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4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

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She Needs A Reality Check

She Needs A Reality Check

August 6, 2000

August 8 UPDATE: Cat's out of the bag: This lady is your old friend Kristin, whose saga starts here.

The following email was sent to me by a client back in December. We had lost touch for a while, but it seems that she's in exactly the same space now that she was then. Can you guys help me drum some sense into her pretty little head? Here is the email:

Hi Dr. Irene.... Hi Kristin
I am no stranger to you.... This is the first time in a long time I have signed on to your web site. And of course I got hit over the head with a reality check!

Well, you know my story but I will brief the whole thing in a nut shell and then continue where I am today. I walked into your office about 2 1/2 years ago ready to break up with my  then boyfriend. I didn't of course. I stayed with a man who whom enough was never enough. Whenever I decided to actually leave he saw the light and persisted  he would change and I went back. This went on for about the 4 yrs we were together. 

I come from a family who was very poor, when I met this man he took me on trips to the Caribbean, took me on shopping sprees... As our relationship progressed, the gifts I received got bigger and better such as gold and cars. 

I was swept off my feet. However, I felt something was missing. I always had sex with him whether I wanted to or not. I felt obligated. I remember when he asked me to move in with him. I was ecstatic I thought OH MY GOSH the man who never committed to anyone in his life wants me to move in

Shortly after I moved in a got my 1st engagement ring, yep I said 1st. He definitely did it with style: rented a super super stretch limo and gave me a ring that was 3/12 carats. I couldn't believe it was me; the kid who grew up on welfare getting teased for the way I dressed and for having a father who was a junky.

We set our 1st wedding date for 5/22/98. However I was in therapy and discussed honestly with you what I was feeling. All of the material things weren't delivering what I thought they promised. SOMETHING WAS WRONG. (DUH ... yeah), He wanted me on his terms and when I didn't live up to them he would attack. He was unable to be there emotionally. He would ask me to do things such as clean the house, cook, be this pretty little homemaker. Mind you I worked full time. I tried to do as he asked. I never really had any experience or much exposure on how to be a homemaker. I tried though, apart of me wanted to be this or at least no how. IT WAS NEVER ENOUGH!!!! 

We called off our engagement and I moved out. We didn't speak for about 4 months and then the phone rang. It was him. He claimed he realized what he was doing; he was sorry he wanted me back. Yep you guessed it I went back. About 5 months later I got my 2nd engagement ring, and he was the same old person, however it felt worse. He was so manipulative and very good at articulating himself. I would always feel like it was me and I should be doing something I am not. Deep down I knew, and my resentments built up. Listen to thy self lady.

Again I called off the engagement and we didn't speak for another 4 - 5 months. He called, he agreed he had a control problem amongst other problems. He was so convincing he said, "I want to go to Dr. Irene with you I believe she is the only one who can help me." Well, you know I got my 3rd engagement ring and he saw you maybe 3 times until I flew off to Jamaica to get married. I can only help those who want to help themselves... 

What a mistake :(  I got married in Jamaica in 3/22/99, I felt the whole time like I was not being true to myself I even tried to talk to him about it the night before our wedding. He said "You're just scared" With good reason! I believed we were meant to be and everything would work out. After our wedding he never stepped foot back into your office. He did actually, a few times, but I was unable to reach him - at all! Every time he was hurtful with his mouth the joke was "I am a verbal abuser, right?" Yep; he sure is! Things got worse than ever. He would say that I was ungrateful and if this was abuse then he wished someone would abuse him etc.... I felt like I was crazy. I couldn't understand what he thought I was doing. I couldn't understand how he could not see WHAT HE WAS DOING! So who was crazy?

I quit my job of 7 yrs when we got married to go to school full time. DUMB! Things got worse than ever, he had total control. I am not trying to blame him even though I know it sounds like that. I gave him the control. I allowed this abuse to continue. I went back time and again without an ounce of proof other than his word that he would change. I also don't want to make him sound like a monster; he wasn't. He gave what he knew how to give. We went on a vacation with some friends the first week of Sept. It was on that vacation that again realized this is not me. It was obvious to others and that also embarrassed me. We came home on a Sunday and I moved out on that Monday. 

Talk about humility... I went to live with my dad and family. I had no job and no money. He filed for a legal annulment in Oct. 99. The lawyer said the finalized paper signed from the judge would be mailed to us in 3 weeks. Well, it is DEC. 3, 1999 and still no papers. He is now calling me everyday; the pattern a couple of months have gone by. 

You know in my heart I am still confused and I am not totally secure that I won't go back. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out 3 engagements and an annulment later it is not going to work. But in the back of mind I tell myself we are meant to be, obviously. If you have a death wish...

I don't know if I rambled, I probably did. You know now that he has come back in my life I am closed to any other man who asks me out. I really want happiness and I know as long as this continues I am not going to find it. I don't know why I am so scared to break all ties with him. Do I want to? Well, I have made a pros and cons list and when I am honest the cons out weight the pros. However when I am in that space, you know that self-pity space that I am so comfortable in, the pros can out weight the cons. Forget the lists, forget the emotions, forget the self-talk. What is your body telling you? Feeling nauseous lately? Headaches? 

Irene (My clients all call me "Irene"), I know what I need to do. I E-mailed you a couple of weeks ago that I felt like crap emotionally and I still feel like an empty shell emotionally. I am very uncomfortable in my own skin. I also told you I was doing what I needed to do. You asked what? I never E-mailed you back because I knew I wasn't being honest and I was doing nothing. Logically I know positive acts build self-esteem, and if I help another person, I will feel better about me.... move a muscle & change a thought. I have been doing none of this. I sit home all the time. Things happen exactly when they are supposed to...

However, there is some good news I guess... I got a job and my own apartment. So things are getting better when I apply the foot work. I DON'T KNOW?????????????????????????????????? Yes you do.

Here's today's email:

It is so funny. I wanted to call him so bad and I signed on and saw your
e-mail...... With your permission, I would like to post that very yukky email you sent me some time ago. Maybe you need a good jolt. Also, funny how the universe put me there when you logged on, isn't it?
I haven't called him and tonight I went to the movies and dinner with a
friend of mine - and got this huge pit in my stomach thinking it is Saturday
night and he is probably out with someone.....
It is really pathetic that after 5yrs I am still having this drama with this
man. But I have been getting out and trying to take care of self....
I am rambling and making no sense.... Thanks for the note.   Your actions are so opposed to that feisty little thing you normally are...

Well gang, any suggestion or comments for this wonderful, beautiful, talented young woman who has no clue how fantastic and deserving she is?  Apparently, I'm not getting through.  Thanks much. Dr. Irene

I want to read the posts.