First MC Session, Help - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-20-2015, 07:19 AM Thread Starter
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First MC Session, Help

I'm hurt and so frustrated.

I decided to find a therapist recently. I went to see her alone and really liked her approach. We agreed that we should try MC since my husband said he was willing to go and that is what I would rather work on right now. This week my husband and I went for the first time. I was tense the whole session because I knew he doesn't really want to be there and would be looking for reasons why he doesn't want to go to counseling. It didn't go too well.

The therapist asked us to bring up an old fight so she could see what happens. Of course it quickly snowballed into a bunch of issues, with us both trying to be heard and be right. We have never resolved any past fight and have always "ignored" them until they pop up again.

She stopped us and and told us to practice listening and repeating back what the other said first. That was very hard for both of us. My husband kept telling the therapist he is over it and doesn't have any problem and wants me to get over it too. She told him he clearly isn't over it based on how willing he was to bring up additional issues and to fight over this old problem again.

He also lied a few times and said very hurtful things. I understand that we are supposed to practice respecting the others right to their feelings and opinions but its hard to do when he makes up things that aren't true.

For example, he said that I refuse to make friends and I depend solely on him for friendship and happiness. He said that whenever someone says hi to me in public I ignore them and don't say hi back! This has literally never happened. He said he wants his own space and to be left alone. I want the same thing, but he pulls me into interacting with him, even when I tell him I want to be left alone. He texts me all day at work and calls me on every lunch break, even when I'm dealing with our toddler and we have nothing to talk about.

When I go out by myself he makes jokes that why did you put make-up on, where are you going? If I'm visiting my mom he calls and texts constantly. But according to him, I'm the one with a problem depending on him and not having any friends and not giving him his space. Well we've moved 4 times in 2 years trying to secure him a job with his degree. Every time I started to make friends we moved away!

He kept making things up during the session and grossly misrepresenting the issues in our marriage. Basically with the end result that I'm the one with the problem because I can't just "get over" our past issues. Nevermind that he holds all these past issues in his arsenal to bombard me with any time that benefits him and nevermind our ongoing issues. He also accused me of lying to him and misrepresenting things to him to justify his past behavior.

Because we had a nice weekend (we're getting better at dancing around our problems) he was holding my hand on the drive to the therapist's office and smiling. On the way back he was silent, and I was afraid to speak and have a fight start. He didn't try to hold my hand at all. He tried to talk normal at home a few times, which I ignored because he usually starts out nice and then brings up a problem and we fight. I didn't want to hear his complaints about the therapist office and how he doesn't need to go.

This morning when he was leaving for work he came and cuddled with me. I told him I'm not feeling well and he offered to get me medicine. He was being nice and then it came out....He said he doesn't want to go to MC anymore. Again he said he was misled and thought it was going to be IC for me and he was just meeting with the therapist, etc.

None of this true, I've been clear that I want us to go to counseling, he says he wants to too. The therapist asked him at the end of the session if this is what he would like to do and he said yes and we scheduled the next appointment. But now he says he was misled and he doesn't want to do MC "right now." I said we need to do it and you agreed to go next week, so you have to. He said "who decides that I have to go? you? I don't have to go and I don't want to go." I told him I want us to get counseling or I'm going to make arrangements to move out. We can't keep ignoring our issues. He then agreed to go next week and tell the therapist he doesn't want to go anymore.

I'm so exhausted with this.


"Show forgiveness, enjoin kindness, and avoid ignorance"
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-20-2015, 08:32 AM Thread Starter
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Re: First MC Session, Help

How can MC work if one partner lies and misrepresents issues to blame the other? How can I validate whatever he decides to make up in the moment? Even if I can get him to keep coming to MC I don't see how anything will change. I don't know if he can ever change and work on this marriage.

Does counseling get better with more visits? Is it still worth it for me to continue IC if he refuses to come to any more sessions?

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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-20-2015, 09:21 AM
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Re: First MC Session, Help

It sounds like he needs IC first. It is telling that he uses bombardment tactics to overwhelm you and when you try to logic it out, he bombards you again.

It is a way of minimizing the others position by sheer amount of volume. Why you do not have stability and friends, you place his career and him before your own well-being. Uou should start off separately and he should have his own individual session so the counselor can see the story from both angles. Although, given the context of his career, you had a pattern of losing attachments quickly before moving on. It makes the motivation of constantly creating new people difficult.

His suggestion of quitting counseling is telling and add that on with his argument style. He is manipulative. He tried being loving to get the goal of you agreeing with him. I am guessing that you have noticed this. If not, be wary of his actions.

Also, He sucked you into his behavior by making you go on the defensive and attacking back. It fuels his own need to keep bombarding.

Detach, and if possible, be calm and collective.

Also, keep track of his constant calls and text towards you to show the counselor. Do this privately first so your counselor has a clearer picture. If he is there, he will try and twist the facts around to suit himself.

He is trying to manipulate to protect himself, his ego.

So, keep working on yourself. Concentrate on your own career and be a great mother at the moment. You need your own stable life and cannot keep sacrificing what is potentially your own independence if leaving should be the healthiest option for you.

And he rather drag you down with him then work on his issues. Be careful, there is probably an agenda behind the smile and words of love. His actions show that he rather keep avoiding the issues.

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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-20-2015, 11:30 AM Thread Starter
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Re: First MC Session, Help

I think he needs IC too but according to him he is fine and has no problems. He will not got to IC on his own. Now I confirmed that he was just pretending he wants MC to appease me. When push comes to shove, he isn't going to seek help to change.

He is manipulative. I noticed that from the start but stupidly thought I could handle it. He has admitted to manipulating me on occasion. The question is why am I so easily manipulated? I keep falling for it every time.

Is there any hope of him changing on his own? If I get IC and respond to him differently maybe he will adapt and change his tactics. I really don't know. He does successfully bombard me during arguments. The contrast between Mr. Nice Guy/Loving Husband to Mr. Enemy shocks me and then I get defensive and overwhelmed too.

I did learn one thing from MC yesterday. She made me sit and listen to his tirade and it was so hard not to defend myself from his wild accusations. But it felt a lot better than trying to keep up with each thing he said and respond to it. It still hurt, but now I know that's better than being sucked into it all the way.

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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-20-2015, 11:44 AM
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Re: First MC Session, Help

This sort of happened with me. My wife felt that every issue in our marriage was MY problem, not hers. We went to marriage counseling for a few sessions and when the MC started pointing out issues with my wife, my wife refused to go back citing "we don't need someone from outside to help us" or "she doesn't know us" or "it isn't going anywhere".

We struggled along (with me seeing an individual therapist because I knew I had issues) but the marriage deteriorated and she asked for a divorce. After a few weeks she realized divorce wasn't going to be great she asked that we not divorce.

At that point I laid down conditions for not divorcing and one was to continue marriage counseling for 6 months. If she stopped going, we'd divorce. We went, it helped.

The point is that unless he sees that EVERYONE has issues in the marriage and wants to address them, it isn't going to get better. If you drop the "D" word on him regarding all this, make sure you are ready to use it. I was.
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-20-2015, 11:52 AM Thread Starter
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Re: First MC Session, Help

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Originally Posted by Chris Taylor View Post
This sort of happened with me. My wife felt that every issue in our marriage was MY problem, not hers. We went to marriage counseling for a few sessions and when the MC started pointing out issues with my wife, my wife refused to go back citing "we don't need someone from outside to help us" or "she doesn't know us" or "it isn't going anywhere".

We struggled along (with me seeing an individual therapist because I knew I had issues) but the marriage deteriorated and she asked for a divorce. After a few weeks she realized divorce wasn't going to be great she asked that we not divorce.

At that point I laid down conditions for not divorcing and one was to continue marriage counseling for 6 months. If she stopped going, we'd divorce. We went, it helped.

The point is that unless he sees that EVERYONE has issues in the marriage and wants to address them, it isn't going to get better. If you drop the "D" word on him regarding all this, make sure you are ready to use it. I was.
I'm glad that counseling did end up helping you. Did you feel it helped every time or only after several sessions?

How did she realize you were serious about divorce too? Did you or she move out?

My husband knows I can't move out right now. All I can express to him is my strong desire to live separate and have peace, but it will take months to happen. I'm pregnant and I don't have anyone I could live with temporarily. I will have to wait to be able to return to work. He knows it and uses it to his advantage.

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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-20-2015, 12:00 PM
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Re: First MC Session, Help

Counseling is a process. The counselor took time to learn our backgrounds, questioned us individually, discussed issues. guided the conversation. I said 6 months but we were in a better place after two months (8-9 sessions).

I hadn't moved out but made it aware that I was looking at places to live. I had also downloaded the divorce and inventory forms and discussed them with her. I also let her know that I had spoken to a paralegal about the forms.

If you can't move out now, at least start planning. Look at housing so you understand what it will cost. Look at the job market and understand what you can do and how much you can earn. Talk to an attorney and see if you can get a feel for what child support/alimony will come to you. Don't wait to start looking at all these until you actually can get out.
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-20-2015, 03:23 PM
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Re: First MC Session, Help

If you are hoping for a change, that is not guaranteed. Your first option is to change in how you respond. This means you will have to change your behavior as well. If that does not work, leave and mean it. People need motivation for change, and sometimes the most powerful motivation is loss.

If he cannot show a change for a long period of time, you have the data that he is incapable to show lasting change with the current circumstances.

Work on detachment. The more we are bonded, the more the other tends to affect us. If a near stranger bombarded you in that manner, it would be easier to walk and not take the bait. It will also be easier to let go of the near stranger as well.

Detachment also works to help you focus on yourself and your needs. Your overall mental and emotional stress would decline. Once the goal is not to save the marriage, but what is the best circumstance for your well-being, it will be easier to make that choice when it comes to it. Because if saving the marriage is the only goal, and if he does not change, you will be entrapped in your current situation.

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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-20-2015, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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Re: First MC Session, Help

Thank you. I've already begun detaching from him because I've started to realize the problems HE has instead of me always feeling guilty and the one at fault. Recognizing what he does wrong in our marriage gave me the confidence to stand up for myself in ways I hadn't before.

Do you have any materials to recommend on how to further detach yourself from your spouse while working on your own behavior?

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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-20-2015, 04:29 PM
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Re: First MC Session, Help

You guys both need a few weeks of IC before you go back to MC.

Are you sure he's actually lying? Or is he seeing things you don't want to see?

FWIW, my wife told me I was lying about a few things, too. Turns out I wasn't -- I just saw the facts differently. But it took being presented with the facts to get her to see that.

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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-20-2015, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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Re: First MC Session, Help

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You guys both need a few weeks of IC before you go back to MC.

Are you sure he's actually lying? Or is he seeing things you don't want to see?

FWIW, my wife told me I was lying about a few things, too. Turns out I wasn't -- I just saw the facts differently. But it took being presented with the facts to get her to see that.
Yes he was lying. I'm not sure it's intentional or not but he made several obviously false statements. He said I purposefully refuse to say hi to any girl who says hi to me, just so I won't make any friends and will have to rely on him as my only friend. I'm very open to making new friends and greeting strangers. Just weeks before I met some nice women at the mall playground and I asked for their numbers and then called them the next day. So why would I have a problem returning a greeting to someone? In fact, I've actually complained about the opposite to my husband, that some women don't return my greetings and seem unwilling to pick up a new friend.

My husband is very manipulative, as a reflex. He was just saying things to support a certain argument that he wanted to make. Not to mention he often says things that are directly opposite of the truth. It seems like a strategy of his, although I don't understand it since I never feel like doing that to him. The effect is that I become very upset and defensive so I suppose that is his goal.

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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-20-2015, 04:59 PM
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Re: First MC Session, Help

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Yes he was lying. I'm not sure it's intentional or not but he made several obviously false statements. He said I purposefully refuse to say hi to any girl who says hi to me, just so I won't make any friends and will have to rely on him as my only friend. I'm very open to making new friends and greeting strangers. Just weeks before I met some nice women at the mall playground and I asked for their numbers and then called them the next day. So why would I have a problem returning a greeting to someone? In fact, I've actually complained about the opposite to my husband, that some women don't return my greetings and seem unwilling to pick up a new friend.

My husband is very manipulative, as a reflex. He was just saying things to support a certain argument that he wanted to make. Not to mention he often says things that are directly opposite of the truth. It seems like a strategy of his, although I don't understand it since I never feel like doing that to him. The effect is that I become very upset and defensive so I suppose that is his goal.
OK. Deep breath.

Everything I'm about to say is going to come from a very specific angle: not assuming his intention, clarifying it.

Ask him why he says this about you.

It could be as you say. Or it could be he thinks this for various reasons. Or it could be that his view of reality is quite different than yours.

Let me flip this around: why would you marry (or stay married to) someone who constantly lies to you?
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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-20-2015, 05:20 PM Thread Starter
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Re: First MC Session, Help

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OK. Deep breath.

Everything I'm about to say is going to come from a very specific angle: not assuming his intention, clarifying it.

Ask him why he says this about you.

It could be as you say. Or it could be he thinks this for various reasons. Or it could be that his view of reality is quite different than yours.

Let me flip this around: why would you marry (or stay married to) someone who constantly lies to you?
I have asked him before. This isn't a new tactic, although the specific thing he said was new. It's just mentally exhausting, he runs me around in circles with twisted logic trying to "explain". One time he finally just admitted he was trying to manipulate me. I asked him why didn't you just say that from the start and he said because it sounds really bad to admit you manipulated someone.

I've done a lot of work to gain back my sense of perception and to be confident in how I perceive reality. He really tries to make me doubt my own perceptions and to accept his version of reality.

It's taken me a long time to sort out his lies. He's quite good at it. He is very intelligent and also has a different native language than me. I blamed a lot on miscommunications and misunderstandings but over time I realized that wasn't the real issue.

I don't want to be with someone who lies. I thought I had picked an honest, forthright person. I really hate people who resort to lies, big or small "white" lies. I know for a fact me and my son would be living very happy and in peace alone, in theory. But in reality, I'm beginning to worry if I leave that this darker side of him will become the permanent man I have to deal with, making my life a living hell for not being with him. He is very good at convincing people of his view and could easily turn everything against me.

I will try IC and changing my behavior. I want to know if this darker side of him represents his true callous personality or is just a horrible habit he resorts to for releasing his anger. I will take the therapists advice and validate his feelings while expressing mine. How he responds to that will give me a lot of answers about him. Meanwhile I am working on my exit strategy to be ready in case.

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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-20-2015, 05:23 PM
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Re: First MC Session, Help

What I would recommend is that the only way you move forward trying to fix the relationship is if he agrees to stop lying. And lives up to that.

You can't have lies in a marriage.
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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 10-20-2015, 05:29 PM Thread Starter
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Re: First MC Session, Help

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What I would recommend is that the only way you move forward trying to fix the relationship is if he agrees to stop lying. And lives up to that.

You can't have lies in a marriage.
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Then my efforts are probably futile. I've told him how much I don't like lies, even the small ones. He talks in circles around me. He doesn't agree he has ever lied, even though he has. You can't get someone to stop doing something they deny doing. That's his strategy, never admit to any wrongdoing and then try to convince me that I'm crazy and incapable of perceiving reality correctly...ever.

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