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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 Had Enuf Too

Comments for I've Had Enough Too!

Material posted here is intended for educational purposes only, and must not be considered a substitute for informed advice from your own health care provider.
Courtesy of Dr. Irene Matiatos, Copyrightę 2000. The material on this website may be distributed freely for non-commercial or educational purposes provided that author credit is given. For commercial distribution, please contact the author at


B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, February 26, 2000


Great story!! Thanks for sharing it.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, February 28, 2000


Allison- Don't even sweat your "out of control" behavior. How many times has your abuser acted inappropriately towards you? A million? I think you are entitled to a few. My belief is that it's ok to blow up once in a while (but no punching, please!) but abusers are like this CONSTANTLY, ready to blow up and attack people who aren't obeying their unspoken rules (rules such as: don't you dare mention your own interests, don't you dare "set me off", don't you dare imply that we'll be separated in the future, even if it's only for a month, don't you dare have other friends that I don't approve of, especially friends of the opposite sex, then who knows what I might do). The really funny, sad, tragic part about all this is that abusers often don't even make these rules explicit: you have to guess at trying to figure out what they're thinking. Perhaps they unconsciously realize how absurd all this sounds when brought out into the clear light of day. They thrive on secrecy, perhaps hiding even from themselves. I was a victim when I was a little boy, I've only recently come to terms with the fact that I was verbally abusive towards my last girlfriend- not really with aggression- I would "correct" her language, way of speaking, and I would withhold if she asked me stuff that upset me, such as why wasn't I looking for a job, and blame her instead of under- standing what was really going on. Sad to say, I had been a victim in my other two major male/female relationships- and I thought all this behavior towards my most recent ex was just fine, cause it "felt" right (and, quite honestly, because she was too nice! The other two wouldn't have put up with my b*******t for one minute!) So anyway, good for you, Allison, stand up for yourself, be careful like Dr. Irene says of finding another abuser, but also be careful of doing what I did and finding a "softie" that you can dump on. Life is really so much better without blame! If abusers could only realize this, they too could settle down and begin to enjoy life rather than picking apart, finding fault, criticizing, etc. My motto is "be imperfect!" (but how can I do that perfectly, heh heh!) -D

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, February 29, 2000


Yes, I keep meeting the same type over and over again. My relationships only last six months because now I can recognize the unhealthy ones and tell them to get lost. I want to break this cycle. No more miserable relationships please help !!

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, March 01, 2000


I'm glad that you found my story inspiring and helpful. I certainly didn't feel it would be inspiring when I wrote it-I was angry and in pain from dealing with his abuse. I've been much happier since I made the decision to end the abuse (see my update at

I hope you too find the peace and happiness that I've experienced the past few months.


B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, March 02, 2000


Dear Allison, I admire what you did. I lived a similar experience. For 3 years I tried to built an healthy relationship but I never realized how badly he was manipulating me and abusing me one day I got tiered too and packed all my things and move back home. I know it's hard that you probably miss him but it's time to move on and I'm sure we'll all be able to do it.-+


B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, March 08, 2000


Hello, Had Enough. I too have had enough tonight. My husband seems to look for things to be miserable about, and I always seem to be the reason. I was gone to long to town, or I was on the phone to long, or I run to much in the evening with the kids. The list is endless. I can't seem to do anything right and I am getting close to the realization that everyone can do right except me. Leaving is hard. I left my first husband because of verbal and emotional abuse as well as infidelity (his). I hate that I have found myself back in the same place that I swore I would never put myself. It makes me feel like a failure. However, if I stay where I am for the rest of my life I would have to consider my life a waste of time. No one should have to live their lives in fear of another's reaction. A life together should be shared in joy, not in fear. I can relate to what you were saying and was glad to see your post. I am new to this board and it was great to see that what I was feeling was not un-heard of. I'm tired of walking on egg shells to make sure that I don't set him off. And that is ludicrous because on any given day it could be any number of things that would set him off. I am now faced with the decision on whether or not to put us and our children through a divorce. I can't imagine my life staying the same but the thought of uprooting my kids lives to get them away from this is equally frightening. I mainly just wanted to get this all off of my chest. It seems like the more I write it out, the more it makes sense. Now, just to find the strength. Please reply if you want. Would appreciate the support. With love and understanding Suz.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, March 11, 2000


March 10, 2000

Dear Dr. Irene, I am a 32 year old mother of a (wonderful) high-need three-year-old. I am the youngest in a large Catholic family, and my father was a verbal abuser throughout my childhood. My mother was a doormat, but, she did realize that it was not right to be treated that way, and told us so, however did not have the strength to leave him. She died recently after spending many years in my father's care while suffering from a degenerative disease. I had left home right after high school, wanting to get as far away as possible from my family for a while, and moved to Alaska with a girl friend.

There I met my first husband, who seemed wonderful at first. But after a few years with him, I was seeing a psychologist to deal with the stress of some health problems I had (lymphatic cancer), and finally was becoming aware how manipulative he was and how much he hurt me with his controlling behavior. He never yelled, never called me names, but, he "killed me with kindness," by lecturing me with the excuse "only because I love you and want you to be the best you can be." It is really sad to think that the happiest time in our relationship was when I was going through chemotherapy and radiation and was very dependent on him (he was very supportive during my illness). Well, I left him once, and got sweet-talked into returning.

I came to my senses again after an incident the next Christmastime, when he was harassing me about how I "should" send my presents to my family early so they would get there on time, and how irresponsible and thoughtless I was being by taking my time completing the homemade gifts and packaging them. We were on our way to the airport post office at 11 pm (he could not wait until morning to mail them), and he was going on with his lecture, when I straight out asked him, "Why do you do this to me?" He was quiet for a minute, and I thought he wasn't going to answer. But, in a quiet voice, he said, "Sometimes I just have to bring you down to my level..."


That was it; even though he denied it later, he had admitted that he knew what he was doing, and that was enough for me. I began planning to leave, got a job, saved some money, found a roommate, applied for student loans for college, and moved out one day while he was at work. I didn't let him sweet talk me into coming back. I started college at age 24.

While in college, I met my second husband. At first we were just friends, for several years actually, before we started dating. Six months after we started dating, we were having some problems and nearly broke up- he wrote me a wonderfully eloquent letter asking me to stay. Well, we weren't as careful with the birth control as usual when we made up- so, along came our lovely daughter.

We moved in together before she was born, and I started seeing things about (I'll call him G) G that I didn't like, namely a pot-smoking habit and some anger problems. He didn't go off on me (I was the one who calmed him down), but on other people, especially his family (who was wonderfully supportive of us despite the fact that I am older than him and we weren't married), and while in the car. At first we seemed to communicate pretty well, I talked to him about my concerns, and he did seem to improve, at least his road rage subsided. But, he only hid his smoking habit from me, smoking in the bathroom before his hour-long shower every morning and when he was not at home. He spent a lot of time with his friends, which I no longer felt comfortable doing (going dancing or to loud concerts) being obviously very pregnant. He didn't make much effort to spend more time with me doing other things.

After the baby came, he did not help me much and was very jealous of the attention she needed. I left him when she was 6 months old, "to stay with my family for a month." He talked me into coming back (and, some of my family members said things like, "It's the woman's responsibility to make a relationship work," and "Give him time; he's young, men take longer to mature."), promising to quit smoking, go to anger management counseling, and go to marital counseling.

Well, we came back, and he pretended to give up smoking, but just got more careful about hiding it for awhile until I would "forget" (NOT) about wanting him to quit. Counseling didn't happen either; we were both too busy with both of us going to school and work...and, once again, I thought communication was improving between us.

(Now I realize that it wasn't; We would have a conversation about something that was bothering me, and he would either change the subject (diverting or blaming), state that there wasn't a problem or he didn't have time to talk about it, or, humor me, say he would do something to improve the situation, (Or, "We'll see") and later do what he intended to anyway. Or, If I asked him to do something he knew he should want to do, like watch the baby for me or help with the housework, he would do just enough to be able to say he helped, or, watch the baby, but, let the baby make the house a disaster area and, forget to feed her. Or, remember to feed her, but forget to change her diaper. Or, let her nap the whole time, so she would keep me awake half the night.)

Somehow, he managed to convince me after awhile of minor improvements that we should get married. I don't know what I was thinking, but, we started planning the wedding. His family was delighted, his mother especially. They thought I was the best thing that ever happened to their "problem child."

The next year went by easier with the distraction of a wedding to plan. Of course, I did most of the work planning, with a little help from his mother. His parents and my parents helped us financially, his parents loaned us their timeshare condo for our honeymoon. Most of the people who came to the wedding were my friends (G didn't get his invitations sent out). (Now I realize that we don't have very many mutual friends; G prefers all their attention for himself). Whew, it was beautiful, and finally over. But, I was not very happy; I had some nagging feelings still left about the commitment.

Married Bliss? NOT. Our relationship changed after the wedding. During the honeymoon, in fact. G's parents loaned us their timeshare in Orlando AND took the baby for two weeks so we could have a theme-park honeymoon. When we were planning the trip months before, and every time the subject came up, I told G that I did not like roller coasters, and he would have to ride them himself. He said, "We'll see." I took that to mean it wasn't that important to him. But, when we were in the theme park, facing our first roller coaster, reality hit. When I refused to ride, he first tried to reassure me how safe they were, then tell me how childish I was being, then how selfish I was for ruining it for him, and by the time he was finished he was screaming at me! Needless to say, he rode the roller coaster by himself in the end, but I was in shock. How could I have walked into this?!! After my previous marriage, too. The trip was ruined for me, although after a period of guilt tripping and raging, and threats to cut the trip short, G subsided into a perpetual pout and we had an uneasy truce (pretend nothing happened). I was so upset I could not even finish writing the thank you cards from the wedding presents. I was all set to leave him once we returned home.

But, on the way home, we ended up missing our flight because he dilly-dallied and we left the condo too late, and broke speed limits across town to the airport, to no avail. So, G bullied the ticket agent into rerouting our flight so we could catch the next plane out of Orlando, and we leap frogged our way back across the country and ended up in Seattle staying with G's grandparents until the next available Alaska flight. They were so sweet and friendly, and took us sightseeing the next day, and that eased our tensions quite a bit.

Once back, I was waiting for the results of some medical tests to decide what I would do (I was covered under G's insurance only). But, the lump in my breast was cancerous...and had to be removed as soon as possible (luckily it was very small). I told G that I wanted him to be at the hospital to hold my hand until I was under anesthesia. He said okay, but when we were there, he said he couldn't stay because he had to loan a friend some money who was going out of town. I was very upset, and the nurses probably thought I was worried about the surgery. I was, a little, but, I was more pissed off that he couldn't even give this little bit of support when I needed it.

G doesn't "believe" in giving presents, which we have fought about time and again (although he sure likes to get them!). So, after surgery I told him that the nurses were under orders not to let him in to see me unless he had flowers with him. So, he brought me the cheapest bunch of supermarket flowers he could find, and thrust them at me, saying sullenly, "Will these do?" I should have thrown them in his face, but, I didn't have the energy to be antagonistic.

I had to decide whether or not to accept the doctors' recommendations (surgery and chemotherapy, despite my tumor's small size), and immersed myself in research and in starting the semester at college. (I decided the risks of chemotherapy & radiation outweighed the benefits in my case). Within three months of my surgery, my grandmother died, my mother died, and G had another tirade, this time about not having enough sex (even though he was hardly ever home when I was awake). It was a harsh winter, and I had a hard time getting to work and daycare (school fell by the wayside when grandmother died).

Finally, I had some time to think after the holidays, when I wasn't needed at my florist job. When I have enough time to think and to just be, I can see my problems more clearly. I finally saw what was going on (again) (I seem to easily slip back into a fog of pretending that everything is, or will be, okay soon), and called my father. I told him that I wanted to bring my daughter and spend some time with him, that G and I were having some problems and I was having trouble dealing with the winter, and he bought tickets for us to come visit. He bought one way tickets, because I told him we probably would not be returning.

I told G I was going because I was having trouble dealing with the winter, and I was worried about my father,( losing his mother, then his wife, (and soon, his sister) in the same year), and that I would be gone two months (I didn't want to deal with his reaction if I told him we weren't coming back). He pouted a little, but told me it was okay, he wasn't going to tell me what to do. But, then he asked me to not be gone so long, he didn't think he could handle us being gone for so long.

Then, the week before we left, I had made arrangements for his parents to watch our daughter so we could have a rare night out. When I told him this, he completely lost it. He started screaming at me, IN FRONT OF OUR DAUGHTER, about how I was just taking advantage of him and anyone could tell I didn't care about him because I was so cold, and he just gave and gave and got nothing back, and maybe he should get a mistress, and what did he have to do to get me to have sex more often, and on and on, screaming at the top of his lungs, fists clenched, his face not two feet from mine (I was sitting cowering in a corner, holding my daughter back (she was yelling back at him not to yell at mama). I was completely in shock. I figured out that he had already made plans to be out all night with friends (no new thing) and perhaps felt guilty. When he returned the next day, he acted ashamed of himself but neither of us mentioned the incident. I just wanted to keep the peace until I could get out of there.

We made it, my daughter and I are now staying at Grandpa's. He has plenty of room for us, but the house needs work; paint, organizing, child-proofing, de-junking. Plus, my father still has some of his old abuse habits. He is a complainer, will complain about anyone and everything, especially family. He seems to get a kick out of belittling and trivializing our every efforts. Some of my siblings have broken out of that rut, and become financially successful enough to not need him. So, he treats them with more respect. He actually asked me (in a doubtful manner) if I thought I would be able to support myself and my daughter on my own if I finished college (I still have a year's worth to go)!

That remark really hurt, since I have never done that for long, I went from home to my first husband to college (with help from dad and student loans) to my second husband, and have never supported myself fully before for more than a few months total. Plus, I can't talk about my problems with my family, I've tried, but only one of my sisters really understands my dilemma. I can stay here as long as I want to, my dad is very comfortable financially, although he lives like a poor man, saving every penny and doing without every luxury except his toys (computer, ham radios, etc). He controls those of his children who have trouble making ends meet by questioning their abilities and belittling them every time they borrow money, often at the same time as saying he is glad to help.

This is a small town, and there is not much employment for me except the local newspaper (I'm a Journalism major) or the grocery store. There is no place close for me to finish my degree. Being here is not as comfortable as I had hoped, and I am almost broke. G has said he doesn't want me to give up on him yet, that he misses us and loves us, etc. (He never did apologize for any of his outbursts). Being around my dad is hard on my self-esteem, and I am torn between getting a job and staying here, or returning to G. If I get a job here, the office of nearest counselor with verbal abuse experience is an hour's drive each way. I have friends in Alaska, I know where to get some good counseling there, I could finish my degree, and I have a friend I could possibly share an apartment with, and my daughter could see her daddy and his family. The drawback is that I don't want to get sucked back into the relationship fog again; plus, I am really tired of the climate there!

Sorry I wrote you my life story, but I could really use some advice!!

Torn and Stumped

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, March 11, 2000


March 11, 2000

OOPS, I guess I submitted my request to the wrong place--and, I neglected to mention that I think your website is GREAT. I found it while seeking out resources on the web from my dad's computer. I don't know how to move my e-mail to another spot, so I hope it will be found and responded to eventually...

Torn and Stumped

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, March 14, 2000


I am currently in the same situation. I have seen a counselor and am married to a verbal and emotional abuser. I have made the decision to leave him but in the last few days he has been so nice. Am I crazy, why should I wait for the next explosion? I have 2 children, a senior and sophomore in high school. My daughter knows and it is tearing her apart. I would like to keep everything in tact but at whose expense? I am only 38 an can't live like this anymore. Why do I feel so guilty?

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, May 10, 2002


Nearly the same thing happened to me. I lost my cool with my fiance and kicked him out one night. He refused to leave and I called the police. After that he played the poor abused one. In reality I had been verbally and mentally abused. It took about 2 months for me to see that he was abusive and I am better off without him. It sounds like you got fed up too and could not take it anymore. Good for you!