Archives for posts with tag: counselling

This evening he told me not to bother coming home because I wasn’t welcome here. This followed on from him complaining that I wasn’t home in time to cook his dinner so he could go to the club to watch football.

I was at work!

He said it was my fault he couldn’t go out. I told him I hadn’t stopped him from going out, that he could have cooked his dinner earlier.

But it’s no use.

This morning I was brave. I told him we needed to sell the house so we could both find our own places to live and get on with our lives.  He refused point blank, said I couldn’t make him sell, that he wasn’t leaving, and that he wasn’t going to live in a flat.

He means it.

He’s  not going to be reasonable about this.  He calls me a crazy woman. And oh boy, is he right. I am crazy mad at him for not working with me to put this marriage right. When I tried to sit down to talk about it because I had tried so hard to get him to be part of our relationship without success, he just kept shouting and blaming me.  When I suggested counselling, he said I should go for counselling because I was the one with the problem with the relationship.  It was like talking to a brick wall.  Eventually, I got to the point when I realised it was futile and gave up. Still he made no effort. Then I reached the point where I told him we needed to separate because I was at the end of my tether.  I didn’t get married to be alone, to be in a loveless, sexless marriage where my husband didn’t want to socialise with me or come to our holiday home with me or…  Well you get the picture and I’m sure I’ve said all this before.

So we’re in this non-marriage that is unacceptable to me yet he doesn’t want it to end.  He now says he wants to go to counselling but I’ve gone beyond the point of no-return. During the past three, four, five, six, however many years, I’ve seen no sign that he cares about ME and now I think he only cares about HIM: who will cook his meals and clean his house and organise everything and deal with the paperwork?

And so now I’m the crazy woman.

Today I asked him if he remembered all the times I’d asked him to switch off the TV (it could be on fourteen hours a day) and he said yes.  I asked him why he thought I did that and he said because I wanted us to spend time together.  I asked him whether he turned off the TV and he said no.  What is there not to understand about why I’m completely disillusioned?

But I just don’t think he’ll ever understand.  I’m so lonely in this marriage that I’d rather be alone.  And now he’s accusing me of wanting to break up the family.

When I tried so hard to keep everything together.

And so today I took my biggest step so far.

I phoned a solicitor and said the words I never thought I’d hear myself saying: I want advice about a divorce.

I am trapped in misery.

And I have to get out.

Am I wrong?

To say that the past 18 months have been difficult would be an understatement.

I slowly unfurled the truth of my ‘marriage’ and what I was allowing to happen to me.  I  voiced my concerns, tried to get things back on track, attempted to have my needs recognised, and in return…an onslaught of abuse, name calling, blaming and nastiness.

I sought counselling, I stopped concealing the truth from family, friends and strangers, I read everything I could to aid my understanding…until I felt strong again.

Two weeks ago, I told husband we needed either to devise a plan to live together separately or to actually separate.

And for the first time in years of trying to talk to him about our situation and meeting a brick wall, I became aware that he was listening to me.. He was listening because he knew I meant what I was saying and he didn’t like what he was hearing.  He didn’t want to accept it.  He wanted to try again, to put things right.  Why wouldn’t I give him a second(?) chance. It was my fault the relationship was ending because he wanted to try again and I didn’t!

But for me it’s too late.  I don’t believe he can do it.  I don’t believe he wants me for who I am only what I provide for him. In my mind, we are now separated.

He’s angry and nasty – which does nothing to suggest that he wants ME. If he wanted me, he would be kind and caring and affectionate, but he’s made it clear there will be no more affection in this relationship and he’s made no gesture to suggest that things will be different.  And if he can’t pull out all the stops when the chips are down, then he’s never going to, is he?

And so I’m getting on with my life and cutting the ties that bind.

And dancing…

 

I haven’t posted in a long time because I’ve been working hard on getting myself into a better place emotionally.

And it’s been successful.

The counselling has been a tremendous help. I’ve learnt a lot about myself and I’m changing my perspective, becoming stronger and braver, discovering things that I never knew about myself, and using that knowledge to make my world a better place.

My mind, body and spirit are coming together in unity and harmony.

It might be cold outside but inside myself I feel warm.

We must never give up on our fight to be ourselves.  It’s the only way to happiness.

And it’s worth the struggle because it will come eventually.

And it’s great.

I’m remaining strong…

which is just as well because yesterday, when I was trying to help him with something (at a time that wasn’t convenient with me), he looked at me with disgust and called me a w*****.

So although things have been peaceful of late, that proves that the monster is still there waiting to unleash itself.

The difference now is within me.  Instead of feeling upset, trying even harder, beating myself up, and generally acting like a submissive kitten, I got angry.  (The counsellor is encouraging me to feel and express my emotions instead of bottling them up.)  I’d always felt that anger was a bad thing, that negotiation was better, but you can’t reason with a madman.  So I asked him, quite loudly, how he would feel if I asked him to do one thing for me half an hour before he went to work, that I was going, and would look at it again later when I had time.  He didn’t say goodbye!

When I got back, he was ok. He asked me if I’d sort it out, but I was going out again so I firmly said that it wasn’t a convenient time for me.  I set boundaries and I stuck to them.

I let my anger out and prevented it from poisoning me.

And I feel better: stronger, more powerful and in control of my life.

And that’s great!

I went to my counselling session last week feeling great, wondering what there was to talk about.

I explained why I was feeling great: husband away at weekend; a chance for us all to relax; a few days, rather than a few stressful hours anticipating his return, to be able to get and maintain a perspective; not responding to the triggers when he returned.  I’d set some boundaries and had managed to maintain them.

And that’s continued.  Instead of absorbing things (I can’t even explain exactly what they are and give them a name), they’ve bounced off me and left me unaffected.

There have been times when I’ve felt the anxiety but I’ve acknowledged this for what it is and got on with things.  I’ve realised that a lot of my reactions are not a result of something tangible but come from a fear of imagined consequences.  In other words, they are in my head and I’m creating the situation based on my past experiences and a desire to avoid similar consequences.

In the first session, the counsellor said it seemed like husband treats me like a child. This made me think of a book that was on my reading list at uni that I bought but never read, ‘Games People Play’ by Eric Berne.  I’d downloaded a sample.  For the first time this week, the counsellor recommended a book. I think you can guess which one.  I downloaded it and have started reading it.  And I can already see that certain triggers send me into ‘child’ mode.  Even though the ‘adult’ me can see the truth of the situation, it is the ‘child’ who reacts.

Every week, I learn so much, gain far greater insight and understanding.

After counselling, I go to yoga.  This week the theme was ‘breaking bad’, in other words, ‘breaking free’.

When everything comes together like this, I can’t help but feel they are signs.

Once I understand the Games, I will be able to ‘play’ more effectively.  I will recognise whether I am responding as a Parent, Adult or Child, perhaps begin to understand why, which hopefully will lead to more satisfying relationships, not just for me but for the other person as well, whoever that might be.

The journey of discovery continues…

Every week after my counselling session I feel that I’ve had another thunderbolt of insight and understanding.

Today I was explaining how I felt when I had lunch with husband last week: angry and frustrated because he ignores the growing chasm between us, but simultaneously guilty and selfish because he invited me to lunch and is trying.  She asked me to picture that couple as an outsider, sitting there in the restaurant, him talking about plumbing and football, her silently seething and feeling so bad about doing so.  What would I say to her?  Would I suggest that she’s being unreasonable?  After years of trying to sort out the relationship only to be met with rejection, resistance and blame, would it really be realistic to expect one lunch to erase all the hurt and disappointment?  Would I tell the woman to stop being so selfish and be grateful for one lunch, one lunch where the issues cannot be discussed?  Would I tell the man that everything will be ok now because he’s taken his wife out to lunch so everything can now go back to normal?

Would I tell that woman to stop being a selfish, unreasonable bitch?

No, I wouldn’t.

Yet that’s what I was telling myself.

I could have cried as I pictured that poor, confused, desperate, angry, guilty, frustrated woman.

But the tears won’t fall even though they collect in my eyes.  They are there as I write this, and again as I read what I’ve written, but I won’t let them fall.  I fight to hold them back.

And that, I think, is a bad thing.

I went out with my closest friend yesterday, a friend who is never frightened of telling me that she thinks I’m wrong.

So when I opened up about my current situation – I’m only just admitting the reality of my life – I was really surprised by her reaction. I expected her to criticise me, my feelings, my actions, but instead she looked at me earnestly and said “You deserve more”.  She echoed the words of my hairdresser, saying how attractive and nice I am; how I wouldn’t have any problem finding somebody else; someone who could give me what she sees I deserve.

So why do I find it so hard to truly believe that I do deserve more?  Why do I feel so undeserving?

She’s the second person to say that to me in as many weeks. The counsellor said I am deserving. But I don’t feel like I am. Why not?

I need to start believing it.  I need to start seeing how ‘abnormal’ my relationship is.

When I got home last night I felt guilty. Guilty that I had betrayed husband by talking to my best friend about him. He was being nice to me. By nice, I mean he spoke to me, didn’t show disapproval and didn’t provoke an argument.  But he didn’t ask me about my day, although he told me about his; he didn’t touch me or kiss me, nor did I expect him to.  Yet for me this was a ‘good’ evening but it’s not the kind of evening I want. I want closeness, intimacy, the feeling that someone cares and is interested in me, a connection, both physical and emotional.

And I need to believe that I deserve this.

But for some reason, I just can’t.

The past few days, it’s been as if a switch has been flicked in my head. When I became aware of how husband affects my behaviour and thoughts even when he’s not there, I realised just how ludicrous the situation had become and how it had to stop.

I was chatting to a friend at the weekend and she looked at me and said earnestly “There’s nothing wrong with the things you want to do.  They are perfectly normal.” as if trying to get a child to understand.   And of course I know she’s right but my thinking has got so skewed that I’ve taken on board everything husband has told me until I no longer trust my own judgement.

I read somewhere about wearing an elasticated bracelet and every time you have a negative thought you switch it to the other wrist.  So that’s what I’ve been doing. And surprisingly, it’s working.

The act of recognising the thought and switching the bracelet stops me from taking the thought on board; in fact, it just stops the thought altogether.  And because I’m not processing the thought and allowing it to have a detrimental effect on me, I’m feeling stronger, empowered.

So when husband tried to provoke an argument last night, it just didn’t work. I didn’t feel weak and on the defensive but strong and detached.  The argument didn’t happen, he fell asleep and then took himself off to bed without saying goodnight.

His life and his unhappiness are his choice; my life and my happiness are mine.  I am not responsible for him, no matter how much he blames me.  But I am responsible for me and I intend to stand up for my life and not feel guilty and ashamed.

And I look at moany, miserable husband, blaming everyone else for his unhappiness.

And I feel sorry for him.

Because whatever happens, I know I will end up a stronger and happier person, surrounded by my supportive friends and loving children.

And he will end up alone.

The title of this post comes from Katy Perry’s song ‘Roar’, which should be every abused woman’s anthem.  Come on ladies, it’s time to ROAR!

I’m been thinking about yesterday.  At midday, in my journal, I wrote “It’s ballroom and Latin tonight and to hell with the consequences. Feeling empowered now I have greater insight and my headache has gone.”

So what went wrong?

I’m strong when he’s not around but falter and doubt myself when he is.  I become Child Me, desperately seeking approval, desperately avoiding disapproval.

Last night, I avoided disapproval by not going out.  I sought approval by staying in.  And I didn’t get any acknowledgement and so Child Me wanted to scream “it’s so unfair” but she’s silenced because she’s only a child.

So now, not only do Happy Me and I have to put up with Sad Me dragging along but we’ve also got Child Me trailing behind us.

We’re going to have to teach her to grow up.

Fast.

Another counselling session and a lot more to think about.

This week we discussed my reaction when husband provokes me into an argument; why I can’t stop myself from having my say, even though I know it’s pointless; why I can’t just walk away and ignore it.

We discussed how this has its roots in my childhood relationships.  I did something good: it might have been a drawing that I was really pleased with, or a test result (I was nearly always top of the class).  However, I never got any praise or validation and, although I wasn’t or haven’t been aware of it, my reaction was “It’s unfair.  I’ve done well.  I want acknowledgement.”.

Consequently, when husband accuses me of not doing anything for him, or being selfish, or causing problems in the relationship, the child in me screams “That’s unfair.  I cook your dinner everyday; I supported you during the difficult times you were experiencing; I only want a night out doing something I enjoy; I’ve tried to mend this relationship; don’t you appreciate my efforts; can’t you see my point of view; please understand how I’m feeling.  IT’S NOT FAIR!”

And the more he throws the blame at me, the more the child inside me has a tantrum.  I’m trying to right the wrongs of the past as well as the wrongs of the present.

Another by-product of the lack of praise as a child is that I have a lot of self-doubt and that’s why it’s difficult for me to make a decision.  I might know what I need to do, I might make plans, I might take steps, I might be determined.  But then the doubt creeps in: “What if I’ve got this all wrong?”  I’m paralysed into inaction.  It’s me as a child again, holding up my drawing, which I’m really proud of, or my test result of 95%, which seems so good to me.  When the praise or recognition doesn’t come, I look again at the picture with a sigh “Oh, I was wrong.  Perhaps it’s not so good after all.”  Or I focus on the missing 5% and think “Actually, that wasn’t so good.  I should have done better.”

Consequently, I doubt my own judgement.

I can see that these patterns have repeated themselves throughout my life in every aspect of my life.  Oh dear!

I should feel depressed about this.  All those missed opportunities to feel good about myself, to trust my own judgement when making decisions.

But I don’t.

Because now I know, I understand.

And I can start to put it right.

And the rest of my life will be better for it.

 

* Title of post comes from a Lily Allen song.