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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!

A Yukky Comment

A Yukky Comment: Powerless!

December 13, 2000

To: Dr. Irene
From: No Name
Subject: Afraid To Speak

Dear Dr. Irene:

It was a saddening experience for me to visit your web page.  I think your ego has gotten so big that you're unable to learn much anymore, and this is something which hurts not only you but also the people whom you are leading.  

I won't bother saying anything else because of the likelihood that you'll characterize such feedback as "verbal abuse."  No, I'd characterize it as your opinion. However, I will posit that in the end, "verbal abuse" is only a manifestation of an attitudinal symptom, and I think you suffer from it just as much as the "verbal abusers" from whom you seek protection I seek protection???.  That does not make for a hopeful prospect.

A voice in the desert

Dear Nameless Voice,

I'm sorry you feel this way (especially afraid to speak), but I hear you. In any case, please think about giving the size of anybody's ego that much power over you!

Best wishes,
Dr. Irene


Please take a look below, as reprinted from the Catbox 16 Board.  Anybody who has comments will be able to add them at the end.

(Asha posting in black) Since you were the one to mention silence on the board/fear of offending you there was one thing I did want to mention. Not about the Steve stuff, but about the "yukky reader comment" (who said some negative stuff about Dr. I's supposed "big ego") - I think you meant the comment was yukky, not the reader, right? Neither. I don't think the reader or the comment per se is yukky. What is yukky (i.e., sad and disempowering) is that the reader buys into his or her irrational underlying thinking process. That irrational underlying thinking governs the readers thoughts, feelings and behavior. This person thinks they have to remain silent for fear they will be blasted or whatever else it is they are afraid of. They have essentially put themselves behind bars. Ouchhh!

Rephrased: The reader feels helpless and out of control and doesn't realize that the only reason s/he feels helpless and out of control is because s/he chooses to feel that way!  Because the reader is mistakenly convinced that the size of my ego is a factor in whether or not s/he can open their mouth. The reader therefore blames me (i.e., gives me their power) for his or her inability to speak! The Ouchhh! is that the reader is creating his or her own pain but thinks that the yukkiness comes from outside (me)! 

Another rephrase: The reader feels helpless and is trying to make me responsible for his or her feelings of helplessness, when in fact the reader is creating his or her own yukkiness. I have zero to do with it! 

The significance of all this: Not taking responsibility for the self, giving away your personal power and learning not to do same is what this site is all about and is what I am trying to teach all my readers not to do because it messes with your life. The reality is that reader can "say" whatever s/he wants. The worse thing I am likely to do is disagree and perhaps point out why. I don't come zooming out of cyberspace to chop off the hand that typed rotten things about either me or the size of my ego. 

More: What the reader is making themselves afraid of is how they are going to make themselves feel if I say something that I see as truthful, which they are probably defending against seeing because it is experienced as an Ouchhh! 

My big ego: Has anybody noticed that I haven't defended the size of my ego, or taken the letter as personally offensive, or not printed it because it pointed out a "fault", etc., etc.? This is exactly the lesson I am trying to teach.

How I feel about my big ego: I don't have one, even though I do (though it is no bigger or smaller now than before); either way, I don't give it much thought because it really doesn't matter. The point is that I am not identified with my ego.  If somebody blasts the size of my ego, I am OK with being blasted. I can understand how the reader can feel my ego is too big; I can understand the reader's intimidation, though it saddens me. I would like the reader to take their power so they are not intimidated, but I can't do that for them. That the reader thinks my ego is bigger than it was before is of no consequence to me, but I know it is of consequence to them. I know this individual does not understand personal responsibility, and that is sad. 

On Validation: This reader's letter, how they feel, their intimidation, how what they see as my big ego affects them, etc. is all about them - and has absolutely nothing to do with me - because I have no real power over them. Though, since I am given the power to validate, I could validate more. And I do when I have to - but I use validation sparingly since it is no more than a form of manipulation I use to help people past hurdles in their lessons. I'm pretty clear, I think, in pointing out that validation is invaluable early on, but later in recovery, validation is just a  place to get stuck in - for "victims" as well as "abusers" by the way.  Can you see how powerful validation is - and in the "wrong" hands has the potential to be very destructive? If you need validation, you have opened yourself up to being manipulated by anybody who knows how to massage your ego! Yikes!

How this relates to Steve and everybody else out there:  I am asking Steve, the reader, and the others out there, to consider doing the same thing I'm doing: Essentially, to stop bouncing off other people, giving them the power to hurt you, or to require they (codependently) behave a certain way in order to protect your feelings - by massaging your ego.    

I didn't want this to be interpreted as more defensiveness on my part by mentioning/asking about it. I also didn't feel the need to come to *your* defense, because the comment just simply doesn't fit IMO.  Thanks Asha for cluing me in on what's going on out there. I had assumed that my comments to the reader were understood. I guess only in my head. This is not the first, or the last time, I will live in the clouds. I will email the writer of that letter to come take a look at this explanation too.

All this is extremely important stuff. Please, do not hesitate to ask questions, Asha and everybody else who has any.

In fact, this stuff is so important, it gets a board: Comments anyone?

I just want to read the posts.