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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!

In Recovery & Getting It Together

In Recovery & Getting It Together

Sent: Saturday, June 12, 1999 3:35 AM
Subject: What should I do?

Hi, my name is Jake and let me start off by saying that I really appreciate your site.  I just found it today and it is honorable that you are taking the time to do this.  My problem is that I came from an abusive relationship in where I was the abuser.  We were together for 14 years.  Our relationship was characterized by my abuse of alcohol and drugs, and of course my selfishness as a result.  I have been sober now for 11 months through AA, and things are better.  I'm learning how to own up to all of the bad things that I have done, learn from them and become the man I was always afraid to be.  Intimacy has always made me fearful.  I know now that it is a result of my self esteem and insecurities.  Throughout those 14 years I was verbally and physically abusive.  I used to always excuse it because of my drinking (that wasn't who I really was).  I have taken responsibility for my actions and am worried that my ex-wife isn't.  We still talk quite a bit, and we get along a lot better now since the divorce.  I have been very subtle when I have brought up the idea of her working through her problems.  I can only work my program, not hers.  At first I had to look at my motives.  Did I want her to get well so she would take me back?  Did I want to get well so she would take me back?  At first yes.  As time has gone by I realize that I want to get well for myself, that is the only way.  When we have talked she has told me that she doesn't want to work on her problems because she is afraid she will lose those she loves.  She still feels like there is a door open for us as long as she doesn't work on things.  I realize that if she does work through the anger of all the years of abuse, I probably will lose her.  I am okay with that.  I really want to see her get well.  I hope this letter isn't too hard to understand.  I want her to get help, but I know it isn't really my place to push her.  She made the comment that she likes the man I am becoming, which makes me feel very good.  But at the same time, I know that I still have a long way to go.  As much as I would like to see us back together, she has to work through all of the anger and betrayal that she received through me, for anything to ever work.  Can you help?   


Dear Jake,
I really don't know what to add. From your letter, you are doing exactly what you have to do. Your wife appears somewhat fearful. That is fine. All I can suggest is that you continue doing what you are doing. It is OK to tell her what is on your mind. Tell her that you want her to work it through despite your fear that you will lose her. That is the best way to maximize the probability of your getting it back together!
Good luck & may God bless as you near your 1 year anniversary,
Dr. Irene