How to get Dr. Irene's Advice: Look here!

Ask The Doc Board Archives

The CatBox Archives

Stories Archives


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!

I' Soooo Tired...

I'm Soooo Tired...

April 19, 2000

Dear Dr.Irene,

I'm sitting here feeling alone, and not sure how to deal with my life. I can't express the mixture of feelings I am feeling, and how torn apart I am inside wondering what to do with myself, my marriage, and my life. I need help and I don't know where to turn to anymore. 

My first marriage was one of physical & emotional abuse, threats, and constant fear. When I finally got out of the relationship, I lived in fear for many, many years always looking over my shoulder because of the threats against myself and my son. My ex threatened to kidnap our son, but not once in all the time we were apart did he ever pay support, send a birthday card, or Christmas gift. Nothing. Living on my own and raising my son was not an easy task, but with the help and support of my family, government assistance, and gradually working my way into various jobs, I did survive. 

When I met my present husband, he was caring and supportive and all the things my ex had not been. Eventually we got married. Although he said he wanted to adopt my son and make him his own, I realized over the years that things weren't working out there. While my son never remembered his natural father, there was still a conflict. We dealt with the rebellious teenage years and a son who did not want to follow rules. He eventually quit school, walked out, and for a time lived off the streets. That was a devastating time for me - especially not knowing where he was for long periods of time. Eventually I learned to accept it and let go as much as I was able. 

Then I found myself pregnant. I was thrilled to be blessed with another child. We ended up with two children over the next few years. I had a difficult time, and almost died.  For a long time, I could not move or walk. Eventually I recovered, and felt grateful to have two wonderful children. They were something my husband and I had prayed for for many years.  

Unfortunately their care fell completely on my shoulders. My husband continued to do the things that interested him. I was plagued with health problems and found my activities very restricted. That is when I began to realize the many changes that had been happening in my life - subtly over the years. Not supposed to go out with my friends, not supposed to go over to a neighbors for coffee if "hubby" was around, not supposed to talk to the neighbor's husband over the fence when I was out playing with the 'he' didn't like it. I Watched my husband walk out and do the things he wanted to do: go on 'his' hunting trips and have 'his' time away. But when I asked for the same time with or without the children, I was told "NO WAY!"  

I realized the inequality of our relationship, and how controlling and possessive my husband had become. Even dealing with my mom's illness and death was very difficult. He resented the time I spent with her. After her death, he resented the time I spent with a 70 year old friend. He didn't like the influence she had on me. As I tried to reclaim some of my freedom, our relationship got rockier. We were fighting constantly. Even marriage counseling did not help. 

One thing my husband had always promised me was that he would never hit me. Well, this past fall, our arguments had been escalating. Because I slammed a door shut, he came in after me, hit me, grabbed me and pushed me around, yelling threats in my face. I was terrified and struck back in self-defense - in an attempt to get him to leave me alone. The next thing I knew, I felt the force of his fist on my jaw, and I was on the floor. 

When I regained consciousness, the police were called - after a fight to get the phone. This led to my husband's being taken from the house, a restraining order, and the officer telling me I needed to go to the hospital. Then, I was charged with assault. This was the beginning of a nightmare: dealing with the courts, and a vicious circle of lies and verbal attacks. It was two months before I finally talked to my husband for the first time, and eventually we were able to talk and sort out some things. 

We agreed to marriage counseling to try to work out our problems. My husband, still feeling he really did not need to seek help, agreed to go to an anger management group for abusive men. At the same time, I had sought help from a woman's support group and shelter. While my feelings had changed, I still hoped that there was some possibility of working things out. Unfortunately the marriage counseling fell thro' when our counselor took ill. 

While there was a restraining order, my husband had it altered, so there could be contact in the event of mutual written consent and access to the children. So, in trying to go for counseling, we had been spending more time together. But I found the time specified for him to spend with the children was not set aside for them any longer, but was supposed to be for 'family' time ...time for us, togetherness - all the time.  Of course he had to take advantage of every moment he could get with me. 

The legal system had failed us by offering to drop the charges against both of us, assuming we got into marriage counseling and brought a letter from our counselors. We went back to court with the letters only to find the crown attorney had changed his mind and my husband would be forced to go to trial, and my charges would be dropped if I accepted a peace bond for a year with a no weapons restriction, and order to keep the peace. 

I found out my husband intends to go to court and plead self-defense. He tells me this has been his story with the police since the beginning and that the only reason he hit me was because I was hitting him and he had to stop me. Conveniently, he does not remember coming in and attacking me verbally or physically and says he  in to talk and I started hitting him. Meanwhile I had bruises on two areas of my arm, my chest and my face, and my jaw ached terribly for months. 

I feel betrayed that he would do this; betrayed by all the loving actions and words and things he has done since we started trying to work things out, and betrayed that he is so afraid of losing his Firearms requisition that he is talking of getting more guns, and a handgun, and joining a gun club to get what he wants before the court date. One major issue between us has been his love of hunting, his guns, his love for the outdoors, and desire to do more outdoors despite knowing that my health problems limit me in that area.

I am totally dependent on him for financial support. I wonder what I can do. I don't feel strong enough to give up our home and my dogs, which are a part of the family, and try to make a go of it somewhere else. But, because of our finances, if I cannot deal with him coming home soon, the house will have to be sold, our debts paid, and I would have to find a place to live...which is a feat in itself. 

Others in that position in my area are finding themselves forced to look elsewhere  and leave the place where they want to live. I will also have to apply for financial assistance. And , I am finding out that many housing units will not give single mothers, and especially people with pets, an opportunity in this town. There is a shortage of low income housing. Once again, I see why so many women are forced to live in an abusive situation with their spouse rather than find a place on their own. Yes! Finances play a huge role in the decision to leave. 

I am also afraid of his revenge and what he might do once I choose to leave.  Even now, some of his accusations are things he is doing and trying to turn around and make me feel guilty for. When he's around, I am torn between my desire to be with him and make things work, and wanting to get away from him and not have that constant emotional roller coaster ride and stress in my life. He is manic depressive. At times I find his ability to deal with reality in many of our situations lacking, but somehow he has managed to convince others that everything is okay. He has had counselors tell him he doesn't need help. He is great at saying how wonderful things are, how he doesn't have a problem, and how he doesn't understand what my problem is; why I need to be involved in a women's support group, or go for counseling; when we should be able to work things out ourselves. Of course, he means work everything out his way. 

How can I reason with someone like this or share how I'm feeling when my input is put down, and turned around to suit his means? How can I separate my feelings to decide what I really want when my emotions and feelings are so completely torn in wanting to make my marriage work, to keep my family together, to have a place to live and feeling afraid of him and not knowing what to expect from him?

He even has some of my friends convinced that it was just a simple issue of I hit him, he hit me; we were both charged and I should be able to get over it. He never fails to appear as the loving, devoted husband when we are out in public, and to act like there is nothing wrong - while I carry my emotions  with me. Some days I feel so numb and so alone, and wonder how I am going to make it through another day and deal with my life. There is so much more going on in my life, but I'm not sure how long I am supposed to make this, or if you'll even have the time to respond.

That's okay. Seems people only want to help for a time, then they start backing off and expecting you to make decisions and do what they expect on 'their' timing. It's too bad they can't walk in my shoes, because they really don't see half of what takes place or has happened in my life. I don't' know where to go or what to do anymore... or who to turn to. Life is the pits....and I'm soooo tired of it. Diane You start by getting treated for your depression! Talk to your internist - there are some excellent medication options available that will restore your motivation. You start by getting individual counseling.  Doc

I want to read the posts.