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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!

Jealous Wife

Jealous Wife

July 6, 2000

Dr. Irene.

I wrote to you once before recently, and I've been talking on the Yak Board and reading all I can here. It helps. Good!

I'm still unsure about whether I'm the abusive one in my marriage or not. My husband is going on a business trip for  two weeks, and I'm losing it. I can't maintain my distance and pretend not to care that he'll be gone, and the pressure of my fear makes me cry. I try to tell him that I'm afraid he'll cheat on me, that I don't feel like I can trust him, but he tells me to shut up and that there's nothing to talk about. He said that it doesn't matter how I feel, he's going. Ugh. Poor response to your pain.


I would have no problem trusting him, but he's lied to me when he's traveled before. Last year in Nov. he went on the same kind of trip and got letters and pictures in the mail from a girl he'd stayed with for a week. She called him "sweetheart" and "sunshine" and talked about their "connection". (She didn't say anything about how he felt, just about how she felt a connection to him.) I went literally nuts and I'm still angry. You have a right to be angry! You also have reason to feel insecure.

He lied and said that he had no interest in her, then he lied and said she hadn't sent him any more letters. I found the first one by accident at our business, looking for a form. It was out in the open in his cabinet where the forms are. I cried a lot about it. Then she sent him a picture of the two of them together at a restaurant-cuddling, kinda, all flushed and flirty. He says it's nothing. But I feel like he cheated, and I'm afraid it will happen again, and I don't know what to do to stop crying. Not much you can do about him; plenty you can do to take care of you.


I was crying last night and couldn't sleep. He told me to shut up so he could get some rest. Not OK. He is being very unkind, to put it mildly. This morning he yelled at me for keeping him up all night. He told me that crying like that is abusing him. (I've been trying some of the techniques I found in The Verbally Abusive Relationship-like when he yells at me or calls me names, I say "Stop abusing me." "Stop hurting me" the way I would tell our dogs to stop doing something. He's picked up on this and almost every time I ask him to talk to me about how he feels, he says I'm abusing him.) You are not. But you are asking him to love you or comfort you - when he clearly won't. Stop wasting your emotional energy trying to get blood out of a rock. Accept that for whatever reason, his support is not forthcoming these days, and do whatever you have to do to take care of yourself. Do not spend precious time wallowing in self-pity over your predicament.

I needed to cry and I went into the other room to do it, then came back to bed when I was done. He rolled over away from me. It was the first night that I didn't tell him I loved him before I went to sleep. I felt sick. Yes. Trust your body. He is treating you abominably - this is independent of whether or not anything went on last year.


Like I will say, "I want to know how you feel about me, so I'm not so worried about you going away" and he says "That's stupid. What the f**k's wrong with you, stop accusing me!" and gets really angry at me. I am not accusing him! I just want some reassurance, that's all, and he reads this as an attack. Not OK. But you do have to stop asking for reassurance. You are asking him to say some words that will make you believe him - when you don't. Stop trying to change what is; just accept it...


I'm trying to move out, I'm looking for an apartment now GOOD! , and I made the massive mistake of telling him about it, and being honest. I think it was a mistake because he's using it as an excuse now when he yells at me or when he doesn't want to hear what I have to say...he withholds so much from me, and I don't know how to respond. I hope you find a place soon. Stop trying to get him to talk when he is hell-bent on withholding. It won't work and will only make him withhold more.

He will ask me to talk about how I feel once in a while, and then just look at me and say "I have nothing to say". I can't stand it and I get really emotional about it. Dumb, huh? Yep. Right about here is when you say "why don't you just back off when he's like that?" You bet! Well, I try but it's hard, because things are not always like this, because I love him and I want him to love me, because we've been together years and done some incredible things together,  and because I want to try. Nobody said it would be easy. Taking care of the self and not selling the self short can be one of the hardest things you may ever have to do. But you deserve no less. No matter how much you may love him, no matter how many years you've been together,  no matter how much you want him to love you and behave lovingly, you can't make him do it. The fact is that he's treating you poorly. Your pleading and wishful thinking will not improve his behavior. If anything, it seems to have the opposite effect. Love yourself more than you love a person who is slowly killing your spirit. Back off emotionally and physically. There is no other sane option.

Sometimes he says he wants to try, but he doesn't do anything. He has become more angry now, and told me that if I move out, he and I are over, but then he'll tell me that he doesn't want me to go, and he wants to work things out...Help! I can't understand what's going on, and I don't know how to decide whether he's saying the bad stuff because he's angry (which is what he says when I'm calm) or if he means it...or if it matters. It doesn't matter. What matters is how he is behaving towards you. He can sincerely want to lose 10 pounds, but unless I put the effort in to diet and exercise, he won't. Actions speak louder than words. But your body already knows that - and is trying to tell you. Unfortunately, your head is rationalizing and getting in your way.


He loses his mind when he's angry, and lately I have trouble controlling myself. Who can blame you? You can only take so much. Your lack of control is your body talking to you... I broke a photo album this morning because he was screaming "You'll get the f**k out of this house tonight" and walking away (I asked him if he would try to be nice to me until he leaves so I feel I can trust him...and saying I wish you wouldn't go) (this is the same conversation as before) I couldn't even control it. I wanted to explode. I get so angry, and I get so sad, that I can't seem to do the right thing anymore. I used to be really calm when I was angry, but now I keep blowing up. He has had a bad temper since I met him. Why are you doing this to yourself? Is it really worth it? What's this doing to your self-esteem? To your integrity?


We own a business together that I am not willing to walk away from. Nor should you. Get yourself the best lawyer you can find. We're only common-law married, so he tells me that he doesn't have to help me if he doesn't want to, and I think he might be right. I'm worried that he'll close our business in a fit of anger! When he is angry the whole world sucks, and I don't know how to walk away without destroying our relationship. I don't know of any anger management or verbal abuse counselors here. You don't need an abuse counselor. He's not interested, nor is he worth your time - or your health! You need a good attorney, an individual counselor to support you, and maybe an antidepressant prescription to help you feel normal enough to do all that you have to do.

I hope I can turn things around and get a grip, I wish I could just leave and not feel so sad about being apart from him, but like I said, there have been wonderful times in our relationship and he and I have a lot of love...unless he's angry. What can I say? Help, Dr. Irene! Jacqueline.

Well, he is angry, and its getting worse and worse. And luckily you're not legally married. And, thank God, you have no children together. Leave. Yes, you will be sad at first. Your sadness will pass as you gain distance and clearly see what kind of junk you've been putting up with. You owe it to yourself. 

Oh yeah, but consider this as no more than an afterthought because its much less important than fulfilling your responsibility to yourself to take care of yourself: once you leave, he just may wake up and realize what he's lost. If you really stick to your guns (i.e., listen to your body, not your head), you may demand that he behave like a partner. And, who knows...maybe he'll start to work on himself and learn how to. Good luck! Dr. Irene

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