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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!

Way Beyond Codependency

Way Beyond Codependency

March 4, 2000

Dr. Irene:
Your pages on Codependency are a real eye opener.  If you want to take the time to read this, here goes.  If not, thank you for the information.

I began a relationship with a woman from Sweden in 1996.  By June 97, we were married.  I am 45 years old now and have 2 girls, 21 & 12.   

My wife has no children.  To make a long story short, she hates my children.  Outside of this, I have convinced myself that we have a great relationship.  

However it has escalated to a point, where she does not want me to even talk to them on the telephone. I experience fear every time the telephone rings hoping it's not one of my kids.  My wife and I have battled about this during our entire marriage.  

At one point in 1998, she attempted to kill herself with pills. Knowing that she is capable of attempting suicide, made it difficult to get rid of her.  I tried to be sensitive to her and kept my children at bay. Sneaking around to talk to them and see them. I began to try and reinforce her with love, kindness, acceptance of her behavior, her disrespect towards me, her desire to throw away Christmas gifts given to me by my children, demands such as taking a car back from my oldest daughter who is in college, not buy them gifts since I pay child support to their mother - and the list goes on.  

And for what? Just one little moment of happiness with this woman.  It has gotten to the point where I do anything to keep her happy and hope that one day she will change her mind.  What's interesting is most of my life, I had little or no trouble getting rid of women that caused me this much misery.  But for some reason this one is hard to deal with. I feel that I brought her to this country so now I'm responsible for her.  As of May of 99, she has taken a job as a flight attendant. Well, you're off the hook!

I find myself doing these things:

bulletGiving her money while she's stationed in New York, even though she has a job.  I reside in FL.
bulletTrying to keep her happy by visiting her on occasion and her visiting me and going shopping. ALWAYS.
bulletTrying to accept her "misunderstanding about my children."
bulletExcusing her misbehavior towards my children such as, throwing their things in the trash that they may have left behind during a visit.  In fact, while she was in training, I had my youngest daughter stay with me for 2 months.  When my wife came home, she packed all my daughter's stuff up and put it in the garage as well as throwing several of her personal items in the trash.  Of course "I understood her behavior".
bulletNow that she is in NY, I try to help her out financially even though she is mean to me.  She has a school bill due in Sweden of $8,000 which I agreed to help her pay.  She says she doesn't need my help, but I insist on helping her even though she is frustrated with me most of the time.
bulletShe has taken a boyfriend even though she denies it to me.  I have evidence of this relationship going on. However what do I say about it? "I understand why this has happened, due to our relationship being in turmoil".
bulletI find myself waiting for just a telephone call from her to be satisfied that at least she's thinking about me.
bulletI filed for divorce but I'm back and forth with it.  She calls me and tells me she loves me.  And like a fool, I tell her I love you too and make excuses that we don't have to get divorced, it's just a preliminary thing.
bulletWhen she is here, we make love for hours at a time.  But after searching your web site, I now think it is more of trying to keep her happy and have some sort of value in her life. 
bulletI walk on egg shells not to incite her into a rage.  Even so far as
asking my children not to call or come over when she is around.
bulletI have a business that is suffering from all of this.  I find myself stressed about her being gone, happy about her being gone, missing her, wanting her, even with the abuse.  
bulletEven with her accusations and distorted view of relationships between a father and his children, even with the verbal assaults, even with her rage at me 30% of the time, even with her lies and deceit and her manipulation of me, I walk around thinking she loves me.  This is not love.

Well Dr. Irene, this is just a summary.  I could of started and gone on for hours. In fact I'm not happy with the way this e-mail turned out with the exception it feels good to write it down.  Currently I email my wife and tell her to find a man that will make her happy, that she is free to date, and meet whomever she wants to, take her wedding rings off (which I'm sure she has done a long time ago), and just be happy.  Start new.  I feel good about it but then she calls with the I love you's etc.. and I'm back where I started. I get weak. And Stupid.

Anyway, thanks again.  Dean

Well Dean, I don't know what to say to you. You already know the deal. You know you are hurting yourself - and hurting your children. Ignorance is not keeping you in the relationship. You call it "weakness." I call it "stupidity."

Your life is your life. Do with it what you will. You can, you know. One way or the other. Nobody ever said getting where you wanted to get had to be easy. But, I guess that depends on where you want to get to.

Maybe the readers will be more sympathetic than I am. My very best wishes, Dr. Irene

Readers: Got any comments for Dean? But first, his quick reply to me:

Dr. Irene,
Yeah, you're right on with the being stupid.  I know the pain of letting go so I should be ready mentally BUT......

Thanks for taking the time to read my e-mail.  I suppose I only have one choice.  And I do continue to try and reach that point, but I am met with a lot of counter stuff such as "I Love You" and "Don't want to leave you." etc....

But I must push forward. You are selling yourself out. Selling your children out. All because you like the sound of the "I love you" words, whether there is meaning behind them or not.

Thank You Dr. Irene I will continue to check the web page and have referred it to several of my friends. You are very gracious to thank me for this. You deserve so much more than you are getting!

One more letter first:

March 5, 2000

Dear Dr. Irene:
Since I received your response to my initial e-mail, I have had a lot of time to think about and laugh GOOD! about what you wrote.  YOU ARE GREAT! Flattery will get you everywhere...
You wasted few words to shake me back into the real world. I had to tell several of my friends about your response and they seem to agree with your prognosis and laughed as well.  Even as I am writing to you I'm having to smile and laugh at myself for being, what was the word, oh yea STUPID!.  A perfect diagnosis Doctor. I love it! Laughing at the self is the BEST MEDICINE! Love it! Love it!! 

Well hopefully you have heard the last from me, unless I want to find some other reason for my behavior other than the one diagnosed.  Thank you Dr. Irene for being so blunt.  I much prefer the upfront in your face approach. I tend to believe in this approach more so due to my work background.

A fan for life,  "Dean"  Aw Gee...


I'd like to read the posts.