Comments for Dan
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.
Good job Dan. Your posts are usually insightful. How long has it been since you first realized You had a problem, and how do you gage your progress since then? How did you realize you were abusive?
"Good job Dan. Your posts are usually insightful. How long has it been since you first realized You had a problem, and how do you gage your progress since then? How did you realize you were abusive?"
My last "proper" girlfriend, a while back, I was getting a little loud with her. Basically I was into proving I'm smart, over and over again, and this gets in the way of honest communication. I am working on it, but I realize that I wasn't always such a pleasure to be around. But I have to follow my own advice, which is,
"What is to be done?"
I'm kinda feeling very personal and protective about the specifics of my realizing when I had a problem. Let's just say that's it's been a learning processing over the past year or so, realizing that I was so fixated on pleasing others on the surface, that I was getting angrier and angrier, until all I had inside of me was anger. I basically just had to be alone, no dates, even friendships were put aside, while I read, and read, and read.
I suffered an injury, which was a huge ego blow. I had to start to come to grips with my body.
My problem now, is that I still see life as a competition. I can laugh at this tendency, but still, I have trouble accepting comments, I still instinctively take everything as an insult or a putdown. My instincts are those of the controller. So I work at it.
Dan, I actually got a lot out of your insight that Larry was disassociating himself from his behaviors. It allowed me to finally realize why I distrusted my husband's statements that he understood why I was so unhappy, understood that his behaviors were wrong, felt sorry for everything he had done, etc. The reason I distrusted his statements was because there was no feeling behind them. He had become quite adept at telling me exactly what I wanted to hear. Saying that, though, he also had become quite adept at removing himself from his behaviors and looking at them objectively as if they were behaviors of someone else. For example, I wrote him a two page letter explaining the effects of his abuse over the years. I explained to him that his constant criticism and judging, accusing and blaming had made me question everything about myself, even my own thoughts. As a result, I had lost faith in my own instincts and thought I was actually going crazy because I had the sense that my brain didn't work "right." How could it be working right if every thought or idea I had was so "wrong" or when ever I tried to say something, it always came out "wrong." Anyway, the letter was pretty powerful. I wrote it because I thought he needed to understand the extent of the problem and why I thought dealing with it was so important. His response, after reading it, was to come to me very calmly -- as if he had just read a greeting card with just a printed message and no personal inscription -- kiss me, thank me for writing it and saying he understood and wanted to change it. Then he left it on the counter and walked over to the computer to check the baseball scores. I think he truly does think they are wrong and that he is truly sorry that he does it and that he truly wants to stop his controlling, abusive ways. However, until he can accept his behaviors as his own and open his heart to empathy and remorse for what he has done, I don't see much chance that he will change. The bad thing is that, because of my distrust of him, I haven't been able to let go of my anger and resentment for how he has treated me for the past 7 years. As long as he doesn't TRULY take responsibility for it, I feel like any apology is worthless. As a result, I think I've become abusive towards him - blowing up at the smallest sign that no change is coming; not wanting to interact with him; pulling back from him when he wants to hug, kiss, etc. I think I am finally seeing that it is time to get out. He is not going to change and, unfortunately, I am becoming someone I don't want to be. Anyway, wanted you to know that your posts helped more people than just those with whom you were attempting to communicate.
I think your wonderful post telling you how me how my posts helped more than just Lou, i.e., helping you realize how your husband has been disassociating from his behaviors, has just helped me realize that I think I've been a bit too hard on myself. I emailed Dr. Irene after I had an emotional breakthrough, which was triggered by a fight I had with a girl I'd been dating. This girl was the "people I've been hurting" of the letter, but I think she has her issues too, so I think our problems were more of a two way street. It was just kind of jarring........ I felt like I was on such a roll with Lou, and then along came real life to kick me in the ass. But, the girl and I are still talking, and if we break it off, no big deal.
Ok, Dan here again, and then signing off for a while-
I don't really want to tell anybody this but- I have basically lived my whole life very, very afraid. There was a lot of physical and verbal abuse in my life. It has been a long slow growth out of a childhood lived purely in books, fantasy, television, sports, and the intellect. This is all I am ready to go into now. But for those like me, who really, really want to change, just be ready to go through a whole lot of pain. It is worth it. For this aspect, may I again recommend M. Scott Peck's , The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values, and Spiritual Growth, and may I paraphrase him, that most psychological problems result from people avoiding true pain.
bye for now. Dan
Question for everybody-
Is trying to help someone, when they don't ask for it, always wrong?
This is assuming you have healthy boundaries. And you are good at being subtle. And you believe that you really can help someone. Perhaps it's because you sense that even if they don't come out and say it, they seem to be begging for help with every word out of their mouth.
What if you enjoy helping, and you are subtle enough to do it well?
Dan, As a rule of thumb, it's always OK to offer a suggestion unsolicited. Once, perhaps twice. After that, let it go. You are intruding. If they "seem to be begging," then your help is not unsolicited.
Hi, Dan! Whenever I write out a suggestion, or make a comment to someone else's post, it reinforces new behaviors for me. Having to write out a response makes me think, helps me learn, and I hope helps the person who asked for the comments.
I thought your posts were great! But, even if someone else had a different opinion about your posts, and thought they were lousy, so what? You wouldn't die from it, right? Be kind to yourself. Sis
Hi Dan. I would like to ask you to comment on my comments to you... Thanks. Dr. Irene
Dan, Regarding your question about helping someone who didn't ask for help; how about asking, in a kind and understanding way, if he/she wants help? In fact, just letting a person know that you are aware of his dilemma and you are there if he needs you - whether for advice or a shoulder to cry on or a game of chess, walk in the park, whatever.
Be glad to comment Doc! Have y'all figured out that I love to talk about.........me? Well, I guess I do, and I am a little bit sheepish about the whole thing, just feels like one long ode to myself. But since ya asked........... I asked...
Dan: I apologize for using your service as my own sounding board. I did hope Lou felt better, but I was also using your site as a forum to get all my stuff out there, as fast as I could, just to prove myself. I am sorry, to you, and to Lou, and to Jake.
Dr. Irene:You really helped Lou and Jake! You got through to them!
Yes, I did. Speaking of which, you guys out there? I don't know how many people know this, but Jake is really going through it right now. Hang in there, Jake! We're with ya! Yeah!
Dan: You can post this if you want, and you can post this from "Dan." I would love it if you wanted to, but please leave out my email address, ok? You bet. Otherwise, you have my complete permission if you wish. If you don't want to, that's ok too. But I would love it if you put this letter up, in fact I think it might be important.
Dr. Irene:This is very important. I an inclined to agree. It could be my ego out of control, but I am starting to believe that I am some sort of miracle. It is a miracle! Isn't it wonderful! Oooohh, that sounded ridiculous. Nope. But........with Lou, it was like the words just flowed through my fingers. The part where I told him that he spared his ex-wife suffering, I was using Victor Frankl there. It just seems like I have a verbal counter to every bad thing people say about themselves, and I know what to say. :) Some sort of photographic memory seems to have emerged. If anyone would like, I can (next week, please!) put together a master book list/ web site list, plus commentary, on stuff that's really, really helped me. ?????? Go for it! If you don't have plans on publishing it elsewhere, I'd love to put it here.
Dan: But that's my opinion, which you don't have to share, and you might not think that's appropriate.
Objectively, you have that right anyhow, and you know that. Dr. Irene: :) Right back at ya kid. Glad you got that one in the spirit it was intended.
Dan: But I am realizing, in my own head, truly for the first time ever, that you have the right to make up your own mind.
Dr. Irene: :) Gee thanx! Sorry for the sarcasm, I didn't want to help it. I do know what you are saying though. It is a realization. One of those life realities that are so obvious, you're amazed you didn't see it all along...
An explanation is in order to you Dr. Irene. There are so many bad jokes out there about patients falling in love with their therapists. Well, I was falling in love with you. In fact, I double checked, just to make sure you were happily married (relief). Oh boy! I can't wait to tell my wonderful hubby that I'm somebody's fantasy woman! I kept starting to send you emails about Lou, subsequent to the first, in which I (sorry, Lou) doubted that Lou existed. But, you know what? Every time I started to write, I realized, that what I really wanted to say was, "I love you" perhaps even "Sleep with me, I wish you weren't with your husband," and so I didn't do anything, all the while the attraction grew stronger.......... Until my big night......my phone battle with the girl I'm dating.......... I talk to someone else, very important to me, all night long, and a lot of things come to light (still too scared someone will identify me, wanna leave this vague.......a remnant of childhood abuse? (sigh)). And then, and then, well, I have a female friend of two years, we've been dating, then friends, then nothing, then........ real ambiguous....... but I have this realization, that I finally want her to be happy, and I want to be her friend, and I couldn't care less who she had sex with, I just wanted her to be happy! This hit me like a bolt of lightning. I mean, I had said this to her before.........I had thought I meant it, and was telling the truth.......but this time, I really felt it! :) You gave up mememe place! And, Dr. Irene, any sexual feelings I thought I had for "you" just disappeared, and gave me the capacity to write you the letter I did. Yippeee! (I apologize if you are feeling uncomfortable about this. Hear it all the time. You could make me the perfect woman, since I validated you, in light of how your friend wasn't able to give you what you wanted. It hit you that its OK to not get it from her... Now you didn't need the fantasy of me anymore. You just did great stuff: You sat with your feelings and did not act out. You sat with them long enough to hear their message - or to let the message touch you... Wonderful! I wouldn't be telling you this unless I had gotten through this stuff. I think it's important to say out loud, and I tried to say "what I felt" and nothing about "you". I just remember, when explaining about boundaries, you wrote a bit on how someone commented on your legs once, and you told them that was inappropriate immediately. Well, I hope you aren't disgusted by me now, and I also hope that you'll state what bothers you about this, and we can move on. Nothing bothers me about this. I'm glad you checked yourself and didn't act out, since you would not have gotten an encouraging response from me otherwise. I'm glad this worked out for you! I'm glad you had the courage to post all of this. You have no idea how validating this can be for another person with similar feelings. You are in a sense providing a "roadmap" of recovery. This is a heck of a contribution...and you are one heck of a human being! Thank you.
What do I hate most in the world? When people hold grudges, especially when they pretend everything's normal, but they're still so angry at you! I hate that! So if I offend, I offend, but for a few days, I just felt like I was in love. Of course I've never met you, so this feeling had nothing to do with the real you, had everything to do with me. :) (You trying to tell me I'm not lovable!) I was also worried that you'd get mad at me for writing all these good posts, think I was stealing your thunder or something. Amazing the nutty stuff people worry about... I had my antenna up for signs that you were at all like that. Could find none, whatsoever. You seemed to want our help! I do! Besides, you did a much better job of connecting than I did, especially with Lou. Who cares who gets through? Which I think is wonderful!!!!!!! You seem to understand that once we've learned, we too can help others, Tim, Sakoto, Captain Lady, etc! It's wonderful. That's why I stood up for "you" so loudly in the Lou thread, when Amy started saying how could you be so greedy. Thanx... I imagine she represents a certain segment, so I wanted to get the word out on just how righteous a lady you are, and how people gotta understand that this stuff is FREE! How anyone could criticize you for getting a nickel if someone buys a book using your links, is beyond me. Beyond me too since I clearly articulate that that is the case both in the Book Shelf and on the policies page. And, the books don't cost the reader a cent more. And, nobody has to buy anything through the links! What's funny is that it didn't initially occur to me to post the statement prominently on the top of the Book Shelf page, since it was already stated in the policy section. I posted it after I got a bunch of people who wanted to send a "contribution" to the site! That wasn't OK with me. I am OK letting them know they can "contribute" by getting whatever they would ordinarily get through the links. By the way, getting a percentage is standard practice on the web. Wherever you see links to a merchant, a small percentage is paid for referral. Again, we don't know what you do with the money, anyway! Maybe you give that portion to starving children. We don't know, and it's not our business! I was a little surprised when I found out, I admit, about the Amazon thing, but my reaction was "How nice for her!" I don't buy books through Amazon, I just take your recommendations off the site, and buy the books. Boundaries: When to say Yes, When to Say No, To Take Control of Your Life by Cloud and Townsend, that was a find!!!!! Thanx for tuning me son!!!!!! The other good thing about the links is that it makes it real easy to find out more about the book and see other people's review of the book.
Dan:What is that joke about the world's smartest man asking God to make him even more intelligent, and God responds by turning him into a woman?
Dr. Irene: Stop. This is not a sexist site. (But I'm healthy enough to accept your compliment anyway.)
At first I was like, wait a minute doc I wasn't talking about you, then I was like, oh yeah, I guess I was talking about you. All I meant was that men get all the credit through history for all this stuff........socrates, plato, alexander, Aquinas, newton, einstein, churchill, and we learn all this stuff about the "heroes." Wow! I have some self-esteem "problem", don't I? Taking a compliment that wasn't even intended for me! You can see I practice what I preach about patting oneself on the back a lot and taking every opportunity to feel good about the self.
WHERE ARE THE WOMEN? they have broken their backs for thousands of years, without any fanfare, have just gotten it done. Many were just as smart as newton and einstein, just haven't gotten the kudos yet. Of course, "intelligence" is a vastly overrated thing, but that's outside the scope of this email. By the way, everything I just said about women not getting the fanfare, also applies to people of color, the poor, all the time, every time, etc. I am a student of history......sadly, it has been a very exclusive one. Let us continue to make it more inclusive! But without stomping on the dead white males, let us not follow their own bad example. For disclosure: I am a "white", born protestant Christian, male, in case you're wondering. Blond hair too.
Dan: PS. I would love to hear back from you personally, but I don't know if that's a good idea, given my ego problems. I'm still trolling around for praise so badly.
Irene: Kiddo, you got my kudos; deal with it.
Thank ya, thank ya. blush!
Dear Dan, I will publish this. (Of course, sans identifiers.) I think this is a wonderful note! Thank you for the note, and thank you for working so hard trying to fix the guys on the board. You got through...
This note is an example of "recovery in progress." It is so cool watching you spontaneously recognize your own stuff - and deal with it! It's also telling how you are having a hard time with the help you gave the others simply because you were admittedly blowing off your own steam. Well, you know what? You did blow off steam. And you know what else? You also helped others.
I think maybe the two go together! If I blow off steam "correctly", then I can help others. My technique? Just sit there, with the other person's comment right in front of me, and slowly patiently ask myself "What do I really want to say? What are my motives? Am I doing this in the best interests of the other person? What about me, am I ok with this? How do I feel right now?" I take time, which not everybody has, I go through all the possibilities, and then I am ready to respond. I don't try to be perfect, just appropriate to the context. I got a little out of hand with Jake...... I told him I was furious that he said God was gonna judge you, doc........I just didn't understand him at all, then. So I learned.
So, why am I telling codependent you to continue fixing people? Because teaching what you know is a great reinforcement to one's own learning. Because your "fixing" was NOT unsolicited. People on these boards are asking for help.
Real, real good clarification. Thanks for that!
When is "fixing" wrong? When its not asked for; when it is compulsively used as a way of avoiding your own junk. Oh yeah, and when you offer your suggestions and get pissed that the other person won't take them. You only engaged in the second one for a little while; then you got back to yourself. There is no problem here at all. Plus, you used all of this to further your own insight. No problem!
Doctor, for me the word "wrong" has very little meaning. But I DON'T want to get sidetracked on a semantic side issue that perhaps 5% of the readers would enjoy :) The getting pissed off thing, hmmmm.........I find that when I give advice, it's apparently not expected, and I get pissed, it helps to ask myself
WELL, WHAT DID I HOPE FOR?
As well as to say: IT TOOK ME SEVERAL YEARS TO GET IT RIGHT, WHY DO I EXPECT THEM TO GET IT IN FIVE MINUTES? MAYBE ON SOME LEVEL THEY "GOT" IT, JUST NOT VERBALLY!
Can you deal with that? Hint: You'd better learn to. Patting yourself on the back is an integral part of healthy living. Even if your underlying motivation was initially self-serving, you did not get stuck in fixing anybody and in avoiding your own stuff.
Oh, go on...............
My very best wishes, Dr. Irene
Anybody have anything to say to Dan? About this stuff, or even about how he got to where he is in his recovery?
An important clarification follows:
I am really not the abuser type, I am more the lifelong intellectual/ depressive type. Past tense on the depression, thank god. Well, thank Paul Hauck actually. "Overcoming Depression" is so good, folks. Abuser type, victim type... These labels are really no more than another point of view. From the perspective of this site, I would term you an abuser. And there is some victim in you too, but more abuser. I don't really think it matters what ideology one embraces in their effort to become more whole. Target your depression, target your abuse, whatever... All that matters is to get on a track that takes you closer to yourself, that allows you to love and cherish the gift of life you were given, that allows you to express your very unique creativity and allows you to realize all of your potential. Get my drift?
I came to this site, after having failed at even dating. When I logged in, doc, you were still at the beginning, with all the emphasis on codependency, etc. I felt right at home! But then it switched to relationships...... I kinda at first was saddened, cause I wasn't in one!!!!! But I hung in there, and you know what? Your stuff worked for me, with all my relationships............even me with me!! :) Your most important relationship is the one you have with yourself.
Oh, I am so typed out, and so going away for a week, and so nervous that everyone's gonna think I'm truly full of crap now after everything I've written, and so getting a little vexed at that possibility, because I think I've stumbled onto a few things that may help some folks out there. But remember, people, the kingdom is within each and everyone of me. Don't make Dr. Irene your higher power! Thank you. Or anyone else. Don't worry if you can't find your higher power, it just may be that you have to get things straight with you. The higher power thing comes naturally, cannot be forced. I sure am a big fan of step 1, though, that we are powerless over everything but ourselves........... Yeah...
I went through thousands of books a lifetime it took to find a child to shove those books aside, and hug me........
Dan- Your talk about viewing life as a competition, taking comments as a putdown or an insult, etc, REALLY reminds me of an ex-boyfriend, except he was never nearly this insightful about himself. Viewing life as a competition- this comes from an inherent insecurity, but you seem to already know this. He ALWAYS was trying to prove himself, but he'd usually end up just making a fool of himself. (for instance, he'd insist he was always right about some trivial fact and when it was shown that he wasn't, he'd throw a self-pity fit..) I remember once I was talking about my childhood and I mentioned something about the gifted program I was in, and he started throwing a temper tantrum, hitting things and stuff, because he wasn't accepted into a gifted program over 10 years ago. Ouch! Lots of built-up anger and resentment in him. I'd assume that this is also kinda the case for you?
This type of person is usually very frustrating to deal with because they constantly ask for reassurance that they're okay, and no matter how much you try to convince them that they are, it's not good enough for them. They want to hear more. It's exhausting! Your emails aren't like this, but if you tend to be like this in real life, be careful! Realize how hard it is for a partner to deal with this. After I broke up with this ex for my current abuser-in-recovery (lovely pattern I've established, huh?) he told me that his new girlfriend was better at 'reassuring' him because she had a way with words that 'got through to him better'. He was blaming me for his own insecurities! And his new girlfriend was just that- new, she hadn't had all her patience for this guy used up. I've also dealt with this type among my online friends. It gets hard trying to tell them how worthy they are, over and over. the Codependent in me likes to start to, but even I have boundaries. So I don't know if I have any advice, except for dude, love yourself, realize you DO rule, even though I know that's hard for you to accept. I'm only gonna tell you once! -SatokoGirl
Pssst. Satokogirl, speaking of alienation have you noticed some of the misandry on here or the support lists? I wonder if that is why many men are afraid to participate?
"Nearly all women, she finds, perceive men as fitting one or more stereotypes: either that of the needy "Infant," exploitative "Betrayer," or testosterone-poisoned "Beast." There is misandry on the site and I don't like it. And there is misogyny on the site and I don't like it. The "perpetrators" of either need to check themselves and their anger. And the "victims" of either owe it to themselves to conquer their fear and deal with it.
Hi Dan. You sound like me. :) Especially the competitive things.
*sigh* It's been a very long and frustrating two-steps-forward-and-one-back sort of time lately. Like the controlling caregiver article said, I have to keep in mind that some things that are done thoughtlessly are not necessarily intended as personal slights ... and that's not an easy thing to remember.
We had the first really bad fight in a while last weekend. And part of me is still mad even though we've for all intents and purposes made up. Long story short, I was (once again) feeling displaced by his *ahem* new girlfriend Mary Jane (if you know what I mean). Saturday night as we were out camping 5 hours from home, I lost it and blew up big-time -- waking up and stumbling out into cold weather to use the latrine and coming back to his little "confession" about what he had just done just did not make me happy. But I went about handling it all wrong. Sunday morning I was able to discuss things a bit more calmly, and made it clear that while I realize I cannot control what he does, if he wishes to share a tent with me (my tent, his air mattress that I gave him as a birthday gift) he will NOT be bringing anything of that nature. These campouts are connected with an organization in which I hold a post of responsibility, and if that sort of thing were found in MY tent or MY campsite, I could lose that standing, which means a lot to me. He's free to choose, and I'm making sure I follow through -- I'll sleep in the car or set up another tent if it comes to that.
I'm still fuming inwardly about this one. At him, because while I realize he didn't deliberately set out to hurt me, it was incredibly thoughtless on his part. And at myself, for not handling it better. I still have trouble confronting my intimates rationally -- either I scream and yell (a la Dad) or I break down crying (a la Mom). *sigh* With less-close friends I can be assertive but polite and stay articulate, and I enjoy getting involved in online debates (I had one moderator call me a "model of civility"), but I'm still having trouble carrying that into my personal life. Live and learn I guess. :( AngryGirl: could it be this person isn't worth your time? Cuz this person doesn't love himself enough to be right by himself - or others?
Dan, you're gonna make it. Your post have been great, and helpful! Sis
Anon. Poster (220.127.116.11) Why are you posting on this board what should be a response to the 'self-proclaimed abuser' board? My posts here have nothing to do with misogyny or misandry. and I'm kinda confused- you don't say where the phrase is quotes is from, and you don't pinpoint any examples of mine or any other person's misandry. When are men 'afraid' to participate? Dan, Larry/Lou, Gordon, Karl, and Jake certainly aren't! Dr. Irene has hinted that she'd prefer that we keep this kind of stuff out of these boards, but if you'd like to discuss the gender situation on this site and length, you can feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. -SatokoGirl Thanks SatokoGirl. Or, I'll set up a misandry/misogyny board if someone asks for it...
Oopsie! Because apparently I posted to the wrong board so if it is removed that's OK with me. I don't know how I accomplished that feat! It was meant to be in response to your post in which you expressed about another:
"I definitely detect a tone of misogyny in his posts. I'm not going to break them apart or obsess over them, but I definitely think that someone who may be unaware that he's offending people be made aware, and choose whether he or she wants to continue to alienate some people in this way or not too."
So I was merely pointing out that I see misandry, too, and thought it would be great if both ceased. Because, yes, some men ARE afraid to post due to that. I know a few. I am not anonymous by the way, lol, I forgot to post my name. But I cut and paste the quote so I don't know how the name got cut off. Terri
Thanks for the response, Terri, I have a few questions. I know this is off topic and I hope I'm not bothering anybody. Terri, I certainly don't think that there isn't misandry in the world, or even occasionally on this site. However, do you mean misandry in general or are you saying you thought my original post was misandric? I'm simply curious for the point of view.. I personally feel that misogyny and misandry go hand in hand, and they perpetuate each other. However, I mentioned misogyny specifically because that's what I detected specifically from the original post in question. -SatokoGirl
misogyny, n. Hatred of women. [From my daughter's American Heritage Dictionary.]
I posted a long explanation of my position on the issues you mentioned, but I think Dr. Irene wiped it off because it was "off topic." Actually no! While I do wipe stuff that doesn't belong, this is not the type of post I would wipe. When I edit (like right now), if I save my comments right after you've posted, your post is lost. This has happened pretty often. Sorry. I can't blame her; it is her board, after all. But I'll just slip this quickie in, hoping nobody will notice. :) Two points. First, I'll take back my mention of "hysteria." It happened to be the nearest word, though not the right one, to describe a certain psychosocial phenomenon that in my view has been amplified by communications technology, among other factors. If you want to blame men for the effects of technology, please go ahead; I promise I won't accuse you of "misandry" for that. :) I'm only interested in the truth.
But the second point is, on what grounds does anyone claim that someone is guilty of "misogyny," that's to say, hatred (or even "dislike") of women because he or she either points to universally recognized patterns of difference between the sexes, or expresses criticism of a political institution that doesn't even represent the views of a majority of women? Any individual might argue with such opinions, as anyone has a right to do. What I'm saying is that to equate them with "hatred of women" is something no-one would have thought possible for 99.99% of human history; not, in fact, until a generation ago. It's a recent, artificially *taught* position that certain clues are "supposed" to demonstrate "misogyny." And in my (patriarchal, linear, hierarchical, masculinist, not to mention insufferably arrogant) opinion, it's high time we threw all that out in favor of the truth.
But I do agree with you very strongly that "misogyny and misandry go hand in hand, and perpetuate one another." No dispute at all. That, in my (pompous and possibly even misogynist) opinion, and no doubt yours too, is the whole problem.
I hope you can see the real "me" underneath the humor. :)
Dan, well done! Lou made it clear that he'd had this great epiphany over the weekend, and you helped him enormously. It helps so much to have been in a somewhat similar position.
A couple of things Lou told us bothered me a lot, but I didn't see how it would be helpful to mention them. You're quite right though about the dissociation. I saw this blocking out of feeling. Much of Lou's life struck me as a compensation for that, an attempt to create sensations that could somehow get through this barrier of numbness. Like Dr. Irene, I wondered if it could really all be due to one teacher. Isn't there something else there? But that's what Lou buys right now, so let's ride with it for the moment. Meanwhile, it really helped to talk to him as he is now, to deal with the present--and the future.
About knowing when to give help to people: I don't think there's a single answer to that. When they're asking for help, sure. We may, as someone suggested, ask someone if they want help, and see whether they accept us or turn us down. Yet much of the time people need help, but don't want to admit it out loud. If we ask them, they'll say no. If we go ahead and give them help anyway, tactfully, they'll accept it gratefully. It's just a matter of being sensitive to how we're being received, whether someone is glad or whether they're sending signals to say "back off" or "don't interfere." I don't know how to explain that further. It's something you can learn, though, by conscious experiment; and all of life is an experiment! :) :)
Thanks very much for your comments, Dr. Irene, and the others you've made as well. That sure was an interesting exercise in guessing why things happen to us, using the old "frontal cortex" :) and the probabilities don't always work out the way we think they will--always a good reason to keep an open mind.
I'm guessing meanwhile that SatokoGirl must have taken a vacation (why not expand on the advantage of Memorial Day?) and will be back soon. You know how it goes:
GON OUT BACKSON BISY BACKSON
(courtesy of A. A. Milne, "The House at Pooh Corner")
"Later" (as my teenage daughter likes to say--a study in expressing real meaning through casualness).
I had the same self revelation when I realized my part in giving, and accepting verbal abuse. I knew that I couldn't do anything about my fiancee who has since left me, but I decided then and there that I will not use "words" as a way of dismantling another person.
I also realized that I did it because I didn't realize I had the strength, intelligence or power to get my opinion across in a constructive and loving way when I was under attack.
I am now trying hard to read, learn and understand a new way of living and loving someone, warts and all, so to speak. I can't take back anything I ever said but I have apologized and asked to be forgiven for my part in such destruction of the soul.
Hopefully, as long as I live and breathe I can and will use each new day to learn healthier and kinder ways of reacting to someone. There really is no excuse for verbal/emotional abuse, it is just cruel. I have extended this new found awareness to not only him but to family, friends and strangers. What a positive response I am seeing. I guess it proves once again in life that all people want is to be treated with respect and dignity.
The desire to change this part of myself comes from a true awakening. Like Scrooge being taken through his life and shown all the errors of his ways, I too have come to realize and accept my part in all that I thought was only "done to me" the victim. I am going to go from the stance of victim to victory and I know in doing so healing of myself and others will take place. This website is truly a God sent site. Thank you.
Here's an email Dan sent me today:
Quite a wild
ride! Thank you so much for being there for me every
step of the way. I am in a sense "terminating"
therapy, with some sadness, but with a knowledge of
better things to come. I really can't say that I love
you anymore, or that I love any of the contributors to
the board, or that in any meaningful sense of the
word, that i even love myself.
That's something, isn't it? This is what I wrote him back:
We'll miss you, Dan.