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I'm Repeating The Pattern And Want To Stop

by Elaine
(Halifax, Nova Scotia)

I was emotionally abused as a child (with the most difficult memories being told habitually that tears were a sign of weakness and anger is a sin.) When I grew up, I married a man who was controlling, emotionally abusive and shut me down when I would try to speak.

We lived on an isolated farm and I wasn't able to make friends. A year into our marriage, my little brother-in-law (age 6) died in a bus accident, which caused me trauma. In 1990, after 14 years, I took our two children and left the marriage.

I didn't have a lot of family support, and it was a difficult time for my children and me financially. Through those years, I have no memories of ever feeling angry, although a counsellor told me once that they sensed I was an angry woman. In 1996, I was sexually assaulted by my employer and suffered trauma and depression.

I dealt with it through some counselling and I moved to a different city. I started on anti-depressants at that time. Over the next years, in a similar pattern to your poster of Battered Woman Syndrome, I kept trying to meet a new person, would have a relationship for a few months, and then I would get scared and leave.

I've also had relationships where the other person would show signs of controlling or verbally abusive behaviour, and I would immediately leave. However, I've always continued to try and 'fill' my life and feel safe by being with someone, and I always ended up leaving. I've never remarried.

I am now 62 and I've just left a man whom I have dated for a few months on three different occasions in the past 15 years. In the past, I always became afraid and left, although he was a gentle person.

In the past three months with him, I realized that I always had to be a certain way - gentle, pleasing - and things were wonderful. That is, until I started to feel taken advantage of, and then I couldn't express any feelings about us or anything I was concerned about, without him cutting me off and then leaving.

I started having a recurrence of PTSD/trauma symptoms and felt rage, which I would immediately turn to shame. I had difficulty sleeping. I broke up with him yesterday, and today, as afraid as I am, I am recognizing that I need help in healing my anger.

I kept thinking it was perhaps PTSD, but I'm aware that I feel rage, which I want to heal. I've started journaling today and I have ordered your Inner Child and Healing Anger audio programs. I'm afraid, but more afraid to continue in the same pattern I've been living. Thank you for any feedback you might have.

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Mar 18, 2016
Response to Dr. DeFoore's
by: Elaine

Thank you, Dr. DeFoore, for sharing your insights in response to my story. I'm looking forward to receiving the Healthy Anger and Inner Child audio programs and working through them with guidance from my counsellor.

I sincerely appreciate the time you took to respond and the resources on your site that are helping me as I continue to learn, understand and heal.

Kind regards,
Elaine, Halifax NS

Mar 17, 2016
You Are Right On Track
by: Dr. DeFoore

Hi Elaine

Congratulations to you for recognizing the pattern and for taking steps to change it. You are very wise to take these actions.

I encourage you to stay the course with your journaling and listening to the audio programs, and anything else you choose to do to help you on your journey to healthier relationship patterns.

You will find some tips on journaling and also some helpful imagery processes to help you with your healing on this page. Follow all of the steps carefully and consistently, and you will most likely be able to see some progress. And of course it would also be helpful to get some counseling along the way.

You're a bright and capable woman, Elaine, I can tell that from what you've written here. Believe in're worth the effort you're making.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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