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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!

Trying Not To Feel Hopeless

Trying Not To Feel Hopeless

"The big gap between the ability of actors is confidence."
- Kathleen Turner

Thursday, 26 September 2002

I am married, 29, with 3 kids. I have been married for 9 years. I take meds for depression. I had a controlling mother, and now the same thing with my husband. Ohhh...

I just can't take another night of sitting in the bathroom bawling, wondering what it is about me that isn't as good as other women I admire, who would never be treated this way. And, am I really worthwhile enough to be around? Listen to me, and listen very carefully: You are every bit as good and are every bit as worthy as the ladies you admire. The only difference between you and those women is that they think too highly of themselves to allow anybody to treat them poorly - for any reason! That's it! Promise!  I’m always in some degree of fear that I forgot something, or did something I didn’t realize, and often hide things so he won’t get angry, though usually not because I feel that I really did something wrong, but know he will. (Bought a pop, etc.) I know you've heard this before, but I'll say it again. And again. Yes, you forgot lots of stuff. Yes, you did lots and lots of things you didn't realize. You own senses are telling you that you didn't do anything "wrong." Trust those feelings!  He will think you did something wrong... Of course he will! That's what abuse is about! Making YOU responsible for HIS frustration! Ugh!!!! The only thing "wrong" with you is that you are in the bad habit of believing if he doesn't like it, it must not be OK. Like mom. Wrong, wrong, wrong! All it really means is that he doesn't like it, and that's fine! He doesn't have to like or approve of anything that is not about him. (His wife is not about him, it is about his wife: you.) It is however his job to deal with his not liking of (whatever) and not to take it out - on you!

Anyway, I could go on with the list of things that went on, especially early in marriage, and when I think, well at least he's better than he was (his hands around my neck, from a fairly one sided argument started by the fact that I put fat free mayo on a shopping list). Ugh... I hope you called the police, but I don't think you did. If ANYTHING like that ever, ever happens again, MAKE SURE you report it! (I don't care if you "provoked him.") But I realize that in many ways, he has me trained, and it makes me sick. Good. I often want to leave, But my kids, 5, 6, 8 - it breaks my heart to think of taking them away. And I have NO support Money issues are the leading reason why women hang on to abusive marriages, No friends, everyone I've turned to, I have been so hurt by: family letting me know I just need to clean the house better (It was spotless yesterday, didn't matter); shouldn't have hobbies or other activities, until I can get things perfect at home. Unfortunately, they are of an abusive mindset. Not healthy. A lot of religion guilt also. Yeah, I understand. Look here. Too often, even the word of God is interpreted abusively... 

I wish often I had bruises to show, to feel justified. YOU ARE JUSTIFIED! It doesn't even matter that I agree with you! It matters that YOU think so - because your feelings count!

I fairly recently rebuilt our broken computer because I sold things on Ebay and it was my only thing to give me a sense of self-sufficiency. Good for you! Anyway, at the same time, my husband's checks weren't covering the bills, and I got a credit card with a business corp. name I got, to fix the computer and pay the bills we couldn't cover. I knew I'd be blamed no matter what. I thought I could make (and have) the payments by selling stuff. Anyway, he found the card, justifiably angry justifiably??? Why? and I turned our checkbook, bills, everything over to him. Yuk!!! You let him persecute you... Now it's constantly brought up, and I feel I have no rights to say anything about money. You most certainly do have the right to talk about money! In fact, you have the right to tell him you want the bills and the checkbook back! You have the right to tell him you don't want to hear more complaints about money, and you don't want to hear that you "snuck" trying to help the family out! You have the right to tell him he should thank you instead of scorn you! You have the right to tell him if you choose to go into business without his knowledge, that is not his business. It is your business and your business is not his business - marriage or not - unless you choose to make it his business!

He still demands I balance it after weeks of him "having no time", and it better be done when he says, there better be money for whatever, etc. Same with paying bills. He doesn't pay them, we get late fees, it's my fault, because I didn't tell him when they were due, etc. Garbage! You'll balance it - as best you can - given his lack of responsibility in letting go of a task he took over. He should be grateful that you are willing to take over! And, if there are late fees or if the balance does not cover the bills, well... maybe he needs to make more money and maybe he should not complain if you're bringing money into the household!

He told the leader of our church I was spending all of these thousands of dollars, etc. I'd gone to him before, about my problems with him, it was very hard. I was told it wasn't up to me to make him happy Correct, but then he called us in and made comments about how we need to keep our marriage together, we have little kids, and not to be selfish. He's right. But did Church Leader figure out who is selfish?   Church leader also told us to spend money w/ out the others permission. Yes. And it didn't hit me for awhile why my husband was suddenly doing any shopping that was needed... Groceries, gifts, etc. Until the one time I went lately, I feel like I was better off keeping my big mouth shut, and am now trying not to feel totally hopeless. Why is hubby buying needed items a problem? That he looks like he's obeying the Church Leader? Don't worry about that. Just follow the Church Leader's instructions. Pursue doing your thing. Like spending money - so you can make money selling stuff on Ebay. Another excellent way for you to spend some money without permission is to find your own individual counselor!

We went to a counselor too. I finally got some books a year or two ago on emotional abuse. I'd first realized what was going on a few years ago from an article, when I couldn't take it anymore, to see what I could do about it. Good for you! It was so EXACTLY what I was going through. Yes! But it seemed like family, the counselor, the church leader, would tell me what I should do about individual incidences, but I was trying to explain that this is a constant pattern. Unfortunately, that's the problem. Counselors uneducated in abuse often don't see the forest for the trees. Taken issue by issue, abusive types appear to make tons of sense - they're experts at rationalizing themselves, and victim types are at a loss for words... I would be so frustrated, they never understood. My hubby he would sound so reasonable, and bring up things that sounded like such plausible and typical couple crap (I am not affectionate enough, I am in chat rooms too much) that I find myself (along w/ the counselor, my dad, etc.) buying it all and apologizing, then the next day realizing, "Hey, I've never been in a chat room in my life!" And, I am as affectionate as I can (sometimes force myself) to be. Of course! Who can possibly feel affectionate in this type of situation!

I have a high IQ, and am artistic, but he is always angry when I (rarely) exhibit it in any way. But never says why. Hehehe! Can you see him admitting, even to himself, that he feels threatened by your talent? I guess I just feel like I got to get out of this, but with my self-esteem at zero, I am having a very hard time seeing it as a possibility with absolutely no one behind me. That's why - at minimum - you need your own counselor to support you. I don't see how I can even get through this with him. He tells me I decided he was abusive because I read the books, not the other way around. His response is common among abusive types. I just need to hear from somebody who might know what I am trying to say. I hear you loud and clear, and I'm sure the posters, many of whom too intimately understand what you are going through, will too. Thanks, Ariel

bulletAriel, get yourself a counselor through your town's domestic violence hotline or shelter. These people understand emotional abuse. Also, see if there are any abuse support groups in your area; you need to see that there are (too many) other people who walk in your shoes.
bulletLog into The CatBox and start posting, if you haven't already. The CatBox is a safe, moderated forum where people discuss abuse and help each other. By the way, the five moderators there are topnotch. They volunteer their time and energy because they want to.  They are also much further along their struggle with victimhood than you are.
bulletI know you won't be able to follow some of my advice now (setting boundaries re: money, etc.). I wanted to demonstrate options so I modeled some healthier responses to set up a sort of "path" for you: how dare he judge you!
bulletAlso, please take a look at this book. It helps you to shift how you think - so you claw your way through the unhealthy victim thinking patters you learned growing up. You don't have to put up with abuse!  
bullet The Secret of Overcoming Verbal Abuse: Getting Off the Emotional Roller Coaster and Regaining Control of Your Life by Albert Ellis et al. 
bulletLook too at books on boundaries. I've listed a number on The Bookshelf. Read everything on this site in the Victim, Verbal Abuse and some of the stuff in the Codependency Sections.
bulletBelieve in yourSelf.  You are worthy - no matter how you have been trained to think about yourself...
bulletPerhaps most important: You are on the right track Ariel. You have not let family or Church deter you. You know what's going on, and what's going on - is not written in stone. Keep seeking and ye shall find... You can get yourSelf out of this mess! I'm very hopeful!

Warmest regards,   Dr. Irene

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