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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'm Proud of My Husband

Success! I'm Proud of My Husband!

May 3. 2000

Dear Dr. Irene:

Thank you for saving my life!  I don't mean that nonchalantly, I truly mean it.  When I came to your site several months back, I had endured years (15 to be exact) of verbal and emotional abuse.  Naturally I did not know that then., I thought, like most others, that I was doing something wrong.  That I just didn't know how to be a good wife.  By the time I did an internet search I was very sick, physically and mentally.  What stress can do to the old body is amazing! Yes!

I read your site with a feeling which I can not describe.  It was like I struck gold.  I hung on every word.  When I went to the "yak board" I could not believe how many victims were going through the same exact things as I was.  I mean the same exact, you just had to change the names. For the first time in all these years I thought to myself, "Hey, it isn't my  inadequacies that is the problem...HE IS THE PROBLEM!"  What a terrible thing my children and  I went through  for all these years.  If I tell you it was bad, it was bad - as in several rages a day...all separate issues!  

After reading, I remember thinking, "O.K., now I know the truth, what do I do now?!"  To sum it all up, I gained so much knowledge from your interactive mail where you answer and/or correct the situation, your explanation pages and the most wonderful people on the "yak board". I could not afford a therapist but with all the above along with the several boundary books you suggested, I was able to get my act together, regain my power and make a change for the better. 

I am proud to say that I sit here before you a new woman! Yippee!! I have set boundaries, and my husband has successfully changed for the better with my changes. :) :) :)  With only some very little and "far and few between" slip-ups, I must say that he is now a man I am proud I am married to and proud to have be the father of my children.  Yes, there is hope at the end of the rainbow!  It can be done and believe me...if you lived with my husband you would not believe the difference.  It is incredible.  He was worse then any of them on the board...need I say more? Thank you for the great feedback! This is exactly what I hoped the site would be: a resource for those wanting to help themselves...

Now for the last straddle I must jump over. Hip Hop... When my husband has his flash backs of bad behavior, I noticed they are when he is aroused somehow by his mother or father. I know that sounds odd, but his father was a verbal abuser and his mother allowed it, without ever coming to his rescue. This does not sound odd at all!  

They live nearby so they are present a lot.  The father pumps him up that he is "whipped" and not a "man" for not acting as  the "boss."  I understand this because the man was always abusive, so his thinking is... well you know! Yeah... What surprises me is his mother.  She sabotages his recovery.  It is a weird thing that she does.  She will always protect him and tell him that everything he has ever done that was abusive is everyone else's fault.  Oh boy... She sees that he is changing for the better, but she will provoke him into anger.  She is triangulating (?) (yes, she is!) by saying things about me in order to light his fire!  It is like she enjoys finding fault in everybody, and sets us up to disagree, but will always side with him as if he could never be wrong.  Poor woman; she had to find some way of "saving" her son since she had to accept dad's abuse...

This is the only part that I am still having trouble with. Is there a reason why someone would do this? No reason that makes good sense... Just gives her some emotional peace to "be there" for him, even if she has to set him up first.  She knows from even his own relatives that her son is a known abuser - and she is in complete denial.  Then to make matters worse, she tries to undo any good that has been done.  Does she not want this family to work? The lady is twisted. She is not well. This is the best she knows how to do. Sad. And, destructive.

Can't she see that her son is the same as the man she divorced for the same reasons? No. That was her ex. This is her son... I feel like she wants my marriage to end in divorce and I don't know why. Maybe then she'll get more of him.  She runs around telling everyone that I am the daughter she never had, even though recently I have cut all friendship with her because she is obviously stunting my healing. Good for you. This one is driving me more nuts then the challenge I had with my husband because there seems to be no logic to it. There is no (sane) logic to it. All her behavior does is give her some semblance of emotional comfort by "supporting" the kid she let be abused, and keeps him near her. It's sick and manipulative behavior.

Any thoughts?  I sure would love to know how to handle this one!  I am at a total loss. Anyway, thank you again!  You have brought one family back to sanity.. one that was very close to being broken and destroyed.  I am indebted to you forever! Aw, shucks... OK, here's how to pay some of it back: On the board I am going to open for people to help you deal with her, please let them know exactly what you did, what specific changes you made, that turned your husband around! 
Sincerely,  Katie

Katie, Mom's behavior makes no sense because - it makes no sense! All her behavior does is compensate somewhat for her lack of appropriate support as a mom:  assuage her guilt and keep her kid around. This is a very sick lady. Cutting off your ties with her is smart, because you can't win if you take her seriously. What you don't mention is how your husband handles your cutting off his mom. Is he OK with that? Is he conflicted? Mad?

I can't give you a better answer since you don't include his input. Nor do you discuss whether or not he sees what his mom does. Or, if there are grandkids involved, how that affects them.

A more moderate position, if any of the above issues are troublesome, is to discourage their frequent visitation. While not entirely cutting them off, being kind and cordial, remaining emotionally uninvolved, and letting your husband know why you are doing what you're doing may help. In other words, disengage.

And, I'm delighted to hear of this happy ending! More, more, more!!!

OK Dear Readers,

Your turn. Any comments for Katie? Ideas? Feedback? My best wishes to you and yours Katie and to all, Dr. Irene

I just want to read the posts.