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Below is an Interactive Board sampler. A fuller listing is found in the "Stories" menu above.

4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

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

3/1 Interactive Board: D/s Lifestyle

1/14 Interactive Board: My Purrrfect Husband

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

10/23 Interactive Board: Quandary Revisited

8/24 Interactive Board: Quandary! What's Going On?

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

6/12 Interactive Board: Unintentional Abuse

11/7 Interactive Board: Is This Abusive?

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

11/4 Interactive Board: A New Me!

10/8 Interactive Board: Seeming Impossibility

9/8 Interactive Board: My Ex MisTreats Our Son

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

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

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

4/7 Interactive Board: Too Guilty!

Comments for Eeek! I'm Angry!

Comments:  Eeek! I'm Angry!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005
07:24 AM

HI Dr. Irene - wow have you given me a lot to think about and work on--especially the part about my overstepping other people boundaries. I had never thought about it before, but I used to do this all of the time. I have stopped it with my female friends, but did not even realize I was doing it in male relationships. That's what I mean about not being aware of what you're not aware of! But once you are aware, then you can do something about it! S & I did not go dancing on Fri, Sat, & Mon. Hi has intimated that there is a girl that he might want to date. I did not react to this one. If that's the case, so be it.

You are so right that I have been acting like a jealous lover. God that is hard to admit. But now, you can do something about it! All my life it seems I have tried to get someone to end the pain that was so very, very deep. I am always in the past or the future instead of enjoying the present. Ouchhh!

I am going to work really hard to enjoy the relationship S and I have as a friendship and shared activities. Yes, I am ok that he is not interested in a sexual relationship with me because I have a lot of work to do on myself before I could ever tackle that type of relationship again with anyone. I was abused sexually as a child OUCHHH!, but then also had my husband move in next door to me while we were still married and lived there for 18 months. That unusual situation certainly has affected my trust level with men for the last 30 years.

Someday I am going to write a book on that situation, but only from the many humorous incidents that arose from my husband living next door to me and the children. Do this! This will help you - and others! So many time I had to laugh or cry and I chose to laugh. Good for you for focusing on the positive. It is bittersweet. While you can't do anything to change the past, you don't have to make your today miserable.

It was like a rerun of a cheap "B" grade movie. Back to my relationship with S. I am so afraid of abandonment that I let men completely walk all over me rather than risk there getting mad and going away. I have watched S's treatment of me deteriorate over the past year from good to not so good (verbal comments and withdrawal of affection -- nothing physical) I have printed out most of the data from your wonderful site and realize that I have to set boundaries or it will end anyway. I have lost respect for myself and he is losing respect for himself because he is basically a decent man. Never allow yourself to lose your self respect again! And, never allow another to walk all over you again. The good news about this is that it is very do-able.

I think we can all get caught up in walking on someone if they let us--it can be quite a power trip. Yes! This is basic dominance stuff; it's all over the animal kingdom! I am 65 years old and am finally learning that a relationship does not turn upon one incident, but many, many interactions and different types of involvement. S is currently working on remodeling my house, so I actually see more of him than I did of my husband. He works several days a month and we have breakfast and lunch together lots of times. I think the sheer amount of time we spent together gave me the idea that there was something more than friendship. I am going to check any romantic ideas at the door and take any and all pressure off him. I am just going to try and have fun and be a good companion. When life throws you lemons, make lemonaid!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005
10:58 AM

Suzie, It sounds like you have a lot of insight into what's going on and you are really taking the doc's suggestions seriously without defensiveness. That is great. People often come up with excuses as to why the doc's advice isn't right for them or not applicable or can't be done, but not you. You are taking the bull by the horns. I think you are moving in all the right directions. Yeah!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005
10:46 PM

Hi Dr. Irene - just one additional question - you said that if S is a pa, and if I try insisting on a romantic direction, he will just dig his heels in and not go this way simply because I want him to. I have found this to be true. He will often do just the opposite because he knows what I want his to do. Could you explain this to me just a bit more.  PA individuals, often having grown up with a controlling parent or sib, tend to feel controlled - even when they're not! Their "auto pilot" behavior is to assume there is no way out for them other than to comply. They feel angry, and express that anger passively thru oppositional behavior. So, if they think you want something from them, instead of taking the ordinary option to refuse, they autopilot into not doing and stay mad. The more they sense you want something, the more they won't go there.

The key with these people is to treat them without any duress. Make it clear that despite what you may wish they would do, you are encouraging them to do as they truly want inside. At least now they won't be bucking you! Conversely, it becomes your job to accept whatever their decisions may be, like it or not. This way, it's a win-win for each of you.

I got brave and called S today and asked him if he would wrap some books I had to mail tomorrow (28 in all), I would pay for his dinner. He said he would call me if he got off work in time. Well, guess who rang my doorbell at 5 p.m. We were together until 7:30 pm. and I just acted like a friend. We just talked chit chat -- and it felt soooo good on my part. I felt I had my power back. I was not wondering how I was going to say something to him, how I was going to handle his answer, etc., etc. I am going to work on this harder than I have ever done on anything in my life because for the 1st time, I feel I really have a handle on what I have been doing that turns guys off. Yippeeee! Rule of thumb: any behavior on your part that diminishes your self-respect will likely turn off other people as well.

Dr. Irene, I just cannot thank you enough for your clear, concise, right- on-the-nail advice. I have been acting like a jealous lover. I have ordered the two books you suggested and I am going to put those wishful feelings in some kind of box tucked away and enjoy the moments that S and I have because the moment of not is really all any of us have. I'm 65 years old and I think I am finally ready to grow up!!!!! Yippee!!!!!!!!!!!! Hurrah and I would turn cartwheels, but I am afraid I might break something (Naaa, you're in too good shape from dancing!), but I am sure doing them mentally. It is just so exciting to finally have a handle on something I can work on. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Wow! Thank YOU for the thanks! Given how you've taken to all this, I'd agree with you: you are ready! What's that old saying, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." God bless you. Dr. Irene, April 7, 2005.

Friday, April 08, 2005
03:21 AM

Dear Dr. Irene - thank you so much for your response. All my life I have felt like two people in the same body - one a spoiled child angry at the world and wanting to tell everyone to go to H*** for the life that I never had. The other person completely agast at what the little child was doing. Finally a chance to integrate thest two people together. Your explaination, about why S does the exact opposite of what he knows I want, makes so much sense. He chooses women who are not healthy relationship wise and then cannot figure out why it does not turn out. He is at the point now where he is not going to get involved with anyone. He wants something different, but does not know how to get it. His favorite books are Seven Habits of Effective People, Choice Theory, and How to Keep the Love You Find. He feels that he knows all the answers and in a way he does, but he does not know how to apply them. We are almost the antisithis (sp? of each other. I think I am the lst women he has ever dated that has tried to figure out what is going on between us and I think that is the connection he has with me. I think that you have enough background on our situation that I would like to try a consultation with you on the phone in a couple of weeks. S once said to me "dont tell me you are going to change, just do it." and I think it is time to put that into action. I have an extensive background in couseling through college classes seminars, etc., but it is a lot harder to see our own STUFF!. I have to tell you that you are the most right on couselor I have ever talked to. How you can get down to the facts so fast when you have never met the person just astounds me. I wish I could show S this site, but the time is just not right. It has only been 1 1/2 weeks since S said he was thinking of breaking up with me. He has had promises from me several times, but the other shoe dropped about a month later when I would go off on him again. It will take some time for him to begin to trust any change he sees in me. One last thing. S does not believe in giving anyone compliments. And I do mean anyone. He thinks the person is important and that giving a compliment (You look nice, etc) is superfulous. I have never met anyone in my life that never gave anyone compliments. To me it is part of the pa withholding and maintaining control. That is enough of my rambling. From now on every day is the lst day of the rest of my life.

Friday, April 08, 2005
02:48 PM

Susie, I'm glad that you're getting a handle on things, but boy oh boy does S sound like one of the square dancers I know. I hope he's not, because the one I'm thinking of can be very difficult to deal with. If you want more information, go to the catbox and pm (private email) me there . My screen name is percolate (a C1 call).

Thursday April 21, 2005

Dear Dr Irene This is Suzie again asking help with my relationship with S. We are now only dancing 2 nights a week and S is doing things with his friend, “Greg” going together to dances as singles. Greg is also pulling back from his girlfriend and she is ready to break off the relationship. Last Fri. S was grumpy except when he was around Greg. Greg scratched S on the back & only then S broke out in a big grin. He is usually always stoic faced—that way you never know what he is feeling. I finally talked to S about my losing my temper and setting up a signal if I did it again. He said he could not do that because he could not anticipate. I also asked him for more support and he just changed the subject and that question never got answered. His only comment was “why did it take 2 weeks for me to talk to him.” Duh??? It has only been 3 weeks since “he was thinking of breaking up with me.” Suzy - let go. Just let go; he's not interested in doing this stuff and he's not your significant other, so it doesn't matter.

S & I are officers in the same square dance club where a problem has developed. The caller, S & I set up an advanced workshop hour before our Mon. night lessons for the dancers who help students. As there no cost involved, it just did not occur to us this would be a problem. On Mon., 4/11, all H*** broke loose. Because we did go to the board first, all 3 of us were accused of purposely going behind their backs & were accused of lying when we tried to explain. Our caller may quit, S says he is done & I am going to resign as Treasurer as I do not need this in my life. If we made a mistake by not going to the board, there was no intent to do anything wrong.

On Mon., Apr. 18, S called in sick–I think he is still too angry to deal with it. The President & Secretary are not talking to the caller or I & S has not answered the phone on Mon & Tues. I am afraid of how this may affect my relationship with S. I cannot eat or sleep, I keep crying & my stomach is in knots. My best girlfriend of 50 years is dying. I saw her last night & she is getting ready to go which does not help. My plan is to contact S tomorrow which our next dance date. This situation taught me what it is like to be on the receiving end of someone’s anger--it did not feel good. I cringe when I think of some of the things I have accused S of when I lost my temper in the past. I also realize I am too serious around S-–always trying to talk problems. I have never learned how to play—that is why the dancing is so important to me. I do not know if S is willing to go on with the relationship. I could really use some advice here. I feel like I am losing S, my girlfriend, & the club, which has been my entire social life for the past year, all at the same time. My advice: Let go of S; dance together when you're both available, and find some new friends! Dr. Irene



Monday, April 25, 2005
05:51 AM


Monday, April 25, 2005
05:52 AM


Saturday, July 30, 2005
08:32 AM

Saturday, November 12, 2005
05:35 PM

HI again Dr. Irene I did want to add something to my confrontation with S on that one eve. When I calmly explained to S that I felt cut off (he does not let me finish what I am saying before he tells me how I am wrong.) He accused me of playing "poor little me" and I stood my ground and said that was absolutely not true. He used logic by saying "then what you mean is I cannot speak up when I know you are wrong because I 'might' hurt you". I refused to even go there because it was a lose-lose situation--he was arguing logic when I was talking about feelings and that it made me feel his being right was more important than my being wrong. He said several times: "I have trusted you lately, dies this mean you want me to go back to the way it was where I put a barrier up and watch everything I say to you." It came across as a threat and my answer was "of course not" because the question was so rediculous. I was just trying to point out that it is better sometimes to just let something go rather than always point out that the person is wrong. S even corrects me when I tell him something that happened 30 years ago. I am so proud of myself for holding my own and he in turn did back down and at least partially heard me. In that conversation, I realized that S and I can never have a permanent relationship. Now when he does his "stuff" as I call it -- I just ignore him and go "whatever S". Speaking up with S about anything has never worked. I can be a friend from a distance, but will get away from him if it gets to much for me. He is capable of being a wonderful friend and fun to be around in small doses. Again, I wish him and his new girlfriend the best--I no longer want anything permanent with him. My counselor thinks I am doing great, but also thinks the new girlfriend is going to need a lot of luck down the road. This is one very broken & injured man. It took me to age 66 to fully wake up but I have been working toward this day for at least 11 years. I thank God for the understanding I have achieved and wish the same for everyone. It is like learning to walk all over again. For starters, I have hired a personal trainor and am working to get my flexability back because I plan to wow them on a lot of dance floors. Viva la understanding!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks again for your wonderful website. I continue to marvel how you can get to the heart of everything so quickly. Bye for now and maybe I will be letting you know when I find the right one for me in the next couple of years. If I do not find such a relationship, I will be happy anyway. Best wishes Suzie

Friday, December 30, 2005
10:39 PM

Hi Suzie I read your article with interest, in fact , your situation is similiar to mine right now. Today is New Years Eve....I am on my own and my recent partner is enjoying himself with his family. We had a fight Xmas day and I left in tears. He hates pushes him away. Its been 6 days without contact and I am in pain..he goes underground. He becomes an angry ice maiden when we end up in situations like Xmas day. He wants a relationship without emotion..unfortunately that isnt me. Like you I enjoy his company, we have so much fun together however I constantly feel that he runs away either through work, sickness or tiredness. I am confused as to whether this is my abandoment issues or his issues. Most likely its both of us. I want to put this dilemna is should I try and fix it or leave it alone and wait for him to make the moves?. I have trouble with boundaries and on Xmas day I decided that this was not healthy for either of us... In all of this I want to make peace with myself and with him...or should I leave it alone. Any feedback would be greatly welcomed. Dianne

Friday, February 03, 2006
12:03 PM

Dear Suzie, You sound like an intelligent and caring person.What you are going through sounds just like me and my husband 2 years ago. I was in your position and harboured a lot of anger towards myself as many counsellors and my husband were busily telling me all my mistakes. (I'm passive-aggressive, w a history of emotional abuse by my mother.) Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with depression, also. (internalised anger). What I wanted to say, however, is that even though you have problems and want to change (which I'd like to applaud you for) you sound like you are doing all the work in the relationship. Do yourself a favour, ask S to go to counselling also, as you've already said that he has problems with P.A. I suggest that you donot try to counsel him as it would only make you feel more responsible for his happiness. (10 years down the track you'll still feel emotionally responsible for him, like I do with my husband after we got back together.) If you make yourself responsible for his happiness, your friendship WILL change to the less-desirable one of 'mother/child'. I trully don't think you would be happy with that.