Went to see counselor last night...

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by hearts and roses, May 21, 2009.

  1. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    And now I am more confused than ever.

    She said that if I want to work on my marriage with H, then he really needs to come with me. And then she said that once he comes, it can't really be alone because that's not fair to him. I want her all to myself. And I would still want to see her alone.

    I don't think I'm ready to bring him along. He still frustrates me so much and he's only been giving me lip service (not the good kind) about seeing his counselor (which is why mine thinks we should be going together). Last week I asked him if he had an appointment and he said "No, next week" so this week when I told him about my upcoming appointment, I asked him about his and he said, "Yeah I have to call him", which means he lied to me last week when he said he had an appointment for this week. Well, guess what? He hasn't called yet. And last night he got all dressed to go to his AA meeting as I happened to be running to the store and when I came home, I discovered that he did not end up going. Later I asked him if he went and he seemed very annoyed and said "No" but then tried to come with me to walk the dogs. Honestly, I didn't want to be anywhere near him at that point.

    I told my counselor that it's very disheartening to me that I am trying but I don't feel like he is. She said it sounded like he was humoring me. She also said that I cannot be in control of his recovery, or lackthereof, and that I need to continue my focus on me, which she said I'm doing good with. However, I reminded her that whether or not he works in his own counseling very much affects my ultimate decision, which she acknowledged it true. And then she gave me my homework - make lists, read my past journals, and figure out if I want to continue working on this marriage or if I just want to continue alone with her. She obviously said I can take my time, a decision does not need to be made immediately.

    On the one hand I have it in my head that H is my life partner, is supposed to be the one I grow old with, etc. Are those just romantic ideals or notions? I don't know. on the other hand, I don't want to grow old in a marriage void of a deep emotional connection. I know we care for one another and I know we love one another. But that is where it ends. The other day at church we were working at the market fair and H gave me some money to buy this antique bench, so I reached up and gave him a hug. It was like hugging a piece of wood. It was like hugging a telephone pole. Then he looked around, as if he was going to get caught doing something naughty. That's how it's been for so long and I can't stand it anymore.

    easy child's girlfriend's parents are going away this weekend to celebrate their 24th anniversary and I can't help it, I'm envious. They are always taking off for a weekend here and there and they plan it. And they are no more financially set than we are. There is no reason not to do this once in a while. They have fun, they are connected. I want that. I want that kind of closeness with H. I don't want it with anyone else, I want it with him. And sex would be nice, but only if he's actually 'in the moment' with me. Ugh, can't even go there.

    It's been nearly 5 months since the you-know-what hit the fan and we haven't even scratched the surface. But I know that in H's head, he is thinking that we're getting better. We're not. We're doing worse as I move closer and closer to just giving up. And when we try to talk about our feelings, I am honest about my feelings and I tell him what kind of relationship I want and all he does EVERYTIME is turn it around to be about money and his work and how stressed he is - and he gets nuts, yelling and so so angry that I clam up. I just can't take it anymore.

    He recently told me that he wanted to go get some kind of new electro-shock type of therapy for depression. He'd rather have electrodes attached to his brain than try an antidepressant. I have to scratch my head in wonder. Who would choose electro shock therapy over a pill? Without even trying a pill first?

    Anyway, I am just not doing well with this at all and having a difficult time with it all and needed to vent it out. I'm sure my 'live' friends are sick of hearing about my frustrations as you are. But any support would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I can see where both you and your therapist are coming from. It does seem like if only one of you are working on this relationship then how is it going move forward? And also, if H is only going to pull out the "Im depressed and stressed" card when confronted, that is kind of a cop out. If he knows he is so depressed why isnt he seeking help? That junk about the electrodes is just junk...he would have to be completely therapy resistant to qualify for that. I think it is considered experimental at this point.

    I have problems with the whole romance/communication thing here too. Seems like we dont do it well. The odd thing is we can get in a car and go somewhere and we get along great! For some reason home is a trigger for us. Maybe it is the whole parenting bit that brings out the worst in us. Problem is we cant afford to live life as one big vacation...lol. Our dream was for us to just follow the work around the country and live in motels...we would probably be happy as clams.

    I dont know what the answer is for you. It is such a difficult decision.
  3. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Yeah Janet, a friend of mine thinks that almost all of our issues would be solved if both kids would move out and we could go on vaca once a month. Well, whose problems wouldn't feel improved under those conditions? It's not doable at this time. Besides, this isn't a one-trick-fixes-all sort of thing we have going on here. I think a lot of H's issues are tied up in his not drinking. He's been sober for over 2 years, but he never dealt with any of the reasons why he was an alcoholic, family attitudes, etc. That's frustrating to me. I've been in and out of counseling over the course of my life, trying to learn how to better handle certain situations that have come and go, how to be a better parent than mine were, how to detach and handle things in a rational fashion, be honest with myself and others. I do my best, I'm not perfect, but I try. I am beginning to think that we want some similar things and some very different things, but maybe don't want to work all that hard for it. That was something that the counselor kept saying. Anyway, thank you for your comments and support. Much appreciated.
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Want some similar things and some very different things...wow how prophetic!

    I think that could be said for us too.

    Tony had to fill out a questionnaire type thing about me with my therapist not long ago and it was really enlightening about how he saw me and my "issues". Seems he thinks I spend too much time on the computer and need to have other more active physical interests like maybe...crocheting! Uhhhhh...thats active and physical? LOL. I should also find some kind of hobby like his...fishing and hunting...oh good lord!

    The man really couldnt tell much of what I could do, what my real interests were, what my strengths were, things like that. What he could do was tell where he thought I should be doing more. Where I probably took too much medicine...not over used medicine but that he didnt like that the doctors gave me so much. He hates medicine. He thinks one pill should do it. Maybe one from each doctor...lol. He thinks since he is fairly content, I should be too.

  5. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    Hugs, Jo. We'll talk.

  6. lovemysons

    lovemysons Well-Known Member

    Hi Jo,
    Sending supportive hugs...
    Also, do you go to Al Anon meetings? You'd find alot of very caring supportive folks there too...many are in the same boat as you are.

  7. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    many, many hugs.

  8. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry, Jo. You sound miserable. :(

    From the outside looking in, I think I would step back from your husband and go to work on your own with your counselor. There's no reason you can't revisit the issue at a later date. She's said to take your time, and it sounds like you need to find what is in your heart. Also, ask the counselor about seeing a seperate therapist for marriage therapy? Maybe that way you could still see her and work on your marriage too?
  9. ML

    ML Guest

    I can relate to this very much. I wonder if some of some men are capable of that kind of connection. Particularly alcoholic men. As you know mine has been in recovery for 8 months now and does his AA a few times a week and sees his sponsor. Some things are definitely better but he's still emotional unavailable a lot of the time and I know it's about him and not about me. He has trouble with intimacy. I have stopped expecting anything spectacular from this marriage.

    Back to you. I suggest finding a separate counselor to see you together and that way you keep this one just for you. Yes, that is three therapists but so what. Yours, Mine and Ours :) Don't rush a decision. In the meantime lower expectations and work your own recovery with the counselor. I'm so glad you found someone you like so much.

    You are right where you need to be and more will be revealed. Love, ML
  10. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Many gentle hugs.
  11. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Thank you so much for your understanding. I feel like a broken record, but I need to hear it, so thank you.

    ML/Witz - you said what I was thinking. As much as it's a pain to find a third therapist, I am thinking that it may be the only way for me to feel like I have a safe person (mine), H can have his (if he ever goes again) and then there would be the one for [us]. God, I'm sorry, but it does sound like such a large labor. One I'm not sure I'm up to.

    I think I will continue as I am. I like this therapist and I don't want to share her with H right now. I need to have that one person I can blurt everything out to, share my thoughts without judgement and that's what I get from her. She calls me out on stuff, but not in a shameful or judgemental way, which really makes me feel safe. But in the meantime, I need to be honest with my H and tell him exactly what I am thinking...my therapist told me to - hahaha. And we will see what he does. Who knows? Maybe he will surprise me.
  12. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Jo, here is my opinion - but I have never been married, so keep that in mind! LOL!

    It is easy to get into a rut, but takes way hard work to get out of it. Sort of like losing weight - easy to put on, but hard to take off. And hard to motivate to take it off because it is just so hard and takes so long. Same with relationships, sometimes we put off the work because we just do not have it in us to work so hard just yet.

    Maybe that is what husband is doing. Maybe he is putting off the work because he just can't do it yet. Maybe he is struggling so much with the AA that he just can't work on the relationship until he gets that in check.

    I think your marriage is worth it. I think you are on the down side of one of life's hills, but you will go up again.
    I think if you work on yourself and get some external things going on, hobbies, small trips on your own, visiting friends, etc. he will take more notice of you enjoying life and will want to join you again in that happiness.
  13. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Thanks Busy - your opinion definitely counts. In fact, your perspective may be best because it isn't jaded? lol.

    My H has not had any alcohol in over 2 years. But he never worked on the reasons why or how he came to be an alcoholic. I think (based on some of what he's shared) that while he can relate to a lot of what is being shared at the AA meetings, he just doesn't feel like he's still in the 'muck of it' in relation to really having to fight off the urge to drink. I suggested a "Step meeting" to him because that may take him out of the story-telling type of environment at the meeting he has gone to and may instead give him something to engage in on a weekly basis. He said he 'read the steps already and knows what they are about'. IOW, he dismissed this suggestion, as he does every other.

    It's as if you just can't tell him anything new because he think he already knows. He doesn't verbally become defensive about it, but he sort of digs in his heels and gives explanations as to why it wouldn't work for him - without even first at least checking it out. I think maybe it seems to textbook to him, I don't know. He rarely lets anyone inside his head except when he's exploding.

    Anyway, I think I should get my rear end back to an al-anon meeting. I hate going to them, but I will check it out again.
  14. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I come from an Irish family where my Mom was one of eight siblings. My Mother and her eldest brother were the only ones who were not alcoholics but they married alcoholics. Everyone is the family led hardworking, honest, God-fearing lives. The happiest couples were those who were "in sync". When going on the wagon and hoping for an improved life, they were soon disillusioned.

    Alcoholics often don't have a clue how to communicate. Often they are terrific salespeople but they have numbed out the deeper levels of their lives and therefore they don't relate on a deep level with others. I know that is 100% true in our extended family. It is also true in my marriage. Once my husband quit drinking he became more isolated and remote He would do anything for me. He loves me to death. I finally accepted that he can not provide the type of intimacy I hoped for. Furthermore, in my humble opinion once an alcoholic faces life without that crutch...he has to face more of his own warts than he is comfortable with. There is no "leftover" emotional strength for others. Years ago I did the "Dear Abby" or "Ann Landers" test in my head "would I be better off without him or with him". I opted to stay with him because he truly is a fine man. It was an adjustment. DDD
  15. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Hi Jo,

    I think back to when I was trying to get help for my marriage. I secretly found a counselor for myself and told my x, then h - I was going to the bars. He was okay with me going to bars but NOT okay with me going to therapy. Someone may outsmart him and we couldn't have that.

    So I made the appts and snuck around to therapy. I had some awful therapists, and went through them until I found one that I felt related to MY problems. YES I was going to try to work on myself which in turn I felt would improve my marriage, but there was no way in hades he was going to come. Begging, pleading, crying, - nothing - he wasn't coming and didn't belive in it at all. END of conversation - except to say - And you aren't going either.

    So I went. Like I said - I had to go through a lot of quacks to find a good duck er.....doctor. When I found one? I couldn't afford him so I came and cleaned the offices before my appointment. It put me on the right path and he was the first one that said "Well you know what - if your husband cared about this relationship he would be here, doing whatever it took, not matter what the sacrafice to work on your marriage. Since he's NOT here - we'll concentrate on you." BECAUASE I DID ASK for my then h to come and he refused over and over.

    So what I found out - is that I did the work in our relationship. My x was abusive, alcoholic, drug addicted, sex addicted, mean, hateful, liar - and bi-polar who self medicated, a psychopath, a natural born killer with sociopathic, anti social traits. I stayed for 13 years before I finally said "I can't and won't take any more." I left with what I had on my back.

    I continued in individual therapy until I took my son from him and the clan - and never looked back. Then I got him into therapy and we went to family therapy. Eventually as df became part of our lives he went with us to family therapy. HE actually WANTED to go - and there was the answer that I had been looking for years ago - wanting a man to care enough about me and my son to work on getting things better. I have no regrets about leaving him. I'm mentally in a lot better place for all the therapy - so that didn't seem like a waste of time to me. I worked through a LOT of very very painful and traumatic things in my life and relationship. I still have bad memories, but they don't consume my day anymore. AND I also feel I"m in a place where I can help someone else.

    I'm not pro divorce, but I am pro-enjoyment of life. I don't know what the answer is but I would explain to your counselor that right now? You just want to work on JO issues, that you HAVE offered for husband to come and he refuses time and again. Maybe talk to her about that NOW is not the TIME for him and Jo - but NOW is the time for the doctor and Jo to work on Jo. Once you are in a better place - maybe you'll be able to see things a little more clear and make informed decisions about where you want to go with your life.
  16. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Thanks again, Star & 3D. I appreciate everything you've shared and advised. Thank you.

    I think I need to clarify a few things. H is willing to go to counseling with me. We have been many times in the past. In particular, with difficult child and her issues, H was there with me...for a while. When it became clear that we needed to work on our marriage, again, he was there with me...for a while. I am talking at least 5-6 times we've gone to counseling and we go together and eventually it's just me going. It always ends up that he simply can't dig that deep and makes excuses for his absence. One counselor said the same thing to me in regards to if he really wanted to change the circumstance of our marriage, he would be there, no matter what. My exh? He refused from the get go. I went for 3 years and eventually I felt strong enough to leave him with two tiny girls in tow. We did okay. It was difficult but I have never looked back.

    The difference with current H is that, like 3D's H, he's a good man. Yes, he's an alcoholic and yes he definitely has intimacy issues, but he works hard, he tries in his own ways, he believes that his dreams are for me and the girls. I don't know that I am ready to leave him, not sure if I ever will be. I have moved from being angry and hurt to wishing for and mourning the type of marriage I always thought we had or dreamed we had.

    And even more important, although H will accompany me to the counselor's office, and even be involved while sitting in that small room, once we leave it's the same old patterns - even though I don't participate. We can be fine and he will say or do one thing and it call comes rushing in on me and I just want to flee.

    Call me a silly romantic, but I want the private jokes, I want the eye contact with one another that enables us to know what the other is thinking. I want the kind of lovemaking that keeps us engaged with one another when everything else in our lives (ie., difficult child/easy child/mom) is falling to pieces. I want a partner, one who shares the same dreams and hopes for our future, someone who is willing to see things from my perspective, someone who isn't afraid to say, "Yeah, hmm, I didn't know that".

    I am not sure if I want to drag him with me to counseling and make the effort once again only to realize that H is just putting on a show for me or who ever else is paying attention. So, ultimately, I just have to keep going for me. One day I may be ready to have him join me and I will have to be brutally honest about what my expectations are and give him an 'out' before I invest in any more of my time and heart in trying to attain something that has seemed out of reach for YEARS. At 46, I feel that much of my life is behind me, but much of my life still lies before me. I haven't even scratched the surface in regards to all the many things I want to experience and see before I grow too old to do so.

    Aside from being out of synch with one another, I also believe that we ultimately have a different idea of what our lives should look like in 5/10/15/20 years from now and that is very scary to me.

    I'm just going to keep going to counseling on my own, talk about things and slowly try to attain some personal goals and build a life for myself because if I have a life outside of my marriage that brings me joy, peace and a strong sense of self, then I will be happier. It is better than just sitting around waiting, right?
  17. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    Hi Jo,
    I am sorry your dreams of what a marriage should be and the reality of your marriage are so different! Just want to say that you can have that type of marriage you talk about--I did with my kids' dad (who died in 1996) and I do with my husband whom I met after my other husband died--I was 43 when we met and had 3 kids (ages 13, 9, and 6)--I appreciated him being willing to take us all on. If you do decide at some point that you want more I just want to assure you there really are men out there who want more too and your dreams aren't unrealistic!

    Take care,
  18. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Right! DDD
  19. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    You know, I went to a parenting class with a counselor who did one night about kids and drugs/alcohol. He said that there was a study done on the emotional growth of alcoholics, and that because they turn to alcohol instead of working through their problems - usually at an early age - they never really mature past that emotional state because they dealt with it by drinking instead of facing the problem head on. Like my sister S, who started drinking when she was about 15. She picks fights with people then starts crying because life is so sad that everyone can't get along. Literally. Just like a 15 year old girl who wants the world to be perfect and expects everyone to see things her way and do things her way then cries and (really truly) screams that "no one understands how hard my life has been!" Well, yeah, I guess. If you count not understanding how you could choose three failed marriages and countless alienated family members because of your drinking instead of just being an adult as not understanding, I suppose I can relate to that.
  20. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am sorry that therapy with H ends up being the same old thing. I happen to believe the "dry drunks" are much much harder to live with and/or be around than the active alcoholics. It often seems as though the ones I know are permanently stuck at the emotional development of a teenager. It isn't until they really do the work on the 12 steps that they mature past that.

    At least that is how it works for the ones I know.

    I do find it helpful to remember my sister in law is still stuck at teenage emotional development because things that happened when she was a teen. Until she deals with that, we sort of treat her like a teen. Looser expectations, etc... Not something we do in a conspicuous way, but rather adjusting what WE expect from her. Not adjustments we expect her to make.

    You may find some insight if you look into Emotional Intelligence. I found it very eye opening when dealing with some family stuff.