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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!

Abuse Survivor

Abuse Survivor: But He Went To Her...


February, 2000

Dear Dr. Irene:
I have visited your site almost daily since April of last year.  The advice you give on this site has helped me to leave my abuser.  We were legally separated on June 14 of last year.  As you mention so often in your advice, leaving sometimes makes the abuser wake up and realize that he is not treating his spouse right.  I had hoped that this would happen to my husband, that he would come to realize that he treated his stepdaughter and his wife in a very abusive way (verbally, emotionally and physically).

Instead, my husband moved out and straight into the arms of his ex-fiancĂ©e.  He did not even try to understand why I filed for the separation.  All he could see was that he was wronged by me, that I deserted him for the sake of my then 16-year-old daughter.  In his mind, it was ok to have a girlfriend because I forced him leave his home. He apparently had an out all set up. It is not all that unusual for an abusive person to keep one or more "possibilities" on a back burner - just in case.

I tried to reconcile with him in November only to confirm that he had not changed.  He still had not understood why I filed for the separation and he also continued to call his girlfriend even though we were trying to reconcile (he had to keep this option open in case we did not work out). Exactly. He will go where he does not have to be alone. Last week he told me that he would "love me into loving him".  This lasted two days.  It stopped when I refused to go away with him for the weekend.  Instead he went off with his girlfriend. 

It has been seven months since the separation and I am hurting more than ever. Why are you wasting your time missing a person who regards you - and any other woman in his path as well - as no more than an object to keep him company? I know you know he is not OK, but, have you really thought about this? Seems like you need to hear the words and promises, and put less weight on the follow-through! It does not seem fair that this abuser can just go on and not hurt at all over what he did to his family.  It hurts to know that I was never really loved. Be hurt. Be angry. You got duped (he's good at it). But, count your lucky stars you got rid of him sooner rather than later. I was just a person to fulfill his needs.  It hurts to know that he did not care enough about his two-year old son to try and make this marriage work. Stop! You are reacting as though he is an individual who knows about loving another. He does not know how to do this.

He did not even try to understand my reasons for separating. He does not care. Too selfish. Too needy. I know that time will heal this pain eventually but I don't know how much longer I can take it.  Instead of feeling better, I feel worse every day. What are you telling yourself? "Poor me? He never loved me...this was the second time around...nobody will ever love me...what's wrong with me..." I promise, there is some sort of yukky - and totally irrational - thinking like this going on. If you stopped and really examined what was going on in the back of your head, then objectively examined the validity of those silly thoughts each and every time your bad thinking habits -yes, habits - crept in, your heart would eventually sing the same tune as your head. And you will feel much better...

The reality is probably closer to these thoughts: "I am a caretaker and am insecure. I wanted to believe him, so I did. He is real good at fooling women. This man is incapable of adult love. Now I hate to throw out a marriage, especially since we have a child. But, my kids don't deserve to have this kind of person in the house. Plus, I have the rest of my life ahead of me. I deserve someone who can love me the way I love them. That is the relationship I want to model to my kids. So, I will work on my insecurities, since there is no reason to be insecure (another irrational thought!). That's what got me into trouble in the first place."

Please recommend some books I can read to make me feel better.  I also hope that you will take the suggestion of one of the ladies who e-mailed you and establish a support group for those that have left the abusive relationship. Done. Join "What's Next!" here and give it a little while for people to find out and sign on.

I need to communicate with someone who is in the same boat I am in. Thank you so much for this wonderful site.  You have helped me and so many  being done to us in the relationship. Keep it up.
Sincerely, Olivia

Thank you Olivia. Good luck to you; you are better off without him. In time, you will know that. It is just harder if there has been a warm body on a back burner...all our human buttons get pushed. 

You need to find your center. You don't "need" him - or anyone else - to feel whole. Read some of the codependency stuff. Some good picks from the book shelf: 

Facing Codependence : What It Is, Where It Comes From, How It Sabotages Our Lives by Pia Mellody. 

Joy Erlichman Miller's excellent book, Addictive Relationships : Reclaiming Your Boundaries. 

Love Is a Choice : Recovery for Codependent Relationships by Hemfelt, Meier, and Minirth

And, hang in there. Wishing you a speedy recovery. Dr. Irene

February 7, 2000

Dear Dr. Irene,

Thank you so very much for taking the time to answer me.  I will definitely follow your advice.  I am starting to really see that I don't need to be ashamed when in fact I didn't do anything wrong.  I have just started reciting positive affirmations to myself about my self and this in only the beginning!!!  Thanks again for your help.  I cannot tell you what it means to me.

Sincerely, Olivia