sent me flowers or anything like that) just be thankful. Nice.

Also it is right that you see the good bits, the small steps of improvement. THESE are what help you keep going. THE More you live in the present and start making life enjoyable by not engaging and seeing some of the good stuff the quicker you get out of the anger stage.

There are things I still feel angry about but I tell myself that was when he was ANGRY and then I have to see how he is different now.

Yesterday for example, I was driving past the cemetery two years ago a little baby died, I had known her mother since I was a child. The baby was only a couple of months old. She died of cot death. Anyway I attended the Funeral, but my partner didn't. It was the sadness day I have ever experienced. I never saw so many wet eyes. After the funeral there was a wake in the local pub. MY partner was minding our daughter. NOW me being me, if it would have been him attending the funeral I wouldn't have cared if he'd come home at midnight, it was only one day and so I would have seen the importance.

BUT him, oh no, I was on pins thinking how he'd go mad if I was home late. People asked me to stay longer, since it was the funeral, all my family stayed. BUT me I had to go home. When I got home he said "Gosh your late". (In fact I was only half an hour late), I said "Well I thought you'd understand" He said "You've got a child to sort out, I've been at work all day." THIS IS what made me so angry. HIM, HIM, HIM!! For one day of his life couldn't he take FULL responsibility for our child, without relying on me. WOULD it have killed him. NO!

So you see JAY I to get reminders of the bits of my partner I care not to think too much about. IF I am truthful this is why I still get angry about me being expected to have RESPONSIBILITY MAINLY for my daughter, whilst my partner can take it or leave it.

SO Even I haven't mastered how to just accept what is on offer and just get on with my life. MEN, I could chew them and spit them out sometimes!!! (Sorry guys here, it is just me venting)

Take care Theressa

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, March 27, 2001


Hi Gordon,

The ANGER workbook helps us to work on our feelings and sit with them (that is all our feelings, negative and positive ones) I have been using it myself off and on. It is called: The Anger Control Workbook. Yes!


Dr Irene told Jay this the goal: Your goal: Be immediately aware of your anger while it's still at low levels and effectively and calmly make your statement (if appropriate.)

Further in catbox 24 I posted this and Dr Irene replied, which describes some of the things in the book. I have been using a book recommended by Steve, I just can't remember its name. David described the techniques on Buddah, First you identify your triggers: Does your heart race, do your palms become sweaty, does your breathing increase, do you tense your shoulders, do you tense your stomach. I think the book you're talking about is The Anger Control Workbook. Yes. This is anger management stuff.

Then you learn to remove yourself when you feel these triggers and breathe in one, two, three, four, and out four, three, two, one.

Then you correct your cognitive thoughts. THIS is especially useful: You fold a sheet of paper in half, on the left hand side you write down the negative thought about the thing that is making you angry and give it a percentage, Then you write on the right hand side of the paper a positive logical thought that could be true about this negative thought.

e.g Your partner is late. Negative thought: He is doing this on purpose, he knows it hurts me 100% (you feel this 100%)

Positive thought: He could have been held up in traffic, or something unavoidable came up 10%. (you feel this 10%)

NOW each time you feel negative you tell yourself the positive logical explanation. At first you will find it hard to believe but no matter, just say it. Eventually you will see evidence that this person isn't necessarily always late on purpose.

ANOTHER EXCELLENT THING IN THE BOOK: Fear, surprise, anger. WHICH IS IT? Can you identify the difference:

Surprise - Your not sure if this is a threat so you check it out. YOU FIND IT ISN'T AND so you calm yourself down.

Fear - There is physical danger, and you see there is a real threat to your health, or physical well being, so you plan to remove yourself from this REAL attack. HOWEVER, there may not be physical danger but you have built an image up in your mind so you need to push through this fear using action. USING The cognitive technique above.

FINALLY: Anger - threat to your emotional well being, your true self, your value, your self esteem.

When someone threatens your self esteem you can firstly, check for triggers, then decide to remove yourself from the room, then cool off by breathing, and then use the Cognitive negative thought stopping technique.

Eg: He said I am useless, This is true *% This is not true because I can do xxxxx 100%.

Then you decide what you want to do about the verbal attack. You may want to tell your partner this is not okay and I will do xxx, if you continue to do this.



FURTHER AS you learn to identify your triggers you might also want to note times and situations which make you most annoyed. You can plan ahead for these. YOU might decide when you are feeling ill, sick etc you will spend time alone, since you are especially going to blow.

In the mornings you might be on edge so maybe you need to give yourself more time. *******************************

Gordon I hope this helps your poster.

Thanks Theressa Very nice Theressa. You can write book reviews anytime...


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Date: Tuesday, March 27, 2001



It's funny how things have changed in the few days since my posts vanished. Things were calm, then RB lost it, I was furious, he calmed down...I calmed down...Anyway I am seeing amazing progress. I'll be optimistic and think that this will continue (for a change) whoops that pessimism snuck in there!!

We were having a normal discussion regarding a newspaper article, RB was hyper, getting mad that I was commenting at all. I just told him (as I have in the past) that I'm not criticizing him, just making observations of my own. I have a mind too you know, my own opinions... In the past it just would have escalated out of control, but he was able to stop himself. Whether he stopped to realize that I actually wasn't criticizing him or he just told himself to calm down, I'm not sure, but it's one step in the right direction anyway...I thanked him for the change of course....

A few days ago he blew up at me and was yelling about something I did 2 years ago... Later, I was amazed to find a note from him apologizing and saying that it was wrong... :)

Jay, I can understand the flower thing w/Jake because I've done the same thing that he did. I don't know if he had the same motivations as me, but in my case I've tried to push myself to do something really nice - to help 'fix' things- even though I was angry, and then I do something not so nice I guess to get the real feelings across too. For me, I know I was giving a double message but my feelings were mixed up too; I wanted to fix things, but I wanted him to know that I was not happy...if that makes any sense... You wanted to fix things, but you were angry...  Makes lots of sense.

Have you ever been to that therapist alone?? My counselor told me during a private session that it may seem like she is taking "his side" at times because she can't just start telling him these things that he has to realize for himself - it would turn him off to the whole thing. I found that private sessions are helpful.

Theressa, isn't that terrible that you had to worry about being late on the saddest occasion?!? I go through the same garbage about always having to worry about how HE will react to ANYTHING that goes on...for example, recently I was working towards a performance for a few months and on that night he was watching the kids. At the end I was running out, racing home, hoping that they would be in bed and he wouldn't be mad. When I got home at 11:30, they were running around and RB was saying, "I don't know how you deal with this!! They are two maniacs!! I need a break!!!" Nothing like," how was the show?" or "sorry they're up". So...I changed out of my nice clothes and dealt w/them properly - a little attention, some books, a small snack... no problem. These guys sabotage everything so that either you never ask them again or they can make you feel guilty about having your own life...

Well thanks, cat box and catbox people and dr. irene...


B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, March 27, 2001


Dear all, Sharon here, No news on the Dr. Psycho front. I have been taking different routes home as to not go by his house. I think every time he saw me drive by it would feed his ego as he thought that I was checking up on him. So if I don't do that, it won't feed his ego, and it will break the chain so to speak.

I'm getting in touch with my feelings these days. I am emotionally drained, physically and mentally tired, not sleeping well, but relieved in a strange way. I feel like I've run up a mountain and now I'm sitting on top of it looking all around at the valley below. Its like I've seen where I've been in my past. I feel like I've been through major stress this past year, and now its time to heal. I ended it with Dr. Psycho last week by telling him that I'm with someone else (somewhat fictitious, as I need a new relationship like a hole in the head) but I had to tell him this so he would get off my back - he REALLY thought that my life was over consumed by this relationship, and he was the victim. I don't care what he thinks of me, and believe me, that is a major milestone for me. When he started screaming at me on the phone last week, that did it for me. I said to myself, "this needs to end." There is no future in this, just more pain, crazymaking behavior and confusion. I need a long nap! Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....

Hugs, Sharon

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