counseling???

First I want to thank you for the so very encouraging comments I received on yesterday’s post.  Your comments – on that post and on all of my posts – mean so very, very much to me.  I know I don’t usually respond to comments, but please believe me that what you write to me means an incredible lot to me.  You cheer me and warm my heart.  Sometimes you make me cry, but only because of your caring.  Thank you.

Today did go better.  I made some pretty good progress on the paperwork that I need to get caught up on and my printer got fixed – while I was at lunch! – so that worked out well.  And I didn’t cry at work today.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

One of the businesses on the first floor of the office building that I work in is a real estate company.  One morning a couple of weeks ago, one of the real estate agents was in the lobby soliciting business – taking business cards for a drawing, asking people if they might be selling or buying or if they knew anyone who might be selling or buying.  I stopped and told him that I might be looking for a place to rent, so he said to write down my name and phone number and make a note that I was looking for a place to rent.

I did, but I didn’t hear from him -until this week.

He called me on Wednesday and I told him briefly that I was thinking about leaving my husband and that I sometimes look for places to rent, but that everything is too expensive.  I thought a real estate agent might know of a back house or garage apartment or something like that for rent that wouldn’t be advertised on craigslist or Trulia or anything like that.

Well, he told me that he was also a pastor and asked me if I was in physical danger.  I told him, no, but then he talked with me a little and offered to counsel my husband and me to see if he could help our marriage.  I told him that I had been wondering about asking my husband again about counseling, but I felt that it hadn’t done any good in the past and that I didn’t know about spending the time and money to try again.  He encouraged me to ask my husband if he would consider counseling, whether with him or with someone else.  He said to take my husband out on a date and ask him about it.

So tonight we went to a hamburger joint that my husband went to last week and liked.  (It wasn’t what I expected, but it was okay.  Somehow, I thought it was going to be “nicer,” but that was probably my misunderstanding from how he was describing it to me.  But it wasn’t bad or anything.  Just different from what I had expected.)

I told my husband that I met a realtor in the office building and we got to talking and it turns out he is a pastor, etc,….  I didn’t say anything about looking for an apartment.  I asked my husband if he would be interested in counseling with this man.

I didn’t expect him to, but my husband said, yes.

You know, one thing I like about going out with my husband after work is that we meet at the restaurant.  Which means I get to drive home by myself.

Driving home, I felt so, so, so wretched and miserable.

I don’t want to counsel.  I don’t want things to “get better.”  I felt this horrible sinking feeling that if we go to counseling that I will have to stay with him.  It was an awful, hopeless feeling.  I wanted to die.

Maybe, though, I need to know one last time whether or not there is any chance that things could be any different.  I don’t know.

I don’t know why I am doing this.  Maybe it is because I feel guilty that I want to leave.

Anyhow….

I can have chocolate chips for breakfast…

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24 Responses to counseling???

  1. WritesinPJ's says:

    Reframe this. It may also be your perfect opportunity to explore separation. If you go to counseling, perhaps you could at some point express that you need some space to heal, and space to feel safe to know if your husband is deeply and authentically working on what hurts you.

    Not divorce… just separation so you can go to counseling together and work on things. (but how helpful to be that far if separation only proves to you that being apart is the right thing)

    If you can get that space apart without drama, with the support of your counselor, and even if your husband is only appearing to be supportive, it’s a win win. If he’s not truly supportive and he’s just going through the motions to keep his self-image of the nice guy that speaks in church, then you still get to have separate space with less drama and with his support. Support initially could be such a great thing for you. With his financial support and without his opposing you (at least openly), you can explore the whole apart terrain without feeling like you’re plopping your feet into concrete.

    Either he means it, and you have that space to find it out, and then it would be a miracle and I’d be happy for you, or he’s not going to change, and you get that safe stepping stone for transition, and you’d finally be free of him hurting you in close proximity.
    win win?

    • I REALLY appreciate your perspective! I hadn’t even thought that perhaps this man would advise us to separate. I often wish that we could separate just so I could have the time and space to think about what I want, what I should do without his intrusion. I would love to have time to myself and also go to counseling to see if things could work out. Right now, I mostly can’t even think straight! Can you tell from my posts!?!!?

      On Friday night, when I was asking my husband about going to counseling, it felt so surreal. It was the weirdest feeling. Maybe this will finally be a catalyst for change one way or the other.

      “If you can get that space apart without drama……” – how nice that would be!

  2. Jane D. says:

    Many of us have been through counseling and – things generally don’t get better. Did you ask your potential counselor about how he goes about counseling – like what is his philosophy, what kind of issues are his expertise, etc.? Knowing that could set your mind at ease. Also, have you thought about what would be the minimum changes over what time period you’d have to see to stay in the marriage?

    Enjoy your breakfast chocolate. I look forward to my breakfast too. :)

    • No, I didn’t ask him about his philosophy or expertise. He did say he would talk to us together first and then separately. The thing is, I really don’t think I have anything left in me to give to the marriage. I am so burned out. I’ve been running on empty for years.

      I’ve often asked myself what changes I would need to see, but I’ve also had a very hard time defining them. I think it is because they are more emotional/spiritual type things rather than physical things. He doesn’t seem to have empathy and he seems very self-focused. And that is harder to define than I need him to take out the trash and fix dinner three times a week!

      Ah, chocolate!!!!

      • WritesinPJ's says:

        One concern is what this counselor is about. Does he ever feel that separation and then divorce are the right thing to do? If not, I’d take advantage of your husband’s agreeing to counseling, and find the best abuse savvy therapist you can. Your local DV might have referrals.

        I agree that it would be difficult to give a list of what empathy and love look like. Really? Isn’t it repulsive to even have to spell it out? With a script that an unwise counselor encourages us to give them, a passive aggressive man can really apply himself to looking oh so good. Meanwhile, there can be a series of incidents and interactions of sabotage or lack of empathy and caring. When those happen and you feel the hurt and harm of it, the passive aggressive man in counseling can point to his efforts that you ‘asked’ for, and feel himself even more the misunderstood and unappreciated victim.

        The telling sign for me is how he reacts to you saying something hurts you or causes you to feel sad or afraid. Does he move to address it in a way that prioritizes your well being, or does he react with excuses, accusations, resentment, and self-pity.

        Now that I think about past experiences in counseling, you need someone who is abuse savvy and either really understands passive aggressive men, or is willing to learn.

      • wornout says:

        Exactly!! And it’s so hard to describe concretely. Which makes it all the more crazy making. The lack of empathy is huge!

  3. marsocmom says:

    I TOTALLY get it, all the feelings of hopelessness coupled with the guilt of not wanting it to get better, just wanting to get away. I think that’s why I don’t say anything to my husband…I don’t really even like him anymore and I’m just here now because momentum brought me to this place. I don’t want to expend any more energy on my marriage, the emotions are all drained away now and I don’t want them back. Bravo to you for taking steps to get out! I wouldn’t hold out much hope for the counseling, but it is kind of him to offer and loving of you to consider trying one last time to restore your husband. I hope this pastor knows his counseling stuff…chocolate ftw!

    • Yeah, we’ll see what happens!

      “I don’t really even like him anymore and I’m just here now because momentum brought me to this place. I don’t want to expend any more energy on my marriage, the emotions are all drained away now and I don’t want them back.” DITTO!!!!

      • wornout says:

        Ditto to me, too! I have no more desire whatsoever to expend one more ounce of energy. What is crazy is now that I’ve gotten to this point, all of the sudden my husband says (more like mopes around and acts all hurt and like the victim) he wants to have a loving relationship. This after me asking him so many times over the past 19 years, crying and pleading with him to care. Honestly, these guys are just too much. They are complete self serving jerks.

  4. Seeing the Light says:

    Be careful. You know counseling with a passive aggressive man is dangerous territory. Watch your back. Just because this man came into your life and offered counseling doesn’t mean you have to take it. It took me a while to learn that God does not mean for us to walk through every open door.

    As far as fearing counseling because you don’t want to stay with him, I understand. You have nothing to feel guilty about for not wanting to be with someone who has used you and abused you. I used to feel afraid that my pah would change enough that I would have to try to have a relationship with him again. Then I realized I didn’t have to fear that so much. If he genuinely changed, he would have to come to a point that he realized what he had done to me and would willingly remove all pressure of relationship from me as part of the change. If he had changed that much, he would be a whole new person and maybe the kind I could actually love and I could consider it. If he hadn’t changed that much, then there was no sincere heart change at all and I wasn’t under any bondage to stay. There was a terrific post yesterday at A Cry For Justice. http://cryingoutforjustice.com/2014/09/05/badgering-badgers/ See what you think.

    My slogan is: “Chocolate. It’s not just for breakfast anymore.” Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack time, etc. Bon appetit :)

    • That post on A Cry for Justice made me shake. I love how he told the abuser that if he really cared, he would stay away and give her the space she wanted.

      You are right – I don’t need to be so afraid. If he changes, maybe there could be a relationship. If he doesn’t change, then I can still pursue plans to leave. Thank you for the perspective!

  5. lonelywife07 says:

    I feel the same way about counseling…even IF PA Man does go, I’m not! But I’m sure he won’t go even though he’s promised our youngest son that he would…BUT say he does go….great!
    Good for him! BUT I’d have to see a heck of a lot of change in him before I’d even begin to think he’s sincere!

    And I have NO guilt for not going to counseling with him….he had his chance, but he’s blown it over and over again! Now, if he wants this marriage to be healthy and to last, he can do the darn work on himself…alone!

    I’ve read enough from Leslie Vernick, Elisabeth Kline, Crying out for Justice to know that my husbands problem is a SIN problem and he needs to address it…again, not MY problem!

    I pray for him, try to be kind to him, (and that’s a hard one because his childish ways really irritate me…but I pray about it daily!) and I just try to take care of myself!

    PAA, I think you are so concentrated on what you’re missing out on, a loving relationship, a caring husband, a father that your daughters love and respect, that you’re not keeping your eyes on God…and that WILL get you down big time!!

    You need to spend time alone with God everyday, listen to music that uplifts your heart and soul…that’s what I do when I get down.

    I fact, I did that last night…PA Man was fast asleep on a Friday night at 8:45pm!!! And I was soooo lonely….I wrote a blog post about it then deleted it…instead I read my bible and prayed. And I’m telling you, I felt so much better!
    Please don’t feel I’m attacking you, I’m not! But you are in a bad situation right now one that you want out of, but can’t for now….so take your eyes off of your husband. Put them on God, and start living a life that is pleasing to God and you!
    If you read Leslie Vernicks blog and educate yourself, you will see that God wants more for you then this way of life!
    Your husband is wrong, he’s in deep denial and sin, and there’s nothing YOU can do about it!
    So tell God you’re done, that you turn your husband and marriage over to him and then stop stressing over it….that’s what I did last week, and I’ve felt so much more freedom and peace.

    • Lonelywife – I am trying to rebuild my relationship with God. I struggle a lot because most of my life I have seen God as distant and just waiting for me to do wrong. Even though in my head I know this is not the case, my heart is still afraid that He hates me because of the mess of my marriage and the things I’ve done wrong as a wife. I am trying to focus on Him more and am trying to trust Him more. I ask Him to help me to let go – let go of my marriage, let go of my desires, let go and trust that He is working out His will in my life. I am not good at this. Not good at all. But I am trying. I cry out to Him so often all day long and I am trying to take more time to read the Bible. I do appreciate your encouragement.

      • Seeing the Light says:

        I know just how you feel. My marriage got in the way of my relationship with God from the beginning. Your heart’s fear about how God sees you could easily be the effect of the emotional – and dare I say, spiritual – abuse. When the husband claims to be a Christian and a righteous man and then abuses you emotionally, it is very hard to separate it from the spiritual side and from your relationship with God. I don’t recommend books willy-nilly, but I would suggest “Healing the Scars of Emotional Abuse,” by Gregory L. Jantz. I read this earlier this year and I shook and bawled as I realized how much my pah and his emotional and spiritual abuse affected how I believed God saw me. It was lies. I was so scared of God because of what a failure I was as a wife and then because of how rebellious I felt when I knew I didn’t want to be married to my pah. God doesn’t hate you or me for these marriages. He loves us tenderly and hates what has been done to us. This book was so very eye-opening and helpful in starting to write over the lies I had come to believe. It’s a long, hard road, and I still struggle a lot in my relationship to God, but all we can do is keeping moving forward, knowing His grace is there. God bless you. May He deliver you.

      • I’ll look for the book. Thank you.

        I know I started blogging only a few years ago, but this evening I was thinking about how many years I have struggled and struggled. Every day I get older and have fewer days of this physical life left. I don’t want to keep struggling all the time. I know life will always have its things, but I really don’t want to have to struggle so much all of the time. I know a big part of my struggle is how I see God. Thank you.

      • lonelywife07 says:

        PAA I totally understand! I’ve felt the same way about God…I married PA Man when he wasn’t a believer, and I was…and I’ve felt for a long time that my marriage is “punishment” for doing that….But I’ve come to realize that God loves ME and He values a relationship with ME…and that’s what I focus on!
        Leslie Vernick has a great article on her blog about how Pastors tell us to pray for our husbands more, to ask God to change them into the husbands and fathers we want….but then, when God doesn’t seem to answer our prayers, we feel God is mad at us or hates us, or we aren’t “good” enough for God…..and that is SOOO wrong!!
        Pastors have done more damage with that kind of counsel! UGH!!!!
        Leslie wrote that our husbands have hardened their hearts towards God, and they can’t hear God…and THAT is the problem, NOT us!! It is a SIN problem!!
        I’ll try to find that article and post it here….it’s good stuff!!

        PAA…you, YES, YOU, are a daughter of the Most High God…stop letting satan defeat you with negative thoughts!!
        You are precious in HIS sight…do not forget that!! :D

      • WAPA – Remember that as a Christian, once you repent and ask for forgiveness, your sin is washed away clean by Christ’s blood. God forgives you and He loves you. You are worthy simply because you are His child.

        Through my husband’s abandonment, I learned that I am worth much to God, no matter what man might say or do. That one realization defeated satan’s lie I’d heard my whole life that I was worthless and that abuse was proof of my worthlessness.

        God did not create us for misery; He created us to receive His Love. He sacrificed His Son, the only perfect human to walk the earth, so that we may be forgiven our sins and join Him in Heaven.

  6. paescapee says:

    Your instincts seem be telling you that you know nothing will change and its merely putting your happiness on hold again. But as P.J. suggests, this might be a good opportunity to get some third party support for moving out and getting your own space with the least aggravation from the PA. I don’ t think we can make any sensible decisions whilst living together as coping with their crazymaking and veiled aggression makes us too anxious.

  7. lonelywife07 says:

    Seeing The Light….thanks for the book recommendation…I’ll look for it also!! :)

  8. I don’t know if this has been said in the comments, but couples counseling in an abusive relationship is unsafe.

    Also, there are a lot of Christians, pastors included, who turn marriage into an idol and place greater emphasis on the survival of the institution than the survival of the people in it. God hates divorce, but He hates abuse too.

    This website has been a huge help to me as I navigate through the messy divorce my emotionally abusive husband is subjecting me to. It discusses the biblical truth about abuse, freedom from bondage, and divorce. Everything is backed up by scripture. I hope it helps you too!

    http://cryingoutforjustice.com

    In Christ’s Love

    “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 (NIV)

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