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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!

A Story for Those Who Can Relate to No Self-Worth...

A Story For Those Who Can Relate to No Self-Worth...

I have a story to share with those who can relate to the feeling of no self-worth, no self confidence...the feeling of no longer having an identity...

I was 22 yrs. old when I married him.  We dated on and off for 4 yrs.  The funny thing is, I thought after dating him for that amount of time, that I really KNEW him.  I was blinded by the fact thinking getting married would somehow "make it better."  It only made it worse.  While we were dating, he would call me names for no reason and then say he was joking. He told me "how stupid I was" for not recognizing his joking; that I could not take a joke and that I had no sense of humor.  I had to quit talking to all of my guy friends because of his possessiveness.  One guy in particular, Jack, now the love of my life and my soul mate, tried to tell me what I was getting into.  But I wouldn't listen.  I didn't see the bad side that everyone else saw. 

After a couple years of dating, I had finally had it.  I could no longer take the name calling, shoving, and pushing.  We broke up. After 10 months, we got back together. I thought he had changed.  Actually he did change: his abuse got worse, much worse.  Soon, I no longer knew who I was; I had no identity; I was had lost the bright, bubbly personality that everyone liked.  I could not be "me."  I became who HE wanted me to be. The sad thing is that I married him 2 years later.  I thought that getting married would change things.  I thought somehow my life would turn out to be happy.  I was wrong.

We bought a house before we got married and moved out of the small town we both grew up in.  I thought I really wanted to "get away from it all."  The fact is, I was trying to hide from it all.  After only a few months of being married, he became violent towards objects. One night, in one of our endless arguments, I locked him out of the bedroom. I wouldn't open the door because I didn't want to talk to him.  As I lay on the bed crying, begging him to admit it was "his fault" for the situation of the moment (which it really was), he snapped and punched the door. Is this how love was really supposed to be?  At the time, I thought so.

As the months went by, I slid into a deep depression.  I would visit my parents on weekends, 25 minutes away from where we lived.  He hated my mother.  I remember her telling me NOT to marry him. On several occasions they had "words," and it got so bad he wouldn't go with me to visit them anymore.  He would visit with his parents, and I would stay with mine.  He constantly put my mother down and call her names like "b - - - -", just like he called me. He would say that "I was just like her..."  What was that supposed to mean?  What was wrong with my mother?  Absolutely nothing!  The real reason he didn't like her was because she could see through him, and he knew it.  So, he found any and every reason to put her down and disrespect her - in front of me. I never told my parents about the abuse in our marriage, but they were worried. They noticed I was no longer "Cara."  I actually had began to think that "this was what I deserved."  My once-bright light was fading more and more...

On AOL one day, I found a long-lost friend's email address.  It belonged to Jack, the guy I mentioned earlier, whom I had been best friends with until I started dating "Mr. Verbal Abuse."  We began talking again. Everyday we wrote each other. I slowly opened up to him about what was going on in my life.  He helped me to see that the life I was living wasn't what life was supposed to be about. My life was in fact, NOT "what I deserved."  I'll never forget the day I made my decision to leave. He came home from work and I told him I wanted out.  I couldn't take anymore.  I knew that there was a better life out there for me.  I knew I could be happy again.  I just had to end what was bringing me down.

I filed for divorce 2 weeks later.  My parents were very supportive, and to this day they still are.  I'll never forget the looks on their faces the day they helped me move my things out.  They had not been out to visit us in almost 1 year because I didn't want them to see what was happening.  I made excuses every time they mentioned about coming to visit.  Now I was through making excuses.  They saw the hole he punched through the bedroom door, they saw the back door he knocked down, they saw one of the kitchen chairs he destroyed when he threw it across the room. They finally saw. They finally knew.

I live with my parents now. I may get my own apartment, a place to call "my own," but not yet. I am still recovering. At 24 years old, I no longer feel like I am 40.  I have friends and I am slowly but surely getting my identity back.  I am surviving and thriving.  I know that it's OK to be me.  Leaving was the hardest thing I have ever done before in my life but I DID IT!  I finally got the courage to get out before it was too late. 

The life I am living now is the life I deserve. I am with Jack, my best friend from high school.  We have been dating for several months. I have never been happier.  My parents both love him, and there are no "secrets."  He comes over to visit - and he loves my mother!  I know in my heart that one day we will get married and it will be "real."  I will finally know what it is like to be happily married with no strings attached.  I believe we are soul mates, and the best part is that he loves me for who I am.  This is what life is all about: love, happiness, and respect. These are things I never thought I would find.  Little did I know life was right in front of me; all I had to do was reach out and take it. 

I hope there are others out there who will read my story and "see the light" before it's too late.  Remember, abuse is NOT "what you deserve."  No matter how badly you hurt, you only will hurt more by staying in an abusive relationship.  Love is not about not knowing who you are, or about having to give up your identity.  It is not crying yourself to sleep every night.  It is not wishing and hoping that "it will get better."  Abuse will only get worse.  Get help, talk to a friend, get counseling.  It will save your life and yes, your life is WORTH living!  Make the change for yourself. You are put on this earth to live YOUR life. Make the best of it and live it for YOU. A true love will respect you and love you for who you are.  He or she will not try to change you or hurt you. You will become a  stronger person by accepting the love and respect you DESERVE...  -Cara

Yes, Cara, excellent advice, very well said. You got it right now Lady! Good luck to you and thank you for sharing your success story. -Dr. Irene