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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!

Viv's Update

Viv's Update: It is Over

Take a look at Viv's stories...

January 29, 2000

Dear Dr. Irene,

I’ve written to you before, the last time was about 3 months ago - I am now 7 months (going on 8) of being free from my abuser.  Well, free in terms of being subjected to active abusive, but I’m still working on that baggage I’m lugging around with me - the load gets lighter every day though! 

I wish I could share a happy ending story with all of my "friends" here at your web site -  a story that tells the world how my husband "woke up" or decided to get help, etc. etc. but that is not the case for my situation.  However, my story IS going to have a happy ending, I am making sure of that!  After all, I am writing the book myself, and how it ends is up to ME.  You bet!

Two nights ago, I had a telephone conversation with my ex-husband.  Our divorce was final on Jan. 24, just a few days ago.  He called my cell phone and this was only our 2nd conversation we’ve had over these last 7 months since separating.  I won’t re-cap what my PAST was like with him, you already have a healthy sampling of what is behind me from my previous email I sent in a few months ago. 

It was very unsettling speaking with my X the other night - however, it was very good medicine for me, as I realized once again how horribly twisted his way of processing the world around him still is --- he has not gotten any better over this period of me being absent from his life.  In fact, he seems worse.  In reality, he’s probably just the same as he ever was, I am just much more healthy so his behavior seems worse to me, now that I’m not around it anymore.   

I’m going to share a few bits of our conversation we had the other night - keep in mind this is after over 7 months of essentially zero communication with each other!

He told me he wanted to be my friend, he misses my companionship, he wishes I was there for him to share with me what is going on in his life.  He said he does not want to "get back together" but doesn’t understand how I can just "walk away" from all the years we spent together.  He had been drinking also, he wasn’t totally drunk but he was under the influence.  He made no inquiry into what I would like - it was all about him and his wants and his desires.  Yes!

I explained to him that friendship is based on love and trust and respect and that he had killed and destroyed all those tender feelings I once had for him.  I told him that we could not be friends.  I told him that I didn’t keep company with people like him anymore.  I told him that he was mean to me, and that he had turned into a cruel monster and that I became very afraid of him.  I didn’t shout, cry, or insult - I did get a little wound up, and did find myself slipping back a time or two into defending myself against his wacky statements, but I caught myself pretty well and mostly just listened to his ramblings.

Here’s some more of our conversation:

He told me the only reason I supported and encouraged his interest in painting was so that I could get him out of the house at night so that I could go out to bars without him (this is crazy!  I went out twice over the course of his 3 month class to meet our mutual friends - who called and invited me out  - and I called his cell phone to meet me after class when I did go out to see our friends!)  I didn’t even bother trying to tell him that encouraging your partner’s hobbies or interests is an expression of love and caring.  I would have been wasting my time.   If I had any sort of fun without him, that was a bad thing......and turning my loving supporting attitude towards his interests into a self-serving motivation is what he was so good at - I guess these people just can’t believe that another person really DOES care about them, huh?  They can’t accept love - so they dream up wacky scenarios in their head to make our love into something ugly.  It’s funny because it’s so ridiculous, but it really is sad too, these people are cheating themselves out of life’s wonderful joys of mutual loving and caring for one another.  Exactly.

When I told him he was mean to me, he said "Well, at the end I was, but that’s because I wasn’t getting what I needed from you."  Oh this was so good to hear!  I’m in the right place!!!!  Away from this person!  He’s still dreaming up reasons why his abuse was acceptable!   

He was calling me from a bar - and someone in the background said something to him.  He offered the phone to this person, a stranger to me - and he told them, "here, you want to say Hi?".  How’s that for disrespect?  Offering a perfect stranger the phone in the middle of our conversation.....yeah, let’s be friends - NOT!  He was putting on a bit of a show I think, for his bar-people audience.  This made me angry and I told him I was going to hang up the phone if he put a stranger on the line.  Grrrrrrr!  Good for you! Boy, have you got smart lately!

He told me that he wasn’t going to have another relationship with anyone unless he was the "premiere focus in their life" --- "if I’m not the first priority in their life, then they can kiss my @ss" --- I don’t think this reference he made needs any commentary - it’s very clear he is still codependent and just as sick as he ever was....... He's going to try his same broken strategy again...

He also made sure to tell me how much sex he is getting these days, and how other women pay attention to him and he makes them happy and he feels special.  He said he loves his new single life and all it’s freedom.  He still does not have a place to live.  He lives in motels and out of his truck.  He is moving to Europe in a few months too, for a 3-year job as an ex-patriot.    He has not kept in touch much at all with any of our old friends or his son either - just superficial contact now and then. 

I told him that he is self-medicating himself with sex and alcohol.  I told him that he is surrounding himself with constant stimulation and all new people, new places, new everything because it provides him with a distraction from what is really going on in his life.  I told him that he is not fooling anyone except himself.  Poor guy - but, he is an adult and he is in charge of his life. We all know he's the only one who can choose a saner path.

I told him that there was no way I could be "friends" with him - not after all that I had put up with.  His response was "what about all the crap I put up with"? (!!) I told him that I was never going to allow anyone to abuse me again, as long as I live.  His response was "I am not going to be abused either".....CLASSIC stuff - this is what Judge G. calls "echoing"!  Geez Dr. Irene, how long does it take for these abusers to get a CLUE? Too many never, ever do. They stubbornly keep up the same old routine over and over and over... I am so unsettled in one way after hearing his same old stuff, but I am also relieved because I know I am *finally* going in the right direction, doing what’s good for me! 

My future is bright and it’s exciting to think about what I will do with my life.  I just have to get done with taxes with my abuser, then I am 100% legally FREE - so, wish me luck that this last little bit of business goes smoothly! It will.  It’s been a rough road, this recovery stuff!  But I wouldn’t go back for anything, and my life is no longer clouded by abuse (*smile* well just the after-affects, but that’s fading too!) Yes. 

Now Viv, look out for the overly-attentive, overly-nice man who rushes into your life and - with little basis - proclaims his love. There's a good chance this is your new, replacement control freak. These people have antennae for sweet, give-other-the-benefit-of-the-doubt people, like yourself. They are totally wonderful early on because their own underlying (irrational) expectations lead them to feel that they have found the answer to their plight: they found a person who will make them feel good, take care of them!

 Celebrate and love the unique individual you are, give yourself the benefit of the doubt, know you deserve to go after what you want, pay attention to your anger - and you will be fixing the insecurities that got you into this mess to begin with. Find a guy - who, if he were a girl - would over time become your best friend. Somebody you know is there for you, can take "no" for an answer, puts your wishes first,  and is not me-me-me-oriented. You won't have to explain this stuff to that person. You deserve no less than you give!

Thank you so very much Dr. Irene - this site is helping so many people and I visit here nearly every day. 

Peace and love to you and yours,

And Thank You Viv!

PS to Dr. Irene - I am shocked at how widespread this type of abuse is in our society - the more I learn about it and share with people in REAL life, not just on the internet, the more I realize how common it is!  Yes! It blows my mind too!!! Honest! If there is any organization / fund / etc. place where I can volunteer time or donate a small amount of money, let me know if you get the chance. .I’d like to be able to give back a little bit,  and help other people get educated on how to reclaim their lives and stop giving themselves away to abusive people. Do that by teaching your child to be whole. Do that by giving him a loving step-dad one day. Thanks again!