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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!

Reader Comment to (Not)

Reader Comment to (Not)

February 1, 2000

Dear Dr. Irene:

I have read the emails related to the couple who are "destroying" each other "(Not) Putting My Life Back Together" with great interest because I am the survivor of such a relationship.  I ended a 15 year marriage because in truth there was no marriage.  My wife and I got to a point where we could not have been more abusive to each other if we had just gone ahead and declared war on each other.

Dr. Irene, you stated that their marriage is far from over (in the follow-up), I believe a better way to express what is going on here is that their marriage is far from even beginning. I like that! There is obviously no trust, no respect and no open communication between these two.  I agree 101% that each one of them needs to forget about what the other is doing and concentrate on what they can do for themselves. 

When I finally addressed my own codependency and abusive behavior issues, it became crystal clear to me what needed to be done, in my case divorce.  I have two teenage children and now have them with me a full 50% of the time.  Yes, they are suffering from the turmoil of a divorce, but at the end of the day, they are in a better situation without their mother and father constantly fighting (verbally and sometimes physically).  

When I got myself straightened out and decided what it was about life that I wanted, I realized it was not in my best interest, or my kid's best interest to try and save the marriage any longer.  Blame is most likely a very big issue for this couple, each one is too busy blaming the other that they have forgotten that when you point your finger at someone else there are three more fingers pointing back at you.  Yes. Until they get beyond the blame game, they will not be able to work on themselves and move beyond their codependency and abuse issues.

What I see going on with this couple is exactly what my ex-wife and I went through.  You want to save the "marriage", but you don't know how.  Eventually things are done by mistake or on purpose (which one is actually irrelevant) that destroys the very foundation of the thing you think you want to save.  All this is due to the fact that there is no real marriage here, what exists is a fantasy of what they think they want, but don't really have, and in many cases do not have the potential to obtain. There is no real "marriage" in the true sense of the word, i.e., a partnership, because there is no partnership and has never been a partnership. But, the "connection" these people have in indisputable. It is a "marriage" in that they were married legally and before God.

Bottom line is, your advice is right on the money, however, it appears to me that each one of them have many "truths" that they need to acknowledge before they can begin the task of working on themselves. You are likely correct, though I would phrase it: "...they have many "truths" they need to acknowledge in beginning their work on themselves. This lady is in the process of owning her stuff, though, no doubt, there is more stuff - a truth for all of us! I pray for them as individuals and I pray that they can find a path to "begin" their marriage if that is what they truly desire. 

You do good work, thank you for being you. Thank you for caring. Dr. Irene