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4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

3/23 Interactive Board: He's Changing... I'm Not...

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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!

4 Update

Part 4: Therapist Update: An Open Letter to J

by Irene Matiatos, Ph.D.

Date: December, 1998

Dear J,

I was worried about you for a while, but I am less worried now. Though you are still angry, the anger is finally retreating. Also, many positive changes are occurring.

First of all, you look good! You are taking better care of yourself than you ever have. More important, you won't put up with anybody's nonsense anymore. You no longer care about pleasing people. You no longer have to "do for"  other to feel OK. Though your posture is still overly self-protective and tinged with anger, you are headed in the right direction.

I am not surprised that you feel "hard" and that you no longer see yourself as the pure, loving soul you once pretended to be. Let's get this into perspective: In the past your self-esteem was so low, your only boost was to please and gain approval. You thought nothing of ignoring your own needs to go out of your way for another. You are still not comfortable with taking, or not giving without guilt (and where there is guilt, there is anger). As you get more comfortable with yourself, you will feel less "hard." Your old, implicit script is fading: aspiring to self-sacrificing goodness becomes increasingly absurd. 

While you trusted others indiscriminately, you no longer do. There is no sense in trusting everyone. Some people are simply not trustworthy. Others, who may be, don't live inside your skin to know what you want. Only you have this access to yourself. Yes, you do err too much on the side of self-protection and caution these days, but you are recovering from a major hurt. Your goal is to be able to love another and take care of yourself at the same time.

I am not surprised that you are still too angry to give Yolanda credit for anything. Yet, she provided the stimulus you needed to unlock your dormant passion and sexuality. She also taught you about self-respect and self-love, albeit indirectly. I doubt that anybody will get away with emotionally abusing you again, at least for long. Now you know to pay serious attention to your body's signals. Your little voice was telling you that all was not OK in Romanceland, yet you ignored or rationalized your intuition. So, you got taken advantage of. After a major hurt, lots of anger is expected. You are likely to remain overly cautious for a while. 

I am also glad to hear that you admit to feeling lonely now. This is another indication that the anger is mitigating. But you are still trying to control your feelings. That is why you don't understand why she entices you in your dreams (which you hate), while she disgusts you in waking life (which you welcome). Well, join the human race, kiddo. You know the price of self-deceit: disconnection from self. You have spent your life playing that game. Just let go and notice whatever is going on inside, but do nothing with it. Don't act on it, don't judge it, don't try to control it. Just notice it, then let it go...there is much more to come! Own your attraction to her, as well as your disgust...but do nothing with it.  Let's see what happens... 

You are in the active process of discovering who you are. Enjoy it!

go to part 5: J's Reply with therapist comment