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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 to Sharp Questions

Comments to Sharp Questions

Courtesy of Dr. Irene Matiatos Copyrightę 1999. 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: 11/14/1999


Is it common for those of us on the receiving end of the verbal abuse to beat ourselves up by wondering if we could have done more, to feel intense hurt and sadness and if so, are we in fact grieving the loss of ourselves far more than the relationship? One further question please. One of the first signs or symptoms to me over time has always been hearing sarcasm. Irony in humor is one thing but hearing the derisive tone of sarcasm is so strong an influence. Can you speak to the use of sarcasm by the abuser please.

B1: Submit
Date: 11/12/1999


I wish you had this one up on your interactive site. (Your wish is my command. I even posted it for you. Dr. I)

The "husband and father" pleads for a second (third, fourth, etc) chance...but if they divorce HE'S MOVING FROM THE AREA?


Alarm, alarm.

If he's not mature enough to know his children need him in their lives...(unless he's a complete waste of oxygen)...then he's not mature enough to have a relationship with an adult woman, either!

Jesus, makes me want to smack the silly son of a bitch.

B1: Submit
Date: 11/17/1999


This was a great addition to this web site. I have been in an abuse relationship for many years. This helped to answer several questions I had myself. My advice, if your husband doesn't seek good professional help( and that's hard to find) he won't change cause he hasn't got a clue. I consider my husband a very intelligent man but with even that going for him, emotionally he just didn't get it till I told him the marriage was over. I don't believe they really realize how bad the situation is especially when you yourself discount it by continuing in the marriage. Sign the divorce papers. Paper doesn't bind a relationship, love does. If he does love you he'll get help. If he doesn't you are wasting your valuable life.

B1: Submit
Date: 01/07/2000


I have just realized that I am a victim of verbal abuse. We have separated. Even though I know I am in the critical stages I still want him back. Have been seeing a therapist but skipped the last session as well as the last three days of work/life. Help!

B1: Submit
Date: 04/16/2000


Yeah, sure. I have some comments based on my experience as an abuser and a victim of abuse.

Impulsiveness was an M.O. of mine until I got to know myself better -- I established a relationship with me, first. Granted it was not the best of relationships, at first, but it was a good start.

During the period of my "estrangement" from myself, I would half-consciously, or subconsciously, stuff my feelings inside of me. I'd pretend that I was a "man" and that meant I could be walked on, ignored, neglected, discounted, invalidated, and treated like a child (my personal favorite), and yet still be emotionally available for whatever sexual psychodrama my partner was cooking up on her side of the "relationship."

Of course when things just compressed beyond a certain physical point, I'd simply explode into some kind of compulsive behavior. Sometimes this was direct physical violence, and sometimes it was some form of self-abuse that kept me "protected" in a victim role.

As I began to dispense with my "pharmaceutically-flexible" approach to stress management, I had to begin to own my feelings and take responsibility for where they were going to take me. There was just ALOT of toxicity in my life based on the crap I was able to tolerate because half of my central nervous system was unavailable for comment.

Contrary to what has been stated, I have found review and release of my past traumas to be an extremely valuable tool in reconnecting with the feelings I was forced, by childhood circumstances, to disconnect from. And as I have reconnected with those feelings that I used to shunt to somewhere (probably my subconscious), I have interacted differently with my environment and received new and inspiring feedback regarding the number and kind of people who are interested in interacting with me. So up to now my recovery has been heavily, "content oriented," and as a result I am much less fearful of the return of the "boogeymen" from my past.

In my experience, like attracts like. If your partner with whom you have had a significant emotional investment with (two kids is putting some bacon on the "table") is a person who is seriously emotionally impaired (and I think this is the case based on what you've shared) you might want to do some "uncover, discover, discard" all of your own. This pathology will repeat itself just as mine did. It can be demoralizing and a real self-esteem depleter to watch the old patterns come back even after there has been significant improvement. As I have attracted a different breed of cat because of my growth, the old patterns can still exist and will manifest themselves in ways that are less intense than before, but equally destructive to the sensibilities of the much-improved people who person my life.


But the price of liberty from the chains of the past is eternal vigilance, so it is important to NEVER, EVER give up on yourself. Get the strength to move forward from your spirituality and from the people you cross paths with as you grow and recover. My experience has been that as we progress, it becomes MORE and MORE important to share what we have learned with others earlier on the path than ourselves. Quite simply, as we grow and change, the old stuff stops happening and the only meaning that it could ever have that is positive is the value that comes from sharing our experience with others.

As far as your ex's leaving the area, I wouldn't bet that his departure will be for good. If it becomes permanent, it probably is for the best of all concerned. My sense, though, is that this is just some emotional blackmail that he is pulling in a last ditch, desperate attempt to get his "mother" to listen to him, love him unconditionally, and value him just as he is.

Sometimes only the hard way of coming to realizations has any lasting value to us. Your ex has to learn the hard way that you are NOT his mother, you are NOT his past relationships, and that you have no intention whatsoever of participating in the unfolding psychodramatic reenactment of his symphony, Opus #13: "The Lost Cause Revisited." It's monochromatic, dissonant, and progressively tedious with each anti-climatic crescendo.

I have had to accept, albeit long after the last note was played, that there are some traumas we simply can not take into our relationships and subject our partners to. It sounds like your ex's trauma is one such example. I hope he recovers, and I hope you do, too. Your children's future welfares will depend on it. Believe me, they've already seen too much to not have been impacted....