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what to do about HIM???
May 13, 2006
7:48 pm
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florida mom
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Okay, it has taken me a long while to realize that I am super co-dependent. I have most of the symptoms. I cannot deny myself any more...

My problem is that I have an emotionally abusive husband. He completely walks all over me all the time. He says terrible things to me and I am so unhappy and feel so worthless. I don't know how to put my foot down or assert myself anymore.

If I try he laughs at me and tells me I would be nothing without him. My Co-Dep. self kicks in and thinks "Yeah he's right, I'd better be perfect or who knows what could happen".

I read articles. I try to convince myself I am not so bad. But, he is a button pusher. He knows how to get under my skin. I don't even dare let him know anything about co-dependency. He would use that to just tear me down.

Has anyone ever been in the same situation before? Can anyone offer suggestions. I want to make myself better and I just don't see him jumping on the bandwagon with support.

May 13, 2006
8:07 pm
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Anonymous
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Do you have any children with this man? If not, I'd say pack it up and HIT the trail!! He will NOT change, unless HE wishes to change.

How long have you been married? Not that it makes any difference when someone is emotionally abusive. Once is one time too many.

Florida Mom, you DO have value and worth! It is HE that feels less then this, so he is projecting it off onto YOU.

I'm glad you're here. There are MANY here in your very shoes, and are very willing to offer their advice. Because you are NOT alone, here!

Jennifer

PS...Ok, just recognized my "blondeness" here. Yes, you have children, because your screen name has "Mom" in it! Duh!! LOL! Woops!

May 13, 2006
8:18 pm
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on my way
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Oh sheeesh!! If I had a husband who said that to me, I would just take the out..."you are nothing without him"??....you are a woman who is worth of love and respect. and if he does not want to give you that, then honey....yes, you can survive without him. He is abusive, and out of control it sounds like to me. Where do these men get off thinking they can treat anyone like this? your post angers me...not you, but the fact that some men are like this.

May 13, 2006
9:04 pm
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StronginHim77
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When I was young and single, (before I married and had children), I was extremely INTOLERANT of any abuse from any guy. I would walk and never look back, if they crossed me.

Then, something in me changed. I don't know what. Have dealt with abuse ever since and haven't got the strength to turn & walk anymore. I am 55. I don't think it is my age. Perhaps our self-esteem breaks down over a prolonged period of abuse until we can't stand up for ourselves, anymore?

I don't know. Anyone got any theories on this? Cause I really and truly used to have (and swiftly enforce) a ZERO TOLERANCE policy for abuse or indifference from any man. Now, I take it and am afraid to fight back. WHY?

May 13, 2006
9:05 pm
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florida mom
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We have two children together ages 7 and 5, I also have one from a prior marriage too (he's 14). We also have a lot of "things" tying us together. We have a lot of material things and a business. All of these "things" make it hard to "simply" walk away.

I also came from a disfunctional home and don't want to hurt my children. I am afraid he would say things to them. I am sure he would b/c he does it in front of me now. I am also "fearful" that he would disappear with them. He is from another country.

I also keep thinking that if I would be better he would be better. I guess that is the C.D.. shining through. I wish I could get over that. It is a big problem for me. It's like I do EVERYTHING for him. I don't even know what I like anymore. I don't know who I am. He knows how to play on that too.

Cathie

May 13, 2006
9:08 pm
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florida mom
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I know when things begain to change for me. He had an affair about 5 yrs. ago. Before that I already had some "issues", but I am sure that is when I started behaving like I had C.D. I was always afraid he would find someone else better(she was 18 and beautiful), or I wouldn't be good enough. That really hit my self-esteem hard.

May 13, 2006
9:15 pm
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on my way
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strong,
my expereince was that yes...i was beat down to the point that i lost myself. i finally found enough courage and strength to leave. i went to my sister's. i left all material possessions behind, i didn't care, i just wanted out. that night, i cannot describe the feelings of relief i had. for the first time in a long time i slept. he used to wake me up and want to argue. i slowly lost my ability to fight back because I no longer mattered...to him or to me. it was horrible. i look back with horrid memories.

so yes, slowly you adapt as in any situation yuo stay in///positive or negative. choices have to be made in each scenario. would you beleive that we (my ex and I) are good friends now though? i remember who i was and who i am now, and i like myself better now...and, he likes himself better now. he lives in another state...which is good.

May 15, 2006
12:22 pm
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lightchaser
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Cathie- I have been married for 13 years (almost) to an alcoholic who was emotionally abusive. We have a 2 year old daughter. I no longer knew who I was. I was in dispair. I did EVERYTHING for him, and he did NOTHING for me. I have been out of the house with my daughter for over 2 months now. It has been hard, but not as hard as staying would have been. Now I too can sleep without someone waking me up to argue. When you are emotionally abused, you never know when it is coming. You live your life in a state of Fight or Flight or else they just beat you down so you can't do either. Your kids are old enough that they probably see what is going on? Do you have girls? Boys? it doesn't matter I guess. the thing that did it for me was realizing I was teaching my daughter what to expect out of a relationship. I just want so much more for her than that. I still see my husband. We date and get along fine. He said, "I wish we could just be married and stay seperated forever. We get along so much better." I don't let him talk to me or our daughter when he is drunk. I don't let him play the blame game. I don't allow him to be disrespectful. I don't know what time has in store for us. I think it would be a fantacy to say this state of limbo won't end. But for now it is good. I feel so much better about myself. I am 33, have never lived alone. Have never paid bills on my own. I am doing it!
You only live life once, Cathie.

May 15, 2006
4:50 pm
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florida mom
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Thanks Lightchaser, I know what you mean, I was looking at my daughter the other night and thinking that she is going to learn that all this Okay and it is not. I was thinking that my son is learning that this is how to treat women too.

May 15, 2006
4:58 pm
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jastypes
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You can start to get better whether or not you decide to leave him. You can learn what is okay and what is not okay. You can learn skills to be more assertive, to say what you need to, and to get your needs met. I recommend a 12-step program like Al-Anon, CoDA or Celebrate Recovery to get started. Also, reading the book CoDependent No More is a good beginning.

May 16, 2006
11:31 am
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florida mom
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Thans Jas, I am checking into Celebrate Recovery (they have meetings at my church, I didn't know they were for CD too) I am also going to pickup that book. Thanks for your help everyone who responded.

I am praying that my recovery doesn't turn into material to add to my husband arsenal though.

May 16, 2006
12:26 pm
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nopityparty
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That was my mom's situation and still is. Divorce was always on the verge. I didn't like growing up watching my dad do that. It taught me as a woman some bad patterns. But I always had a zero tolerance policy because of it. However, I dumped a lot of good guys because they sounded like my dad and were right at times.
HOWEVER, there is a theory that we pick men who iterate what we feel worst about (passive-aggressive, they express our insecurities). SO why do you feel you need to be more perfect? Who are you perfecting yourself for? Also, try reversing your language. Instead of saying "I can't say this because he won't respect me. I want him to respect me" say "I respect me and therapy is not a way to hurt myself." Make a list of "I wish he did/was/saw me as/" and then say "I will see myself as this, I will be this...etc

May 16, 2006
2:35 pm
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beenthereB4
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Florida Mom,

I usually do not get on site such as this. Just don't have time to do so, but I was looking up codependency for a friend and found this site. I am glad I did. I was like some of the others on this thread, zero tolerant of abuse of any kind, because of what I grew up with. But then, my first love jilted me, I ended up with a man who at first appeared very wonderful. Said and did all the right things...you know. Pushed all the right buttons. Well, the flip side of that was his negative, abusive mouth and finally the physical abuse. The best thing that happened to me was going to counseling after 7 years of craziness, losing myself respect and all my friends and who I even was as a person and considering suicide. Always thinking of myself as a strong and independent person, figuring out that I was codependent was quite a shock. I then learned that it was not my responsibilty to make his life perfect, to fix all his problems or to right all his wrongs and that was not what made me worthwhile or beautiful or successful. We divorced, after having gotten custody of his daughter from a previous marriage and having a son of our own (you see to the outside world everything seemed perfect - I made sure of it). Leaving was the hardest decision of my life for I take my marriage vows seriously and really thought that I could make everything alright. But, he was not going to change (still hasn't after 12 years) but my bounderies that I set with my counselor could not allow me to tolerate such treatment of myself anymore. You see I deserved better...you deserve better, and your children deserve better than this. I suggest getting a very good counselor and being faithful about working on your program because it is YOURS. You have to love yourself enough to not let anyone mess with your program. And believe me he will try. If threats don't work, then beating you up emotionally, or the guilt thing and around and around we go. Get off the merry go round before this ride called life is over. I was soooo sad when I left my home and loaded up a Uhaul in the middle of the night (out of fear) but I was at peace, like the world was lifted off my shoulders. It wasn't over, I had to work on my codependency, so I didn't repeat it again. I feel for you, we had a business and lots of stuff to, but that is all it is...stuff. You are worthy and as a great author put it...fearfully and wonderfully made. Be courageous & diligent in your recovery goals. You will look back and be so glad you did. I know I do...especially when I look at my son. Take care.

May 17, 2006
11:53 am
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florida mom
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Well, I picked up the book CoDependent No More and I cannot beleive what I am reading, it is hard to put down. It is as though someone has been following me and wrote about it. I had an idea that I was being controled but I really didn't think about the extreme. This book is very eye opening and helpfull.

I found out my church has a Celebrate Recovery on Wednesdays and I am going to attend. I am extremely scared. I have no idea why??? Maybe because I am starting to step out of my comfort zone.

I started to experiment with boundaries with my husband last night and it is almost funny... At's as though he doesn't know how to react when I say I am not going to do something for him or when he belittles me and I simply said sorry you see things that way and walk away. He is so used to pushing my buttons and it is not working. I have to say that it is so hard to try and control myself and act not react. But, it gives me a feeling of accomplishment.

To beenthere
thanks so much for sharing your experiences, I know it is time for me to move on too. I wonder what - the few friends I have will say though, because I also put on a good show when in front of others, as well as him. He is very handsome and charming. People think that he is sooooo wonderful. I also believe one thing that has kept me here so long is those marriage vows too. The are just something I going to overcome I guess.

May 17, 2006
12:12 pm
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thumkin
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I just wanted to tell you a little of my story to see if it could help you any. I was married to the same kind of man for 9 years. We had 2 children together and I had one from a previous marraige. I think I really believed he made me a better person, sometimes I think I still believe that. I left him almost two years ago. I have absolutely nothing material now. He got everything but the children. He doesnt even pay very much child support because I cannot argue or fight with him anymore. I am a wreck now. Doubting my ability to make it without him. BUT I would still do it all again. Because everyday he is not here letting me know that I am lacking and not quite good enough I get a little more confidant that I can do this on my own. I only regret that the choices in my life that I have made have taught my girls that marraige is not forever like it should be. I hope though that by leaving they have learned no man has the right to talk to any woman the way my husband talked to and treated me.

May 17, 2006
1:25 pm
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mamac
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flmom
Have been in this situation before

I can tell you emotional abuse is the

worst kind. But what you have to

realize as I had to, is that he is

very insecure withen himself. He

knows you could do without him and

secretly he says these things

because he is scared you can live without him.

He dosent want to lose you so he says things to hurt you because he can.

Because he knows what he can make you
beleive.

Sounds like you do love him and are not ready to leave just yet.

What you can do until then is dont look for him to tell you who you are or who you arent.

Look at yourself and find the good qualitys.

I know it is hard to do so after hearing those words from the one you love.

You have more strength then you know, it is just hidden by all the hurtful words.

Remember he is just afraid as you or he wouldnt say those things.He would never admit it but it is 100% true.

May 17, 2006
1:41 pm
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gingerleigh
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Marriage vows. Pah. He didn't seem to care too much about his vows when he stepped out with the 18 year old.

However, I think it's a fantastic demonstration of character for you to keep your vows, honestly I do. However, in reading the vows, I don't see anything in there about staying with someone who treats you like crap. Unless that's what they meant by "for better or for worse". Somehow I doubt that.

But all that aside, it sounds like you really want things to work, for your children, for your security. Change starts with us. All you can do is focus on your own behavior, and hopefully he will follow suit. I liked Dr. Phil's book Relationship Rescue. It's a fun read, and it stresses that change in a relationship can start even if it's just one person who starts it.

May 17, 2006
4:27 pm
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florida mom
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ginger you made me laugh, you're not kidding he wasn't thinking about those vows while he was fooling around.

mamac i am not sure but i think i want to separate right now. he really knows how to get to me and this has been a long time coming. I have also told him many times that I want to separate and he always behaves for a while then slips back into his routines. Thanks for the insight, I think that your have something there with his low self image. Things would be very difficult for him without me... And he knows that I can make it on my own, when he met me I was a single mom and doing okay.

All I know right now is that right now I need to work on me not only for me but for the kids too.

May 17, 2006
7:42 pm
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sleepless in uk
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florida mom

I think you are at the point where i am now....thinking about going, not sure if i could cope, wondering how it would affect my girls ( I have 3, teenagers now)

I have only recently woken up to myself and admitted that my marriage is unhealthy...he is emotionally abusive, plays mind games, one minute loving the next so cruel it takes my breath away. And I have spent 20 years thinking if only......if only I kept the house better, was a better mother, wife, lover etc etc etc....I have tried so hard to please him and you know what?

It was never enough, I was never good enough..,,and I never will be. And all I have taught my kids to be is what I desperately dont want them to be

But mamac is right. YOu can change things from the inside. I couldnt tell my husband I have started attending Coda meetings or reading books like the ones mentioned but I have and I have made really little changes but they are helping me a bit while I try to figure what to do next.

Everytime I find myself getting anxious around him, walking on eggshells in case I incur his angerI stop and tell myself ' this is about him not me, I am not responsible for his unreasonable behaviour, I do not make him abusive; he just is' and then I walk away and leave him to it.

And the other thing I have stopped doing is asking 'permission' to do things. If I wanted to do something in the past, or spend any money or arrange little treats for my kids I would agonise and wait till he was in a good mood and I would ask him if it was ok....and I cant believe I did but I am so scared of his displeasure that I always tried to get him on side. And now I dont....I consult him but I no longer ask him if it is ok....well at least I try not to but sometimes I slip into it again......but I pick myself up and start again.

And my kids notice and they are 100% behind me ....in fact one of them said to me tonight, 'Dad talks to you as if you are one of us kids and it isnt right....and you are finally standing up for yourself....about time'

I feel really guilty about the role model I have been for my daughters but I have been talking to them a lot lately about things while trying not to bad mouth their dad...

I dont know if I will ever be strong enough to pick up and go but I truly think I might....I am stronger then I have been in a long time...well tonight I am anyway!!!

tomorrow could well be different. I have been so battered emotionally that I have very little confidence in myself but it IS getting better...my counsellor told me its like post traumatic stress disorder but with no trauma obvious to the outside

Oh and someone on the site....(cant remember but i think it might have been Garfield) suggested the movie Gaslight as being a really good example of mind games and emotional abuse and many here have watched it...I havent yet but I am going to when I can get the place to myself for a couple of hours

I could say much more about how complicated it all is but I kind of think you already know that so welcome to the club and take care....

at least you know you are not the only one with these problems...for years I thought it was just me and perhaps I was mad...hey maybe I am!!!

May 17, 2006
7:58 pm
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florida mom
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sleepless,
I can't tell you how nice it is to know i am not the only one going through this mess. For so long I couldn't quite put my finger on what was wrong, but I knew something was definately wrong.

I always asked for permission too. I couldn't understand how other woman could just spend time with their friends or take time for themselves without getting heat for it.

Your last comment hit home, for a while now I was thinking I was going mad. That I was not able to find the way to fix things. Now... I get it... and now I know I don't need to fix it anymore. And I certainly don't need to take it.

I have to tell you too that my daughter (she's only 7) has pointed out to me that Daddy treats me badly. I don't want to explain to her when she's 14 or 15 why I let it go on so long.

May 17, 2006
8:22 pm
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sleepless in uk
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I know what you mean...my daughters are 15, 16 and 19 and actually it is seeing the effect on them that really got to me and shook me up....well that and being so depressed and not knowing why....I was just so anxious all the time and they were becoming anxious too...well the oldest one was anxious and the middle one was starting to rebel a bit.....I see the way she stands up to him and I think 'wow, how did she get so smart with me for a mum!!!!!'

I have tried to teach my daughters that they have the right to be respected, valued etc etc and then i go right on showing them that I dont practice what I preach....

Thats one of the things that keeps me strong when I realise I am slipping back......but it can be so exhausting always being on my guard and making a stand.....and makes for a pretty cool atmosphere for much of the time. But I think it has made him stop and think a bit which is all i can really expect for now,,,,,,,,,,I didnt even know what codependency was until a couple of months ago and I am still really struggling but at least I understand now and I have started to realise that the only one who can change my situation is me...

so if you ever need to talk this is a good place to do it....and its funny but once you describe the way you are feeling you will find others know exactly what you mean and have had really similar experiences and that can help you feel better about yourself.....

I think you are gonna do just great......just keep telling yourself, baby steps, baby steps....you dont have to make everything better overnight....just take your time and start making little changes

i will be thinking of you....it is nice to talk to you and like you say so nice to know I am not alone either..take care

May 18, 2006
4:12 am
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mamacinnamon
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Florida mom:

You have been given th best advice there is; from us who know. I'll not add much other than until you are ready to go, or if you decide to stay.... when finished w/ Codependent No More get the book Boundaries (cannot think of author). It will give you strength to keep steppin up and not taking his crap.

Other thing... don't let the material things blind you to what this is doing to not only you but to your kids. I walked from a 12 year marriage w/ all the bills and he took all the cash. I struggled. I'll not lie. But it was much easier to have water on my cereal and only one room I could afford to heat in the winter than it was to hve stayed in that marriage that was damaging not only me but also my kids. I've not realized the "full" damage it's done to my kids until now that they are grown. They were 5 and 7 when we divorced.

Chin up girl.... you are on the right path. Just follow that yellow brick road. 🙂

May 18, 2006
11:23 am
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Florida Mom,
Bless your heart... Thank you so much for your story, you have no idea how it has helped me. I am going to get that book also. "CoDependent No More"
I am very proud of you for setting boundaries with your husband. It empowers you in a very healthy way!
Keep doing it don't let your children see you be weak another day. If all they see is one controlling/abusive parent and the other parent being meek and weak they will grow up only knowing those two roles as a married couple. Then they will pick which one they will be when they grow up, as if those two roles where the only option.
When you feel fear because of rejection or whatever, remember the little eyes that are looking at you!!! You're the only chance they have for a healthy example of a family. I know you don't want the legacy of abuse to continue creep into your family tree. Get help and make him get help too, if he won't you have to leave him, but do everything in your power to make him get help first!
Thank you again for your story it helped me more than you know...
Good Luck and Keep Your Chin Up!!

May 19, 2006
12:57 am
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glittered when he walked
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FLA MOM,

earlier you had written "I am praying that my recovery doesn't turn into material to add to my husband arsenal though." In my 40 years on this earth I've noticed that just about EVERYONE has some problems and the only losers in life are those who choose to ignore them. By going to recovery you'll get stronger.

here's a funny story about going to recovery for 1st time. b4 I went to my first adult child of alcoholic meeting I said to my therapist "i'm apprehensive about going." He said "nobody wants to go the first time." made me laugh. You are not alone. It won't make things any worse right? nothing to lose.

I must say that it irks me to hear people tell someone else "you'd be nothing without me" what sort of self-confident person says that?..none that I know of. That sounds indicative of insecurity. It would appear that while he mightn't be codep, he also has his own problems. But this isn't about him, you must do what's best for you.

Hey, just by being here you are on the road to being the best that you can be, that's all anyone can ask of any of us : ) So, take it from this guy, I think you're wonderful.

May 19, 2006
9:48 am
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florida mom
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Thanks glitter and awall,
I don't think that I would be getting anywhere without this site and people like yourselves.

My eyes open wider and I feel a little stronger every single day. I fall asleep praying and thanking God that I came upon this site.

Everyones words of encouragement and sharing are uplifting. I can't say enough how good it feels to finally be able to put my finger on what has been wrong my entire life and to know I am not alone. I think that many people that are not in this boat together don't get it at all.

I have always been hooking up with partners and are unable to meet any of my needs and I am always trying to rescue, striaghten up and help. I always knew my parents had neglected and abused me mostly emotional abuse and I think because it was emotional I didn't even know it was happening. Now I know what they mean when they say you marry your father. Thats one thing I don't want my daughter to do. She is my world and I certainly don't want her to marry her father. And I certainly don't want my little guy to become his father.

I am going to my first meeting next week and I am soooooooooo scared! I have no idea why. I think I am afraid that I am going to get myself so strong I am going to make some big changes, but that is what I want! I guess I don't do change very well.

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