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4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

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

3/1 Interactive Board: D/s Lifestyle

1/14 Interactive Board: My Purrrfect Husband

12/12 Interactive Board: What if He Could Have Changed?

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7/20: Dr. Irene on cognitive behavior therapy and mindfulness

6/12 Interactive Board: Unintentional Abuse

11/7 Interactive Board: Is This Abusive?

12/29 Interactive Board: There Goes the Wife...

11/4 Interactive Board: A New Me!

10/8 Interactive Board: Seeming Impossibility

9/8 Interactive Board: My Ex MisTreats Our Son

5/1 Interactive Board: I feel Dead - Towards Him

4/26 Interactive Board: Why is This So Hard?

4/19 Interactive Board: I Lost My Love...

4/7 Interactive Board: Too Guilty!

Comments for Catbox 49

Comments for Catbox 49

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 1998-2001. The material on this website may be distributed freely for non-commercial or educational purposes provided that author credit is given. For commercial distribution, please contact the author at

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48 is edited.

Sunday, July 22, 2001

Dear Catbox,

I understand that I do not have control over other people and the way they react to me. I understand that it is not my responsibility to fix their problems or to try and convince them of my point of view. And, I have been working for several years to strengthen all areas of my life, emotional, mental and physical, in order to heal from my history of being in abusive relationships.

And yet, I still have problems trusting my own abilities to express myself in an effective and productive manner, and to make healthy emotional connections with other people. For example, I have read several of Asha's recent posts and I felt that I could relate to her situation, so much of what she says sounds familiar to me. So I took a chance at making a connection with her by sharing some of my own story.

Then after I posted, I started to second guess myself (I do this a lot). When I reread her post, I wondered if my response to her was really all that helpful and beneficial. Not that I am being overly concerned with her interpretation and her response (even though I would much rather be friends with you, Asha, than not), in this case, I am being entirely Selfish and wondering about *me* and my ability to be able to connect at all, even in the most basic of ways.

I would like to find some counseling or a support group so that I can practice my one on one skills, however I cannot afford long-term therapy at this time. I tried to go to a DV counselor, and she said that she couldn't understand what the problem is. Arrgh!! Must I go through life feeling as though I am speaking a foreign language that only I can understand? I hope this all makes sense to someone here. I hesitate to post. I know it is not necessarily healthy for me to seek validation from others. Yet, at the same time, how will I ever gain confidence in my ability to communicate with others, if I do not attempt to communicate?

Thank you all for listening. Nellie

Sunday, July 22, 2001

Hi Asha,

I am sorry to hear that you are feeling low. I know what those irrational negative thoughts sound like. A Brazilian would tell you, "Don't worry, it is all going to come out right." I can't tell you how often I have heard that! So I say it to you. You have a good business, you like working with Steve and he likes working with you. Your relationship is going through some changes, which are good changes even if they are hard right now. More projects will come through the door that work out. Your dog and your parents won't be passing on anytime soon. Repeat all these things to yourself every morning when you wake up! Especially when you hear a negative thought, change it right away. And come here and whine away if that's what you feel like doing. Even your whining is interesting and we learn from it! You are every bit the fantastic Asha we know and you get better every day - lately you are seeing the trees and not the forest but soon your view point will broaden again.

And Lisa MM, you too! I'm sorry to hear you were so sad last night! Then you recovered your great sense of humor right away! The sadness comes and goes, you know that. The road only goes *up* for you though. You will get through this and anyway you are already free.

Love, Perdida

Sunday, July 22, 2001

Dear Anne O,

The point is, we are communicating with real people here in the Catbox, and we learn about each other's problems and issues. We relate to each other as friends and colleagues for mutual support. So no, it wouldn't be that much "fun" to all be anonymous for a week. It would be confusing. We are already confused by our abusers. We come here for clarity and mutual support from real people whom we know - some well and trusted, and others new but whom we are eager to know. You can't know Anonymous.

An unidentified post, in the flat world of email, is open for interpretation. Usually someone who doesn't sign their post doesn't wish to be identified - at all - even with a fake name like some of us use here on the site. There have been anonymous posts that were actually kind of nasty and sinister.

The other point that it seems you missed is that several posters have heard the "love and support no matter what" line in an abusive context. This is why "context" is so important. Those words mean something else to abusers: those words mean that the abuser expects his or her partner to accept all their abuse and STILL come back for more. Those same nice words lock the abuser's partner into a confusing world of thinking they are supposed to love a monster who abuses them verbally and/or physically and turns around and expects to be loved.

Seeing an unsigned post with an abuser's words was creepy. Try to see that side of the discussion because it is also important.

Sincerely, Anonymous

Sunday, July 22, 2001

Hi Nellie,

It sounds like you need more confidence!! Maybe people treated you like what you had to say wasn't valuable. Well, that's just not true. If you are very shy, you could take small steps to build up your confidence until you feel like people are relating to you more rewardingly. Start by posting here! Some days you don't get an answer from anyone, but sometimes you get lots. If you identified with Asha and shared your experience, that's important. Keep doing it! That's what we are all here for!


Sunday, July 22, 2001

Hello Trubble This is Auntie Mousie The thong sales are going better than expected. Mousie thinks it is time that we open a concession stand. Mousie thinks something healthy like bottled water is all the rage right now. Mousie will hang out by the coke machines and wait for the humans to drop their empty Dasani bottles in the trash. Then Mousie will collect them and bring them to Trubble Beach. Now here is your part. You have to talk FakeMommy into putting your water dish up on a chair. Then you have to sneak into the fish tank and grab the tubing line from the air pump (but do not take all the fish because that will bring attention to the missing tubing). Then bring Mousie the hose and she will show you how to siphon the water from your dish into the bottles for us to sell. If they want different flavors, just save your dish of water that you wash your paws off in while painting. Change the water in between each color. Also be careful not to spill any on you because I don't think FakeMommy will appreciate us having a wet fur contest in her kitchen. Love Auntie Mo' Money Mousie

Sunday, July 22, 2001

Yep, Doctor Irene and Theressa, et al,

I was definitely reacting emotionally to the now-fairly-famous "love and support" post. The reason was that I was hearing it all again from my ex in his abusive manipulative rendition. Yes, reactive. Got the message.

I've been re-reading the narcissist stuff and it helped me understand why my ex clung to his hollow (to me) self-perception as the Perfect Enlightening Rescuer. He even creates and nurtures serious flaws in his intimate partners so he can be the Selfless Shining Horizon-Broadening Prince. Did I mention I am going through the angry stage?

When I said, STOP laying a guilt trip, STOP running an emotional bait and switch, you're being manipulative, and all the direct confrontational things I said the last couple of days, he did sort of fold just like in "The Secret of Overcoming an Abusive Relationship" as well as in the narcissism pages. Can it be that I did something I never did before? Have I been so restrained, reasonable and polite all this time that he didn't even know I was angry? I actually had never given myself permission to call out the behavior so directly - and I also didn't really have names for it before either.

I think I will lurk for awhile while I process all this - over the weekend when I had to break up with him again 100,000 times it was sort of like All Perdida All the Time here in the Catbox... where was everybody...

I met a new playmate, with a sailboat this time. Good medicine!

 Love, Perdida

Monday, July 23, 2001

Dear Nellie

No I didn't take offense to what you said *at all*. I thought it was a warm hearted, thoughtful and caring response, and I really appreciate your encouragement.

I think right now the business projects have been the most draining. It just seems that everything I’ve started lately, in an effort to put some structure and balance in my life, has been falling through. It’s just one of those phases I have to get through. I don't have the kind of work that has me socializing with others, and I'm a social person, so I'm feeling a big hole there. On the other hand, sorting out my work situation comes first over social outings etc so I feel a bit stuck. I feel like if I could get that sorted out, I could create more balance in my life and get involved with other things where I am around people more. My work schedule is unpredictable so that makes it harder to plan for myself too.

When you spoke of the "terrible catastrophe" that's exactly what I have been feeling from time to time - what if *everything* important was stripped away from me? I know this mostly has to do with changing my perspective and knowing I can handle it. I also know this mode I’m in is temporary.

It's true that I look to others (Steve mostly) to "define me" too much. I do crave to be around like-minded people, and to have a sense of belonging. I spend lots of time alone and though I don't feel like rushing off to 'do' something to 'fill the space' , I do get lonely, and I get that “what’s the point of anything” feeling on and off. I feel like I need to create a sense of community in my life though so that I am not so dependent on Steve. There are groups I want to get involved with, but work has taken precedence.

You are right, I do need to nurture my spirit more. I think I'd like to spend more time meditating; I have found that to be really nurturing. I use aromatherapy a lot. If I had the energy I'd spend more time fixing up my place because having a creative environment makes a big difference to me. Lately I just haven't had the energy. Eating healthy foods is something else that makes me feel nurtured (though I dislike cooking). Having structure, keeping my home environment generally clean and organized makes me feel good too, though I can create a lot of pressure on myself in this area. Thanks for getting me thinking - maybe I need to take these kind of things more seriously.

I feel like I've been "doing nothing" forever. Lots of the time when I get feeling drained I just lay on the couch and literally do that. Other than planning the work projects, I haven't really made any major plans for myself in any area. I would like to pursue my creative endeavors (i.e. stained glass, theatre) but I feel like my work situation has to come first, so I don't have the balance I would like.

Finding harmony within myself... where could I get that? Well, I suppose first I could concentrate on getting family expectations of me out of my head (which I am putting there). Maybe just shutting my mind down for awhile and pretending the world outside really *doesn't* exist. Gee wouldn't that be weird....

Thanks for your post Nellie - lots of food for thought.



Thanks for your support. Maybe I just need a root beer float and some music. :)

Maybe we feel like we're whining because we're not "supposed" to need any help from anybody. I'm selective about how much dumping I do and where I dump it because I know it can be draining to others. The catbox is where most of it ends up.



Yes I am doing the aromatherapy. Lavender, geranium, and rosewood are some of my favorites. I have ylang ylang too. Here's another good trick - mix your favorites with some almond oil and rub it on your skin - it's just ahh.. I can't explain it, but it's wonderful. The scent lasts along time using the oil.

When you said "do one thong to spoil yourself" I was trying to figure out what a thong was - some kind of deep meditation technique? :) Then I finally realized it was a typo and it was supposed to say "thing". :)

Probably the biggest thing I need to do is change my attitude.

Thanks Jay


Monday, July 23, 2001

Steve here

Shucks Irene, you marked Asha's stuff before I could respond. Oh well.

Asha: "when he talks about my “denial” and explains things on your behalf, when he could instead use the catbox to examine his own stuff (which I haven’t seen him do yet)."

Irene: "Agreed."

Harumphhh. You're both wrong.

I don't explain things on Irene's behalf, and I have examined my own stuff COUNTLESS TIMES here.

That's your guys's stuff. And I refuse to feel insulted though I really have all the right in the world.

Asha, the reason I decided not to go to the award thingy was because I had a distinct feeling that you thought you should strike out on your own path, and we shouldn't do things together that are "personal".

I had asked you, the day before, if you wanted to go for a walk with me and my son and you said "no, I don't think we should do those kinds of things" or something to that effect. I thought, that therefore meant, you would rather go without me to that social function. I had a pretty strong feeling that you wanted me to keep away - on a personal level.

Now, to find out you were almost angry with me for doing what you wanted, is quite confusing. Steve: nothing to be confused about. Just accept she feels the way she feels, and it doesn't have to make sense to you.

So, none of that was "my stuff" either. I was doing exactly what you had indicated you wanted. FOR YOU! No Irene, there was no "cancellation" button. Nada. I know where my cancellation button is located.

Asha, I am not interested in *everything* you have to say. You are a much more talkative person than I am. I get very tense when someone is talking to me fast and a lot. I get disoriented and feel the intense desire to escape. It's nothing personal. It's just the way I am. If I don't escape, I tune out. It's some kind of safety mechanism to keep from burning up in someone else's atmosphere.

A bit on FOCUS: To fix *me*, I need to focus on ME. No debate here.

To see how *our relationship* can work, I need to look at both of us. I need to examine the interactions, the obstacles etc.

I spent some rare time recently, deeply analyzing some of our relationship stuff. One of my conclusions was that I had been afraid of your anger, and was treating you with kid gloves. I decided this was unfruitful, and chose to start being more direct with you. Of course I knew this would bring your anger even more, but I believed it was the only way. I still don’t see any other way. I need to relay my observations. You of all people should understand that.

Asha: “pretty much anything I say that he dislikes is denial, a boundary infringement or an expression of my anger/abusiveness.”

This looks like a blanket generality - “ANYTHING I SAY”. Really Asha. You choose to believe this. I understand it to be your defensiveness over-riding your Self. As I said above, I am being direct and saying what I see and feel.  I'm not going here. You're back in the CatBox.

Irene to Asha: “If he's saying this to you, he is out of line.”

I tell her when I feel she is spreading her boundary dome over mine. Is this out of line Irene? I told her she was in denial and she seized upon that. So be it. I believe she IS in denial. I believe most of us are. To varying degrees and on varying issues. If I am wrong about it, then it’s MY STUFF. YOUR STUFF right now is that you can't let her see the world the way she sees it. You hate it when she gets upset with you, and you feel helpless, so you try to show her (and us) how angry or wrong or whatever she really is. You do this one to each other. Steve, let it go. Yes, tell her when you feel she's in her space. If she argues, pull away. Can you pull away lovingly? To give her the space she may need to see what you're talking about? (If you pull away angrily, you just increase the probablity that she will create an angry space for herself, which is to nobody's advantage.)

Asha: “If he feels “yukky” towards me I guess that now justifies it. Anyways, his focus is definitely on me and my "problems", and not on himself. “

That is your opinion Asha. A good example of you “knowing” and telling me what I think. I believe it to be unfortunate, but at the same time, I can empathize because I know how often I felt you were (and still are) focusing on me. Now however, I understand that at times one needs to see the whole of the relationship and that means being *allowed* to move one's focus. I don’t feel that staring at the same rock all day long will help much when the landslide above is getting ripe.

Irene to Asha: “This is disturbing to me.”

If it were true, it would be disturbing to ME! It would mean I was a total idiot and hadn’t learned a thing in the last year. Ouch!

Asha: “I *will* work on improving my communication skills and expectations, but I will *not* take blame for Steve’s yukky feelings, nor his yukky behavior.”

That sounds great to me. My feelings and behaviour are ALWAYS, my stuff. I don’t blame you for them. You shouldn’t either. Now we're talking!

Asha (on the dogs and kids issue I guess): “I think otherwise, it creates a win/lose scenario as a method of problem solving... “

I don’t agree. We do have a difference in philosophy. I believe your dog is your dog. You had him for years. I am a newcomer to him, and he is carbon-bonded to you, not me. I respect that. You ARE responsible for him, not me. And I would never want to change what looks a lot like a natural universal law to me. I have certain thoughts and feelings on how he is handled, but I KNOW he is YOUR dog. I would never feel that “I MUST have equal authority over him or else I would be LOSING”.

Asha: “I find it unhelpful and quite irritating when he talks about my “denial” and explains things on your behalf, when he could instead use the catbox to examine his own stuff (which I haven’t seen him do yet). “

The only reason I mentioned your denial is because I feel it is a serious obstacle in our relationship. I mentioned it because I care. At certain stages in a healing relationship, I think that it is one person or the other who is blocking progress. It changes from person to person, and at times, I am the block, other times it is you Asha. If we could learn to recognize that we each have our own roadblocks we erect, then maybe we could remove them as we bump into them?? But I cannot remove yours and you cannot remove mine. We have to remove our own.

Are you being honest with yourself when you say I haven’t EVER examined my own stuff in the catbox? Maybe you could give some evidence to support that statement? IMO, you are in a defensive mode, and your defense is to attack me. Yes I am being blunt. But I must now. No more kid gloves.

Asha: “I also think I could be more focused on what *I* can do and not what he can do (although that’s tough when he has the authority to do something and I don’t). “

I agree. I am trying to say the same thing to you. I am trying to make you see that there are times when the other person has the ball (authority)...and you’ve done all you can do, short of withdrawing completely. If only the other person could become aware of when they have the ball...Sometimes I have the ball, and sometimes you have it Asha.

Asha: “sometimes he just sits back, waiting for me to change so everything will be “better” – which it won’t – at least for him - if he doesn’t do his part”

May I rephrase that (I think this relates to *the ball* again)?

“Sometimes She just sits back, waiting for Me to change so everything will be “better” – which it won’t, if She doesn’t do Her part.”

Irene: “If Steve takes my comments to reinforce his negative impressions, that's his problem, and trust me, if I see it, I will call him on it. “

I trust you to call me on it Irene. <Smile>. I don’t take your comments to “use against” Asha. If they make sense to me, I will point it out - to help heal our relationship. I cannot ignore valuable, insightful information. To please Asha, you and I would have to make sure we never agree on anything. That cannot be right. It’s getting to the point that I am not allowed to say anything that you may have touched on previously.

And what's this nonsense about me gloating? Jay and Irene - that's your stuff. Here, have it back. It doesn't fit me right now. Maybe I'll need it later. Hmmm...  Steve, we can't see you, but the way you phrase stuff at times has a flavoring of that old angry stuff from the past. Don't get upset; just look at it.

All in good fun, rest assured.


P.S. - Some of this was written and composed a few days ago, and slightly edited before airtime...

Monday, July 23, 2001

Steve here

I feel that Asha and I are learning. We appear to be quite committed to this because we keep coming back to the table.

I think we are beginning to allow ourselves to accept setbacks, work through them, and continue moving forward, instead of letting the setbacks set us back, our pre-programmed pattern...

Monday, July 23, 2001

Thanks so much Dr. Irene for your feedback. I want to clarify that my husband is not violent. Things are much more covert. I said that because of my son's anxiety I had almost mastered not reacting to my husband in front of him. "Almost" and "in front of" being the key words. That just means that I was trying to save it until he was out of earshot. I understand now that some situations (many) should be handled by not reacting at all. If someone's sole purpose is to hurt you, why give them the power? I also understand that his bad moods are not caused by my "inadequacies" but by his. That statement alone is so freeing. I also learned about buttons. I do find that so interesting. It is true that if you can identify yours that you can learn about yourself and what it is that you need to do about yourself to feel better.

I have shared some of this with my husband Josh. He wanted to know all about it. He agreed (almost too well) with what I told him. I asked him if he would go to counseling. He said yes. The first few days it was yes to everything I said but today has been a bit of a different story. He was starting to question me allot about what I was doing. Why don't you do this...why don't you do it this way, etc. I'm refinishing a buffet in out garage (he says his garage) and he acts like I'm making a big mess (which I'm not). He acts like he doesn't like it when I'm working on it. He checks to see if its dripping and on what, did I had used a rag that he was saving and did I move any of his stuff. It's something that I am really enjoying and it's like that bugs him. I bought some lights for our deck today and he told our son that they were dumb. My son says to me in front of Josh, "Should I tell her" and I asked "What?". He said "Dad says that the lights are dumb". I'm surprised that my son spoke up in front of him. Yippeee! My response was "I don't care if he thinks their dumb, I bought them for me not him". Later I thought It would probably have been better to just say "That's fine", but hey I'm new at this stuff. Before I probably would have showed my hurt and anger in some way would have become defensive.

Josh's mother will be babysitting his nieces from out-of-town this week. Tonight they arrived at her house and they came to swim in our pool. You could tell that she did not want to stay long as it was late evening when they arrived. Fine, but she used a maneuver that Josh uses. She mentioned a few times that they weren't going to be staying that long (they'd only been in the pool about 15 minutes) and of course the kids protested. One of the girls came out of the pool over the side instead of using the ladder (after having watched our son do the same). I reminded our son that he needed to use the ladder and BOOM she was up on her feet screeching "That's it out of the pool we're leaving if you can't behave". She waited until they did the first thing wrong so that she could blame them for having to leave rather than have them be mad at her. I stood up and said "It's ok she didn't know, she just saw her cousin do it." That didn't sit to well. This is classic Josh behaviour. Well at least I know where it came from.

My next big questions is this. How should I present all this stuff to my husband. I almost feel guilty about how good I am feeling right now. I have told him quite a bit but have a feeling he's going to hit a limit on listening pretty soon. Stay firm, but benign. Stand your ground. You're doing well.

Thank you Dr. Irene for your advice and Thank you for this site.


Monday, July 23, 2001

Dear L,

Thank you so much for the comforting post. You offered me some good stuff to think about. Your right I am making a healthy choice not to stay in this toxic environment. I am protecting the children from my husband's addictions and behaviors. I won't forget to mention that I was also teaching them to be codependent and not stand up to him. We do feel so much more relaxed now that the initial shock is over. We are establishing our own routine. It's much more quiet. My son did comment that I may need a little rest because I was not patient with my 5 year old today when she threw a dish sponge across the room (she needs impulse control). I know this takes time to develop but oh my has she been testing me lately. I was tired and my feet were hurting. I snapped, "That is it. I am tired of you making a mess in this house!" Oh, I was sorry immediately after it came flying out of my mouth. She just picked the sponge up and wiped up. I apologized for overreacting. I calmly explained that she may want to think before she throws something and the consequences of her actions. My son smiled and said he would help clean up the dishes.

I am feeling a little bit better today. You know you are right I am going back in forth in between the grief and acceptance. I will keep a copy of your post to remind me that this stuff is normal. There are times that I wonder if I am going to end up in a hospital bed to take a little needed rest. I just have to learn to go with it and take the time to learn how to comfort myself in a healthy way.

You are so right. I am feeling overwhelmed at the moment. I feel like I worked so hard on trying to keep this family together. I was willing to do whatever it takes. I felt that burnout and resentment too. I felt like I had 3 children in the house. I keep looking back at how much I did accomplish. I did the best I could considering. Oh, I am not going to miss that chaos!

I participate on the Ouchhh mailing list and here to vent. I start feeling empowered and ready to take on the world then all the sudden it hits me again! I can't skip any of the stages. I know I will come back stronger. I just to have to stop the bargaining. I like Asha's "Reality Fairy". Yep, I need her help too ;)

My son was experiencing the depression and anxiety too. I am glad that I did stop this before we lost touch with him. Oh boy he was starting to act out and build that wall. My husband denies that anything was wrong. He made a comment last week "You are the one who is home with the children during the day."

I know now that at least I will have 80% more influence during the week with my children. My son is learning how to trust me and open up to communicate his feelings. He feels safe now. I feel bad for not always being emotionally available lately. I was trying so hard to endure but I wasn't feeling much. I am just clearing the FOG out of my head. Now I need to learn to balance my personal space and time with them. The goal is to teach them to accept responsibility for their actions and build that character.

I started thinking. My mom must have given in to me all the time. I do not like to fail or give up on anything. I am pretty darn persistent. I am wasting my energy on someone that is obviously not in a place where he is willing to accept responsibility. I have to learn to accept this like it or not.

Thanks L !!! I will stay focused on those baby steps....


Monday, July 23, 2001


I too get very excited and want to share. I feel a roll coming on, overwhelming so happy. I just want to share it, anyone who will listen. THOUGH GORDON a while back said this "No one else is inside your head, no one else is gonna experience things in the same way you do. Your excitement may just be that. YES SHARE but you can't expect every person to feel the same level of excitement as you. "

It is like when you hear a joke and at that moment it has you falling about laughing. BUT when you share it with someone else they just don't see the funny side. IT Is the moment that is important."

Asha depending on how Steve is feeling at any given time, or how anyone else is feeling or what issues they are currently working on so are sensitive. What mood they are in, will depend how they respond to you.

THIS is not about you, it is about them at these times. Maybe they feel down fed up and find it hard to perk up firstly perhaps because they feel down about their own stuff and secondly they may feel even more down fed up when they see their own life at that particular moment in comparison to yours.

I guess we just have to accept sometimes others are unavailable at that time to share our happiness because they are stuck in another place.

USE your sane options come to cat box and share you good news, this way STEVE will hear about it and can read it in his own time and you'll have shared your joy with all of us here.

I know sometimes we wish others were available like the old street corner shops (open all hours) but I guess no one can be, they always have their own priorities which may feel more important to them at that time. Also irrationally if I am in a bad mood and someone says something cheerful I might feel they are taking away my right to be sad.

Like the other day I felt sensitive and when I read the posts here I reacted. I knew I felt down and sensitive when I saw myself react and then read over my post. I wanted the universe to not let it go through, but it did. SO I dusted myself and got up and carried on.

Take care Theressa

Monday, July 23, 2001

Hi All,

I got allot out of Asha's posts and Doc's blue pencil.

Asha I interpreted Doc's saying "Every decision is a big one" As saying something like. Every decision is a big one. Whatever decision you make effects your life in some way!!

When we are reactionary we don't stop to think about things we just respond. Sometimes our emotions get the better of us. Like when we act out.

For many years I used to show my anger in my tone of voice and my facial expressions. I was so reactive! (still am giggle at times!!) I think it is in When Words Hurt book that the author says the intent shines through. It isn't the words that impact it is the intent.

The response you get is the meaning of your message to the other person. (Mindworks a good book also comments on this), Intent/motive etc SO if I say "I am not bothered" when really I am livid the other picks up the intent regardless of the words.

Further I understand the connection between this above and you taking care of others:

What happens to me: My partner will speak to me about an issue, problem he is having. Then my mind starts to work over time and I start to leave my own life and work out what he could do...

Where I see the connection is "THINKING" before we ACT, instead of reacting. If I could stop my thoughts and think is this my business?

I wouldn't react and start fixing others, in the same breathe if I could stop and do nothing and think how what just happened effected me, what issues it brought up, then the is it true questions etc. Then I would not react.

It all boils down to REACTIONARY. Instead of stopping and thinking is this really what I want to do? Bingo.

In Codependent No More:  this is all explained.

Take care I too at times feel down. I think it is especially when I can't control others. I can't hurry them up. I can't get them to move forward. They just aren't ready.

In me is a desire to have things right. To not be scared of risking rejection (I will discuss this in my next post), to have my partner want my hugs, to chat, to listen to me. To share my excitement. In a perfect world, he'd come home and listen to me and I'd feel loved and wanted.

Sometimes this wish is so far off. Other times I feel maddened by the fact that I can't come home and just talk to him like I would a friend sharing all my problems, views, days events.

Though DOC can you clarify. Is this realistic??? To have a partner who listens to you, whenever you have an issue??? OR Is this expecting a counselor instead of a partner??? This is realistic if it in is a give and take relationship.

You see Ron always listened to me. BUT he was my counselor is it too much to ask a partner to do this??? Ron was not emotionally involved, so, yes, it is too much to ask that your partner be there when you want him to be there. There should be a mutuality.

Take care Theressa

Monday, July 23, 2001

I am on a roll, it is Monday morning quarter backs, question time LOL!!!

I am a little confused maybe someone can clarify.

When people says they have their emotional needs met what do they mean? I don't know what people mean since each person means something different. Your job is to meet your own needs.

Do they mean they share all their feelings, reactions, emotions?

Isn't this a recipe for disaster?

As Michelle on Divorcebusters once said "We get emotions every minute of the day, and also they can change from minute to minute, sometimes it is not worth sharing our anger at the fact someone did a small thing, if we did stop and share every emotion we'd have no one married, since everyone would be feeling overwhelmed.

Some times it is better to filter out which ones are the most important things and then share only them.

If you have a big issue then you can share and voice it." **

So this confuses me! When people say they are emotionally close as well as physically, spiritually etc and not just physically, what do they mean?

Ron said I should be emotionally honest with myself. know what I am feeling and that way I can work on the issue, check if it is true etc.

Though does this mean I should be emotionally honest about every thing that happens. Is this necessary?

Wouldn't this drain the other person? After all they are not my counselor!!

Is the goal to have our spouses take the role of our counselor??

Thanks Theressa

Monday, July 23, 2001

Hi All,

Now for my button. (Dr Irene, drat you found it!!!) Trubble I told you to hide this button, your FakeMommy wasn't suppose to see this flawed part of perfect little me. Lol. Will others still love me, now they see how flawed I am? Oh well who cares, I love me.

YES Doc I have a big, big gigantic button called "Please don't reject me, my advice, my views, my thoughts, DON'T reject me. Oh please don't, I will do anything but don't reject me. I can't stand it, please, please don't go, don't go away, I am begging you to stay"

YES I am trying to handle it. I have come up with a new strategy, well being honest I stole it from Jay, she doesn't know yet, so Trubble keep quiet, don't tell her.

I feel I need to focus on doing something, I can't just sit and do nothing. SO I have started to pray. This makes it feel better if I can discuss it with someone. (GOD/Universe)

Though the old way I used to feel better was to EAT, EAT, EAT and even when I felt full, I still felt empty emotionally. Sometimes I feel stuck!!! Because I can't force others to want things to be so good....

As you see from my post above, I am in limbo about what I should expect from a relationship???

I don't want to reach for the sky when the roof tops are all that is possible and realistic.

I feel anxious when my partner doesn't come around, and YES I keep busy but the feelings are still there. WHEN he eventually comes around It feels like someone took the anxiety away. (and they have!!) Sit with the feelings and deal with them.


It is fine people saying "Death of a dream" but what to replace it with??? (Come on trubble you know how to be healthy, what is the goal???? After we've weathered the storm and realised what we've got is not a lot of what we want, how do we get to know what is realistic to expect? from another person?? In a healthy way??

I know we have choices, but what if we aren't sure what are realistic choices??

Take care, Theressa

PS when I first started out I had no road map, I went off track many times. THEN on this site I found a road map, and many people to help me steer in the right track.

Is there one for realistic expectations? can any one share the contents??  Realistic expectations happen when each person takes care of their Self.

I can't afford high fees, but I will send you lots of love.

Monday, July 23, 2001

I think this is great, maybe it will help others:

by Kim Droze, Senior Writer

Do you feel that no matter how hard you try you just can't seem to get into the proper frame of mind?

Sure, you go through the motions. But all the while you wishing you were somewhere else.

If this scenario fits your mental approach to life there's a good chance you aren't taking advantage of your life force energy. Chi -- a concept foreign to many of us -- has been around for thousands of years. Extremely popular in India, China and other Eastern nations, chi offers a full range of benefits.

Proponents say it is the source of our strength. And that strength could be anything from the energy we call on to workout or the discipline we rely on to fight off food cravings or co-dependency traits. We all have chi. But to tap into it you must first look within.

That's where Chi Fitness (HarperCollins) authors Sue Benton and Drew Denbaum come in.

According to this energetic husband and wife team, you can harness chi to work for you in just about any facet of your life -- from weight loss to relationships. The key is knowing how to plug into your personal energy center.

The whole concept may sound a bit New Age. But when you break it down to a few basics, Chi Fitness is simply about shattering the psychological barriers that are holding you back.

Chi can be especially helpful for those struggling to stay motivated to Get rid of co-dependency traits.

"You don't need to get caught up in feeling bad over where you're at and apply all kinds of negativity," Sue tells us. "That gives away the power and energy needed for present transformations and growth.

"Once you understand the concept and take it into your heart and mind, you feel so much better about where you are or who you are in terms of shape of body and overall being. Then you've empowered yourself to go where you want to go."

The goal is to put your energy back in your body. Through a few simple exercises and meditations found in Chi Fitness you can improve your mental and physical health.

"We want to make people conscious of where they are putting their energy and show that it's possible to have a physical experience of chi in your body," says Sue, the founder and president of Chi Fitness. "Then you can feel where you're giving away your energy inappropriately.

"The key to Chi Fitness is becoming aware of this energy so you can manage and direct it in your life for self-empowerment."

The chi exercises alone won't modify you. However, they will help your growth plan endeavors.

So listen up emotional eaters. When you get upset with a person or situation, you give away your power. That leaves you devoid of the energy you need... emotionally, physically and spiritually.

For many that feeling is a calling card for a binge rage or go into depression. But chi enables you to relax and redirect that energy in a positive way.

Chi can also help guide you down the right path to getting started with A new life regimen that works. Instead of concentrating on image (material things), you must focus your energy on a healthy life, mind, body and spirit.

Here are two simple exercises that you can get started in achieving a peaceful, easy feeling:

Chi Ball Exercise 1. Stand with your feet about hip distance apart. Straighten the spine by lifting up the crown of the head and gently pressing down the tailbone. Notice that when you straighten the spine you automatically take a deep breath and create more space in your body. All the joints should be soft and relaxed: knees, hips, elbows, shoulders and ankles.

2. Bend the knees slightly over the toes.

3. Draw your hands up to waist level with the palms facing each other.

4. Relax your fingers and bring your awareness to the palms of your hands. Imagine that you are holding a ball of energy.

Soon you will feel a tingling sensation, heat or a vibration between the palms of your hands. As you begin to sense the chi between your hands visualize it as a ball of energy.

Heart Chakra 1. Assume a sitting position. Lift up through the crown of the head and gently press down through the tailbone, lengthening the spine. Relax into that length.

2. Inhale and exhale, opening and closing the chest and the shoulder blades. As you breathe in, expand the chest. Bring the shoulder blades together, allowing the head naturally to fall back as you expand the heart center forward. Imagine the color green. Allow your shoulders to stay relaxed as you gently press the shoulder blades together. Leading with the center of the chest, the rest of your body moves from that point of power.

3. Exhale, open up the shoulder blades and close up the chest, letting the head naturally fall forward, opening the heart center from the back of the body.

Just as you expand the heart center forward with the rest of your body following that point of power, when you lead and take action with the intention of love, the rest of your life falls into place with natural ease and harmony.

Monday, July 23, 2001


Why do you think you second guess yourself? Approval perhaps? You want others to tell you, you are okay maybe?

Nellie when you can say to yourself "I am doing the best I can right now and my contribution is worthy because God/universe is allowing me to give it then it is really just fine for where I am at."

Trust that everything happens for a reason.

Why do you think what you are saying is not okay?

Aren't your views just as valid as anyone else's? They are your views that is it, it is okay to have your views!!

Asha and anyone else can look at your views and say "They are Nellie's views" and that is what they are. There is nothing wrong in YOUR viewpoint it just is your viewpoint for the time you gave it.

Let go of the need to worry how others will respond and just share your views. You can say "I think xxxx" and others can agree or disagree but it is still your viewpoint, nothing can change what you said. 

It is when I think we say "THIS IS THE ONLY REALITY, mine and we become defensive."

Nellie, sometimes we feel we haven't grown but we are growing on different levels so it feels like we haven't. The lessons keep coming until they are learnt.

Learn it is okay to give your viewpoint and then let go, knowing the universe allowed it cuz it was meant to be.

So when you give to someone else let go. Imagine your giving it to the universe and imagine you are giving and you will also receive.

Well really there is no imagine about it, you really do receive more when you give what you have.

(This is not the same as giving until it hurts, the kind I am talking about is giving when you can freely, when it doesn't hurt, IT isn't giving when you are ill, or have other plans, or are far to tired, or just don't feel up to it.)

Take care Theressa

Monday, July 23, 2001

Dear all,

Anonymous here for a week,

I liked the idea of being anonymous for a week to see what happens so......guess who?????

No new sightings on Dr. "fill-in-the-blank" other than the fact that I received a phone hang up Saturday morning at 4:45 am. That really upset me as I've been sleep deprived lately! I know he wanted a reaction - although I'm wondering if it was his naked friend. Dr. "fill-in-the-blank" left that morning to go to S. California to see his parents since it was his birthday, so he was gone the whole weekend. How convenient to call my house then leave for the weekend. No one else has my phone number these days. Certainly none of these thugs I've been meeting! Oh well, these 2 guys were thugs too!

So, I've been keeping to myself, having quiet, serene times, napping, reading, eating well, walking and really just getting in touch with reality that it is time that heals and if we nurture ourselves and be patient, that you'll hear and feel the gifts that God gives us. I'm just taking my time these days to truly stop and smell the roses. I've also been very 'in tune' with my mother who has cancer. I'm blessed that she is still with us and hoping the best for her recent test as it has invaded her liver. I moved in January to be 2 minutes away from my parents and I make sure I go over there every day.

The only thing I'd like to change is my job. I am not challenged and I do not like retirement law. I would rather get into something more program-orientated - but retirement law is too cut and dry. So, that is on my agenda for the next few months. Plus I work for an absolute idiot. He drives me crazy with his management style. He gets too personal, too emotional and he lacks self-confidence so he projects it. He told me a year or so ago that he wanted me to be his confidante. So I was, then he went psycho on me one day. No more being in that role!

Have a great day! (smile)

Monday, July 23, 2001

Dear all,

Sharon here,

That was fun being anonymous - but I'm sure you knew who it was!

I came back to re-post after reading the last few posts, and decided that it isn't right to do the anonymous thing although it is somebody's prerogative if they want to. Its just not *me*. Though I have a sense of humor, I do take these matters seriously when it comes to other people and relationships.

Love, Sharon

Monday, July 23, 2001

Steve here

Theressa, you are full of insightful thoughts and information.

I like the way you explain the "emotionally available" type stuff. It's so true. We can't be open 24/7/360. Everyone has different hours and sometimes we need to just close the store for a few days or weeks. If we can understand how WE cannot be always open, how emotionally draining it is, then we can understand that others are the same way, in varying degrees.

It's an energy/physics principle I think. Accepting someone else's emotions has a toll in your own energy level. If you get too much, you may do like I do and shut down. I think I am just protecting my brain from frying up. Maybe if I had a jar that I could just yell into once in awhile...hehe.

It's an interesting feeling when you have a bunch of excitement and wish to share it, but can't find anyone who'll relate to your information. Even if someone is "available", they still might not see the same "value" in your ideas/thoughts.

People ARE like thermometers. They do give off cues as to the state of their emotional acceptance level. When they are reaching saturation, the cues are usually pretty clear - *if* we are willing to see them and not take them personally.

We have to be OK when someone can't accept our energy. To require someone else to be ready when we are, is definitely going into their boundaries. IMO.


Monday, July 23, 2001

Dear Steve,

What about the other five days? I need you THEN, TOO. Love, Anonymous Giggle!

Monday, July 23, 2001

Dear Sharon,

I didn't know that about your mother, and I am really sorry to hear that. I will stop pestering you to move away from Dr. What's-his-name. I see now why you don't. My thoughts and prayers are with your mom.

Love, Anonymous

Monday, July 23, 2001

Thank you Theresa!!

Love, Sharon

Monday, July 23, 2001

Or........was it Perdida?

Thank you Perdida!

Love, Sharon

(I know that Jay already knew about my it couldn't have been Jay!)

Monday, July 23, 2001

Or.....could it be Asha???

Thank you Asha!!

Love, Sharon

hhhmmmmmmmm I'm not sure if I like this anonymous stuff!!!!

Monday, July 23, 2001

Or.....could it be Trubble??? Always a possibility, heheheh

Thank you Trubble!!

Love, Sharon

hhhmmmmmmmm I'm not sure if I like this anonymous stuff!!!!


Monday, July 23, 2001

Dear all, Sharon here,

Yes, thank you for posting your kindness about my mom. It has been tremendously hard to go through since she is truly my best friend.

Her only symptom was pain. We rushed her to the emergency room in February, 2000 only to find out she had advanced colon cancer. They removed the cancerous part plus 6 adjacent lymph nodes, then underwent chemo for 6 months and nearly died in the middle of the treatment due to severe dehydration. Then in December 2000, it had spread to her liver. They did a liver resection in March 2001 and removed these 2 cancerous lesions and she is now back in chemo. She's doing as well to be expected, and she goes in for another cat scan next week to take a picture of her liver to see 'what's what.' Needless to say, it has been rough for her. So, in January 2001 I moved back in the neighborhood that I grew up in (unfortunately the same neighborhood as Dr. Psycho man and his naked friend). So, this neighborhood are my roots, and I despise the fact that he lives a second away! Though time is helping me through this.....I just have to stay strong and centered for my mom, as reality is what reality is....though I'm hoping and praying otherwise....she's only 65 and looks 50. She's still a very attractive woman, inside and out. So, I cry a little bit about it and still thank the Lord that she's still here.

4 days after we got word that it spread to her liver -- which was 1 week before Christmas - Dr. Psycho broke up with me saying that he couldn't do 2 holidays in a row with the same woman. Remember that? That was the most evil thing someone's ever done to me. I'll NEVER forgive him for that!

Love, Sharon

Monday, July 23, 2001

Wow, Sharon. All this time, I never knew. I would be VERY angry at Dr. Psycho! In fact, I HATE him on your behalf! :) (I guess that's codependent...)

No, you can't move from your own turf. That would be too much to give up! I used to ask you why you didn't move and it makes total sense now. I am so sorry about your mom! :( Hang in there and enjoy your time with her.

Love, Perdida

Monday, July 23, 2001

Dear Perdida,

Yes, thanks, I really, really hate him too. I think I also shared with via post months ago the following scenario:

I was on the phone with him last May 2000 and I was crying about her, losing her through cancer, and then I said "and I'm about to lose you too" (meaning Dr. Psycho) because we were in the process of breaking up. And he says "well, at least you have your girlfriends, Claire and Evelyn unless they dumped you too - but then you'll always have your TV set."

I thought that was the weirdest, meanest thing anybody could ever say to me. In fact, of all of my 46 years of life, I have never met a more meaner human being in my entire life. I'm serious! Dr. Psycho was mean and cruel. He is bizarre. I've never met a more disturbed individual in my life. And what I've written in these posts in only the tip of the iceberg.

So, thanks for your support, Perdida. I think the reason why Dr. Psycho could not be emotional supportive for me in a time like this is because of fear. Death scares him anyway, and he's such an immature man, 53 y/o going on 12, he can't handle any type of emotional stress. However, he has no problem inflicting it on others. He just can't step up to the plate to help anyone else. Though he sure likes his own needs met!!!!!! (if you get my drift...) and this man is a psychologist (unlicensed remember!) hahahahah Hehehehe! 

Love, Sharon  

Monday, July 23, 2001


Thank you for the warm welcome! I will try posting more often and see if that helps.

Take care. Nellie

Monday, July 23, 2001


Thank you for writing back to me. I'm glad to hear that you were not offended. The things that you talk about sound so much like what I have been going through lately. I do freelance work, and like you, I spend a lot of time alone and my schedule is very unpredictable. A while back, I had a couple of large projects fall through, which was really difficult for me because I was really counting on them. Counting on getting the sense a satisfaction from a job well done, and counting on having the security of money in the bank. I didn't get either, and that was really tough. I thought it was just a matter of terrible timing.

And then I began to wonder if the "universe" was trying to tell me something. I know that when I get started on these projects, I can become obsessed with them almost to the point neglecting other important things in my life (like myself!), and that the deadlines and dealing with the demanding (and sometimes downright abusive!) clients can really take a toll on my peace of mind. Could it be that this was a not so gentle hint for me to slow down and concentrate on other things?

I would really like to have more of a sense of "community" in my life as well. In the past I have limited myself to a few select people, and unfortunately most have them have been abusive. I'm used to being alone, so it doesn't really bother me. It is safe. Sometimes though, I do get lonely, and I would like to socialize more. It's just my lack of confidence that is holding me back... I get so frustrated and think I should "just do it." I can, and I have just done it. It is the second guessing that it hurting me. How do I make it go away?

My version of "doing nothing" could probably be more accurately described as "doing something." That is, doing something with your hands and your "spirit." I too, have spent a lot of hours on the couch feeling drained. So much time that the cushions have gotten lopsided. LOL! Sometimes I am physically tired, so that's OK. It is when I am emotionally and mentally drained that I have to literally pick myself up and "do something!" Cleaning and organizing is great. Sometimes I think of it as chasing away the evil spirits, and that puts a smile on my face. Eating healthy foods is very nurturing. I have found that some foods can cause mood swings and irritability, so I eat wholesome foods as much as possible. Although, I'm not very fond of cooking either. :)

My very favorite thing to do is flower gardening. I don't really have to give it any thought, It just comes naturally to me. I'm not really sure why. My grandparents were farmers - maybe it's genetic? After I've spent time in my garden, even if it is just a few minutes, I feel somehow more alive and energized. It's as though it adds energy to my spirit and body, instead of draining it away. I get the same mental benefits from it as I do from meditating, and even if I happen to think about things or feel things that bother me, I am not drained from the experience. Another hint from the "universe"?

I think of gardening as my gift and I am grateful to have this ability. It's been my experience that one must not underestimate the power that can come from honoring their own unique and special "gift." Find you gift and honor it, Asha, and you will find harmony within yourself.

Gotta go now. Take care. Nellie

Monday, July 23, 2001


Thank you for your very wise and thoughtful advice. I'm going to take a break now and think about it. I will post more later.

Thanks. Nellie

Monday, July 23, 2001

Hi Catbox, I've been lurking for some time now. I wanted to comment on the saying mean things. I have often wondered if it's just inevitable that our partners will say the meanest stuff that we will hear in our lives (and maybe us to them) because they are the ones we live with and deal with the most. Or if that is just an excuse. I know I've said some mean things to by ex. But, wow, did he EVER say some mean things to me. For instance, the night I decided to leave him, he said that "He only began dating me again because he was drunk." That did me in. I finally faced reality then. On the other hand, my best friend, who has a lot of mutuality and goodwill going on in her marriage, has had her hubby say horrible things to her too. But they talk about it and work it out and he doesn't repeat it and tries to stay out of situations that tend to get him in a nasty mood. (He did it when he was very drunk.) What my BF hubby did tell my BF he hated her and took her wedding ring off and flushed it down the toilet. This was the culmination of a BIG argument, nevertheless, I was shocked off my seat when she told me about it. Yet, they worked past it. It took some time and he replaced the ring but yet.... That's why I think that even in good marriages really mean things are sometimes said/done. It's just the frequency and the aftermath and the overall attitude the couple has for each other that makes a difference. I have enjoyed the CatBox discussion and hope to become more involved.

Monday, July 23, 2001

Catbox, Oh I forgot to sign my post above (mean things). sorry!!! --DJ

Monday, July 23, 2001

Catbox, Oh I forgot to sign my post above (mean things). Not intentional, I swear. Giggle. --DJ

Monday, July 23, 2001

Hi Dr. Irene- Thank you for your reply to my post on July 20th about my controlling husband. Ever since I've known my husband he is always under a lot of stress (from worrying about everything in his world and outside his world). For many years he gets itchy rashes all over his body due to this pressure he is under. I used to be aware of this and always try to anticipate his moods when he came home or be understanding when he had a bad day but I finally realized that if he could control himself around people during the day and portray a happy congenial person, then he could certainly do the same for me and that's when I started getting the wake up call that I wasn't being treated the way I deserve. On Saturday night we were watching TV and as usual he started making derogatory comments about some women on TV. It really gets his goat to see women who are strong - portrayed in power positions or hearing about actresses who have babies and aren't married (in other words a woman who thinks she can live without a man). I've told him to stop making these comments in by presence because I get uncomfortable especially since I NEVER make any blanket statements about men. But, when he continues I always leave the room and do my own thing. I need a suggestion on how to respond to my husband who is very articulate and an excellent debater. Once, a judge even told him he should have been an attorney he is so good with words. I've even used some of the responses listed on your site on how to respond to abuse. For instance if he stated "that I didn't have a sense of humor" I would respond and say "that's right" and walk away, then he follows me and further asks "Why don't you?" and then I'm left to explain. "Because." If I answer any abusive question with a short "yes or no" he continues to ask me questions like "why are you this way?" "Because." or "why to you think like that?" "Because." Before, I first posted to this site I even thought in my mind now how would Dr. Irene respond when an incident like this happened, but I always get stuck. These are skills that take a while to learn. Keep practicing after the fact! Thank you very much!!! Susann

Monday, July 23, 2001


The Doc's previous advice is still good for all of this. The reason that you (in your husband's view) "don't have a sense of humor" is "Because we're different." And probably incompatible! Since he sees women as different, if all else fails, tell him it's because you're a woman, and if he wanted a perfect mate for himself he should have married another man. In a good marriage it would be worth looking at yourselves and sharing how and why you're different, what you laugh at and what you don't, but with your husband this may not be fruitful. He may not want to know, only to shape you into some image of his own, which isn't who you are. It's worth asking why he doesn't have a sense of humor himself, why he can't laugh at life instead of worrying himself into a huge rash, and why he can't laugh at your differences, but it probably won't get you anywhere to ask him that. Ask yourself that instead and use it to bolster your own self image. Do it while you enjoy browsing the mall.

Pick your fights too. If he picks a fight with a third party, women in power positions or actresses having fatherless babies, why would you want to step in the firing line and take the flak? Take the Doc's advice instead. Agree with him. Or ask him why he dislikes them and let him vent his objections on them instead. It's a waste of your energy to defend outsiders to him. You need your energy to take care of yourself. Happy shopping!

Tuesday, July 24, 2001


I'm so sorry about your mom. I have not gone through anything like that yet, but can imagine what it must be like. Dr. Psycho sounds like my husband's just-as- evil twin! Mean vicious remarks ore my H's specialty, and he always looks so smug like he's done something so clever! And of course it's my fault he's so mean--with a "better" woman he wouldn't have to be that way!! You are well rid of him. Just remember that he WILL be cosmically punished if he doesn't change his ways!

Good thoughts for you and your mom----  Yes. And prayers.


Tuesday, July 24, 2001

Hi Trubble, That salmon looks good -- glad you are out of the catbox. *giggle*

Ms. Friday

Tuesday, July 24, 2001

Oh Trubble Mousie just saw our picture with the tuna cookies. Mousie looks so young and slim in that picture. It must be extreme digital remastering or there is something fishy in those tuna cookies. Where did you get tuna cookies? Mousie only knows how to make instant pudding and nuke anything frozen. Most people call it cooking but Mousie thinks of it as eradicating salmonella. Well Dusty has agreed to be your grandma and she will knit you some baby booties and of course you will tell her how wonderful they are since she can't see you making them into spitballs and launching them at the squirrels. Actually for an old lady she can still go flying through the house and jump up on the window sill even after she had cancer last year. So you got a pretty lively granny if you ever want to curtain climb or practice Cat-rate on her toy mousies. Thank you for leaving Mousie the mousie traps in the will. She is going to put them on her music stand to catch her music if it tries to blow away. Of course if it is too hard for Mousie to play, she will sabotage the mousie trap so it doesn't work and the music blows away just as it gets to the parts where they just cram way too many notes in one measure. It looks like a fly reunion and serves no purpose other than to increase fly paper sales and boost the economy. So you are out of the cathouse or doghouse or whatever you were in. Can Mousie sublease it to a couple of porcupines that are in town to work as nail beds for those snake charmer guys that stay overnight on their way to the "we don't have any art but wanted to have a fair anyway so we could eat junk American food instead of mush in a can" fair. Maybe Dusty is my RealMommy?

Tuesday, July 24, 2001

Dear Catbox, I'm hoping to find some advice on helping my daughter with her abusive husband. She is young,(21) going to school fulltime and trying to decide if she should give him yet another chance. I have read all through numerous sites on the I-net and this one seems to have a lot of caring people who have been through this sort of thing. Me, her siblings and her friends have said all we can say...we've talked till we are blue in the face and there she goes back to him. I don't know how to make her understand that he is not going to change. What do I do or say? Please help me someone!! Thanks a bunch, Ginjane Send her here. That's all you can do. That and buy her a copy of The Verbally Abusive Relationship .

Tuesday, July 24, 2001


Oh my gosh we must be in the same industry! I bet Steve would relate to what you are saying too.

I think I have been given the same message you spoke of about slowing down and refocusing. Sometimes, when I was ready to give up, a new project would just keep me hanging on. Then I'd be ready to give up again.. and another one would happen.

Strangely, as this one project just looked like it had fallen through, I got a phone call today saying that it looks promising again. I'm not getting my hopes up so much this time, but I'll give it my best shot.

I think working alone *can* be lonely. For years I worked in an office with other people, and I really enjoyed the social aspect of it. It's easier when you are in an office to meet people and make friends just naturally. It takes "effort" when you aren't in that situation. Still, I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing if I didn't love it.

I think some people think I'm nuts for being self-employed when there are so many ups and downs. I think my family worry about me too and that just adds to the pressure! That's why I need to just get everyone out of my head and do what's right for me. Even if that does mean doing absolutely nothing! Bingo!

Gardening is wonderful isn't it? I have a big garden and sometimes I have a hard time giving myself the privilege to do the things I like that until my work projects are underway. It's all part of how when one part of my life isn't balanced it seems to affect all the other parts.

Steve's very nurturing to plants. He takes extra-good care of them, when half the time I forget (or just don't care enough) and let things in the garden die.

Nellie, I wonder what thought process is going on that has you second guessing yourself? I'll bet it's some kind of irrational thinking that is "correctable". Maybe it's the common - "rejection is dangerous" thinking? I just read your post from Bravenet and I'll bet you know the connection.

take care




I think Dr. Irene was a bit annoyed with me when she posted that now “infamous” line to me (wink). That’s okay because I *can* be annoying. And I'm not mad about the comment any*more* ('nother wink) My interpretation of it was probably a lot worse than what she intended in any case.

I must be ahead of you in the rejection domain (giggle) because my button is “reject me if you want, as long as it's for the "right" reasons". :) Giggle!



Thanks for the positive thoughts! Anonymous poster hah! Your style is a dead giveaway! I thought you were impersonating me for a minute with the 5 days thing (so that rules me out for sure Sharon).

I like what you said about changing negative thoughts right away. Someone mentioned the book "Conversations with God" and there was one section that I really liked on this topic. Here it is:

"When you catch yourself thinking negative thought – thoughts that negate your highest idea about a thing – think again! I want you to do this, literally If you think you are in a doldrums, in a pickle, and no good can come of this, think again. If you think the world is a bad place, filled with negative events, think again. If you think your life is falling apart, and it looks as if you’ll never get it back together again, think again. You can train yourself to do this. (Look how well you’ve trained yourself not to do it!)"

~Conversations with God – Neale Donald Walsch

Cool huh?



Just a couple of things - it's interesting how our perspectives were so different on that social function cancellation. I know I'm giving a lot of mixed messages, because I *am* mixed. I thought of it as a work related thing, and that's how I was dividing things in my mind - work/personal. More stuff to work on Asha: No need to be hung on up expectations. These are just various attempts to control the environemnt / know what's coming / make it safe / lessen anxiety. You'll never be able to do that.. Life happens, junk happens. Your best bet: Notice your own anxiety, discomfort, whatever and sit with it. Learn to deal with the feelings. Accept the feelings. If you accept the discomfort of not knowing, the junk that is thrown your way at each step is no longer yukky....

I'm still afraid to get too close, because first, I know that you don't have the time and energy to work on the relationship right now, and second, I really do want to have a counselor or somewhere to turn so we can consciously work on resolving the issues that come up again and again. When and if you are ready at some point...

I have many thoughts about the win/lose YOUR dog/MY dog stuff but I'm going to leave it for now. If we use those kindergarten rules and agree not to blame, and that we are both willing to resolve the problem, then there might be a way to work it out. It comes down to how *badly* both of us want to resolve the problem, and whether we are focusing on "blame" or resolution. Good. Also, fair warning to both of you: Talk about the Self. Don't complain about other.  (Some common attempts to circumvent this rule include: "I feel that when so and so does this and that..." Giggle!)


Finally - Dr. Irene

Thank you for the loads of "blue pencil". I will ponder what you said and take some time to absorb it all.

If I'm really as much of a pain in the butt as I think I am to you, then I guess I don't know why you would waste so much time on me. Giggle!



Enough for now. Don't know how much I'll be posting for the next little while 'cause work beckons me...

take care all


Tuesday, July 24, 2001

Dr. Irene,

Thank you so much for your advice. I will definitely try to stay focused on what I can change. I feel like I am under this spell to just go "fix". I really need to look at what was causing my anger, acting out, and find that inner peace for myself. I can't do it with him self-destructing every 5 minutes with in my view. I can not tell you how distracting it has been. However, I know I still need to master detaching and ignore the yukky stuff especially since "we have only just begun" with the alcohol disease taking over him. He is becoming more obsessed and angry now that he can't dump his load on me. He is bound to hit the bottom and bounce up, and hit again. I need to stay out of the way. I just can't watch. It's terrible I want to swoop in and save him. At this point he doesn't even want my help. I will "sit with my feelings" and figure out what I can do that's more helpful. Instead of enabling. All you can do is deal with your own discomfort of wanting to "help" and knowing it's not helpful. Do nothing and sit with it. It took me a couple of weeks to figure out that as long as I engaged I was keeping the cycle going (for both of us). I think I caught on now. The truth will show in my actions this week. :)

Thanks again!!


Tuesday, July 24, 2001


I was wondering what a normal healthy relationship is suppose to feel like. I know what it's not now. This definitely is not it for me.

I always admired those couples that expressed this unspoken respect and admiration for each other. I figured I had something wrong with me or did not deserve any better. I was looking for mutual respect. I was completely lost.

I would support my husband traveling and trying out new experiences when we started dating. When my husband was younger he rode his bike to Mexico from our front porch (900 miles). He traveled with the Tour De France. He was so healthy and in shape. I would just let him go and not even worry. I felt better about myself back then too. I was full of spirit and hope for our future. I was self-sufficient. I had lots of friends. I had my own identity. This was in the first couple of years. I just need to get some of that back.

Then when we started building a family and buying our house the pressure was on and everything started changing. We did not have the coping skills to survive the long haul. We thought we knew what "love" was and what healthy was. I never realized we were just enduring and not feeling.

After the children came. The walls were being built. The emotional connection was missing. I felt alone all the sudden. I could not put my finger on it. I figure it was my hormones, staying home, having children, getting older, and being responsible adults. It had to be me. I started trying to put the puzzle together from my childhood. The alcohol was taking over my home and my husband. My coping skills were just not working for me. I became depressed and rather pathetic. I was ready to just roll up in a ball and give up. Hah, until I met my 90 year old Priest running at 5:30 one morning. He was full of life. He could run circles around me! I knew I needed a change. I could barely keep up with him.

I was never around healthy people enough to know what it was really like. I try to connect with those I admire but I want to be able to offer something. Right now. I am pretty emotionally unavailable at the moment myself. My kids will tell you. As they keep saying "MOM!, MOM!, MOM are you listening?".

You know there are those people you meet that just draw you close to them. They just give a glow of spirit around them. A warm smile and confidence that you can just be yourself. They are okay with themselves. I know them when I meet them. Unfortunately I did not spend enough time getting to know them. I was too busy trying to fix my husband and mold him into a prince. I can't tell you how many "Nice Guys" tried to date me when I was younger. Darn!!!

So I would love to know what that feels like to be in a healthy emotionally available relationship. I don't mean I want him hanging on my every word. Oh, no I ramble too much. Just to at least be able to offer me a "Hey, good for you!" or "Hey, why don't you just give it a try and tell me what happens."

My husband told me "We will talk about it later." I have been waiting for 9 1/2 years to talk and be heard. Now that I am asserting myself. He is sick of me and doesn't want to hear it.

That's why I agree with Asha about dumping in the catbox. I like to come here because I have so much to unload. It has been bottled up. I was really excited when I started therapy. Oh, boy I was going to get my turn now. My poor therapist! Lucky for me she kind of finds me amusing.

I am hoping to "just know" when that time comes. Meanwhile, I am going to enjoy the peace and quiet. I kind of like this time alone stuff. It's not as bad as I thought. :)


Tuesday, July 24, 2001

Oh ,thank goodness for that, I thought I had lost the internet access. I will have to go back and read the posts later. Meanwhile- YUK YUK YUK what an awful couple of days and now I feel a bit mote myself I am not sure why it all went as it did...

Things went wrong the moment Jake returned and I am baffled as to why initially I acted as I did. He asked me to 'get out of his way". As I was on the stairway and he was in HKK's room this was unnecessary; but to my amazement I just burst into tears and said "I just want a kind word from someone." Jake of course just went away and darling HKK ordered me to bed and made me a cup of tea......

Somewhere along the line HKK decided he wanted to tell his dad how he feels about the way he is treating is not good when a 13 year old says to his mum "I see how hard things are for you and how easy they are for dad."

Then yesterday I kind of crashed into a huge stress and depression- mega style....HKK tried to talk to his father. Jake was trying to put the computer right and came storming up saying he wasn't going to continue because I was "using" HKK as HKK had comedown and said things about our marriage! Then the poor kid got really upset and so did I..........   

We kind of stuck together and I just feel so bad that HKK ended up wanting to get ME to bed and bring me a cup of tea....then I discovered that Jake had snuck downstairs and was trying to fox the his nightshirt- so he has to have thought about things...I never see him around the house in his nightshirt!

Maybe for once in his life he has a conscience? He was really nasty to both of us and it is unusual for him to be horrid to HKK. I think maybe he was shocked to realise HKK wasn't going to accept his bad behaviour...

Even then Jake actually was awful as he said he would stop if I didn't leave HKK! alone! Talk about fear and fear making him a control freak.....

I think I was so off due to lack of sleep and I had to sort out financial stuff and that is very stressful although ironically when sorted will relieve a lot of stress.

But today I feel grounded again and I am planning to ask HKK HKK if\f he wants to do something...he is keen on going to a festival with me too so he must still like me as a mother despite the stress! He loves you Jay.

But why did I suddenly stress out like that.. fortunately HKK went out for most of yesterday so he didn't get me at my worst...I was seriously thinking I needed to ring the doctor - yet despite not enough sleep ( but some) I am more grounded this morning. Does it really all boil down to sleep and why is it so healed by the simple act of HKK bringing a cup of tea...This morning the toast appeared just the same and.........

good grief!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He just came in and talked in a polite and friendly manner about the computer and HKK is NOT present and this is a real breakthrough!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Good heavens! he is going to lend me a tent! (Normally he would say 'no: on principle .........please GOD is he finally thawing and was it all God that I couldn't keep it together.....This is soooooo unexpected....he actually wants to fix the

I really needed that one act of caring- good grief!

I won't build my hopes up, but it just kames the day go better not to feel so rejected as I was feeling....  Oh dear, you are soooo very dependent on Jake's affirmatiom to feel OK...

I know Dr Irene, I should not depend on him for my happiness; but it is so hard living with someone who is as you say, an ice cube.... Giving him that much power over your happiness is a no win Jay.

Ah well, time to move forward. my boss told me yesterday we would be discussing doing yet another course today and that makes me feel competent and wanted and I have decided to ask him if I can run the arts/communication class for the learning disabled again and point out that the students all want it to run....

Dear Asha, I do that with the almond oil...there is also something else you can do which is helpful. I have frankincense and myrrh - both have emotional healing properties, and each night I pour a little l onto a sponge before I go to bed...I also anoint my head with a touch of it.......

Giggle....I think I have to have imagined or dreamt this bit. but thinking of Jake by the computer I realised the image I have of him is of him in the nightshirt I bought him (Hey that is one present he didn't dislike!) and his black ten gallon hat.......

and now he has gone to work and there has been a better atmosphere until he went....Dare I say think I deserved it.

love, Jay

ps: Dr Irene, do you think that the mood swing is that I am just one of those people who cannot function properly if I don't have was so short lived in a way? There is too much stress in your life to make sense of what's going on Jay. Just work on taking care of Jay, even if it seems very hard at times. You promised...


Tuesday, July 24, 2001


Hi. It's Nellie. You asked: "Why do you think you second guess yourself? Approval perhaps? You want others to tell you, you are okay maybe? " Maybe a little, that is part of it. Also feeling like it's not OK to make mistakes, and worrying that I have made one. Like today, I looked at my recent post to Asha and noticed a couple of typos. Darn, wish I'd caught that. It's annoying, yet I'm able to deal with it by telling myself that I'm not perfect and that's OK, and if anyone has a problem with it, well... that's their problem. :)

"Trust that everything happens for a reason." Yes. Absolutely. This is where I place my faith.

"Why do you think what you are saying is not okay? Aren't your views just as valid as anyone else's? They are your views that is it, it is okay to have your views!!" Some history - I was raised in an abusive home where it was not acceptable to voice my own independent thoughts and feelings. (And not just controversial subjects. It could be anything, expressing a personal preference for something, or talking about what I learned in school - anything.) I was often punished and rejected for having my own point of view. In recent years, I have begun to realize just how unreasonable and irrational this kind of treatment really was. There were many, many times when I felt like I was literally clinging to the edge of sanity. I have learned how to listen to and validate my own perceptions most of the time. Yet, sometimes I still can't shake this feeling that I am "bad" and "rotten" and that I have done something terribly wrong. It's irrational. I know.

"Let go of the need to worry how others will respond and just share your views." This is truly the hardest thing, Theressa. I understand that I cannot control anyone else's behavior, and I do not feel responsible for their reactions. However, and this is a big however, there have been so many times that I have been attacked verbally and threatened physically that sometimes my flight or fight response seems to be stuck in overdrive. (Or is it fight or flight? Oh dear, I don't want to goof it up!) Even as a adult, when I'm in these types of situations, I am still overwhelmed with fear, and rightly so. I definitely need to stay away from these people - no contact since last March. :)

Even now, sometimes it is still difficult to carry on any type of meaningful conversation (anything beyond, "hi, how are you" and "fine, thanks"). Social chit-chat is the worst! It's like Russian roulette. I can do it, and on the outside I try to stay cool as a cucumber. On the inside though, I am a bundle of nerves. It is very uncomfortable and sometimes I get physically ill. Writing is much easier because I have more time to think about what I want to say and that helps to boost my confidence a little. Also, I can prove to myself that, I personally, didn't find anything offensive that would in any way "justify" an attack. I need this proof. I worry that I won't have it when I need it.

I suppose most of it is irrational worry and fear, and I feel I have to find a solution to this soon, because it's having negative effects on my self-esteem. I realize that not everyone is going to be like this, yet sometimes, it is still very difficult to take that leap to find out. I've done it before and wished that I hadn't. I believe that everything does happen for a reason though, so I have to tell myself that, and just keep trying.

"Learn it is okay to give your viewpoint and then let go, knowing the universe allowed it cuz it was meant to be." OK, Theressa, I will try this and see how it works for me. On that note, I would like to say something to all the mothers and fathers out there: If you and your children are living with someone who is rageful and unpredictable, who returns affection with mean and spiteful words, or who threatens to, or actually does physically harm either you or your children, please get help and break the cycle.

Educate yourself about the dynamics of abuse, and teach your children that it's not OK to treat others this way. Do all that you can to provide an environment for them that is calm and secure, and show them that they are important and their welfare and safety does matter to you. Abuse can seriously affect a child's self-confidence and their sense of self-worth. It can cause physical illness, and immune system damage due to stress. Please protect your children, and show them that you love them by getting help for yourself.

Thanks, Theressa. Take care everyone. Nellie  You're on track Nellie.

Tuesday, July 24, 2001


You sound like I did lots of the time with Ron my therapist. That guy really p*ssed me off sometimes. He knew it all!! He didn't understand how hard it all was for me. Did he? (I think he did but he knew I could take it and grow.)

Maybe DOC is doing the same for you. Did Dr Irene say to you you're a pain in the butt?

OR is this your assumption?  

I am not defending or rescueing DOC; I know she doesn't need rescuing. BUT for both you and me Asha we both do allot of assuming. Like I did with my partner for two months.

I realise now "If in doubt you must check it out, not sit assuming cuz assuming is the mother of all f*ck ups. (old armed forces saying). THOUGH I believe it is now true.

Take care, lots of hugs Asha, I know how hard it is this mountain to climb. I am sure Steve does to.

YOU SOUND SO MUCH LIKE ME, Maybe we are twins LOL!


If I'm really as much of a pain in the butt as I think I am to you, then I guess I don't know why you would waste so much time on me.

Tuesday, July 24, 2001


You sound much like me. I am told to just take the risk. Decide how you will act/what you will say before hand in your journal. Quarterbacks. Overtime you gain confidence and know some general things to say.

Gordon drew me a picture of a goal post -talk about goals, a dog on one side - talk about animals, a plane on the other - talk about holidays and trips, People YOU and them - talk about your views, thoughts, feelings, ask them about theirs.

Then talk to yourself (not out loud lol), tell yourself you are gonna be okay. Say: Relax, listen to the background sounds, focus on the colors of the others clothes, the shape of their face. ANYTHING OUTSIDE OF YOU.

It helps you feel confident.

Take care Theressa

Tuesday, July 24, 2001

Hi All,

Well I pondered all the questions I had yesterday and all of a sudden Robert Burney came in to my head.

I then went to his site and realised he had updated his pages and all the answers were there for me.

I am sharing this it helped me. Please don't feel obliged to take any of the contents into account. THIS IS JUST SHARING what I found. NO pressure to convert anyone else. PROMISE:

Just a quote from he site that caught my eye: He is working his own recovery programme. I realised for me life is about growing learning, having fun and not about getting to a destination. OR as Robert puts it "There is never any happy ever after, new issues come up all the time, you are never through so just enjoy and keep on moving".

I realise I am unhappiest when I focus too much on the past (dwelling) and not just see what I can change? Why I did? What thoughts made me think xxx was the right choice? Did my fears/anxieties come into this?

Then move on.

Remember each interaction/incident brings the lessons we need to learn there is no need to dwell on past ones as if we still have things to learn we will receive the lessons.

Here is the quote:

As just one small but significant example of the perspective created by these stupid, insane beliefs and the effect it had on determining the course of human development - including the scapegoating of women - consider the myth of Adam and Eve. 'Poor' Adam, who was just being a 'man'- that is, he just wants to get in Eve's pants - does what Eve wants him to and eats the apple. Adam does not have an internal boundary to keep him from allowing his lust to control his choices, or the capacity to say "no" to someone he loves. So Eve gets the blame for Adam not having boundaries. Now is that stupid or what? And you wondered where Codependence started.

You can see more articles at:

Take care Theressa

**This is not a preaching post LOl it is just a sharing POST!!  Hey Theressa, you have my OK to preach all you want. You can even be a pain in the b*&*(! Giggle!

Tuesday, July 24, 2001

Dear Becky,

Thank you for your kind words in your post to me.

Hugs, Sharon

Tuesday, July 24, 2001

Steve here

"What about the other five days? I need you THEN, TOO. Love, Anonymous"

Hehe, I think the 360 must mean I've been going around in circles for too long. Hehehehe!

Tuesday, July 24, 2001


I liked the idea in your post where you said something about it being our choice if we want to share others energy.

Take care Theressa

Tuesday, July 24, 2001

Well I finally got around to writing "MY STORY" in my story 4.

I wanted to wait until I had a happy ending but well as I am learning with the help of Robert Burney. There is never gonna be a happy perfect ending.

So today is as good as any.

Some of you may already know all about me, though if your interested it is there.

Take care, Sharon and Perdida I admire you both for getting on with your lives.

Jay you sound terrific.

Asha and Steve gosh you two are like mirrors to my life LOL and I know you two will be okay.

Becky you have the strength just believe it.

Nellie welcome, this is a great place to grow.

TO All of you enjoy your life.

AND TRUBBLE you are one cute cat!!! ARE you purr-fect, how about a date. Or maybe we can share some salmon. OR maybe your too busy? Will fake mommy let you come out?

Trubble don't tell anyone but I got it finally the other day. A girl on the radio she was saying how her boyfriend said all the right words, but he acted badly.

This poor girl would have drowned to hear those words, even though the reality was she was getting crumbs. ALL because she thought she was fat and no one really liked her. He was the first in 9 months to bother with her.

She never thought like me, maybe she pushed people away and that is why they weren't attracted to her?

SO until you are happy enough with yourself (accepting) how can anyone else accept you. Especially when your body language is saying "Are you joking, I'm no good, are you blind, fancy complimenting me. WELL FANCY".

Well fancy indeed. If you don't love yourself, you will defend yourself so much that no one can get over the walls. Remember sleeping beauty is only a fairy tale, no prince is gonna come over the wall and make you feel special, cuz you already are special.

You are work in progress. BUT you are still a main contributor in this life business. GIVE it your best shot for yourself, no one else and it will pay you WELL.

Well May God/universe bless you all, and I hope you all realise the blessings you are.

Theressa, who is feeling on top of the world now she's written her my story, cuz she saw her progress!!! YIKES did I come this far, Goodness me I've still miles to walk, I bet get going and keep on learning. LOL  Well, well, well... Let's go take a look see...

Tuesday, July 24, 2001

Dear Theresa,

What???? Is this another departure from you? When I read your last post there it read like you were saying farewell, good-bye?????

I'm puzzled.


Tuesday, July 24, 2001

Dear all, Sharon here,

Well, Dr. Psycho's birthday (53) is this Thursday, July 26. I know he is thinking that I'll send him a card, email or a call wishing him a happy one.

He screwed up my birthday the last 2 years by being a complete ^&^& so guess what -- last year we were broken up at this time and he got 'zip' from me too. This year -- he'll be getting 'zip' 'zilch' 'na da'. I know how this dumb idiot thinks.

I'd like to send him an envelope with little dead bugs in it. Oops did I say that? Giggle!

The dead bug lady,


Tuesday, July 24, 2001

Giggle-now I am confused...are we all writing anonymously or not..????Sorry but I don't think I could manage that if I tried!

dear Sharon. You really must get Dr Psycho out of your head!!!!!He wants one worse than dead bugs- complete silence and even not being allowed to dominate your thoughts.

Dear Nellie, I can identify with your post...It is so sad that families end up in such a mess.

Dear Asha. and Steve, Hi. And Lisa and everyone else

Dear Theressa,

What on earth is all this "pain in the butt business?' Giggle - our American friends may even not know what we are on about because this seems not to be an American term...I think we may need a dictionary- or at least they may not have the same references we have! However. let me spell it out in plain English...THE ONLY PERSON WHO THINKS THIS IS YOU.....

Nobody on the board has said is all in your head....and if you don't stop fishing for us to reassure you I will ring you and tell you in as much person as I can at the end of a telephone wire!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So stop fishing and eat Trubble's cake!

I don't think he makes them if you are not wanted in the catbox.

Now as for me....

hmmmmvery interesting. ,now I know why Jake was being so nice this morning..HKK gave him an ultimatum that he could be nice to me and he will go away with him next weekend and if not then he will not go......I am not sure what to think about this but I certainly didn't set it up!

jay- who hopes for a friendly evening after a lovely day with HKK



Tuesday, July 24, 2001

Dear Jay,

What? You don't like my little dead bugs in an envelope to Dr. Psycho? I thought that would be a very appropriate birthday present for him since he rang me at 4:45am on Saturday with nothing to say. Believe me, that's the least I can do. The next time he calls my house with nothing to say, it will be reported to the 'annoyance phone police'. I just have to have one more phone call from him and he's toast. You talk about a 'pain in the butt' -- well, that IS America's lingo as well. Phone hang ups are a pet peeve of mine. I don't call and hang up on people and I don't respect people who do. Very annoying - especially at 4:45am. So, dead bugs in an envelope is more than enough for a birthday present. (of course, I hope you know I won't but its fun to talk about!)

I think the term 'pain in the butt' is universal. 'Pain in the neck' is also another one.

Sharon I prefer live bugs myself. First you get to play chasing them around, and when it's time to eat them, they're fresh. Give him live bugs.

Tuesday, July 24, 2001

*Ginjane - My two cents: Perhaps your daughter needs help boosting her own self-esteem and sense of value and self-worth. When she gets to a point where she values herself and realizes that she does not deserve to be treated this way, she will no longer feel compelled to waste her time in an abusive relationship. I can tell that you do care about her very much or you would not spend so much of your time and energy trying to "make" her understand. She may feel pressured and misunderstood, though, if you are more concerned with making her understand your point of view instead of listening to hers. I think the best thing you can do is to give her lots of hugs and affection, and really listen. Listen to *her* and her reasons for staying. What is she trying to tell you?

*Jay - Hi. Thanks for you kind words. And BTW, yes "pain in the butt" is common in where I live too. So is, "pain in the neck" and "pain in the (fill in the blank). LOL! Take care.

*Asha - We share so many common interests! I work in the marketing field. I really enjoy the creativity. (It's the cut-throat attitude that I'm having a little trouble with though...) I would like to change careers and work with flowers full-time, if I could just get over this mountain of insecurity. It's going to take a giant leap of faith. I just hope I don't have to free fall for too long! LOL! I've been thinking about the concept of "letting go" and my work projects are a really good example. It seems the more desperate I feel to make something happen, the further away it seems to get. And then it seems, just when I have accepted the fact that it may never work out at all, and that's OK - WOW! Things start to happen and just seem to fall into place. Hmmm. Maybe I need to apply this to other areas of my life as well. And yes, Asha, "rejection" does feel dangerous (and life threatening) sometimes. And on the flip side "connection" is just as dangerous... because it might lead to rejection??? YUK! Oh, now you got me thinking about this. Thanks! And good luck with your project, hope it all works out.

*Theressa - Congratulations for being "on top of the world" today. And I so agree, that life is a continual process of learning and growing, so I've decided to take your advice and I'm going to go out on a limb here and try to clarify my "point of view." Ordinarily, I would just let it go and not try, because I would not take the risk of disagreeing with you. I do not want to cause anymore pain to myself, or any one else. It is self-protection that has gone terribly awry. However, this is *big* for me, so I will take a chance.

I really do appreciate that you have taken the time to talk with me about my dilemma, and I worry that I will offend you by trying to explain where I am really coming from. I worry that if you are offended, you will reject me and never speak to me again, and I care about you and I don't want that to happen. I don't even really know for sure if you will read this because it sounds like you are leaving. (?) I'm not really sure, because you've said this before.

You said, "Overtime you gain confidence and know some general things to say." Yes, I do this, it does help to have some ideas of what *to* talk about. However, it is not so much in the knowing of *what* to say, as it is in the (sometimes) irrational fear that I will be attacked for saying it. Accept: It's OK to get attacked. It's OK if they all hate me. Etc., etc.

Also, "Say: Relax, listen to the background sounds, focus on the colors of the others clothes, the shape of their face. ANYTHING OUTSIDE OF YOU. It helps you feel confident." This *is* the problem. I am hyper-vigilant. I spend so much of my energy focusing on the environment and searching for cues in body language and vocal quality - that I totally loose touch with myself and my ability to vocalize my own thoughts. I become overwhelmed and dissociate. It feels like my brain and my thoughts are floating about a foot over my head and I can't make my mouth move to express them. It's like my soul just wants to leap out and escape my body because it is far too painful to stay! It's AWFUL!!!  Excellent! You've identified the yukkyness. Now, face the fear and the fear will disappear. Knowing there is no way you can escape your body, tell yourself to jump out and get it over with already.

*Thanks for listening. Take care everyone. Nellie

Tuesday, July 24, 2001

Sheesh... Do I obsess or what? Typos, typos, typos. If you see anymore, please mark it up and fax it to me. LOL! Here is the revised version:

*Jay - Hi. Thank you for your kind words. And BTW, yes "pain in the butt" is common where I live too. So is, "pain in the neck" and "pain in the (censored). LOL! Take care.

Thanks, Nellie

Tuesday, July 24, 2001

Arrgh. It should read, "pain in the (censored)." (With and end quote after the period. That is right isn't it? The end quote goes after the period and not before. OK I'm fine now.) LOL! Nellie Giggle!


Tuesday, July 24, 2001

Greetings Catbox:

I've really had an interesting week so far. We are spending a lot of time with my mother-in-law because relatives are here from out-of-town. She has two grandchildren in her care this week. Since coming to this site I've have been so much more able to see that her behaviour is just as abusive as my husbands and also that shows me where he learned it.

Three weeks ago she gets in touch with us very exited that these grandkids were coming to stay and we assured her that we would keep our week clear. My son loves these cousins, who are his age, and was counting the days until they got here. So they finally arrive and we've spent the last two days sitting around home until mid or late afternoon, not knowing where they are. Each night she has let on that the kids could get together in the morning and each day she has taken them in her car to different places (shopping, etc.), while we sit, afraid to leave in case they should call. My son is the one who is disappointed and impatient. My point is... I don't care if she has plans with them and wants to do special things with them. I'd be more surprised if she didn't. But again I'm seeing that she won't come out and say that she has these plans. I think its because she's afraid the kids might want to do something else. These kids want to be together as much as possible since they don't see each other often. Instead of letting everyone know what she has planned she will just let on that what they want is fine and the next day change it all over to her program. In the meantime we sit and wait and wait and wait. I would be fine with whatever she had planned I just wish she had the courtesy to tell us.

Again this classic behaviour for my husband. I am amazed at the similarities I am finding between them this week.

Love Norma

Tuesday, July 24, 2001


Please mail me the dead bugs, I can use them on the Fly Fishing trip I'm taking for about five weeks in Montana. I will check in on you catbox guys from the road...sounds like a whole new attitude is unfolding for Sharon. I like it!


If you are going to take a break from the catbox for a while...OK . There are lots of us here, including me, who benefit from your wisdom and insight and will sorely miss the inspiration we receive from your posts.

Love and hugs to y'all,

Tim B.

Report to Trubble later on all the " Big Ones" in the Madison, Boulder, Ruby, Jefferson and Stillwater Rivers...

Tuesday, July 24, 2001

Oh this is too funny - I just had to post.

How we make assumptions:

#1 *I* assume that Dr. I was thinking I was a "pain in the butt" (but reflect that that may not be exactly the case)

#2 Theressa cut and pastes that line into her post and leaves it there (accidentally I *assume*)

#3 Theressa talks about "happy endings"

#4 Sharon thinks Theressa is leaving the catbox

#5 Jay reads the line about being a "pain in the butt" that Theressa accidentally left in her post and assumes that *Theressa* said it. She tells Theressa it's all in her head and offers reassurance.

#6 Tim B. hears that Theressa is leaving and wishes her well.


Any I missed? Did I get that right? I don't *think* Theressa is leaving...


p.s. I'm not making fun, just reflecting on how *easy* it is to make assumptions. Giggle! Thanks for explaining it Asha; I was lost there...

Tuesday, July 24, 2001


What I am "in denial" of? Careful guys: It's very easy to get all messed up when talking about your relationship in general terms. Try, "Why do you think I am in denial regarding ....")


Tuesday, July 24, 2001

Greetings everyone:


Are you still here. Please don't go away. It seems we are at about the same stage here in the process with our husbands and new here. Perhaps like me you are learning about everyone here and hesitant to comment.

Please be patient with us while we catch up. I find I have a limited time on the computer each day and I spend most of it reading the articles and catbox which leaves little time for posting. Maybe in time when I feel a little more knowledgeable I'll feel more comfortable with posting.

Wishing you all well.

Love Norma

Wednesday, July 25, 2001

Dear Ginjane and the Catbox, I am new to the Catbox postings and I came here to look at the postings. (I was trying to write something short for Ginjane, but I don't know which part of this may help her daughter's situation, so please edit at will). I'm 23 years old and had previously been in an abusive relationship (verbal, emotional, occasionally physical), lived with the jerk, too, so it was hard to get away from him. Last year I was finally able to get away from him with the help of my friends. The "relationship" lasted 2 years. I always felt something strange, but a lot of things were feeling strange in my life. Going to college, being in a new environment, was especially stressful, and I was intimidated by how smart and hard working other students seemed to be, compared to myself. Some things that finally got the ball rolling that helped me leave that man.... 1). I by chance saw a beat up old book at the library with a title something like "How Do You Know That It's Verbal Abuse?" and I started flipping through it and it was unbelievable that the abusive behaviors listed were things that he would do. And the thing about blaming, and second guessing yourself, and about questioning your reality and your interpretation of the world. 2). I was with a schoolmate and another person, whom I just met, and he is a volunteer at a local group, and I made some comment to my friend about my boyfriend and we looked at each other knowingly. The new person asked me what was wrong with my b-friend. I replied that it was too complicated to explain, and just mentioned some problems off the top of my head, but I said that my bf can still be nice, sometimes. Then he said, well, ANY man can be nice, SOMETIMES. An outsider telling me that helped me realize that I had nothing to lose from leaving this jerk. 3). my schoolmate let me sleep over at her place and introduced me to her friends. we hung out a lot, went out at night, to the bars, dancing, came home late (something I couldn't do), exercising, talking, cooking & eating together, eating out (something the jerk would give me grief for if I went w/o him) basically, they were things that young college students should be doing! I was free from the really stringent rules that the jerk had at home, like never having the Brita pitcher be empty. I would get yelled at every time the Brita pitcher was emptied, and it empties pretty quickly if you cook and the jerk tells you to use filtered water for cooking. When I was over at my friend's apartment, they oftentimes left the Brita pitcher sitting empty in the fridge and it wasn't a big deal. Also, dishes would sit in the sit for a day if they were busy, b/c schoolwork and studying for exams had priority over dishes, which was not the case with the jerk. 4). a friend and I were planning to do something that I had wanted to do since senior year of high school, but had never gotten the chance -- so this was partly the impetus to end things with my bf, and then we would go off on a nice, relaxing vacation. Probably a lot of people around me picked up on how things were strange. Like, my friends (I stopped hanging around friends later on b/c I was busy w/ school, housework, work work) stopped coming over to my apt and they became distant. Later on, my friend said that everyone that knew me would talk about me and my bf and how they didn't like it at all. But I don't remember any of them ever expressing anything either way. Except one time someone asked me how I got the big bruise on my forearm-- from an argument that turned into a wrestling match. And when I do bump into my friends, they would ask whether I was still with my bf. Now I go through my memory, trying to find indications that if I had picked up on, would've let me get out of the relationship sooner. But I don't think I would've been able to get out sooner. Sometimes there are just low points in life and I had to make the decision on my own to leave him. That book on verbal abuse helped. I started using some of the suggested replies to abusive remarks, such as "hey, cut that out, I don't appreciate that", "do you know that I feel bad when I hear you say that?", etc. Not that it helped change his behavior. He just made fun of me for using such strange language. I didn't think I was being abused b/c that's stuff that I would see on TV about physical and sexual abuse, and the image of a battered woman. One time I thought about calling the women's shelter, but I thought that they would've thought my situation too lame -- some "rich, spoiled" college student thinking she is being abused, and that I would rather just go live in a motel room for a few days. Then I realized at that time of the year, motel rooms were going for at least $50/night. Ouch! After I left him, I splurged on myself -- I bought 2 new packs of white cotton briefs. And the months afterward, I dated many intelligent, well-behaved college men and had a wonderfully free time. For Ginjane, I hope your daughter will realize that she IS still young. Schooling is very important b/c that is one way to get a good paying job, so that a woman can be self-sufficient, as well as have something that could be mentally rewarding. Don't let anything get in the way of your education. She may find lots more freedom when she leaves the abusive spouse. And that's freedom to grow and learn more about herself, do the things that she has been thinking about doing but hasn't gotten the chance. She will have to decide for herself to leave, in order to secure her own happiness. I didn't really think much of happiness -- my parents did not marry for love, and home was not supportive, it was kinda dysfunctional, and it never occurred to me that I DESERVE to have happiness in my life, that I deserve to have someone who will listen when I speak and support and encourage me. 

P.S. I'll sign off as Annie, if that name hasn't been used yet. Thanks Annie.

Wednesday, July 25, 2001

P.P.S. And yes, the book I picked up WAS Patricia Evan's book on verbal abuse. (The Verbally Abusive Relationship .)

Wednesday, July 25, 2001

Dearest Sharon,

No I am not leaving I am just celebrating how far I've come, I need the support of all of you still. No more premature dramatics and leaving. (Well I can't promise; I am human.) but I have no plans on leaving.

You and I are great teachers for one another, so are the rest of you, you teach me lots. I want to be part of this growing community. Sometimes it is awful lonely though, cuz you all post at night and I don't have a PC at home so I have to do it in the day at work. It is quiet at present where I work so I have been reading allot and posting some here.

Speak to you later, I hope you know you've come along way to. Theressa

Wednesday, July 25, 2001

Dear Nellie,

GOSH do I know this feeling well! I to feel like this, though I do remember a couple of times I didn't. One was when I totally goofed up and had to go into emergency mode during my micro teach. I talked to myself and told myself I was gonna be okay.

The other was at a big lecture a few weeks ago when I answered some questions.

And one I forgot was at Christmas.

Well what was different about these times?

Well I've done some work on accepting me. I question myself in my journal. About why I am so afraid to have others looking at me. I've thought about what my anxiety is really about.

I also have been accepting the things I do that make me feel worse. As a good friend on "I am responsible board" on this site said "I feel worse when I am pretending" If I elaborate my stories and add on extra bits which are not true. If I just say it like it is then it usually comes out okay.

I know how hard it is I am trying myself to be like this.

I can behave so relaxed and confident when I have been drinking alcohol. Though I have a hindrance in my head. My partner always commented on how I behaved. Recently he told me I get too paranoid. I said "URM, I wonder why, could it have anything to do with your past comments." He couldn't believe he was as bad as he was.

I still would not dare go on a Karoke machine and sing. I don't believe I am very good at it. I to find I am anxious if an audience are watching me.

Another thing is I felt angry when some idiot spilt my drink on me. They didn't buy me another either. I mentioned it and then said "OH well it is only a drink" BUT inside I was angry. Why is it always my drink? I felt like either complaining and making a big fuss. I am told by all I know I make a mountain out of a mole hill. AND i also felt angry that I lost out without a drink. To your credit, you did mention it. Doesn't mean you'll always get what you want...

I just wish I could know what else to do? Instead of either making a mountain out of a mole hill, or being so passive I feel walked all over. Sit with the two sides. Your job is to integrate them more and more.

Take care Theressa

Wednesday, July 25, 2001

Hi All,

Today I am feeling a bit shaken. I keep having a dream where my first abuser is treating me horrid.

Also I am in a bit of a quandary. I was thinking about my past/present etc. I felt hurt. WHY? Well it seems in all my life everyone has had a true best friend who loved them for themselves BUT me, I haven't. Maybe it is because I push others away.

What do you all think? Do I push others away?

In all my life there has been My mom and her best friend for the past 30 years, who I thought was my best friend bothered more with another girl when I hit teens, (so their was "J" and "J"), "L" and "J" were best friends, "CL" and "C" are best friends.

It seems I was always taking along. I had "D" I stayed at her house allot and "J's" house allot but they didn't stay often at my house.


Why is it they all have best friends and me although I thought I did, didn't really. If I didn't ring them, they never rang me much.

WHY what is wrong with me?

Why is it all my friends. Even "A" and "I" were best friends. And then there was "Me" and xxxxxx (no one).

And then a friend (YES my first abuser), I stayed at her house every weekend. Her family took me everywhere. Then she broke up all this by going around with "J", so my friend "J" went around with another "J" and they had lots of laughs together.

Then one day when I went to visit her when she had a baby. She had told "J" before me. And when I went to visit her I heard she was now so friendly with "J" that they went shopping together and on nights out.

Even "CL" who is still my friend she goes out every weekend with "C" and they have a great time. They chat, try makeup on together, buy clothes together.

AND me? Well No I go on my own to do all these things. I only see "CL" every few weeks. AND it is always me who rings her. She has so many friends, she always has someone to go out on the town and dance with.

DO I have people ringing me every day? No!

Why am I so unattractive that I can't attract friends as best friends. Or anyone for that matter?

I am studying and financially I know I can't afford to go out every week. My friend "CL" can. Though even when she couldn't all of the girls went around to her house.

I am even jealous of my neighbor. She is causing me lots of stress cuz she plays her music too loud during the night. THOUGH I am jealous cuz she has lots of friends around.

My two sisters go out and lots of people bother with them.

ME, they think I am too "PREACHY, too above myself"

The other day I was saying I thought it was silly of a woman with a 2 year old, she let him hold on to the trolley without holding his hand. He ran into the road and was killed. I said "why is it people don't realise a two year old is not able to have the sense to hold on to a trolley handle?"

And then another accident happened with a young boy. I said "why is it that people let small children out of their sight, and let them out of the garden to play in the streets. I don't let Melissa, cuz we are suppose to supervise kids."

My sisters said "Well don't drop your hallow Mrs. Perfect"

Why is it so wrong to have values and believes in taking responsibility for your kids??

What is wrong with sharing your views?

GOSH am I really such a boring, high and mighty person????

If not why do others seem to think I am??  Why are you second guessing yourself again?

Thanks for listening, Theressa

Wednesday, July 25, 2001


Please remove the duplicate posts I had some problems posting and it seems to have gone through several times.

Thanks Theressa What duplicates? Giggle.

Wednesday, July 25, 2001

Dear All,

As you are all aware, I have a great FEAR of REJECTION. I am working through this button and want to share some of what I have found, it may help others.

I have a conflict inside of me and have for a very long time, way back into my teens and perhaps before. My conflict is with being GOOD (I always got praise for being good), though good was boring compared to my sisters drama. Though she never got the praise, she sure got the thrill. Though she to wasn't happy so maybe neither of us had it RIGHT!!

Another part of me is/was tense, serious, afraid to enjoy life, afraid to displease anyone. I walked on eggshells and tried to be this false person. Though I still felt empty so again I am searching to be whole. TO BE THE REAL ME. I thought being yourself meant being as you are. I don't believe that anymore.

Being your true self is getting rid of the reactive/anxiety survival skills and really being yourself. Making conscious choices and enjoying life. THE REWARDS ARE suppose to be better than the drama when you truly live.

ANYWAY why did I go to all this trouble being FALSE, PLEASING OTHERS, USING ALL ANXIETY BASED HABITS? I just wanted to fit in. BUT most of all I wanted to avoid the TOXIC SHAME of not being good enough. Though the self defeating habits made/make me feel just that NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

I kept strong values, judge myself and others harshly. You should do xxxxxx. I judge others and myself if any mistakes are made. YES THE PREACHY ME!! Thank you Sharon, Perdida for helping locate this button.

All I ever wanted to know was how I could enjoy life and yet still take care of myself and love myself and be accepted? In other words be serious, make conscious choices, but still enjoy life.

At Christmas I stopped taking myself so seriously but it was in the reverse extreme. From taking myself too seriously analyzing and beating myself up to not caring at all, and then still beating myself up.

I ate, drank, got with "C" all for the sake of being rebellious, not being boring and making sure I had so much work to do to fix, then I could emotionally beat myself up again. INSIDE I felt so unloved, after all I didn't love me, I was NOT GOOD ENOUGH, and so why should anyone else TRULY treat me right!!!

SO the question again is how can I enjoy life and still love me? How can I not be too serious and tense and yet still take personal responsibility for myself???

1) I can recognise I don't need to smoke or do drugs to have a good time. (THIS wasn't taking care of myself) I smoked and drank a lot at Christmas, AT Least I didn't do drugs (thank GOD)

2) I can say YES for myself and enjoy and fulfill my needs

3) I can dance and have fun

4) I do not need to add on and elaborate my stories to get others to like me, to keep their attention

5) I can stop constant complaining about my life

6) I can stop judging others "RELAX" and let others choose how they behave. "Mind my own business" AND say nothing to others about how they are behaving. E.g. such as should you really be eating that? Or drinking that? [I can stop mothering others, and getting over involved]

7) I can plan to do things with others

8) I can make the best of the night, who cares if people change plans at the last minute. Enjoy what is….

9) I don't need to talk so much. And try to keep others attention, or be offended when they don't hear me and turn away to talk to others, or if I am talking they watch TV. It is just like GORDON said they have chosen to focus on something else. (nothing personal) In fact some don't even know they do this.

10) Don't focus too much on one person. Mix and talk to others, even if you did come with only one of the people. (MY friend "CL" she has lots of friends) Without judging her I think perhaps it is because I) She has more free time than me, II) She has no attachments, III) Her child goes to her fathers every weekend giving her more free time, IV) She fixes others problems so perhaps they feel attracted to her since she supports them so much, IIIII) She does anything to please others and will do anything for a laugh. Even take drugs. V) She makes others laugh, Vi) She never complains IV) She never judges, VVI) She socializes and doesn't focus too long on anyone person.

**BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY "CL" makes everyone in her company feel good about themselves. She never judges them to their faces, she does though behind their backs. She seems to gossip about one to the other, and vice versa.

11) Maybe everyone else also wants to liked/loved/ to please others, to have fun


Maybe fear others will reject me. Ashamed of who I am.

Maybe the solution is? Take power away from my neediness and use it to become the best I can. Bingo!  Enjoy my life and keep out of others. 

Finally maybe I can recognise as I have above that no one is perfect. Even my friend "CL" has flaws. So maybe I don't have to give up taking care of me, to have fun. I just need to relax, and stop judging others. Instead I can do what one of you recommended and say this is what I do…….. instead of you should do/ or shouldn't do….

DON'T WORRY BE HAPPY!!!! Is my new motto!

Wednesday, July 25, 2001

Theressa here,

I was just reading a short affirmation I liked and it helped me:

It talked about my dominant thoughts (how I define things, events, what people do, MY INTERPRETATION OF THINGS. Determine my next step.

It spoke about the words I use (how I put things)

Then finally about my deeds (What actions I take, what I do)

All these things are the WHY'S to what is happening to me, and why it is happening.

SO maybe it is that old habit of assuming which slips me up LOL

Take care Theressa

Wednesday, July 25, 2001

Hi All,

Yes I am studying like I am suppose to be.

Though I just had funny thought I wanted to share. (too much time alone that is my trouble, guess I don't know what I'd do without the catbox to talk to, I find my ideas cement when I can share them)

Anyway, I am studying mother's mental states with their children. And it being part of my growth sort of, I wondered what constitutes "Post-natal depression"?

My sister was diagnosed as Postnally depressed, why? Well she was overwhelmed when the children were born, she felt out of control in other words.

Well so did I, feel out of control. People kept telling me ways to do things, criticising me and yelling. Though my sister played dumb and just pretended she couldn't do any of it. She didn't really try, unlike me who tried despite always failing to please those who advised me.

SO what is the difference? Didn't i have more cause to be depressed, I was trying so hard and being knocked down for my efforts daily, I felt so fed up and down and just couldn't understand why I was so useless!

Who wouldn't be when you are never given any encouragement, just rescued or criticized for your efforts!!

Though my point is my sister just played "poor me" and they all rescued her, my family that is, they still do. They call her depressed, even her doctor calls her depressed.

Though me who for years was trying, trying until It hurt and criticized daily. However, I got up and got my esteem from outer things. My sister I am told didn't have my gifts to do this. She isn't academic so how on earth could she help herself?

So the only difference was I had some academic gifts does that mean I have no right to be called depressed. My sister has made no attempts what so ever to help her self.

I for years read and hit brick walls, that is depressing. Now my sister's partner said the other night I can't understand why she is so depressed.

I said "Maybe she is overwhelmed, unsure what to do" He said "She has my support I never put her down."

All I can say is my sister is very lucky and I cannot understand how she can be so depressed. If I had half the encouragement she is given I'd be doing cartwheels. (well now I do get support from you lot grin... so thank you)

Though I guess my mom and dad rescue her still.

Why is she classed as depressed, and I was not? Don't know for sure, but I do know that the medical professions recognizes it misses too many cases of depression...

Take care Theressa

Wednesday, July 25, 2001

Hi Theressa,

I wonder if you didn't get a diagnosis of depression like your sister because you come off in person as really confident and together. It's possible to look like you have things together while not feeling like that at all. I imagine you look very confident, since you say your family say you're a "know-it-all" (ouch!). So maybe people don't look at you as needing any help! They may very well compare you with your sisters and think of you as the strong healthy one. That's kind of good - except when you would like some help!

Your fear of rejection also ties in with what you've described as your "people-pleasing" which to me seems like an outward sign of that same fear. Now that you have noticed that particular button, it is for sure on its way out!

Love, Perdida

Wednesday, July 25, 2001


Why do you need a “best” friend?

I never understood that concept in school. I’ve always had lots of unique, special friends – different people who have been important at different times of my life. That’s what I always thought was so great about friends – you can have *many* of them. Why restrict yourself to one, above all others?

I didn’t have one best friend throughout school, but I never thought anything was wrong with me because of it. The loneliest periods are having *no* friends, but that can usually be fixed. I think the more friends the better! What if your “best” friend moves away, or their life changes and they have less time for you, or dies?

Maybe the jealousy you spoke of is what’s getting in the way of your friendships. Could it be that you are seeing the cup “half empty” instead of “half full”?

You said: “ME, they think I am too "PREACHY, too above myself"

We talk here about the difference between “help” and “fixing/controlling”. If you aren’t “fixing/controlling”, but you did at one time, it takes awhile for people to see the change. Stop worrying about what they think. If you are doing the work, and if you *aren’t* forcing your beliefs on others, then it’s “their stuff”.

If you are feeling bad around your current circle of friends, maybe it’s time to change the circle...

Theressa, one other thing – do you give verbal or physical cues that result in people losing interest (you said: “they don't hear me and turn away to talk to others”)? I ask because I used to speak to people as if I *didn’t* expect them to take me seriously, and so then, of course, they didn’t. I would speak very quietly, and not finish my sentences, for example.

take care Theressa!



We do have common interests!

I hope you will keep expressing your views here whether you agree or not with what people have to say. Sometimes I learn the most from the “disagreements” that come up.

What you said makes perfect sense. You were “raised in an abusive home where it was not acceptable to voice my own independent thoughts and feelings" so you fear abuse as a result of voicing your independent thoughts.

Though there *are* abusive people in the world who won’t want you to express your thoughts, there are many more people who *aren’t* abusive, who can greatly *benefit* from your thoughts. Maybe you can learn not to take the “abusive” types too seriously.

Though not everyone will understand you all the time, you have a right to your “voice” and your perspective. If I don’t see things the same way as someone else it doesn’t mean either of us are “wrong” – we just see things differently. And from our different perspectives maybe we can both learn from each other.

take care


Wednesday, July 25, 2001

Dear Theressa,

I don't think you need a diagnosis of depression. Believe me this is something you can be very glad to be without. My doc still will not technically sign me off the sick list and it is not a helpful thing job or insurance wise to have that 'depression diagnosis. I have been having a real battle with it today as sometimes it just hits me when I have cause to be stressed (which I do today).

The thing is that when you do carry on and cope and have the will to do so it still feels bad; but the sort of depression your sister will have been suffering with is not going to let her be like that- so she will appear all the things you say and yet it is [probably genuine. There isn't a lot of payoff getting a 'depression diagnosis.

What I think you are really wanting, like me is some nurturing and to feel cared for. That is really understandable and I also think that as you say you are in the anger stage then that contributes to a depressed feeling.

I don't want to minimize what you are going through. But I learnt when I got so depressed last year what depression really don't have the 'all pervading blackness." I wrote a poem when I was diagnosed with depression but before I spent that week in hospital and I showed a friend who looked at me and said "that is not depression."----then the blackness came and I understood what she meant.

Then thing is people do appear lazy in a clinical depression - I am only talking about ordinary depression here-it is almost impossible to move at times for some people.

Also you could call depression the selfish disease as it makes people turn in and totally uncaring of the plight of others- you can't see much but your own stuff in the really bad times.

I do think some people get there and then get locked into a sick state- it takes a lot to start again and I do see people around me who find a security in it- but you can do nothing until you can see them finding the one thing that will lift the depression....

I think you need to find one way to get nurtured each day and go for it...It helps to do one thing to help yourself each day. even if like I did, it is posting that you need some TLC, lighting as candle. using oils., Having a latte, painting your nails or even using a footbath. I have one and it does help a bit.......

It is annoying when you need the care too. But don't make comparisons with your sister; be glad you are you and while not pretending you don't feel depressed be glad that you have some coping skills. You can still celebrate your moves forward and that is so precious. It is NOTHING to do with the academic.

Also, about the friendship thing.. please  don't analyze away your friends. I think as you heal up you will find people gravitate to you more. You remind me so much of one particular friend of mine who really wanted to be whole so much she put her heart and soul into it and as a result there was some backing off by some people; but then she got so very healthy and everyone wants to be round her. The Christian counselor pointed out tome last week that it is always the case that the more sorted [people are the more they draw people to them.

Love Jay,

Wednesday, July 25, 2001

Dear Theressa,

Thank you for writing back to me and sharing your perspective. I appreciate that you took the time to respond directly to me.

Take care. Nellie

Wednesday, July 25, 2001

Dear Asha,

Thank you so much for your warm and compassionate response. I am glad to have shared my thoughts with you. I feel energized by the experience. Wishing you a happy and peaceful day.

Take care. Nellie

Wednesday, July 25, 2001

Dear Catbox,

Does anyone else experience this? Sometimes I get easily overwhelmed by noisy and crowded places and people that have a very strong "presence." It's like I loose the connection between my spirit and my body and at times this makes it very difficult to have a meaningful "connection" with someone else when I don't feel connected to my own Self. Physically, I feel a sensation like my brain and my thoughts are floating about a foot above my head. It is very distressing and is usually accompanied by other physical sensations that feels like someone is punching at my stomach and squeezing my throat. Sometimes, I can be physically ill for days following this type of experience and I often get fevers and headaches.

I have been this way ever since I was a child. I can remember becoming very distressed at school and other social functions. I did not get any support from my parents, who instead ridiculed me for being "weird." My mother is mentally and emotionally unstable, and my father is an alcoholic who is emotionally unavailable. I learned at any early age not to voice my opinions or "point of view" on any topic for fear of being attacked verbally, and sometimes physically.

I wonder if these physical reactions are symptoms of PTSD, or if there is a biological cause. I can calm myself down by walking around or splashing cold water on my face. However, sometimes it takes a while, and I am so very self-protective that I do not want others to know that I am weak and vulnerable at that moment. This is very important to me, and I am continually searching my environment for cues that I might be attacked. I do my very best to not appear "weird" or "strange" to others and I sincerely hope that if you saw me at the grocery store, or on the job, you would not know all this is going on inside of me.

I have rarely tried to talk to anyone else about this in such great detail, because I am fearful that I will be ridiculed, or my situation and feelings will be minimized. Nellie, these are your fears, and good for you that you recognize that. Sounds like there's a tad of panic disorder and/ or social anxiety in your soup. Whatever it is, you're looking at an anxiety disorder of sorts (which PTSD also is). The fix, in so many words, is to face each fear so that it no longer frightens you.  In addition, I doubt myself and my ability to express myself in a healthy and productive manner. Admittedly, I have a lot of other issues associated with the 37 years of abuse I have survived: codependence, boundaries, lack of self-esteem and confidence. This however, is the one thing that still haunts me and prevents me from living the life I so desire. I post here because I would like to find a solution. Look at this book or find another cognitive behavioral approach. The research suggests this model is the most effective approach): How to Control Your Anxiety Before it Controls You . Also consider medication to get you started. Antidepressants are "anxiety-busters." Do get some professional help. You don't have to suffer!

Thank you for listening. Nervous Nellie

Wednesday, July 25, 2001

Hi all. Kathy here.

Theressa - I just had to respond to your posts about what a healthy relationship is...

Geez, I wish I knew. I am trying to figure this out in terms of my boyfriend. I have thought about this and look at other relationships and notice things are missing in ours...

There is no sense of partnership between us. No sense of planning for a future together, or making decisions about our son together. I have brought this to his attention many times and he acknowledges me but in a way that's almost a putdown - like I am asking for something I don't know anything about.

I have come to the conclusion that he has big control problems. He is so afraid of letting anyone into his life and letting them have any influence over him that he tends to go overboard with his determination to keep things separate and keep me as insignificant in his life as he can.

So, here I am - 5+ years into a relationship with a man still afraid to let me into his life entirely. We have a child. Sex is still good but he has some control issues with that too. (He can't let go) We now live separately and I've got some of my self-esteem back.

I am concentrating on myself more although I backslide sometimes. Friday night I was upset over some bills I got in the mail - I am working on getting my finances in order but have been neglectful and it will take some time. I was crying (in front of him) - why? Because I wish I could just share all my burdens with him - but I don't trust him to be comforting and helpful - I only can hear his putdown comments which I've heard over and over....

So, I keep asking myself - "If this is all there is (to the relationship) and will ever be, can you accept this and deal with it?" My answer is "No, I don't think I can." I am trying to figure out what I want, lay my cards on the table and then walk away. No more wishing, no more crying, no more assuming he knows what I want.

Enough for now....still thinking....taking things day by day


Wednesday, July 25, 2001

Theressa....two quick things for you...

I suffered from PPD - believe me, it didn't matter if someone helped me, put me down, gave me the moon - I was in a BIG BLACK HOLE and couldn't get out. It was horrible. I didn't believe in suicide so instead used to pray that God would just let someone smash into me while I was driving so I didn't have to live anymore. The medication helped me tremendously - I was able to stop crying and feeling overwhelmed and then able to take a good look at my life through counseling and see what changes I needed to make.

I think you are very aware of yourself and what you need to do to feel better about yourself.

And about being popular/interesting etc. with your friends....I learned a while ago that the most interesting people we meet are the ones most INTERESTED in us! Ask questions about people, be interested in their lives and what's going on, add tidbits about your own life, practice empathy and compassion (everyone has some sort of sadness/complaint in their lives).

People generally won't reject someone who listens to them - but often will steer clear of those offering unwanted advice - a lot of people aren't aware of behaviors that lead them into unwanted situations even though you may see them and think of helping them.

Hope this helps!


Wednesday, July 25, 2001

OK, one more thing Theressa--

I am reading the Celestine Prophecy - thanks for posting about it. I am only in the beginning of the book but it is starting to make a lot of sense to me. I can't wait to get home tonight and read more.

I'm glad you're back posting in the catbox. Your posts really do seem to highlight a part of my life and make me think!


Wednesday, July 25, 2001


This is my second time posting here about my mom. How do you deal with someone who is not willing to see that they are being abused? She has told me how he treats her (verbal abuse) and I can tell a major difference. She is like a frightened meek little kid. She is the oldest of 6 kids from an alcoholic home. I know and she knows that she is codependent.

Her boyfriend is a loser, he just recently came back from a trip where he was "finding" himself. He called drunk from this magical trip while I was at my mom's. My husband and I are extremely frustrated at the excuses my mom makes for him. She uses spirituality (Christian) to say why she has to save him. She claims he is a man of God, and that he is just "on the fence" about what he should do next as this great spiritual man.

This pisses me off soooo much! I can't even really feel sad about this. This is basically ruining my idea of who my mom has been. Growing up, she was extremely funny, witty, bright, independent, and very supportive of us. Now I see her as this scruffy "old lady" of a biker who will give the shirt off her back and always take seconds. I know this isn't really about what I should do. I just wanted to vent, because this is hard as hell to deal with. I am very independent and don't like to see her be mistreated. Any advise would help. Has anyone been there before?

Thanks, EP

Wednesday, July 25, 2001

Hi to all cats,

Anne here, and feeling better than I have in a long time. Separation, it is becoming more and more apparent, is inevitable. He is so emotionally unavailable, he is unknowable, as P. Evans would say. I have finally realized that there is nothing I can say or do that would spark the kind of open, loving communication that I so desperately wish for. Just an occasional "I see what you are saying", an inkling that he at least WANTED to understand, would be a start. The camel's back has been broken and put back together so many times that it is not recognizable as anything but the pile of jagged, poisonous splinters that it is. The truth is, at this point I feel more sad for him than anything. Not in a self-righteous kind of way, like I have grown so much and now look at poor him, but because he seems so miserable. The world, including and especially me, seems to be his enemy. His mother is living with us, and that has been harder than I ever could have imagined. She is very nice, and we get along, but it has become a source of resentment for me. He feels that it is his responsibility to take care of her, but she is only in her mid to late 50's and, aside from arthritis, gets around fine. I agreed in the beginning because it seemed like the right thing to do, and I liked her. Ok, I also thought, "NOW he'll see how much I love him. He'll see that I am a good person, and he will treat me with love and respect." That was in the back of my mind, selfish as it sounds. Selfish and totally wrong! I have done both her and myself a disservice by agreeing to this living arrangement. At the time, I was glad to welcome her into our house. I also thought her health was much worse than it actually is. I just didn't know how it was going to be, always having someone else there, with little to no time alone. My solution? I spend almost 75% of my at home time in my upstairs room, either reading or drawing, watching TV ( thank heaven for Comedy Central!), listening to music. I am also working two jobs, for about 60-70 hours a week. Which brings up another thing. Money. No matter how much I give him, it's not enough. He works about 30 hours a week, and constantly complains about all the pressure he is under to "pay all the bills". He says he could work more, but why should he when I don't contribute (his words)? Anyway, I'm pretty much at peace with things- just riding this out, setting aside a little money for when it's time. Disengaging when he is being ugly, cold, indifferent. Due to all the reading and hours of soul searching, it has become clear that the right time to leave will present itself, and I will listen. There is no physical danger, and the rest I can abide for now. I have decided to leave him on many occasions, but something always happens to make me think it's all in my head, that he is only cold and hostile to me because of something I did or said. Or he will do something nice, and I will think that I am just being ungrateful and bitchy. Good news, though, those doubts are getting fewer and farther between, which is why I know the time to leave will come when it's time to leave.

I know I don't post allot, but it is so nice to know you are all here. Thanks, Doc (and Trubble), for this site.

Take care,


Wednesday, July 25, 2001

Anne again.

I keep forgetting to double space between paragraphs, so that last one sort of ran together!

Wednesday, July 25, 2001

Hi LisaMM, Perdida, Jay, Theressa and everyone else in the catbox!

Just catching up with the posts as I was out of town and offline for 3 days. Wow! Lot's of stuff to go through!

I'm actually proud of myself because I ALLOWED myself to have FUN! While it was all business in the morning, I had the opportunity to participate in lots of activities like sailing, biking, socializing, and plenty of eating (good thing for the biking-LOL!).

Caught myself getting down once when I noticed all the families and wedding bands....reality fairy slapped me again---CUT IT OUT! I let it go...

While I knew a few other people at the conference, it was fun to meet new people, talk, laugh, socialize, you know...participate in the human race without guilt...Really cool.

Of course, I was a "freak magnet" at one point by the pool. Some guy comes up to me and starts talking to me about his problems (clearly feeling sorry for himself-YUCK!), and after I commented back to him a couple of times, he says, "you sound like you're part of the program". Which program I asked? NA, he says. I laughed and said, uh no...actually ALANON--I'm the ENEMY!!! We both laughed. Fortunately, he got the hint and left me alone.

Came back home today and the kids had made me a sign that said, "Welcome Back Mom-We Missed You, Love....". They were both at work when I got home, so it was a nice surprise.

One thing I did read was Perdida finding someone with a boat....All I can say to that is SWEET!!

Well, back to reality tomorrow.

Later, L

Wednesday, July 25, 2001


I found the self-assessment for depression in David Burn's book "Feeling Good " very enlightening for me. Just as with most things, depression is shades of gray (not you are or you're not). The rest of the book is good, too. :)

Ms. Friday

Wednesday, July 25, 2001

Hi - can we post here and get responses from our fellows? I am a little confused. Is this linear or more thread-like? Linear, sorry...

I have been learning a lot from this site, and just working hard on my relationship with my husband by just being HONEST. Unfortunately I am a person with little guile and a belief that most things work out coupled with someone who had a very disappointing childhood. At least that is my take. He used to say "you have no guile!" and now accuses me of ulterior motives. I remind him I have no guile. Things are not nearly so awful as for many on this site, and seem to be stable. But something I saw about withholding sex made me again fearful. I have asked about it, and been told it seems to be physical, and that he is checking into it. Sex for him, unlike some men, is very emotional, so I have been understanding. I think now though I should ask that he look into it more, to be sure nothing is "wrong." I don't want to go into the other problems we have had that I hope are in the past, but am wondering once things seem to stabilize and "base at the lows" is there something I can do to break them loose? We luckily have had nothing awful we need to come back from, like physical (at least more than shoving) abuse or infidelity. I look forward to advice. I will confess I am lonely and need to jumpstart this as I have invested so much and feel if this relationship is simply not to be I should decide that soon. Since some are confused and worried by anonymous posts, I will post my name: Sally

Wednesday, July 25, 2001

Nervous Nellie,

Could you be having panic attacks? I have had an anxiety disorder for over 20 years, and the symptoms you describe are familiar. Thankfully i don't have as much anxiety as I used to, but I know the feeling of being disconnected and how drained you can feel afterward. Maybe you need to speak with a doctor and/or therapist. Medication and desensitization therapy could help. It did me. Right. Depersonalization stuff is often part of the panic attack picture. The good news is that anxiety disorders are very treatable. You really should get an evaluation!


Wednesday, July 25, 2001


I am having a good day today. I went to a back to work program to find out about getting my work skills updated. I attended my support groups. I met another women in a similar situation that went and filed her own restraining order because her attorney was ho-hum about it. She got it and her situation was similar to mine! No physical abuse just control/power and verbal abuse. I am calling my attorney first thing tomorrow.

I had called him today to ask what was taking so long to get a court date. I wanted to know if there was anything I could do to prevent my husband from upsetting my children and creating these incidents. He was reading over my incident reports and did not realize that my husband was living outside of the home, and withholding money. So, he was going to read them all and get back to me.

I had a yucky situation last night. I think this was abuse to my children. My husband had called 10 times during the day. He has been doing this a lot and demanding to talk to my 9 year old son. My son does not want to talk to him. I double checked with his therapist. She said he does not have to if he does not want to. I figure he is doing this to remain in control and manipulate me. If my son refuses to talk to him my husband blames me. My son fears that his abusive behavior will be directed at him. His therapist is going to teach him techniques to stand up to his father. His father is even offering to buy him a cell phone. He told him he was not allowed to give it to his mother because "she will run up the bill and I don't want to have to pay for it." Ugh!

My son finally talked to his father because at 8:30pm when he said he would be there his father was late. He was on the phone. I was trying to distract my 5 year old daughter who was banging dishes and giggling. My son could not hear his father. I was trying to make light a the situation and began saying "I love you, I love you, I love you" while tickling my daughter and distracting her away from my son. His father told Skyler to hand me the phone. My husband yelled at me "I don't appreciate you telling the kids I am lying, I don't love them, or that I would abandon them." I said, "I did not say that. Your children come up with their own conclusions due to your behavior." He said, "I am sick of YOU." He started to cuss and hung up. Then he called back and wanted to talk to my son again. He was on a cell phone so he could not hear well. He was angry. My son got off the phone and seemed upset. I had asked, "What did he say?" My son answered "I don't want to talk about it."

Around 9:30pm my husband shows up with 2 milks and creates a big seen. He is angry. My mother is there for the 2nd evening because I told her the tension has been high. I wanted somebody to be there. He is obviously angry. He starts telling the kids to meet him in the garage and saying he doesn't appreciate how he is being treated. He then says he is leaving. He is angry. He is sick of their mother. My children were stunned.

He comes back and tells them to come outside. I could here my daughter screaming. I went outside and said, "Greg this is enough. Do not take your anger out on the kids." I told them to come inside. He starts saying things to make my son feel guilty like "You will call me when YOU NEED SOMETHING." He drives off. I said, "Don't let him make you feel guilty it's not your fault he is angry."

He calls but we don't answer the phone.

Then he comes back again but my daughter refused to go. My son went outside. I thought perhaps I should have called the police. I heard him talking very loud. He is telling my son "It's up to you. You do what you want but... and You have my number..." (guilt, guilt, guilt) My son is frozen in fear as my husband says all kinds of horrible things to me...."Why don't you go get a job." "Why don't you go eat something." "Why is your mother here. She wasn't there for you when you were being molested" and some more in which I refused to be provoked. I told my son, "You father is angry. It not my fault. It's not your fault." I said, "Greg you need to accept responsibility for your behavior and stop blaming me. I don't want you taking your anger out on me and the kids." Oh, then he was really mad. He starts yelling at my son, "(name) come here!" My son is shaking and frozen. He does this a couple of times. I said, "You don't have to go. It's okay. You can tell him no." My husband yells at me more. He asked my son again. My son shook his head no and started crying. I said, "Greg that is enough. He is upset. You can not intimidate and bully me when I don't do what you say. It's enough." I said, "Let's go inside. You will be okay. Daddy is just angry." We went inside and my mother helped me calm the kids down again.

Then he walks by around 11pm after my mother and I calmed the kids down. I watch him walk down the street and disappear around the corner. Then he is walking back by. I go outside and ask "Greg what are you doing?" He says, "I want to apologize to (his son)." I was hesitant but asked my son if he wanted to go to hear him apologize. They sat on the curb for 20 minutes. I was just about to go out and my son came walking back up.

I asked him "Is everything okay?" He said, "I don't want to talk about it." I said, "You can talk to Fran (his therapist) on Friday."

I should have called the police the 2nd time he did this. I wanted to show my son that I would protect him and stand up to his father. I talked to my son tonight about our password. I told him that as the court date gets closer that we may have to call the police. I told him I would talk with his therapist. My son was so upset he didn't fall asleep until 1:30pm. He kept wanting to make sure all the doors are locked.

It's really hard to explain. We are terrified. If you read the words it doesn't seem like he was threatening but we all feel like trapped animals just waiting for him to go over the edge. I don't know how much more I can take. I will keep my fingers crossed about getting that stay away order. I am making more calls tomorrow.

We got a break tonight because he was going to a baseball game. It's a bummer tonight is the night he usually goes to his domestic violence counseling but he says he doesn't have an appointment until August 8th. That's quite some time away.

Any advice? I should have called the police. I know I blew it again. Just ask he starts yelling. He leaves but then he comes back. Then the last time he knew he blew it. I should have just let him "sit with it" over night and not allowed my son to go out?

Let me know what you think.

My daughter needs some hugs. I have to go but I will be back later :)


Thursday, July 26, 2001

Hellooo Trubble This is Auntie Mousie. Mousie likes to keep going back and looking at our picture because we are so good looking. In fact, we are so good looking that Mousie thinks we should be in a movie. We can call it Trouble at Trubble Beach. We can have lots of close up shots of people running in terror (dressed in our thongs for free advertising) from a giant thong eating snail. We don't want anything faster than a snail so our thongs stay in camera view as long as possible. Anyway, we will have rich people (who are at our thong souvenir stand buying tons of thongs) attack the snail and drag it into the kitchen as Emeril is airlifted in from the Rosie O'Donnell show. Then we will have the sequel called Escape of the Escargot. Fakemommy can have a cameo roll as an animal rights activist who lives with the koi and drills holes in Japanese fishing boats. She releases all the koi in "Free Billy" (and his annoying siblings that his parents make him take with him when he wants to go out with his friends.)

Thursday, July 26, 2001


I went through something similar. I would have panic attacks or a sudden sense of feeling overwhelmed. I would call my mother or the stress hotline to calm down. This was very common for me when I was what I call "thawing out" from a frozen state of fear. I was coming out of my denial about my abuse. I had this ability when I was in denial to numb out my feelings. After I attended therapy and EMDR I could not do this. I would be so frighten I swore I was going to have a heart attack. As I learned how to cope with those feelings it became less and less over time. It takes time to learn to face that fear or feelings of panic. It has taken me about 7 months. It does get much better. I went into a neurotic state of panic for a couple of months in the beginning. I was hypervigilant, and could not sleep. I obsessed and ran around looking for somewhere to hide. Even when a door would slam or someone would drop something....I jumped a mile high. My husband would come up behind me and I would just fall apart. Listen to your body. After I started thawing out I was able to feel again, but it takes time to sort through those feelings.

In time comes the better feelings of joy and happiness. I now see what I have missed for so long. No matter what my husband says I think "Atleast I can feel! Good or bad, but atleast I can feel!"

I have a history of panic attacks where you wake up in the middle of the night feeling like someone is standing on your chest. I will be in a dead sleep and think someone is standing in my room.

Check with your therapist or doctor for some medication. You may be experiencing something different. I would have it checked out.

Take Care,


Thursday, July 26, 2001

Dear Nellie, if the sensation you get happens in a crowd then could it be a form of panic attack? I don't think you would get to the bottom of that feeling without some therapy and I do think that abuse leaves us with post traumatic stress symptoms.

Dear Theressa, I think Kathy is right on the friendship thing. I do think that maybe it would be helpful to practice listening to people for you. You can actually adapt a counseling skills exercise to practice this...try to listen to the other person for 3 minutes without speaking yourself except to give eye contact and encouraging sounds. It will help sort out whether you can give the other person your interest in them and not just talk about your own world. It took me ages to learn this but it does help.

Dear EP,

You can do nothing to save your mum. You can give her books to read and stuff like that. She will need to see things for herself. No man of God rings up drunk. If he was a man of God and so spiritual then that would not happen- he is a man Of GOD only as and when he acts as one. BUT this is not really your business to save your mum UNLESS she asks you- then you can give your opinion.

Actually, I don't know if I have this right, but I get the feeling that what most worries you is that your mum is not being exactly as you have wanted her to remain or to be. That is really understandable, as is your concern for your mum. But the bottom line is that it is for your mum to make her own choices and learn from them...

Dear Anne, The emotionally unavailable don't change without a miracle and it is hopeless having any expectations of them. I just acc3ept the nice stuff if it happens and get on with my life. The trick is to make sure you always keep hold on your reality. If something nice is done then that is good but it does not negate what happened before...I try now to take each moment on its own merits and that worked better,.

Dear L, I am glad you had a good time and you dealt with the freak magnet superbly,

Dear Sally, Hi, Yes you post here and usually someone gives a reply. I am a bit unclear what area you need help with but that is because it was your first post. It sort of sounds as though you are starting to admit there are some problems and having difficulty doing so? Anyway, keep posting and it should also come clear...I think this site can help people with less devastating problems as some of us here have.

Dear Lisa, that sounds HORRIBLE. I think you need to change your phone number and get a restraining order quickly. I don't think your son should be anywhere near your husband while he is like that. I do hear how awful it was and really feel for you.

Dear All,

Not much to say here. Except to my amazement Jake fixed the computer. I had a really good time with the Christian counseling last night and they thought (despite the depression0 I was doing ok Today I need some miracles on the house sale and I think that if that can get sorted then I can really sort out the rest of life. I am starting to realise that the depressive feelings are actually not so long as they used to be and that in between there are OK periods when I am in control. I have no idea if the St John's Wort is working or not!

I am kind of working on not being dependent on Jake for my happiness Good!; but I have to admit that I need a partner in life. You want a partner, though you don't need a partner. Wanting a partner is healthy and part of being human.

love, Jay

Thursday, July 26, 2001


Sometimes words don't work, actions do!

I know what Ron (my therapist) would say: one short statement and then take the kids inside, Do not subject them to being their whilst he is yelling.

Would you try this?

I was speaking to my sister about this yesterday about how I used to keep talking but still be there and how my actions didn't match my words. Such as "I am not gonna listen to this" but still standing there.

THOUGH I to have an anger problem of one sort or another, I think we all do in one way or another. That is why it is best to have as Ron would say "Minimum exposure to the children". Yes.

Our perceptions and thoughts predict what will happen next. If we are thinking we need to show the other person and lecture them, even with short statements, instead of removing ourselves from the situation. Are we helping ourselves?

Ron (my therapist) would say "NO we are not helping anybody by doing this."

I know he might rage outside but Ron would advise you to say "One short Phrase - "Please calm down or I will call the police," Then he'd say give him a five minutes and then follow through and call the police. Excellent.

Apparently over time when you stop tolerating others bad behaviour, they are suppose to realise it doesn't work and think about changing.

I don't know if this is helpful. I am still working on my own reactivity so I feel funny about telling others about advise given to me that I find hard to use.

BUT I guess practicing the skills Ron taught me will get easier. Yes!

Take care Theressa

Thursday, July 26, 2001

Hi All, Theressa here,

I found this helpful, maybe some of you will:

Trying to prove how good we are, trying to prove we're good enough, trying to show someone how much he or she has hurt us, trying to show someone we're understanding, are warning signs that we may be into our self defeating behaviors. They can be an indication that we are trying to control someone. They can be an indication that we are not believing how good we are, that we're good enough, that someone is hurting us. They can be a warning that we've allowed ourselves to get hooked into a dysfunctional system. they may indicate that we're stuck in that cloudy fog of denial or doing something that is not good for us. Trying excessively to make a point with another may mean that we have not yet made that point with ourselves. Once we make that point with ourselves, once we understand, we will know what to do. The issue is not about others understanding, and taking us seriously. the issue is not about others believing we're good and good enough. The issue is not about others seeing and believing how responsible or loving or competent we are. The issue is not about whether others realize how deeply we are feeling a particular feeling. We are the ones that need to see the light. Today, God help me let go of my need to control outcomes by influencing the beliefs of others. i will concentrate on accepting myself, rather than trying to prove something about myself. If I catch myself in the codependent trap of trying to emphasize something about myself to another, I will ask myself if I need to convince myself of that point.


Thursday, July 26, 2001

Dear all,

I just came back from Portugal and have a lot to catch up with apparently. Read all the posts, but am not in any answering mode at the moment. C's moved in, sort of, despite my telling him I did not want to live together yet and I do not quite understand how it happened. Well, Actually I do of course, but I do not see what I could have done to prevent it from happening. When his friends moved, he had to move to, and asked could he live with me until going to Portugal again. I said, I'd rather not, since I do not feel I am ready. Later i said, if you cannot find another place you can come. I do not think he looked.

The strangest thing is, that I think when he would tell me now, I found a place and I am moving next week, I think I would feel devastated as if he was letting me down again. These feelings are very mixed.

I cannot find it in me to throw him out under the circumstances, as he is not actually acting out or anything. but I do feel very pressured, and feel like he is invading my space. I am wondering whether maybe I am just not able to maintain any intimate relationship in this way, living together. Maybe you need to identify the ways in which you feel he invades your space... I find it extremely hard to take time for me, it's only been three days, it might get better. I do see I need my own time and yesterday evening he went of to some gathering I did not want to attend and that was fine. I was relieved to be alone. I just do not know how to do my own things with him around. You can learn! When we where not living together it was ok, cause we would see each other three or two times a week and then I would automatically have the rest of my time to do as o choose with. I do not want to be dependent on him going away to be able to be alone, yet I feel I can hardly throw him out for the evening as I want to be alone. I want to learn how to do this, how to live with someone and still have my own time for myself.

It was one of the major things when we still lived together and apparently I still am not able to do it. Any advice is more then welcome!!

Fort he rets (Is this another of my now famous spelling check casualties?),  I find it is so much more difficult to do all the things I thought I had mastered when someone is around permanently. Still, I also find it a challenge in a way, the next phase in practicing asserting myself. I am much more aware of what is happening, though I do not always know how to handle it. but I do handle some things much better. For instance when we arrived hone late at night and opened the door, the house really smelled like a Catbox (giggle). C. commented: it smell pretty bad here. I started defending myself: I cleaned the house before I left. it felt like he was attacking me. In the morning he made the same remark, and I felt bad about it again. I told him, it feels like you tell me it is my fault it smells so bad, but I cleaned everything before I left. He answered: know way do I want to imply it's is your fault. I said It' s the way you say it and he again said I really did not mean that I do believe him. So that one was cleared up. I used to start crying, when things felt like criticism. Now I ask, do you mean to criticize and I can say, yeh, sure the house smells, but it's not my fault.

But, still, I do find it extremely hard to handed this situation and please do not tell me I should never have let it come to this, I should have stayed firm and not let him into the house to begin with etc etc. I have fought about that, I talked about it to my therapist, like we are contemplating living together in Portugal, I can hardly let him sleep on the street at this stage and also it is a good way to learn some new lessons as he is leaving in September anyhow. It's easier to do this stuff from a distance; there is sooo much to learn, it can be overwhelming!

But boy, this does take a lot of energy. Still, it feel a bit like first starting to date again and not knowing how to handle some of the things that happened then. I was very anxious and unsure then, but I learned to cope and feel very ok with it. I think I am ready for these new lessons, and I think it is normal it feels uneasy for now. Again. I keep in the back of my mind the possibility to break up again. I keep close to the feeling I do not need him, I keep remembering. I still need to, it is not a new pattern yet. But when I look back and how afraid I was to lose him, to be alone and how difficult that made everything, I know I have come a long way, even though there's a lot to go yet. But I know I can do this, I need to know. I hope I will be able to keep listening to my body and do what is necessary for me. I have my therapist to talk to, i have you lot and I do think that makes all the difference in the world for these kind of processes.

Love to all and hope I'll be able to answer some posts next time around.


Thursday, July 26, 2001

On August 2 I will be leaving my 17 years marriage. He doesn't know I am leaving and I don't plan to tell him either. If I told him I was leaving he would clean out the bank accounts and take my car from me.

I would like to leave him a note but don't really know what to say. There's nothing you can say that he will understand right now....

I am wavering between something short like:

Dear Husband,

I have left. I am not coming back.

Or something a little more involved

The part of me who wants to write something longer wants to express how I feel in writing because I won't be interrupted, put down or screamed at

Just sign me

Prisoner about ready to be released  Good luck to you!

Thursday, July 26, 2001

Hello Cats,

I'm gonna write me a country song: "Oh Lawwwd, free me from that ol Wishful Thinkin'"! (do NOT run that through the Spell Check!)  Uh oh! I hope it didn't already get axed!!!

Oh, yes, Doctor Irene, that's it, I DO want my ex's recovery more than he does. I DO want him to get better so I can enjoy him. Yep, that is the ol' nail on the head again. I guess that is why you have the blue pencil and I don't!

Okay, anger is my friend for real now. I just bailed out on a trip to Chicago with my class to go to a museum and eat African food. Why? I was feeling angry. I was supposed to drive and I was getting stressed about selling my car, putting the miles on my car, people eating in my car and leaving messes and trash, like they ALWAYS do unless I ask them not to eat, at which point they think I am a b***h (because classmates are not really friends), and a particular woman who has been behaving in an offensively racist manner to me (I am the only white person in the class, so she puts me on the spot You let her coz you can't handle her yet.) and the dreaded possibility of being cooped up in a car with her and having to eat with her. Plus, Chicago is where the ex lives and so the trip was already kind of hard emotionally because he might have been there if I had gotten my Wishful Thinking granted by the Unreality Fairy. Plus, I have a lot to do and I don't really want to spend the money.

So I felt angry and looked at it, and decided to cancel and now I feel GOOOOOD. Great! There were plenty of other cars.

My mother also emailed me - I think she is jealous because I am having a good time here -silly me for sharing my life with her - and gave me a lecture about selling my car, coming to visit (like I really want to when she acts out) and don't I owe it to my funding agency to get back to Brazil, and that it was IMPERATIVE (imperative??) that I make a decision. Yow! Does she have issues!!

Yow, I would never have seen that tirade as HER stuff before. Serious strides have been made here. I copied her email, chopped it up in that annoying way that people do and answered it bit by bit in a calm way that amused me greatly.

I also got that my ex's stuff is his stuff - his whole thing of wanting me to feel a certain way and creatively orchestrating ways to try to make ME feel a certain way - HIS stuff, like Asha said. I think I got there, Asha - I am feeling it as his stuff and his crippled way of dealing with his own private monsters. And nothing to do with me. Remember those CDs he brought me last week! Har, har!! He told me to be "careful" because one of them was about a woman all sorrowing about breaking up with someone!! When I heard it, at first I got really angry that he would have said that and given me such a CD - it's Lucinda Williams "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road" and she sounds like she broke up with a really abusive person - so I felt some satisfaction since he didn't realize HOW appropriate it is. Here are some of the lyrics:

"There goes the screen door slamming shut You better do what you're told When I get back this room better be picked up Car Wheels on a gravel road."


"Not a day goes by that I don't think about you left your mark on me - it's permanent, a tattoo"

"He won't take me back when I come around Says he's sorry, then he puts me out. I got a big chain around my neck"

From Lauryn Hill ("The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill"):

"I kept letting you back in/How can I explain myself/As painful as this thing is/I just can't be with no one else/See I know what we got to do/You let go and I'll let go too/Cause no one's ever hurt me more than you/And no one ever will." and "I used to love him but now I don't"

The songs are all about getting out of codependent, unhealthy, abusive relationships!

Hah! He could have picked 1000's of other CDs but the thing is, THIS IS HOW HE *WISHES* I FELT. He WANTS me to listen to this music and feel bad that we broke up. I wonder if he wants me to call him, boo hooing - "Oh, the songs are SO TRUE!!" And further, if he can MAKE me feel this way, then he will have scored again. *KA-CHING!!* as I once heard him say after scoring off his masochistic previous ex. I'm too old for this. This is a very immature as well as damaged person. It really IS his stuff. Doc, your phrase, taking myself out of the line of fire, has never had so much meaning. I do feel "aimed at" when I think about how my presence in his life gives him a target, as if relationships are some kind of sick sport.

Gee, I still sound angry. Whaddaya know. I was feeling blue but writing this post has revived me. Depression is about helplessness; anger is where you go when you start helping yourSelf. Anger is your friend!

Well, critically speaking, the CDs are flawed and a little trite musically. Boy, I sure am happy to have the day to myself and not have to go to Chicago!

Love, Perdida

Thursday, July 26, 2001

Hi All,

This is something from my own journal it may help others here, it has helped me allot:

It is me who needs to know how healthy I am emotionally as well as physically? (no need to convince others or gain their approval of who and what I am)

It is me who needs to love me first, and not expect others to tell me I am okay

It is all about me believing, making the point that I am xxxxxx to me! Instead of looking for approval from others.

It is about me knowing who I am. Where I am at in my growth.

It is about me taking my feelings and validating them as being a true sign of where I am at emotionally, and what I am thinking, since my thoughts and definitions of things produce my feelings.

It is about me taking my feelings, needs, wants and the issues that I feel reactive about seriously and share what I expect.

It is about me feeling good enough and making improvements I deem necessary to take care of me.

It is about me seeing and believing how responsible I am in my life.

It is about me being (caring about my own self and life and being supportive but not rescuing others).

It is about me seeing how competent I am and working on my goals.

The issue is about how deeply I realise I am feeling a particular feeling. Instead of letting others invalidate or discount our feelings. They are the signals of where we are at, at that moment.

I cannot influence the belief of others unless I want to cause disharmony. I can share my beliefs and then let go and if they want to take into account my ideas or beliefs that is their business and choice.

If I start to emphasize something about me BOAST to another I am looking for a pat on the back - Approval seeking, I WILL KNOW IT IS A CUE FOR ME TO RECOGNISE IT IS ME WHO NEEDS TO APPROVE ME. Bingo!

Take care Theressa

Thursday, July 26, 2001

Hi All,

GOSH today you have all given me such wonderful help. THANK YOU for sharing your growth!!

I just would like to ask are you ever accused of/or have been accused of making a mountain out of a molehill?

Like any reaction from you is seen as over reacting.

I've been having some noise nuisance problems with my neighbor in the flat below me. Anyway the other day she said "hello" to my daughter and said "is your mom okay" and ignored me. Although I wasn't looking her way. I was walking in the same direction as my daughter.

Then I went into the flat and the neighbor turned up the music.

I said to my partner "I am sure she is trying to wind me up she did......"

He said "you are making a mountain out of a molehill, she probably just said "hello since our child was looking her way". Why do you always blow things out of context and read too much into things.

Then another time my partner said "Why don't you stand up for yourself, why do you just ignore her when she shouts out at you?" I replied "why should I waste my energy".

Though then he is probably thinking why indeed do you waste it assuming she is doing things on purpose.  Theressa, it is all about knowing your internal position; that which is right for you... Whatever that is...

Thanks for listening Theressa

Thursday, July 26, 2001

Dear All,

I have been working on some of my big issues and I wanted to share what I worked out, maybe it will help others:

I have an anger problem myself. What has helped immensely is to check out my thoughts. My thoughts and the way I define things creates my feelings and emotions.

e.g. this morning with my child. I tapped her on the head. She didn't like this. I guess it is because her father told her last night he doesn't like people tapping him, and I told her neither did I. So I guess she doesn't like it either.

Anyway I guess her thoughts were "why is she tapping me, I don't like it" and she reacted. (JUST LIKE SHE'S learnt from mom and dad YIKES!!) She said loudly "don't you dare hit me".

Well what does her dear mommy do? You guessed it her mommy has her own dialogue going on in her head. "who does this child think she is, I am her mother, what will people think?"

So I her mother reacted and bounced off her anger with my own anger. I said "get in the car now" and inside I felt like she should be told how wrong that is to yell out like that to her mother, and the consequences of her yet again yelling out as she has before, about me doing things to her. The other day I wouldn't buy her some food she wanted and she yelled out "oh you feed yourself but don't get me nothing" (untrue of course she does get food LOL).

Today the dialogue was about people thinking I am hitting her, whatever would they think of me.

SO what did I do, I let her have it. I lectured her about how others would think I am a bad mother, and she is so naughty and THEN how I was gonna stop her pocket money, she was going to bed early, she wasn't having her new books she gets fortnightly.

(GOODNESS me if I worked as a judge no one would ever be able to finish their sentence since they'd not be punished enough!!!)

The point is I had no intention of doing all these things, punishing her three times for one incident. BUT I was angry.

Then my child acted out some more in response to me. I wanted to sort things out. The guilt was overcoming me, but I was still mad. I said "here let me have your arm" My child said "NO". I said "give me your arm" She said "NO". (All I wanted to do was to tap her lightly on her hand to show her that wasn't hitting her), though she wouldn't compile!!!

Well I felt even more mad. I said "Go on get out of the car" She did and to top it all off she went in the house without kissing me goodbye.

Fancy such a fuss over my daughter sharing her reality. THEN I when and drove off to work. I got to work and realised how ridiculous it was all that happened.

I phoned and apologized.

Then I sat down and realised this is no good for me or my child. IT is my thoughts and perceptions that are way off. Well now I recognise this.

I realised she is only a child, and it is unlikely that she understands the way I do. She was reacting the way her role models do.

And I didn't need to react to her anger with anger either.


Well firstly I could check out my thoughts: So I did:

I realised they were irrational. My daughter is not making others think I am a bad mother, it is *MY* creating and reacting to her anger that does this.

My lecturing and trying to make her see how I didn't do anything wrong makes things worse. OKAY so I got to blow off steam. BUT would I want a giant person towering over me, with a much louder voice venting at me? NO!!

And what did this lecture solve? Nothing!! Okay so she knew how I felt, but she didn't mean me to feel like this, it was *MY* perceptions/thoughts/interpretation made me angry.

Also it is obvious she doesn't have the skills to cope without reacting. She doesn't know how to say "That hurt" and maybe she needs to be taught this skill of disclosing your feelings.

Then I tried to sort things out when I was still seething. I didn't want to sort things out really, my anger really wanted to be justified. NOT USEFUL TO MY CHILD!!!

I tried to control my daughter by saying "give me your arm" however, nice it was put, when she refused my request I was more annoyed, since my thoughts were "I am her mother she has no right to refuse me"

Really, well I recognized she has every right to reject my request, and I have to deal with that rejection (which is one of my big issues).

Then she acted out in response to my control. Of course she didn't know how to say No and then detach. Maybe I can do it and she will learn off my role modeling!!

And I realise the guilt was justified that I felt. And thus, it has made me wake up and realise there is a better way.

I could have:

1) Heard her reaction, "done nothing" 2) Then said "I see...." (As in I see your view)

If she is taught she could:

1) Say "That hurt" and disclose her feelings

Then I could say:

"I am sorry I only meant to get your attention but if you don't like me doing that I won't do it anymore." (validating her right to set limits on what she will accept)

I don't know if this helps any, but thanks for listening. Theressa

Thursday, July 26, 2001

Hi Catbox: My husband is a verbal abuser but vehemently denies it. When we argue he gets very emotional and starts calling me names. I've asked him to stop and/or walked away if he doesn't stop. This has been our cycle since we've been married. He's told me that he feels very disrespected because the arguments are never resolved and they just carry on to the next time especially when i say i need a break to cool off and go to the other room. He says i should be adult about it and communicate. I told him that it is very hard to share my feelings with him and talk when he gets so angry. I recently told him lets break this cycle. Lets both agree that we won't criticize or be disrespectful to each other when we talk. He blew up and said "see you want to be the leader and we do what you want". My husband has been very angry at me for a long time. He feels that i don't truly love him or else we would have children and i would express a desire for one. Recently, i told him that something inside myself has been holding me back from wanting to have children. I told him that every year that goes by i see how he treats me and its scares me from wanting to make this step. I feel like a coward because i didn't just bring the issue out into the open and let him know i didn't like the way i was being treated. I just keep thinking our situation would get better. Last night we went to dinner and he brought up this issue again. Then started verbally abusing me in public. Now this has never ever happened before, i told him to have some class and keep his voice down. I was scared inside because i realized his abuse was escalating to do this in public. I told him that I'm telling my parents what is going on. They need to know what is happening. I know he is concerned with what my family think about him. So last night i talked to my parents and they were very supportive. Now he is acting very betrayed and has taken down my pictures in the other room. I feel very bad about what is happening to us. I can see he really believes i don't love him even though i tried to convey that i still loved him despite everything. His game here is to convince him you love him. Why would you want to play it? He won't let you convince him anyway... So anyways, it feels good to write this out and maybe i can start getting my life together somehow. 

Thursday, July 26, 2001


That's pretty much the way I see it, too.

Last night the seas were calm, and we actually talked like semi-functional people  (that happens occasionally).

I am going to spend this weekend in Atlanta with one of my oldest and dearest friends, then take all of next week off, and I had asked him to see if his mother could go and stay with her mother or her daughter ( they both live nearby) for a few days, so that we could have the house. He told me last night that she is trying to figure out where she wants to go next week, and I felt a little guilty for asking. He also said that she is depressed, feels like she doesn't belong here. I did not get the feeling that he was telling me that in order to produce guilt, and I did not say anything in response. The truth is, I feel like she does not belong here, either, so I figured it was better to keep my mouth shut. Fascinating...a year ago I would have been overwhelmed with guilt, would have frantically tried to think of ways to "make it better", worried what the rest of his family would think, ect., ect., ect,. I do feel bad that, despite my efforts to suppress my resentment, it leaks out anyway and she must be sensing it. The difference is that, a year ago, I would have beat myself up for feeling what I have been feeling. This will probably need to be talked about sooner or later, but so far nobody has said anything. How would you guys handle this?


Thursday, July 26, 2001

Hi Cats,

My mom said she had been "stewing" over my "situation." I wrote back: Don't stew about MY stuff, stew about YOUR OWN Stuff! Before, I would have engaged!

Just like with my ex, I really felt like my mother doesn't look at me as a separate person. That was a concept that I couldn't understand before, and lately it is becoming extremely clear...

The two of them are in cahoots. Actually, I picked him because he was just like my mother. I dare the Freudians to figure out THAT Electra complex!

Love, Perdida

Thursday, July 26, 2001

Dear Perdida,

Sharon here.

I can totally relate to your ma. My ma (though bless her heart, as she has been ill) has some of the verbal traits as Dr. Psycho. She just speaks her mind without thinking it may come out as irrational. Somewhat sarcastic - actually not somewhat - because she just speaks her peace - and has a deviousness about her - always have - although in the past few years, she has soften allot. She "stews" about me and Dr. Psycho all the time. Just last night she 'inferred' about me losing weight and looking good to please 'him'. But the way she said it was lewd. I just ignored it. I now have learned in order to get by with her not to get roped in with her remarks, which are sometimes highly inappropriate.

And remarks from Dr. Psycho were sometimes highly inappropriate as well. I swear they were cut with the same tongues!

I do love my mother though and I feel really bad writing this - but from a psychological standpoint - there were similarities in both of their behaviors. Do you really find mates that are like our parents? Yes!

Thursday, July 26, 2001

Ahhh, Sharon, I think we have found the Secret of Life...

Yes, I think we find mates very like our parents. In my case, I think I am so used to abuse that it seems normal. At first I thought my ex was NOT like my parents... but then as he shifted more and more into Mr. Hyde, he became more and more like my mom, always disapproving. It was more of a vibe than anything I could put my finger on (I sound JUST like all the books).

One of the worst fights I had with my mom was over this ex. She said I was "taking advantage of his youth" (he is younger, good for ME!). The other worst fight was over another ex. She said HE was taking advantage of MY youth (He was older... and rich... good for ME!). The real worst fight was over my first real love. She threatened to have him arrested for statutory rape (he was the tiniest bit older, just enough to make HIM vulnerable). My mother has serious issues with MY body. Again, it's as if it was HERS.

Has your mother realized that you are a separate person? don't' feel guilty calling a spade a spade just because she is sick. It's not like you have to have it out with her, just make yourself comfortable within yourself. And don't let her into your private life if she can't be respectful!! My mom is on the rag because I told her I met someone with a sailboat. She thinks I am wasting my time because I am in graduate school. She does not get what my work is all about, and my traveling and getting scholarships seems like an endless vacation to her. She does not give me credit for being sufficiently intelligent that I can get funding agencies to give me money to do my research, and that one doesn't do this research 24/7/365 but rather more like 8 hours a day with time off, like a real job. It doesn't help to explain it to her reasonably like I just did, because she doesn't want to understand; she wants to control and lay guilt trips. She doesn't have a college education and can only control what she knows - my life has long been way beyond her experience and she doesn't seem to try to empathize much. I don't feel guilty talking about her like this because I have tried everything with her! She has not been there for me in the hard times but preferred to kick me when I was really down. So when people like my brother say she "loves" me or is just "afraid" for me, I just bite my tongue. I've accepted that it's not the relationship I would like to have with my mother and it's not the relationship I will construct with my own children. So I hope to make the legacy a positive thing.

But saying "STOP!" does work. It worked with my dad, and I don't know why I forgot that. Maybe it will work with my mom too like it just worked with my ex.

But definitely, I think we gravitate toward things that are familiar, even if they are negative. It's up to us to get off the misery train! They won't invite us off! They love our company!

Gosh it sounds like I am working through my anger in a sort of shotgun approach today...

Love, Perdida

Thursday, July 26, 2001

Dear Perdida,


I've gone that same path with my mom. The fights were about ex's -- and it was the worst fights with her in my long past that I can remember were the most vicious. The body image thing I can definitely rate to --- and the education thing --- oh yes, it was very much jealously on her part because she never acquired or became formally educated. When I was younger, raising a family, holding down a full time job AND going to college - SHE MADE FUN OF ME!!!!!! Yep, she sure did!!!!! Now that I'm single -- she makes fun of that too. Nothing real warm and loving about it. No support - just weird crazymaking comments. (though she hated my ex husband and was there for me emotionally when that divorce happened) Though inconsistent, but nevertheless, enough to make me realize that its none of her business what I do. She does drive by my house -- then drives by Dr. Psycho's -- to make sure I'm not there. And when I used to be -- I'd be almost called a name. I can go and on and on. I have seen some changes in her since the cancer - but last night she sniped me because she doesn't like how I wear shorts and a tank top doing my walks around the neighborhood. She thinks I'm trying to show off my tush to Dr. Psycho!!!! I replied - "if I have it, I'm going to flaunt it!" But her comment disgusted me - its 90plus degrees outside - so am I suppose to cover up???

Love, Sharon

Thursday, July 26, 2001

If someone's working through their anger by a "shotgun approach" I'm gonna steer well clear of them... ;)

Thursday, July 26, 2001

hmmmmmmmm. anonymous poster?

Thursday, July 26, 2001

My neighbor is in the middle of a divorce. Her background (Asian of some sort) has made her very meek. The GAL appointed to her case has recommended the father be given primary custody of 11 yo twin girls. My neighbor did not tell the GAL a lot of what she went through, nor did she solicit for help/testimony from friends & family (again, due to her background she felt it was best kept private) Her soon to be ex approached everybody they knew and got 20 or so people to say he was a good dad and she was so self conscious that she must be mentally ill. He has threatened throughout their marriage to take the girls from her if ever there was a divorce, or if she ever tried to stand up to him. The GAL suggested further counseling for everybody, but said the Father should have full custody, and my neighbor should have small amount of visitation. Her hearing is in 3 days, her attorney is useless, and I have never been in a situation like this. Is there anything she can say at the hearing that will make the judge consider at least postponing the decision. Now that she knows what is required, she will talk more to the GAL or whoever is necessary. Thanks

Thursday, July 26, 2001

*BLAM* !! Gotcha, ya little varmint, whoever you are!

Thursday, July 26, 2001

Now that I have a permanent (is anything really permanent?) internet connection I'm able to read and post to the catbox again. I have good news to report. The last counseling session my husband and I had was good...I mean, it was very emotionally charged and we got allot out. We have gotten along much better since last Saturday.

Something happened Friday, the day before our session that really angered and hurt me. I went to lunch with my husband, one of his friends and an ex-employee/friend. My husband made an ass of himself by using foul language and making crude jokes at the of which included me and it was of a very personal nature. I should have gotten up from the table and excused myself but I did what I could to not be rude to the others (not my husband) and endured. When I told him later how I felt he did not apologize sincerely. it was more like "sorry, BUT..." So anyway, because I stood up for myself and said, "yes, I'm angry and I think you acted like an asshole" he decided to stay at his office until late that evening. In our therapy session the next morning he said he did not think he was being rude or disrespectful (I think he must know better) but that he was just kind of going off with humor. I said that if one of his friends felt it necessary to apologize for him to me when I left then yes, it is not just me being too made them uncomfortable to see a man being so disrespectful in front of a woman. The therapist had to jump in and say "I hear what Julie is saying is that she wants RESPECT...AT ALL TIMES" and he had to say that a couple of times before my husband agreed.

Well, I don't want to give everyone the entire script of our therapy session but I felt that I wanted to share that part. I am feeling more encouraged the more we attend therapy and the more we make an effort to accept each other more.

I never dreamed that marriage was going to be this hard...the 2nd time around. I thought it was suppose to get easier. We are approaching our 1 year anniversary and I feel like we deserve a celebration because we haven't killed each other yet! LOL!

I am glad to be back and I look forward to reading your posts and being able to post here as well.

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, July 26, 2001

Hi, I am away for the weekend so I have not got lost!!!! Going to the Christian retreat as the guest of my friend who works there and I really need the break. The last few days I think I have been suffering   from emotional exhaustion.

Hi AJ , I was wondering if you were back. I think it is ok C is there with you. I might be better to work any issues out before you go to Portugal together. Is your house big enough that you could create a space just for you? Also maybe it is a good time to make it clear you do need the space.

Hmmm now Perdida and Sharon have =me thinking. It came up today. Is Jake like my mother? I think the only similarity is that they are so involved with their own world they can't include anyone else. There the similarity ends.

Hi to the new people posting...jay

Thursday, July 26, 2001

Hi Catbox, Mary here.

I have been reading the posts and gaining some insight and doing a lot of thinking. For now I have decided to try and stay in my marriage. Things are not good right now but when I consider the alternatives staying is the best choice for now. I could change my mind if things get worse.

Theresa, you especially have given me a lot to think about. The post you wrote about trying to prove how good you are struck a cord for me. I realize I have been doing just that with my Husband, trying to prove him wrong when he says I am irresponsible or incompetent. I agree that it does not matter what other people think as long as I know I am O.K.

Sometimes I feel strong and sometimes I feel weak. I feel strong when I do things outside of my comfort level successfully. I have a lot of growing up to do. So I will continue to stretch. I am really looking forward to an upcoming camping trip with my children for a week without my husband. We are going with a group from my church. In the past I would never have considered going anywhere for a week without my husband. I would be afraid of having to drive by myself. (It is a 4-5 hour road trip) I am actually looking forward to spending a week away from the tension that seems to permeate my home.

There has been a lot of anger coming from my husband. One of the main issues we have is that I don't support him enough. I have asked him to be clear about what type of support he needs yet his answers are value and I just don't seem to be able to do anything right. I am an intelligent, competent woman in the workplace but at home I feel like an idiot sometimes.

Thanks for listening, I gotta go now.


Thursday, July 26, 2001


You are so right! I will try that next time. I did say "Stop" but then I just stood there too long as if he was going to calm down. I could see how upset my son was. The first time I should have nipped it in the bud.

In the back of my head I am trying to give him a chance to correct his behavior. I know when someone says "Don't....." then I listen. That's not the case with him. He does what he wants. Now I hope he doesn't think he can yell like that all the time. I will be prepared.

I do this when I discipline the children. I give them too many warnings. They always push me and then I give them another chance to pick the right action. I need to just say it once. Then, if they don't comply the first time assert the discipline i.e. send them to their room or take away a prize possession for the week. They will probably start reacting sooner.

Okay, I am getting it !!!



Thursday, July 26, 2001


I wanted to share that I have also been called "the morals police" and "conscientious" by my husband. He absolutely resented my stance on moral issues. I told him that I do not judge other people for their choices. I compare and think I could not do that same thing because I do not feel comfortable with it. I realized it was me. I have learned it's best not to share this information publicly in a group. I get labeled "Mary sunshine" or "saint". I wanted to be worthy and good but I really felt better about "doing the right thing". I do not like to make myself feel better at the expense of others.

My husband use to be supportive of me staying home with my children. In fact, he still wants me to stay home but he won't pay for daycare or pay me to do it. I have to earn money to become self-sufficient. He use to challenge me on my "goodness" or compare me with other working moms. I wasn't thinking I was better. I made the decision to stay home because I felt it was best for my children to be home with me. I did have the problem trusting another person to do as good as a job. I may have done it out of my fear of not being in control. But, heck these are my children. I only get 1 chance. My husband agreed until he started looking outside for that external power. I had given up my job to raise the kids, and was willing to make the sacrifices. I just didn't mean to sacrifice my SELF. That's what ended up happening. Oh, I now realize I learned so much more than college could have ever taught me. I now can see God had a different lesson for me. NOW, my husband says "You need to go to work like the rest of the world, and stop thinking your better than everyone else." I don't think I am better than anyone else. Sure I can walk around with no make up and holes in my socks. I had to learn to endure and "do with out" but that doesn't make me any better. I just felt better about myself. I felt as though I was giving my children a gift money can not buy. Well, you would be surprised at what a hot button that is.......I have had so many people come up and challenge me on this. Now they even say "I could not have done it" and "I would hate to be that dependent on someone". I use to want to explain myself. Now, I just let it go. I guess I just have to remind myself that is their perspective. I may have attempted to explain before but now I see it doesn't really matter. They will think what they want anyway. It may not work for them. It works for me. I may have made a mistake in trusting my husband not to attempt to gain power over me. It was a risk I was willing to take. I will never regret the time I had home with my children. I know I did the best I could. That makes me feel good. It's nice now to finally know that's all that matters :)


Thursday, July 26, 2001

Dr. Irene and the catbox,

I've been assisting two local women in their search for help in abuse. One woman I've been helping get her permanent restraining order is now in counseling with her three kids. She told the crisis counselor about me and she (the counselor) is now asking for my website address. I'm planning to go to the session in two weeks (when I get back from vacation). What I'd like to do is give them Stormshelter as a comfort in which to vent and talk about your day and vent and have a shoulder to lean on, and I'd really like to give this site as an information center to assist them in learning what has been happening in their lives. I just don't feel comfortable giving out someone else's address without permission, particularly to a crisis group. These are all women who've been hurt a great deal (not just verbal). Is this the right site or should I refer them to another place? Dear Jeannie, you are an amazing woman... Feel free to share this site with whomever. I will deal with what I can and I trust the rest of the crew to do most of the work, which they're great a! (Teaching is one of the best ways of learning...)

Dr. Irene, I don't want to inundate you with people looking for help, but I achieved so very much here, I feel compelled to list this site as a turning point for me. Thanks. I appreciate your thoughts Jeannie.

What do you all think I should do when I get there and sign on???


Friday, July 27, 2001


I am not sure I understand your question. Here is my humble opinion.

I refer this website to friends, family, my therapist, and battered women support group participants (our groups is very small & confidential). I recommend the Patricia Evan's, Beverly Engel, and Melody Beattie Books regarding verbal abuse, emotional abuse, and codependency. I tell them to hit the book shelf links from this sight if possible.

I think the more educated women are about abuse then the less likely it will continue. This sight does provide valuable information to share. The most important thing I have learned is all abuse starts with emotional and verbal abuse. It escalates to physical but it starts with the emotional and verbal abuse. My husband was physically battered as a child. He was just starting to condition me for the physical when I snapped out of my denial.

I have met women in my support groups that have never had access to a computer. I have recommended they go to the library where they can log on for free.

I had one gal in my support group that never heard of any of the author's above. She was delighted to have something to help her articulate how she feels. I told her if she ever feels like she is to blame or doubts her perceptions to pick up the book or log onto this sight. I have found the validation is what saved me.

Good luck!


Friday, July 27, 2001

Dear All,

Here is my two cents the way I see things now, from my viewpoint, it doesn't mean you all will agree but that is okay, this is just my take on thing:

We use transference as RON calls it. We go with familiarity, what we know, are comfortable with, that matches our control tools. So if we were a child and had someone we had to people please allot we will find someone else we can people please, and this person will be someone who needs someone who people please cuz they have issues that they need the other half of their circle meeting.

Does that make sense?

When you grow up with broken tools, survival skills which curb anxiety and get you attention. These are all you know. You've learnt that to be loved you have to give. You learnt your job is to make other happy.

Instead of just knowing you are loved because you are you.

What I found confusing for a long time. Which was brought to ahead with that support vs. fixing thread is this:

Loving someone for who they are, URM I don't like that!! why?

Well what if who they are is not their true self? Then what? Well the truth is you love the true self, but you take into account the broken parts that are not really the true self. They are just survival tools this person learnt to survive.

So you love the true self? Okay but what do you do with the broken parts of their self?

Well you set limits on them, cuz really they kill intimacy and love.

So when we say you love who someone is? You love their true self but you also take into account their broken parts! I see!!

Anyway getting back to transference:

We might meet someone and think we've known them all our lives. How is this you may be thinking? Well you have known their characteristics all your life, and this is why you sought them out, cuz they are comfortable.

You need these people to heal the issues inside of you. You do this now as an adult as Robert Burney puts it: By looking at the issue and the way you handled it in the past, (the broken survival behaviours you used to complete the loop)

The loop is: When you/or another person have a broken behaviour you need another to complete the other part of the loop before you feel safe.

So if I was an abuser I'd need a victim, people pleaser to make me feel safe.

Remember a while back we talked about control dramas.

***** An unhealthy person feels only 50% so they look for another 50% to provide the bits they feel are missing.

So if feel like you can't cope with your life, you may go out and get someone to parent/take care of you.

If you feel like someone who wants to be in control of your environment you may go out and find someone who is happy to let you take charge of their life, so you have total control of your life and theirs, so you avoid them hurting you.

You search for perfection. You both think if you get together you can complete the loop and feel whole. BUT you both can still never be perfect so you stay continually disappointed.

**** In a healthy relationship you feel 100% on your own. You'd be able to see your weaknesses as no big deal, you know you can ask for support if need be. You recognise your talents and feel full. You know you can handle your life. You know yourself that you are doing your best.

You know you are okay, in the imperfect way you are, you don't seek perfection. You support others by encouraging their growth. BUT you realise you are not suppose to live their life for them, or let anyone else live your life for you.

Though as well you don't allow others to use you, and you don't let their broken parts hurt you. You and they know that it is okay to be imperfect and to be angry and disagree, but it is not okay to display this anger in an arrogant way.

You can share your views and needs but you know you don't need to force others to see things your way, or do things your way.

You accept you are both individuals and you accept you can ask for support in growing. You have someone to listen to you, to help you out when are in a crisis. BUT you know that they can't put their whole life down and just please you. You can tell them anything without feeling guilty.

They accept it is the way you see things and don't feel they have to change your mind. They let you be you. **********

Just my take on things.  Thanks.

Take care Theressa

Friday, July 27, 2001

Hi Perdida,

I think you are well on target. I posted my post before this one before I read yours I think you get it!!

YOUR mom though is afraid and does feel threatened by you, cuz it is the unknown to her.

Ron said "when others feel threatened by your education they try to put down what you do. They try to say well Okay you can do that but look at xxx your messing up." Ron said it is about them, their own insecurities and nothing to do with YOU.

Take care, you sound really healthy and like you are WELL out of denial.

Theressa here.

Friday, July 27, 2001

Hi Mary,

I think the thing with support is: Support does not mean you will be their at someone's beck and call. It doesn't mean you will drop your life and priorities to help them. It doesn't mean you will help when you are tired, ill or have other plans.

Support is not doing for, it is encouragement "you can do it", advice if they ask for it "what do you think" (I would do xxxx, Instead of you should do xxxxx)

It is helping when someone is in a crisis. It is saying yes when you really can help. When your not tired, when your not ill, when you have no other plans.

It is not I will drop all my plans cuz you need me to do something in your life so my life doesn't matter.

Supporting is not demanding that you've got to help me, you have no choice.

I am not a slave. I have a choice whether or not I help. Support is balanced. It is not we do everything one person wants and the other never gets a say.

***** Some people define support inaccurately. Support is not doing, doing whenever someone clicks their fingers. Support is when you firstly support yourself by checking out whether you have the time or energy to help.

YES it is good to do things together, but it shouldn't be you just do whatever someone else says.

You may do the housework and they may work outside the home. That is not what I am saying. (THIS BENEFITS YOU IN SOMEWAY), What I am saying is if you are ironing and someone says drop that I need a drink. YOUR NOT A SLAVE, you may choose to help.

I hope this helps Theressa

Friday, July 27, 2001

Hi Mary- Your post rang a bell with me. My husband is always saying that i never support him. I've asked him to clarify and he says i don't believe in him. I know that i encourage him when he is down, compliment him on accomplishments that are achieved and always try to be there for him when i can and even anticipate his needs. I think i finally understand that no matter how supportive i was to him he doesn't see it because what it comes down to is he has to believe in himself. From reading through this site and books on verbal abuse it is my perception that he has a low self-esteem even though he would tell you differently. I know that i myself have to work on my own self-esteem or I would not have allowed this verbal abuse for years and deny it or try to please him constantly even though i didn't feel good about it. I've been feeling stronger because i am not denying that my husband is a verbal abuser. Last night i just sat quietly going through different "incidents" that have occurred over the years where he has snapped, blamed, accused me of doing. I now believe that there is absolutely no excuse for him to behave this way. Last night, he approached me upset because i told my parents that i was being verbally abused by him. He told me that i shouldn't have done that because now they are going to worry and get upset at him without hearing his side of the story. I told him that i thought about it very carefully and i do not regret informing them of what is happening because i don't want to surprise them one day saying I'm leaving. so he asked me if i was leaving and i told him I'm not going to make any rash decisions but one thing is clear "that i am not going to accept any type of name calling or him speaking disrespectfully to me". I told him that i was willing to talk to him about any issues respectfully myself. He just really looked at me and then got up and left the room. I thought oh well, and went back to drawing. He came to bed last night saying he misses me and if i love him. i told him i loved him but I'm not going back to the way i used to be. Thanks for listening. Susann

Friday, July 27, 2001

Dear All,

I feel rather fed up since I seem to be so out of balance. I just can't seem to spread myself all over all areas of my life and do okay.

I end up doing not so good on all areas. I seem to set myself up. I will know that if I get up late and spend time in bed I will once more be late for work. BUT I still do this.

I know that if I go and get side tracked which is always in the area of me wanting to read books, or read sites about growing that my work doesn't get finished.

I know then I end up people thinking I am incompetent.

I know if I do not do my degree work I won't be able to pass my exams.

I know I feel so overwhelmed I only have until October to sort this situation out. I have 3 essays to get done and lots of reading and YOU guessed it!! I am behind. And I can't see how I can make up for the time I've used elsewhere.

Any ideas??

I know why I spend time elsewhere! It is because doing my degree work is mind taxing and if I feel tired it is so much easier to go and escape and read since I see my growth in my everyday life, I feel good. BUT the degree work just doesn't get done.

I do want to do this degree. And not only that my employers have paid for the course so if I don't complete it I will have to pay them back.

Why do I set myself up like this??

Do I really want to fail??

I don't want to fail, though I've no idea how to not fail!!

Thanks for listening, Thank God I am on holiday in the sun from Monday so won't be back until August 13th.

SO another escape route meaning even less time to get all this work done.

Take care Theressa

Friday, July 27, 2001


One foot in front of the other. Keep on walking.....and you'll see the distance behind you.

Shine on.

Friday, July 27, 2001

Hi Theressa,

What you say about "transference" makes total sense. I think that's spot on (as you in the UK say!).

I do the same thing you do - I get a lot out of the Catbox and all the books, and spend a lot of time here, and yet I have a pile of research books that also need to be gone through! I set times for study and take breaks on the Catbox. I tell myself, I am going to do X for three hours, then I go and do it. This was a post-hynotic suggestion I got in a hypnosis session that I did out of curiosity, and it works. Then I get some Catbox or self-improvement reading. That way, I am working on my Self, working on my work, and NOT letting my ex (the experience I am trying to process) completely take over my consciousness. I recognise that it is possible for me to allow my recent experience with him to derail my work because I feel down and I want to learn more about what happened so I read the narcissism stuff and not my research work. So we have to be really rigorous about the allocation of time!!

Pass your exams, girl! Onward and upward!!

Hey Jeannie, I can't speak for the doc but I'm sure we would benefit from your clients' participation. I kind of learn from everyone here.

My latest thought re my ex: why would anyone want to go and yell at someone they love? That's CRAZY!

Love, Perdida


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