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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!

Help Me Leave

Help Me Leave...

From: Gail
Sent: Friday, June 25, 1999 7:19 PM

Dear Dr. Irene,
I have been married for almost 11 years.  My husband came from a dysfunctional family.  His mother was an alcoholic although she never got counseling or joined AA she did stop drinking for the last 15 years of her life.  My husband has had two back surgeries but he still is not cured and is in pain a lot. My concern is that he is medicating himself for his emotional and physical pain.  He drinks about 10-14 beers in one sitting twice a week.  In the past year and a half, his drinking  has increased. Up until about 2 weeks ago, he has been angry, sullen, and verbally abusive to me.  Now he is changing and being nicer to me.  But he still is drinking. I believe he feels he is losing me.

Over the past 4 years, I have had a close male friend who has been very kind to me.  Recently I went on a one-day rafting trip with my friend...I am not having a physical relationship with this friend although I feel very close to him.  Also, I am finishing a Master's program and I will be done next month. I will get a raise in pay then. 

My problem is that I am too soft.  I am doing the majority of the housework, and paying most of the bills---my husband is on disability for his back.  I work full time and have been in a Master's program. But I feel sorry for him when he tries to be nice. My plan is  to take our 5-yr-old daughter and move out once I've got my Master's.

I cry all the time when people aren't watching...It's so hard to end a 15 yr relationship.  How do I know I'm doing the right thing?

Dear Gail,
You are describing your husband's alcoholism, specifically binge drinking. Your husband has quite a tolerance.
So, you are the hard worker in your family while your husband sits in self-pity and self-medicates. He has been verbally abusive until recently. You have a "close" male friend and your husband is feeling threatened and acting nicer.
You know you are "too soft," and are therefore prone to manipulation. You know what you want to do, yet you want reassurance that you are doing the "right thing."
I cannot give you permission, let you off the hook, or absolve you of your guilt. Only you can do that. I can tell you that you are writing a letter that almost begs to be advised to leave. You are saying, "Help me overcome my guilt so I can leave."
Does the guilt make any sense to you? Is it rational or irrational? If you are "too soft," take care of that problem! Is softness your "button," and how people control you? I can advise you "To handle yourself, use your head; To handle others, use you heart."
You are the author of your life. The "right thing" is what is right for you. Take care of yourself; you are the only one you have.
Good luck, Dr. Irene