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4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

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Kristen's Update

Kristen's Update

by Dr. Irene and...

Updated August 8, 2000

From: Pete
Date: February 28, 1999
cc: Kristen

Dear Dr. Irene,

I really need help, more help than I would ever believe. I am working on very little sleep right now but I feel a strong need to share this with someone who understands. I know you do because I read your article on "the verbal abuser". As uncomfortable as this insight about myself and my behavior is, along with some deep sadness about how my behavior has affected someone who cares very much about me (Kristin), there is also a feeling of hope, which I have not felt in a long, long time.

The feeling of "uniqueness" has characterized my life from as far back as I can remember. This feeling has followed me into recovery. Recently I have really began to wonder if I am different then other people in the sense that everything "appears" to be going good, but I never feel "good".

I guess my higher Power has been setting the stage for this very painful, rude awakening for some time. It came to me last night in a similar way to the Biblical story of the scales falling off of Paul's eyes, allowing him to see: My Denial, My Justification, My rationalization, My arrogance...was so thick. If someone told me the truth about myself, I would not be able to "hear" it. I sounded like a criminal attorney defending my position. I was really buying into it and convincing other people that I was doing everything that I could to make our (mine & Kristen's) relationship work. In hindsight I see that it was complete bullshit that was shrouded in self-justification. I tore Kristen’s heart out. I HONESTLY DID NOT SEE IT! I was walking around like a pompous asshole, really believing my own bullshit.

So I have awakened...............

Previously I talked about "feeling different," which has allot to do with the depth in which I experience emotions, both good and bad ones.  They only go so far, then they hit a ceiling or a floor and that's it. Example: the last time I cried was my nephew's funeral. The time before that, the last time I shed a tear, was at my father's Funeral. I had no idea why a tear was rolling down my cheek. I have more examples but I think you get my point. One of things that seem to annoy me is when a person is "shallow." I guess I have to give credence to the age old saying: when something really bothers you about someone else, its because of something you don't like in yourself. I would never have believed I am a shallow person but I really have been. I feel so sick because I didn't see any of this. I also feel hope I can get better, combined with allot of FEAR of what its going to take to get better. I think I have an idea, but please tell me what you think about all this. The word that is flashing in my head is "Vulnerable". Dr. Irene, I also owe you a personal apology. I am embarrassed, as I think back, how I walked into your office, not really giving you any an arrogant, obnoxious asshole. I am so sorry. Please help me.


Tuesday, March 9, 1999

Kristen and I had an appointment today. She prefaced her session with, "You are going to kill me but..." I finished her sentence, "You are back with Pete." Kristin sheepishly nodded and invited Pete into her session. We talked. We agreed to work together in helping Pete let Kristin into his life.

Kristen is clear that her job is to make sure she does not slip into allowing Pete to get away with any disrespectful behavior towards her. Even if it means pulling away from him. She has seen what happens when she makes excuses for him or pins the blame on herself: he becomes more offensive. He can't help it right now. He has contempt for her when she "takes" it, though I am not certain he recognizes that yet. Kristen's most difficult challenge will not be to stand up for herself. It will be to simply notice that she is being disrespected!

Pete knows his task is the harder one: to face his fears of intimacy - without acting out (much). Pete sees how he has lied to himself and to his friends. He sees that he has surrounded himself with a group of men who support each other in their mutual anger. But Pete has woken up. He is tired of not feeling. He is tired of the appearance of success when the internal life is empty. He is empty and bored and looking to fill internal space because he cannot sit still with himself long enough to hear what his inner self has to say.

Pete thinks there is a terrifying journey ahead. What I know and he does not is that the terror exists only where he lives now. As he finds the courage to face what hurts him, shames him, terrifies him, he will see that there was nothing to fear after all. But perhaps Pete should tell his story. I hope he will (Pete: hint, hint).

Kristen and Pete plan to fly to Jamaica in mid-March to get (gasp) married! Let's wish them well and offer them a little prayer. If we're lucky, maybe they'll keep us posted.

 Kristin's Advice    Kristen's August, 2000 Update