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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!

Success: I Left Two Weeks Ago!

  Success! I Left Two Weeks Ago!

Dear Dr. Irene:

I have been reading your site for months and I wanted to tell you my story:

I have been in an abusive relationship for two years. Two weeks ago it came to a head and I left. During this time I was told I was a "pea brain", "stupid", "loser", "can't do anything right", "when will I ever learn", "my way is the only way", "your opinion does not matter", "you make me sick to my stomach." I was punched, choked, spit on, my hair was pulled, etc. I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

Kevin continually told me I was the problem. He did not want to hear my excuses every time I made a mistake. I was in boot camp and he was going to teach me the right way to walk, talk, listen, and obey. Also during this time he told me I was sick and needed therapy. If I would stop arguing with him, because he is always right and just do as he says, then everything would be OK. 

If he became angry with me he would scream at me anywhere: in a restaurant, in front of friends, in front of his son. It did not matter where or who was  around. I did not deserve his respect. Since his standards we so much higher than mine, I was not good enough for him.

I was so confused! Leaving and coming back, begging to be good, begging to change for him...all the while feeling worse and worse about me and life. You see after we started dating we opened up two business and I worked with him out of his home. When he became angry or mad he would not give me any money, or tell me leave his house.  I had to borrow to pay my rent, during this time I dropped all contact with family and friends because he said they had too much of a negative impact on me. He said that if I truly wanted to change, I needed to get rid of all the old people in my life. 

Last August he asked me to move in with him. All along bells were going off, "bad idea Dora", but I did it anyway. The same night I moved in, he became angry with me and said, "I have got you now, you have nowhere to run". He had me right where he wanted me. For two years I would cook, serve him on a tray, wash his clothes, take care of his son, shop, pay his bills have sex every time he wanted it, bring him his drinks, serve his friends food, jump when he said jump, etc.

In January, 1999 while bike riding, I broke my back. Not a bad break. I was lucky and have fully recovered. Three weeks after I broke my back he picked me up by my neck and threw me against the wall, and then he called 911! (Yeah, it makes no sense.)  He told me it was my fault since I cornered him like a dog. If I would not open my mouth, then he would not do these things to me. Reminding me of all of the things he had done for me: trips, dinners, teaching me, etc., he said that all he wanted from me was to grow and to become like him!  
I tried therapy with a couple of people but always ran until I finally found the right therapist. I thank God I was led to her. She is also an abuse survivor. We have uncovered a great deal of issues that have been haunting me. I was diagnosed with extreme depression and post traumatic stress disorder. Now I am on medications. I have also had EMDR. I am so much better. When I asked ,"Why now and not before?" My therapist said simply, "Because you were ready."

As I was becoming stronger, he became more abusive. She had told me this would happen and kept telling me I needed to leave. But something always came up. In July we traveled to his family reunion. While at his grandma's he spit on me - because he was angry. I knew then that I had to leave. That was the straw that broke the camels back. Yet, in his eyes he did no wrong!

During this time my mother, who lives abroad, had a mild stroke, I started to make plans to go to visit her. He knew I was going and became more abusive. I just wanted out, but still afraid to leave. I knew I was leaving - just holding out until my trip. 

Well it did not work out that way. One day he would be so sweet, the next so abusive, I could no longer tolerate it. He became so angry that I was leaving, he started packing my stuff for me. Then he choked me twice, took my brand new laptop and hit me over the head with it, and punched me.. I knew then that if I did not get out this time and stay gone for good, next time, or maybe the time after that he would kill me. I hope you went to the police!

I cannot tell how good it feels to be able to wake up and not have someone yelling at me or turning his head away from me, ignoring me, telling me I don't matter. Yes you can! I went to the mall two days in a row and spent six hours there each day. I do what I want, I read when I want, I eat what I want, I go to bed when I want!

I cannot nor do I blame him for everything. You see, I danced this awful dance with him. It was all we both ever knew. But, I am finally starting to know me and to know I deserve better. I want more! I am free to make my own choices! I will be a better person because of this. I told my shrink that I use to cry everyday, but that I had only cried once since I left. I did not cry because I missed him. I cried because I was grieving over losing the relationship I so wanted, but never had. I had wanted to be loved and accepted so badly, I would do anything for it!

But I am growing and learning to love myself and all the inner children within me. I feel peace inside that I have never known before. I know I have a long road ahead, but I welcome the challenge. I do not hate him, nor do I ever want to go back to that kind of life. I want to move forward and begin my new journey. To take off like an eagle...freedom. I thank Kevin for teaching me that I must set boundaries. I never, ever want to be treated this way again! I am grateful for finding my therapist and your web site...  -Dora

Dear Dora,

Wow! Keep up the wonderful work, and thank you for your submission. Keep on flying, Lady! This is the kind of mail I love to get!
My very best wishes,  -Dr. Irene

Dora sent us an update. Take a look!