How to get Dr. Irene's Advice: Look here!

Ask The Doc Board Archives

The CatBox Archives

Stories Archives


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!

Husband Abuse

Husband Abuse

From: Steven

Sent: Monday, May 17, 1999 8:38 PM

Subject: Verbal abuse question

Dear Dr. Irene,
Firstly, thank you for the web site. I never actually realized prior to reading all the other people's stories what sort of situation I was in. It's still hard to come to terms with that I have been in an abusive relationship, me as the abused.
I am writing because I want to know what to do! I have separated from my wife, but I still love her and she is suggesting that we come back together. To give you some history, we broke up before we married (I broke us up), because of the abuse and the control tactics she used. I didn't realize at the time it was abuse, I just thought that it hurt too much to be with her. Now I have separated from her again for exactly the same reasons, two and a half years later. I always hoped it would get better but it never did.
Can she stop the abuse, or is it something so deep in her character that it cannot be controlled? Her father was very abusive (physically and verbally) with my wife's mother and probably her as well.
Would I be better for my own physical and mental health, stopping the relationship altogether? We have been to see a counselor, but that was before I realized that this was a "classic" case of an abusive relationship.
Can you help? Are there techniques to remedy this thing?


Dear Steven,

First, thank you for your kind feedback.

I'm sorry about your situation. I can't make any recommendations regarding what you should do with your life in terms of staying in your marriage or not. That is strictly a personal decision. But I can suggest you read through the entire site because, in my experience, there is no difference between an angry controller who is male or female. I also suggest you read Evan's book.

Basically, anything that applies to the abused woman applies to you: You have to stop her abuse and control; better yet, love yourself enough to stop any disrespect at all - before it becomes abuse. In general, her task is much harder than yours. How much harder, I cannot say from an email. This question is best answered by a professional experienced in working with abusive individuals, and who has assessed your specific marital situation.

Warmest regards, Dr. Irene


From: Steven

Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 1999 10:45 PM

Subject: Your reply to my email

Dear Dr Irene,
Thanks for your rapid response, I wasn't even sure to expect one! Thanks also for your comments, I am about to purchase Patricia Evan's book.
About your suggestions. The thing about stopping abuse and control early (loving myself? I do!) is something that I do not know how to do, as I never experienced this situation before. It just starts as a few provocative / control statements and the next thing you know it's like a train bearing down on you. The main thing I want to learn, is what to do in those situations to stop that happening. Nothing I did ever stopped the tantrums and eventual shouting, except gratifying the wish of my wife (whatever it was at the time), which inevitably resulted in her wanting sex and saying how much she loved me. I will not sink to the level of shouting back (I did once or twice). I don't know how to raise the issue of abuse with her now, either. I have talked about it with her (recently) and suggested it needs professional help. As the classic case, however, she first minimizes it as not REALLY serious, then bounces it back to me, saying she had a reason to do what she did.
Hopefully Evan's book will give me some ideas on how to deal with the situation.
Thanks again for your response, I understand if you do not respond to this one as I'm sure you're a very busy person.
Kind regards, Steven

Dear Steven,

A provocative control statement is not OK under any circumstances. Challenge her. Tell her that it is not OK and to knock it off. Don't ignore it! Tantrums and shouting? Not OK. Throw her out; call the police; leave. Whatever you have to do, you don't have to put up with it. (Good for you for not shouting back.)

If you can't raise the issue of her abuse, you are far from taking your power. I hope that before you attempt to make a go of it with her that you are very, very clear that you will not tolerate any yelling or control for any reason. If she thinks it is not serious, walk away until she agrees with you that it is. When she tells you she has a reason, tell her that you don't really care, that her behavior is unacceptable, and walk away. Do not give her the benefit of the doubt - that's what gets you into trouble. Under any circumstances: Do not defend yourself!!!!! Never, ever, ever. You won't win. If she won't go into treatment, don't go back with her.

Each time you give in and enjoy the rewards she offers, you hammer one more nail into your own coffin. Don't sell yourself short, Steven.

Get the picture? Dr. Irene