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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!

Lessons My Abusive Husband Taught Me

My Story: Lessons My Abusive Husband Taught Me

"All problems become smaller if you don't dodge them, but 
confront them."  -William F. Halsey

December 19, 2000

Dr. Irene,

You've probably heard my story before, back when I was in a state of constant anger.  After working through my "stuff", I feel like sharing with the rest the lessons that have come from my experiences with my verbally abusive husband.

For background--I met D (for "Dear Husband") 11 years ago, when I was merely 18 years old.  He seemed to know how to take care of everything, while I knew nothing.  Plus he was outgoing, which I admired, as I was deathly shy. We fell in love on the first date.  Things were great the first few months--he helped me make it through the tough transition of living on my own for the first time.  When he moved back to his home state, halfway across the country, I followed him.  My parents cut me off financially as a result.

D and I came together in a struggle "against the world".  Unfortunately, he returned to his old friends and his old pot-smoking addiction (behind my back at first).  When he did so, he became a different person.

The abuse he began to dole out on me started out as a shock, then became more and more atrocious.  I never did enough around the house to please him.  He called me an idiot (along with many other horrifying words I can't say here), and said he would "Beat me in the head."  But in the next instant, he would be loving and caring, the way I remembered him.  I couldn't leave (so I thought)--I would be admitting failure to my family. Things only got worse. 

He told me I looked like crap, I couldn't dress myself, I had no friends, I never did anything for "us", I was selfish.  He put down the friends I did have.  I went to school, got my bachelor's degree.  In the meantime, he lost his job.  He talked me into working in go-go bars as an exotic dancer.  He didn't make a dime in 3 and a half years (and didn't go to school either).

Meanwhile, I was going to school full-time (sometimes more than full-time), and working at night as a dancer.  It still wasn't enough.  I didn't make enough money.  I didn't spend enough time with him.  I didn't have sex with him enough.  I came home for a few hours of sleep to hear his complaints. 

Eventually he went to school for six months and became a computer programmer. 

There were times when we fought every day.  I SCREAMED at him.  What was WRONG with him?  I lost it, became enraged, slammed things around.  There were days I just wanted to end it all--and kill myself. 

Still, I graduated.  When I couldn't find a job paying enough money to satisfy him, I went on to graduate school and got my Master's degree.  Still unable to please him, I started looking at law school.  I got a full-tuition scholarship to a top-twenty law school, halfway across the country.  He was infuriated, but he went with me.  I heard all about his unhappiness, over and over again, for an entire year.

We got married before we moved.  Big mistake.  I knew at the time I was unhappy.  I had lied to him the entire time we were together about getting satisfaction from sex.  Basically, I had been "faking it" for years.

Skip to last year (1999).  I started going to church.  Stopped drinking. Stopped smoking pot (a daily event for us).  Stopped yelling at him. Convinced HIM to go to church (a miracle!, I thought).  I thought things were finally okay.  He was still a jerk, still controlling, still yelled at me, criticized everything I did.  I gave into temptation--I had an affair, in early 2000.  Finally somebody treated me the way I deserved!  I put my foot down with D.  Gave him ultimatums.  He had to treat me better, get a job (he became unemployed again, for about ten months), stop smoking pot. He tried, but just didn't get it.  We went to marriage counseling.  I went to therapy.

I moved out in August 2000, after quietly telling D I wanted out.  Soon after, I realized the affair was not going to solve my problems, and I had become too attached to the other man, who was also married.  I gave up the affair.  Talk about loneliness!  I had to start taking antidepressants, and I became suicidal a couple of times.  My therapy intensified. 

In September 2000, I decided that if D and I were going to begin anew with a healthy relationship, we had to be honest with each other.  I told him about the affair and about "faking it", shortly after D read all about it on the yak boards (and didn't tell me).  He was furious, but he held it in.  Didn't want to lose me.  He threatened to sue, hurt, and otherwise pester every guy he suspected of the affair (it wasn't MY fault, after all, I was too stupid to turn down anyone who charmed their way into my life).  He called me constantly, asking, "Where WERE you?"   He used his newfound religion against me.  I had a problem.  I wasn't right with God.

At first I talked to him, saw him constantly.  He didn't listen to what I had to say.  I saw him less and less, and my (female) therapist more and more.  The loneliness was hard to take.  But soon I realized it was the only reason I was staying.  Every time I thought of going back, my body screamed at me, "NOOOOO!!!!"  I finally listened. Good! I told him just before Thanksgiving that I wanted a divorce.  He tried to convince me I was wrong, I should stay.  I told him I should have listened to myself sooner, that I should never have married him.  I told him I didn't want to be around him then, and I don't want to be around him now.  He tried to convince me that God wanted us to give it another chance.  I said God was telling me something different.  I didn't tell him he was wrong.  He's not.  His reality is his reality, and I don't want to change it.  I just don't want to be a part of it.  Good attitude.

That's the best thing I learned in therapy. Leave him alone--let him play out his own drama.  No need to be a part of it.  I also realized that our relationship was not a waste, despite the fact that D said it was.  Because of it, I realized how I DON'T want to be treated. :) I learned how to deal with a person who is not living up to the high standard of integrity to which I was held accountable.  I learned how to keep my own integrity.  But most of all, I learned to love myself, rather than trying to hold onto someone who I thought would love me.  I was not treating myself in a loving way--I was allowing another person to control me, manipulate me, have enormous power over me. 

I am beginning to like living on my own. 

I'm sorry this e-mail was so long.  I'm not. Even if you don't post it on your site, it felt good to say it. Are you kidding or modest? I wish lots of love to others going through the same thing. And I wish same to you. Great success story. Bless you... Dr. Irene


P.S.  You can post ALL of this, because D has heard it all before.   Again, good for you! No more intimidation! Anybody have a comment for this lady?

Update: June 2003. See what Stimpy has to say now!

I just want to read the posts.