Reveal emotional abuse? - Page 2 - Talk About Marriage
Experiences in Counseling Have you been through professional marriage or relationship counseling? Are you considering it? This section is for topics related to seeing a therapist.

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post #16 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-01-2013, 12:18 PM
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Re: Reveal emotional abuse?

Good, R12. Sounds like you are taking this on in a healthy way -- and most importantly, you are honoring and respecting yourself enough to realize that you are important. Of course he distrusts self-help books. They'd tell him he will have to stop doing what is easiest and most comfortable for him right now.

You are right. Those are his choices. You might still love him, but you need to love yourself more. And it sounds like you're doing that. Good for you!


I'm undecided on which pants to wear today -- smarty, fancy or sassy?
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post #17 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-02-2013, 09:29 AM Thread Starter
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Reveal emotional abuse?

Going to our first session on Monday. I got all tied up in knots, trying to remember all that happened over the last year, and practically rehearsing in fear that I won't get the facts out. And also feeling the pain and frustration all over again.

Meanwhile, my husband went back to his lifelong technique of sweeping all under the carpet and pretending all is good (with a glass of wine in hand) and was surprised when I said I had a sore stomach and wasn't interested in figuring out dinner with him. Wanted a bath instead. He was quite surprised when I told him how my emotions led to the tummy ache. He wanted to hear more. Remember, we are going to therapy because our marriage is on the cliff and my hope is greatly diminished? He thought that was the greatest downer.

So I escaped into relaxation. Calgon, take me away! :-)
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post #18 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 11:37 AM Thread Starter
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Reveal emotional abuse?

Husband has been in what is called the "honeymoon" stage of the cycle, expecting me to sweep it all under the carpet before our first therapy session. Said we should do something fun today, and I know it is Debbie Downer, but I said that I still need us to address unresolved issues before pretending all is okay. He said, "well I am trying by saying we should have fun - for the record." I told him that every time we try to have fun together, we have been bickering.

Wanted to work out in advance what we will say, and what my goals are. I told him that the therapist will guide us and I will tell her my truth and opinions. That my goal is to identify why our relationship is unhealthy, what it will take to get healthy,& if we are both ready to do the work to get there.
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post #19 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 04:06 PM Thread Starter
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Reveal emotional abuse?

Remembering to breathe - our marriage counseling is tonight. First ever for both of us.

I'm trying to keep calm, and to speak my truth - because I deserve it.
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post #20 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 05:05 PM
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Re: Reveal emotional abuse?

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Remembering to breathe - our marriage counseling is tonight. First ever for both of us.

I'm trying to keep calm, and to speak my truth - because I deserve it.
Good luck, and speak your truth. It probably won't be a "fun" session, but hopefully it will be a start in the right direction.
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post #21 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 07:02 PM
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Re: Reveal emotional abuse?

Thinking of you, R12. State your truth, and don't let him sway you from it. You are absolutely entitled to express your feelings and state what has been happening to you and inside of you.

I'm undecided on which pants to wear today -- smarty, fancy or sassy?
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post #22 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-05-2013, 11:42 AM
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post #23 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-05-2013, 11:45 AM
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Re: Reveal emotional abuse?

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I have been attending Al-Anon for the last two months, but have not engaged in the Steps. The group I'm in is solution and healing focused.
Oops, I spoke before I finished reading.

"keep going back, it works if you work it!"
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post #24 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-05-2013, 12:01 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Reveal emotional abuse?

We went to our couples counseling, and now I'm trying to decide if I think it is worth it to me to go again.

I spoke my truth, which I am very happy about.

The main messages I got from the therapist were: 1) he may feel more loved if I really listen to his gripes, but I don't have to agree with them. Just listen more instead of figuratively saying la la la, I can't hear you!; 2) it may be a deal-breaker that in order for me to feel good in the marriage I need it to be about two individuals that are interdependent versus one soul. My husband wants it to return to the one soul relationship; 3) Adults have conditional love, and we're lucky if our mothers give us unconditional love (my husband needs me to give him unconditional love - as defined by him - although he couldn't explain it except to say that I don't give it to him anymore. I repeated that my conditions are, when forced to address his complaint: that we are not miserable (which we are right now), and that he switches from functioning drunk to full-on drunk (he still takes care of himself, and is pretty physically healthy overall). I have a feeling that his conditions are that I am protesting against all of his unsolicited advice, criticism, judgement - and that I separate from him when he is drinking a lot and exhibiting this behavior.
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post #25 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-05-2013, 03:29 PM
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Re: Reveal emotional abuse?

Hrm, R12. I'm really glad you said your truth, but what you've written here sounds less than ideal. Did the therapist address his addiction at all -- in the way that he's basically impaired all the time, and is not even totally present to have an honest relationship with anyone in that state? How, for example, are you two ever expected to get anywhere near #2? And it is emotional immaturity to expect unconditional love in a relationship between adults. It just doesn't happen.

As long as he's self-medicating and blaming you for everything instead of fixing his sh!t, I don't know what the therapist really expects to improve.

I guess I'd be wondering the same thing you are. I'm sorry. Not what you wished in your best case scenario, I'm sure.


I'm undecided on which pants to wear today -- smarty, fancy or sassy?
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post #26 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-05-2013, 04:34 PM Thread Starter
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Reveal emotional abuse?

The counselor admitted before we arrived that she is not accustomed to substance addiction issues, but would focus on behavior.

I was okay with that, but now I see I'd have to gamble that he is capable of change or that we have a marriage of any worth if we spend it bickering or avoiding each other.
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post #27 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-05-2013, 04:48 PM
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Re: Reveal emotional abuse?

Hmmm. The drinking is so interwoven with everything else though, it is a behavior that he's choosing to continue, and that may be affecting his personality, and be something he's turning to because of other maladaptive behaviors. I don't know how she doesn't see that, and even more, how she thinks any true and lasting improvement can be made in the face of his continuing drinking.

I'd be so frustrated, R12. I'm sorry.

I'm undecided on which pants to wear today -- smarty, fancy or sassy?
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post #28 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-05-2013, 05:20 PM
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Re: Reveal emotional abuse?

Unconditional love separates an individual from his or her behaviors. My husband once told me "This is just who I am and if you loved me you would accept it". Well, I was sick and tired of living with a depressed, angry, pothead who had the entire family walking on eggshells.

I gave my husband an ultimatum when I was ready to accept the consequences no matter which way it went. I was fortunate that my husband chose his love for his family over his love for weed. It took him another 6 months to admit to himself that he was depressed and using pot to self-medicate. Then, and only then, were we able to make real and positive changes in our marriage.

"Deal breakers" ARE conditions. It sounds like your husband doesn't buy into the concept of unconditional love but he expects you to.

Unconditional love is fine for babies and small children. Anyone over the age of 6, not so much.
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post #29 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-07-2013, 11:41 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Reveal emotional abuse?

We spoke last night about our experience in therapy. I relayed my thoughts about how there appears to be a lot of work ahead, mostly with him. (I know, faux pas - I am stuck on seeing him as the problem. When I try to accept his behaviors as "just him," it usually means separating myself to protect myself and then I either don't feel very close to him or he spends more energy telling me how awful I am for separating and it hurts.)

He told me he really doesn't appreciate my saying I've fallen out of love with him, and he doesn't trust that I can restore that. Plus, he wants me to drop my bad attitude about our marriage. I asked plaintively, do you have a good attitude about our marriage?

Then I reminded him that there will be a lot of work ahead, and that I see that we would have to continue the therapy and not try to work it out ourselves. He wasn't sure if we should continue, because it just felt like getting our complaints out onto the table, and not a real program for restoring our marriage. He admitted that he didn't expect that after only the first session.

We had an argument this morning, because he exhibited more of his controlling nature. I am clearly sensitive now, because my feathers were ruffled when he asked for specific details about whether I was coming home before going out with my friend. I reminded him of the overall plan, then described what my plan was for that piece. Then I said, why do you ask? He answered sarcastically, I'm still in your life, you know. And I left it at that.

When I came downstairs, he said, are you mad at me? I said no. He said, but you're acting strange. Something's wrong. So, I said that I didn't like the feeling that he was asking for every detail, like he has in the past, needing me to text back immediately, to tell him where/when/who/ et cetera for every action I go through in the day. Then he got mad, said I was making a mountain out of a molehill and that I should think carefully about what I am saying.

I told him that he is discrediting my feelings and making it more than it is. I wasn't even going to talk about it. Perhaps in therapy. He apologized but said that if he does what I ask, he won't know anything at all about what I am doing and where I am, and that we'll have separate lives. I asked, do you want separate lives? He said that he'll let me know.

Pretty drastic. I am sincerely hesitant to continue counseling with him, because it really will be a long row to hoe, especially when I think he is too extreme and not listening to me.

I believe I understand where he's coming from. He wants to feel connected, to not feel worried about my safety. I already tell him about where I'm going and what I'm doing. So when he pushes for even more info, I get my back up. But does he understand where I am coming from?
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post #30 of 36 (permalink) Old 03-15-2013, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Reveal emotional abuse?

We decided to move forward with this counselor, who made us feel comfortable about the first session and trusting that the future sessions would be equally as productive.

Then she ran into scheduling issues, combined with a health condition (details not revealed to us). Referred us to another counselor. What a bummer.

Interestingly, the therapist she recommended specializes in alcohol addiction. Now we're debating going to her. It's amazing how few couples therapists are taking on new clients. The demand is greater than the supply!
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