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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!

Abusive Graphics

Abusive Graphics: The (old) Verbally Abusive Partner graphic

Sent: Friday, January 14, 2000  
Subject: please loose the graphic

Dear Dr. Irene,


I'm just discovering my abusive ways and my wife and I are working through them.  I appreciate your site and efforts and good insights.  

One request. The graphic representation you use of a cat (representing the verbal abuser) whose eyes are red like a devil who is being consumed by fire attempts to categorize all verbal abusers (even ones trying to change) as individuals who should burn.  I don't find it necessary or helpful and would request that you tone it down.  Yes, you got a reaction from me.

Yet, your graphic doesn't lead anyone to believe that change is possible. If that's the case, I think we both have much to learn.   

Sincerely, Sam

Dear Sam, 

I appreciate your effort in communicating your  thoughts and feelings regarding the cat, but:

bulletIf you think I believe that recovery  for abusive people is not possible, you clearly haven't read the site.
bulletIf the graphic elicited an emotional reaction, then I accomplished my artistic purpose.
bulletIf I were to take down every graphic with offensive potential, there would be few graphics left. 

The site  attempts to lighten a heavy subject through the use of humor and parody. This particular cat, I think, is representative of how  abusive people too often view themselves.

With respect, I suggest that you lose the anger  -  and enjoy the humor.  -Dr. Irene 

Ps: For a more appealing cat, go here!


January 14, 2000

Dear Dr. Irene-

Today is my first visit to your web site and I am just starting to explore it.  Thank you.

I saw the cat graphic and the response to it from the gentleman named "Sam". I find his response typical as to the one I have been living with for 9 years.  If an opinion or expression comes on too strong, even if it demonstrative of a great deal of pain, it should be censored.  Isn't that part of this disease?  While the abuser inflicts pain the victim should never dare to cry out?  

Sorry, Sam.  Deal with how uncomfortable it is that victims see their perpetrator as having devilish characteristics. 

Thanks! Jennifer

Dear Jennifer,

Yes, you nailed it. It is part of the problem. 

"When you hate [a person], you hate something [in him] that is part of yourself. What isn't in us doesn't disturb us." - Hermann Hesse

Thank you. Dr. Irene


Dear Dr Irene,   
I am new to your site, first time, and I have looked into your clipping. One caught me, it was a message from Sam, regarding your graphic of the cat. I did agree with Sam. It should be typical of an abuser who wants help to be angry over a graphic like that. 

I too have not read many subjects that were positive. I do believe abuse can be helped, if the abuser is willing to try. So I was offended as well. If coming to this site was for help or encouragement, I would feel there was no hope. I have only read 7 stories so far, but none were encouraging, they all talked about leaving him, getting rid of him, life without him. 

I would like to see your section on progress made, success stories, helpful advise. That is the frame of mind I am in and would like to have the support as well.

 Sincerely, Nine Years Invested

Dear Nine Years,

There is much more material on leaving the abuser than on the recovery of the abuser for a few reasons:

First, more victim people write in than abuser people. So, you find more material responding to their plight.

Second, most abusive people are not interested in recovery. A number are, as long as they can do it on their terms  - which won't work since that is essentially the problem!  I tell my abusive clients that they have to want recovery so much, when asked to  "jump", the answer should be "how high?" So there are very few abusive people who really overcome this difficult addiction to anger. On the other hand, many improve - a lot - even though they don't completely overcome what I see as a personality disorder of sorts.

But, success stories are on the site. Read about Brent as the shining example. I agree with you, more abuser recovery success stories are needed. 

I'm glad you wrote to validate Sam. I will email him to see your posting.

My very best wishes, Dr. Irene

Nine Years wrote back. "I explored further and found some helpful and encouraging stuff." She reports on an exercise this couple uses that works!  See it here.

Ps: Readers: Please submit encouraging stuff on the abuser-person's recovery. It is my pleasure to print it!