Newest Members
beatcook, MassGuy, wiresguy1, AustinChemist, wild_turky
12276 Registered Users
Today's Birthdays
4113 (60), Andre M, (36), catchup22 (62), jim OCA 7 (57), sidhearthur (55), SkyClad (65)
Who's Online
3 registered (AdawgJR, 2 invisible), 19 Guests and 3 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
12276 Members
73 Forums
63164 Topics
441711 Posts

Max Online: 418 @ 07/02/12 07:29 AM
Twitter
Page 2 of 4 < 1 2 3 4 >
Topic Options
#206373 - 02/20/08 01:04 PM Re: Couples counseling tonight [Re: VLinvictus]
VLinvictus Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/05/07
Posts: 273
Loc: NY
So, all in all it was another good session.

I allowed myself to express my feelings, including my anger and resentment and my feeling that I haven't been part of a couple for years. I was so afraid that I would hurt his feelings by doing so, but it had to come out.

We both admitted that if it were not for the mortgage and the dogs, we would have split up a long time ago. I hope he actually listened to himself, because he said a lot of very important things. For example, the thing that most attracted him to me (at the age of 20) was my naivete and my teachability -- and when I was no longer receptive to being "taught" he lost a lot of that attraction.

Well, sorry, but I was a kid and kids grow up.

He complained that I never offered any feedback to him and never criticized him for things that I didn't like about him. I told him that he had created such a climate of fear that I didn't feel like I had the right to criticize him, and that his criticism of me hurt so badly that I didn't want to inflict the same on him.

He also confessed to being resentful that we don't have much in common in terms of interests, and that I am interested in many things that simply don't include him. Well, I can't help that. He's interested in many things that I'm not interested, too.

I stood up for myself, and there was no reprisal. The counselor told us not to talk about it outside the room but to let the room be our safe space and continue the discussion next week.

She asked us to think about what it is we want -- not to answer now but think about it for the next session. He blurted out that he would like to rehabilitate the relationship, but he's resentful because he thinks I have checked out.

I said nothing, following the counselor's guidelines. But inside, I do not see any real hope or desire for "rehabilitation." The relationship has been broken and dead for years and it cannot be restored. Things have changed and we have to acknowledge and embrace the change.

I know we're not going anywhere because of the mortgage and the dogs, but the counselor did say if we are going to live peaceably together there needs to be compromise. Specifically, he needs to cede a lot of ground and I have to have the strength to take more ground. I'm not sure I have that strength, though, but at least things are moving.

Dan

_________________________
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
~ Oscar Wilde

Top
#206374 - 02/20/08 01:07 PM Re: Couples counseling tonight [Re: VLinvictus]
MemoryVault Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 693
Loc: NJ
Quote:
I'm not sure I have that strength, though, but at least things are moving.


You do, my friend, and they are.

(((VLI)))


Top
#206377 - 02/20/08 01:21 PM Re: Couples counseling tonight [Re: MemoryVault]
LandOfShadow Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 684
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
I agree. You sound like you have a lot of strength. And yes, things are moving a lot.

I don't know where you got this fear of expressing [i]YOU[\i] from. But you mean more, and give more, to everyone when you do.

_________________________
Et par le pouvoir d’un mot Je recommence ma vie, Je suis né pour te connaître, Pour te nommer
Liberté

And by the power of a single word I can begin my life again, I was born to know you, to name you
Freedom

Paul Eluard

Top
#206408 - 02/20/08 05:58 PM Re: Couples counseling tonight [Re: VLinvictus]
Lazarus Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/01/07
Posts: 851
Loc: Below the radar, USA
Dan the Invincible,

I'm glad that your therapy session was productive. If I may play armchair therapist tho, I'd like to bring up a few points.

Originally Posted By: VLinvictus
I allowed myself to express my feelings...


That is a good sign. You mentioned earlier that you kept most of your feeling to yourself, for a lot of reasons. Honest communication is the key to a successful relationship, even if it is painful at times. I know you want to protect your partner, but you have to also protect yourself. I'm glad that you feel comfortable doing that at last.


Originally Posted By: VLinvictus
For example, the thing that most attracted him to me (at the age of 20) was my naivete and my teachability -- and when I was no longer receptive to being "taught" he lost a lot of that attraction. Well, sorry, but I was a kid and kids grow up.


Isn't it odd that many survivors say the exact same thing about their abusers? Perps like kids because they can be 'groomed', and when they grow up and begin to assert themselves, the abusers lose interest in them. I'm not saying your partner is a child molester (and I'm not saying that he's not) but what I am saying is that you started this relationship on unequal ground. Now that you are your own person, and not his toy, I'm not surprised that you two are having problems.

Originally Posted By: VLinvictus
He also confessed to being resentful that we don't have much in common in terms of interests, and that I am interested in many things that simply don't include him.


It is not only common but healthy that you two have interests that are not shared; things you do by and for yourself. God forbid that me and my husband did EVERYTHING together! LOL... However, the fact that he resents your other interests tells me that what he really resents is losing control over you. That's not a good sign.

Originally Posted By: VLinvictus
I do not see any real hope or desire for "rehabilitation." The relationship has been broken and dead for years and it cannot be restored.


I'm reading that YOU do not see any hope or desire for rehabilitation of your relationship. Your partner longs for the little boy he once knew, and could control (under the guise of 'teaching'). I am very glad that you are asserting your independence. The mortgage and dogs be damned (figuratively speaking, of course; married people split up such community property quite often) they are not an issue. The real issue is that you guys have grown apart, and if there is no reconcilliation then your next best option is to negotiate an amicable split. If the only reason you are in therapy is to affirm this, you are wasting your time. You need legal counsel, not therapy.

I know this is a challenge for you, Dan, but I am confident that you have not only the strength but the maturity to do what's right for you. It's time you started looking out for Dan's best interests. Sure, you don't want to hurt anyone unnecessarily, but you are being hurt by this relationship. A peaceful coexistance is not in your best interests. You deserve a fulfilling relationship where you are an equal partner and you find joy and happiness... not just a truce.

I've been where you are, Dan. My wife and I went through counselling three times, and the second one is the one who said, "You guys don't belong together. Face it and move on." Unfortunately, I didn't listen to her advice, because of the kids (a bit different than dogs), but she was right and if we had listened to her then, we could have saved ourselves another 10 years of shit. From what you've said, you deserve more than a 'peaceful coexistance'. You deserve a loving, fulfilling and joyous relationship. You'll never find it with your current partner. He's using you in soooo many different ways...

Man, I am sorry to say all this; I wish I could spout sweetness and optimism, but I just don't see it. I wish you weren't in this position, but since you are, my best advice to you is to cut your losses and get on with your life.

As always, this is just my opinion. Take it for what it's worth.

Wishing you the best,

Lazarus

_________________________
"That which does not kill us, surely makes us stonger." - Neitsche

Top
#206496 - 02/20/08 11:02 PM Re: Couples counseling tonight [Re: Lazarus]
VLinvictus Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/05/07
Posts: 273
Loc: NY
Thank you so much, Lazarus! Your posts have all been amazingly helpful to me.

And thanks too for the support, MV and Land of Shadow. \:\)

_________________________
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
~ Oscar Wilde

Top
#207730 - 02/27/08 10:09 AM Re: Couples counseling tonight [Re: VLinvictus]
VLinvictus Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/05/07
Posts: 273
Loc: NY
Last night's session was pretty raw, but while I'm sad I think it was very important.

Lazarus, you're right that if we were clear about splitting up then therapy would be useless. But the problem is that we are not and never have been clear. We weren't clear on the terms and boundaries of the relationship when we got together and years of negativity and mistrust have made it practically impossible for us to have a conversation on such a topic ourselves. The purpose of the counselor, IMO, is to facilitate and arbitrate communication -- to give us a safe space to talk about our feelings and wants and needs and a safe channel to do so.

So, last night. I started out reticent and reserved as in the previous sessions, afraid to give voice to my feelings for fear of hurting him. But I did finally say many things that needed to be said: that I love him but do not think we are a good couple, that I feel trapped and confined and wish I had my own space, that I'm not happy or fulfilled in the relationship as a whole despite the fact that we've had a lot of good times. That I wish we had never bought the house. I gave voice to a lot of the feelings I've expressed in the two poems I've posted on the "Poetry" board.

It felt good to say them, but then once they were out of my mouth I felt guilty and ashamed, because I could tell he was hurt. But the T said "So what? He has the right to his feelings. You're not responsible for them."

She also called him on his controlling behavior and his criticism. It was very striking how we viewed the past weekend differently. We had a nice time, going on a little road trip and shopping and eating out a new restaurant. I thought the day seemed natural and spontaneous and I enjoyed his company. He said, though, that he had deliberately "orchestrated" the day to include things that he thought I would like. My initial reaction, though, was resentment: why do you need to be like a dad? Why would you need to "orchestrate" anythning?

It was also telling how I spoke about persons. I said that I care about him and love but I don't think we mesh well as a couple. He spoke more about abstracts, how he wants a partner that he can build a future and life together with and have goals and things in common -- IOW, he was dealing with abstracts. That's what he wants, and whether he has that with me or someone else seems interchangeable. Another point of that is that we are in two very different places in our lives -- we do not and cannot possibly have the same "goals" and "future."

I shared how reading a graphic novel about the lives of young gay men in California depressed me, because it depicted a world of young people living on their own, exploring life, dating, exploring sex and relationships -- and that is not a part of life I ever had. S had that kind of life, and I've heard his stories, but I've always felt like I want "more" out of life -- and I shared how I feel guilty wanting more.

So, he has been sad and silent since we got back last night and I've tried to respect his space and feelings while reassuring him with my empathy, love, and compassion, but I still feel sad because he's sad.

It's like I'm the starship Enterprise and I've got my shields up against the Borg, but they keep on attacking and it requires ever greater energy to keep the shields up. The Borg's phasers are my partner's feelings and the shield is that which let's me keep his feelings as his and mine as mine and not be "assimilated" into his feelings by codependency. I don't know how long the shields can hold out, though.

I will be meeting with the counselor 1-on-1 next Tuesday and we will meet with her together on Thursday, then he will meet with her 1-on-1 the next Tuesday.

To be continued...

_________________________
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
~ Oscar Wilde

Top
#208829 - 03/04/08 01:45 PM Re: Couples counseling tonight [Re: VLinvictus]
VLinvictus Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/05/07
Posts: 273
Loc: NY
So, now I'm 6 hours away from my solo session with the counselor.

I'm not nervous and scared like I have been before the joint sessions, because S won't be there. However, this isn't going to be a "confidential" session -- everything I say can and will be used against me in the joint session -- but its for her to get to know me and hear my story without interruption or fear of having him in the room (he'll get his shot next Tuesday).

I'm starting to feel exhausted. I feel like throwing in the towel. What's the point? I'm not happy in the relationship and I don't see any immediate and easy way out of the relationship, each time we have a nice day or he says or does something thoughtful or sweet I feel guilty and ashamed of myself -- for being "selfish."

Wouldn't it be better to just go back, pretend that everything is OK on the surface and suffer in silence inside? I mean, that's one of the ways I survived growing up.

It left me emotionally scarred and crippled, but at least I survived. \:\(

_________________________
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
~ Oscar Wilde

Top
#208830 - 03/04/08 02:09 PM Re: Couples counseling tonight [Re: VLinvictus]
Freedom49 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/30/07
Posts: 2723
Loc: Washington State
well. there is that. God knows I have thought of that too.


Top
#208838 - 03/04/08 02:50 PM Re: Couples counseling tonight [Re: Freedom49]
Scoutvictim Offline
Guest

Registered: 06/04/07
Posts: 434
Loc: St. Louis, Missouri
VL,

No!!!!! Living in silence causes other parts of us to scream louder. (read: act out with others, allowing ourselves to be victims again, self destructive behaviors, alcohol, drugs, and the spiraling loss of our self estem!)

Stand up and be proud that you are trying to work on these issues with S. Try and realize it is your life, and if the best thing is to end this relationship, then that maybe what you have to do.

I know it won't be easy, but if things can't be worked out, then you have to watch out for your own health. (Both mental and physical)

Be strong and be good to yourself.

Luv ya,
Carl

_________________________
Shawn and Ben will always be in my heart....

Happiness is like peeing your pants; Everyone can see it, but only YOU feel the warmth.

Peebles, Ohio WOR alumni, Oct. 2007

Top
#208959 - 03/05/08 11:28 AM Re: Couples counseling tonight [Re: Scoutvictim]
VLinvictus Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/05/07
Posts: 273
Loc: NY
Thanks, Carl,

Last night was pretty awesome. While she can't take sides, she at least seemed to be very understanding and supportive of me and she shared my confusion regarding him -- she can't figure out what he wants or what he's thinking. She also picked up on the fact that he doesn't seem clear what exactly it is that he wants in the relationship, and she also thought the whole thing about how much he liked to "teach" me and "orchestrate" things was a bit disturbing.

So, we see her together on Thursday. I'm annoyed by that because of cash flow and I'm apprehensive about the dynamic of having him in the room, but now that I feel like the counselor fully understanding and supportive of me and understanding of where I'm coming from and affirming of my wants and needs.

That last bit -- that she agrees that I deserve to have my needs met and that I have the right to pursue them -- is a very new thing for me to experience. It's strange, but refreshing.

Dan

_________________________
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
~ Oscar Wilde

Top
Page 2 of 4 < 1 2 3 4 >


Moderator:  ModTeam 

I agree that my access and use of the MaleSurvivor discussion forums and chat room is subject to the terms of this Agreement. AND the sole discretion of MaleSurvivor.
I agree that my use of MaleSurvivor resources are AT-WILL, and that my posting privileges may be terminated at any time, and for any reason by MaleSurvivor.