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Below is an Interactive Board sampler. A fuller listing is found in the "Stories" menu above.

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!

The High Road To Recovery

The High Road To Recovery: Rhoda's Update

"The High Road: No other path takes the victim or abuser where the self  wants to go... 
The ticket is never discounted or sold cheaply.." Dr. Irene  

Some of you will remember Rhoda, who first wrote us in January, 2000, again and sent in her bio last February. Well-educated in abuse by a sick, paranoid mom, she married a violent man addicted to rage, sex, and alcohol. This talented woman, whose history would predict an awful outcome has instead flourished. She succeeded because she chooses The High Road: No other path takes the victim or abuser where the self wants to go...  The ticket is never discounted or sold cheaply. 

Read the whole series if you want to see her progression. She stopped selling out...  Good stuff!    Dr. Irene

August 7, 2000

Hi Doc! Hi Rhoda!

the stormy season has passed for now.  there is absolutely no comparing the joy in my life to the existence that I had before.  my doctor is working with me and I have been on 40mg of Paxil.  I know that has been a huge aid for me. You bet! Did you see the last link I posted; the one about childhood abuse and its relationship to adult depression, anxiety, etc?  one of my friends that I have known for several years has been my almost constant companion for the last couple of months. we have faced each of our own abusive pasts together, crying sometimes, laughing most times and helping to parent all of our kids together.  using the knowledge that I gained by immersing myself in research and your site, I gently nudged her many times to face the pain she had been ignoring.  she felt that she could not face the past and be able to take care of her little ones.  but we have made such phenomenal progress!   I have also rented two rooms out in my house, so the activity level here is constant and boisterous!

the day care that I am opening is going to be so much fun!  I have been furiously busy, the young man that I rented the back room to has been a hard working partner in getting this house ready for the day care.  he has a friend that has come over to help with some construction on the house.  and my god, the man is beautiful in form and spirit.  so this is my latest crush.  but my young friend is so fatherly in his caring for me, even though he is fourteen years younger than me.  he is playing big brother with the attraction that is mutual between the tall, handsome carpenter and myself.  he so much as asked the man what his intentions towards me are.  I reflect so much upon your words about making myself expensive, not to give the store away.  I also think about how the codependency is maybe not so much of the problem as the selling out is. Correct. Keep in mind that selling out is the foundational cornerstone of co-dependency! Selling the self short for an ego fix compromises your being's integrity. That hurts the soul and robs the self of inner peace.   I have learned so much, the isolation period that I self-imposed while reading and assimilating so much was like a cocoon.  I feel ready to emerge and spread my wings in the sunshine of the right man's love.  by surrounding myself with loving friends constantly, the final transformation has been made possible.  I feel the love of my god deep in the core of my being.  my faith has been made fierce by the struggles I have had within. God's love has always been there. Your fierce personal struggle and insistence on taking the high road has simply opened your being to more readily recognizing and accepting your Maker's Love. At least, that's how I see all this spiritual good stuff. 

immediately ahead of me now is the re-training of my daughters.  I have been very lenient with them about chores and things.  I wanted to establish in their minds that I am truly, fully here for them as never before.  I think that the emotional bonding has progressed sufficiently for me to now exercise my power as their parent and mold them into more responsible, courteous young ladies whose inner beauty will match their outer beauty.  that is the battle ahead of us over the next few weeks.  but they are very good girls at heart, so I am confident that by the time school starts our relationship will be cemented with love and respect.

so, the latest on the divorce is next.  I think the story is a good one:

the status conference was a 10a.m.  I arrived on time. the courtroom was pretty full, so I sat on the bench that runs the length of the side wall, rather than climb over someone in the rows of benches.  I began quietly reading a Watchtower magazine.  at 10:30 T walked in.  several issues had been called and there were more seats in the rows of benches, but he chose to sit next to me.  I continued to read, calm and able to focus on the article.  after a few moments I got up to visit the ladies room, and when I returned I sat in a different spot.  I tried not to dwell on it, but I disgustedly asked myself why does a man that has a protective order against him sit right next to the woman that is protected by the order??

gradually the courtroom cleared, our issue being one of the last ones called.  we both went before the judge.  she confirmed that we desired to proceed with the dissolution.  as usual, T did most of the talking.  I listened while he said that he wants this to get over as quickly and painlessly as possible for everyone.  he told her that he only wanted to see his kids.  he doesn't understand why they are on the protective order also.  he can't afford $200 a week to see his girls under the court appointed supervisor.  (he is permitted 4 hours a week visitation at $50 per hour).  he hasn't been able to see them in 7 months.... the judge told us that we obviously would be going to trial over this, and that the visitation was a issue to be addressed at the trial.    I asked permission to speak, and told the judge that if he would go to the domestic violence treatment that was ordered, he would understand why the girls are included on the protective order.  he bit on that bait like a pit bull.  he emphatically denied that there was any domestic violence.  he has no history of domestic violence, there are no charges.  she again repeated that the trial would address that, asking him to not interrupt her.  after he was quiet she queried him on what he was in compliance with - and that not cooperating with the courts was not to his benefit.  I addressed her again and told her that just because I was too stupid and ignorant to press charges, to create a legal record, didn't mean that the abuse didn't happen.  after ascertaining that the only dispute was over the girls, the financial issues were agreed upon, she told me I need to file an amended parenting plan. I told her that I have been waiting for the court ordered evaluation for the parenting plan.  I at least wanted to sit down and talk to someone face to face before I amended anything.  the social workers have a lot more training than  I do, and I respect that.  she kindly said that that makes perfect sense to her.   stating that this was a stupid question,  I asked her about the schedule of deadlines and court dates for the dissolution, because I had mistakenly thought that everything was  suspended until the family court ordered parenting plan evaluation was at least initiated.  she said that all of the dates are valid and that it was not a stupid question at all.   T insisted that he knew nothing of a schedule, he had never received one.  I told her that I have the certified receipt of my mailing the packet to him.  he still insisted he had never seen it;  could he get a copy of it from her.  she conceded and got the bailiff to make copies of the schedule and of her orders as to what we must do before the trial. You conducted yourself with grace and integrity. Excellent.

so, while waiting for the bailiff to prepare our copies, T again sat down next to me.  he leaned over and asked me to tell the girls that he thinks about them a lot.  I agreed to tell them for him.  then he asked how the girls are, are they doing good.  I was thinking "they are much better now without you:, but I simply said "yes, they are doing very well."  then he had the gall to tell me in a snide whisper, with a fist clenched to his heart, "if you hold the anger inside it will tear you up."  I looked him in the eye and told him don't worry about me.  he immediately denied he was worried about me.  then he said that he was glad he saw me.  "Cuz you look like  hell," he said.  again I look him in the eye, knowing that I look and feel better than I ever did, and replied sarcastically , "that's comforting."  he said "yeah..."  he was glad he saw me cuz he had this picture in his mind ---  I cut him off and told him he does not need to talk to me, that I didn't want to hear it.  he nodded and scooted away without saying anything else.  Cool. Once again, you did not engage (which is beneath the level of your integrity), you did not take the invitations he offered to demean yourself by being mean or cutting to him. Instead, you simply removed yourself from his toxicity... 

the bailiff completed our copies and gave T his.  he left right away.  I sat down to read mine so that I understood what the judge ordered.  I then went to the family court services to check on the status of my evaluation.  after  taking care of that, I began walking to my truck.  A little perturbed by him, I was telling myself that I am a real woman, with blemishes and imperfections just like every other woman.  and despite that, I am still attractive.  I passed a couple that appeared to be just friends.  their body language indicated that they were not romantically involved, they were just sitting and smoking a cigarette together.  I passed them and I heard a loud smooching sound of a kiss  being blown at someone.  I quickly glanced around and saw that there was no one else but us three out in this garden area.  I realized that the kiss was intended for me.  I turned around and looked at the couple.  the man had a raffish, unshaved gypsy charm about him.  quite handsome in his own way.  the girl started laughing at him.  I began walking back towards him, intending to shake his hand for giving me that compliment when I so needed it.  he got a sheepish look on his face, to the delight of his friend, he apologized.  "I am sorry, that was rude.  I shouldn't have done that," he said.  I told him "no, that it was okay."  when I shook his hand, I told them both that my ex had just tried to take a stab at me and tell me I looked like hell.  we were all laughing and they both said "no way!"  to T's comment.  I turned to walk toward  my truck when the man laughingly asked, "so what about a date, then."  I shook my head and we all laughed.  I was smiling to myself the whole drive home. Even cooler... My take: The Big Guy Upstairs, the Universe, whatever, stepped in to give you that extra little tap of support!

in his attempt to belittle me, T gave me something very precious.  I now know that I am no longer captive in his sick fantasies.  it was a releasing of my spirit in a subtle, vague sense.  You let it happen. Your outlook and open spirit allowed the Universe to touch you and give to you... Your recognition of and open acceptance of things good is, I think, a big factor in your excellent progress.  That wonderful quality has been a common thread throughout all your letters. 

Paradoxically, in your youthful inexperience, your open naiveté is what got you into trouble to begin with: you wholeheartedly accepted your husband and his ways. But, you are no longer the falling leaf, victim to the whims of the wind. You direct and orchestrate where you go. 

In reading your letters back to back, it is crystal clear how, like a fallen angel, you systematically took stock of your life. You looked at every aspect and decided you could no longer compromise your integrity. You took it upon yourself to acquire the knowledge and skills you needed to carry out your internal task. Persistent and persevering, in your self-directed strategy, you have succeeded in turning your life around. 

take care, doc.  you have my love and best wishes, as always.  Rhoda  And you have mine, always.   Dr. Irene

What a sweetheart! And, she agreed to check in a few times over the next month or so and see if anybody has a comment question for her. Or, feel free to continue your usual, spirited discussions...   But, please, keep the High Road in mind...


I want to read the posts.