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Old 09-12-2012, 07:37 AM
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Wanna get a laugh?

Ok, that was sarcasm! AH has requested that we try a 'different' marriage counselor. He thought the first one was too pompous and read from his book too much. Now, I didn't like the guy much, either, because he would let AH go off on rants and scream and didn't even cut him off when he screamed at me. I truly felt like I was wasting money anyway, so now I am on a mission to find a new therapist, LOL!

Oh, and last night while on the phone(AH is out of town) he says, "We just need to find a way to better communicate with each other. That guy didn't give us any tools for even trying to talk to each other." I kept my mouth shut and just agreed. What I really wanted to say was, "There can't be open and honest communication until I begin to trust you. Until I see changes in your personality that reflect growth and until you stop blaming me and bringing up crap from the past, etc. We don't communicate well because I don't trust you with your words nor do I feel ready to open up to you when I am still licking my wounds from your verbal onslaughts. The ego and self-centered narcissistic attitudes have to go, too, because it gets in the way of us becoming emotionally intimate."

Sigh, he sounds good when I talk to him. Unfortunately, I know the truth. He's too immature. He has to be right all the time. He has to point out my shortcomings from 15 years ago to change the subject. And, he won't address the drinking except to profess that he's quit. All I can do is pray that therapist number 2 won't even bother to work with us until AH gets help. Maybe that will get AH to a place where he realizes he has a problem, and it's not just about the alcohol? Or maybe not? Doesn't really matter at this point. I'm just living my life, getting help when I need it, taking care of the home and the family, and when he decides that life isn't all about him, then maybe he'll find his own happiness which may be with or without me.
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Old 09-12-2012, 07:45 AM
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finding the right counselor can be time consuming, I tried 4 and got 4 that didn't work. Then I went with a friend to their counselor that was fantastic, and asked myself how come I couldn't find such a great counselor when I had been looking for one?
Word of mouth if you know someone intelligent enough that you trust, if you can't find that recommendation, then I would search the choices for one that specializes in BOTH relationships and addiction. There are some out there, good luck
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Old 09-12-2012, 12:14 PM
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Oh, and last night while on the phone(AH is out of town) he says, "We just need to find a way to better communicate with each other. That guy didn't give us any tools for even trying to talk to each other." I kept my mouth shut and just agreed. What I really wanted to say is "There can't be open and honest communication until I begin to trust you. Until I see changes in your personality that reflect growth and until you stop blaming me and bringing up crap from the past, etc. We don't communicate well because I don't trust you with your words nor do I feel ready to open up to you when I am still licking my wounds from your verbal onslaughts. The ego and self-centered narcissistic attitudes have to go, too, because it gets in the way of us becoming emotionally intimate."


So, why don't you say what you want to say?

To me, you each need to seek out your own therapy, if you each get healthy perhaps a marriage counselor would then be of some help. Right now, I just don't see joint therapy being of any help whatsoever.

Just my two cents, I could be way off track.
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Old 09-12-2012, 12:23 PM
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A friend of mine has been trying counseling with her AH. I think they got through five counselors before she realized that he stuck with a counselor until the counselor said something that rubbed him the wrong way -- then he'd say "this counselor is on YOUR side and you guys are ganging up on me and we need to find a new one."
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Old 09-12-2012, 12:25 PM
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I did say that, Dolly, in front of the therapist. The problem is that AH doesn't seem to hear it. I put it in an email to him, too, explaining how I am working on building trust and that's why I am in therapy, etc. he made it clear that he resents my therapist and anything related to Al Anon and my recovery and has refused my requests to get his own therapist to work on his issues. He admits to having issues, but is so overwhelmed by them that he doesn't even want to start tackling them. It just appears that he wants me to go back to being a doormat and his idea of change is; let's see if the therapist can change my wife back? And, I'm just as guilty because I'm trying to accept the fact that he has changed, and not for the better. I ask myself daily if I can live with him as he is and I still don't feel 100% in either direction at this point. Hence the reason that I am willing to give the marriage counseling a try.
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Old 09-12-2012, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by lizatola View Post
He admits to having issues, but is so overwhelmed by them that he doesn't even want to start tackling them. It just appears that he wants me to go back to being a doormat and his idea of change is; let's see if the therapist can change my wife back?
Originally Posted by lizatola View Post
I ask myself daily if I can live with him as he is and I still don't feel 100% in either direction at this point. Hence the reason that I am willing to give the marriage counseling a try.
You do see the dichotomy here, right? He's not willing to work on his issues, but you are willing to give (yet another) marriage counselor a try? Why? So you can become even more frustrated?

L
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Old 09-12-2012, 12:53 PM
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I'm confused too Liz - I've been following your posts & I don't understand at all how ANY marriage counselor can help you if he refuses to address his issues & you haven't even decided that you WANT to save the marriage. I don't understand what goal you are working toward?

And For what it's worth, I agree with Lillamy that it sounds like he will just continue to find fault with every counselor that tries to make him take responsibility for himself. Just my .02.
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Old 09-12-2012, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by FireSprite View Post
I'm confused too Liz - I've been following your posts & I don't understand at all how ANY marriage counselor can help you if he refuses to address his issues & you haven't even decided that you WANT to save the marriage. I don't understand what goal you are working toward?

And For what it's worth, I agree with Lillamy that it sounds like he will just continue to find fault with every counselor that tries to make him take responsibility for himself. Just my .02.
I guess I'm looking to see if that gets pointed out to him at some point. When asked to work on his issues, he looked at the therapist and said, "Why don't you tell me how to do this? I don't know how." The therapist said, "It's going to take hard work." At that point, the subject got changed and we were off on another tangent by AH.

What I'm hoping for is to find a therapist who helps us get to the root of the problems for AH and for me, as well. If we can both have our shortcomings revealed to us and decide what we can and can't(or aren't willing to) change, then I'll have a clearer picture over what our future might look like and what direction I want to take.

I am not ready to walk away, not yet. I am willing to put in effort to get myself healthy and, in doing so, I'm hoping to gain a healthy marriage,too. Maybe I'm living in fantasy land again, but I still believe this can be fixed. Call me crazy, but I get great practice in living with him and I can easily see my part in how things got out of hand. I wasn't responsible for his drinking, his depression, his DUI, etc but I am responsible for being a doormat and for accepting the unacceptable behavior in the past. Learning how to do what's right me is key and being in the marriage actively gives me practice.
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Old 09-12-2012, 01:25 PM
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It sounds to me like, since you have been unable to change him, you are looking for a therapist who can. Good luck with that.

Seems he's looking for the same thing.....(therapist who can change you.)

L
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Old 09-12-2012, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by lizatola View Post
I am willing to put in effort to get myself healthy and, in doing so, I'm hoping to gain a healthy marriage,too. Maybe I'm living in fantasy land again, but I still believe this can be fixed.
If you truly believe this, then why the sarcasm at your husband's expense? And I ask this nicely, not as a jab at you, but to point out another dichotomy in your statements. Its easy to say all the right words, but the actions are speaking a different story...

My therapist pointed out to me once that although I was saying I wanted to try to make my marriage work, I was shaking my head no at the same time.
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Old 09-12-2012, 01:44 PM
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OK Liz two points,
First, I completely hear you when you say you have accepted your role as a doormat and how that contributed to the problems in the marriage. How are you or have you changed that behavior? Do your actions clearly show him that you will be a doormat no more?
Second, I think the we, as codies, work on ourselves to get healthy for one reason - to get healthy. To have the expectation that this will result in a healthy marriage is the same as trying to control our AH's drinking and bad behavior - at least it seems the same in my mind. It sounds to me that you're thinking that if you are healthy, he will change into what you want him to be as a husband. Have you thought about what your driving force to get healthy really is?

Here's a story about something that happened to me just yesterday that I think touches on that second point:
My STBXAH will be staying at our now vacant home when he comes back from out of state for a protection order hearing and maybe some divorce meetings. I told my dear friend that I thought I would make up the couch that is still there with sheets, put some food in the fridge, etc.. for when he arrives. She looked at me like I had 3 heads. "WHY, would you do THAT?" she asked. "I guess just to be nice and show good will" I said. Knowing me as she does she said "Sorry sister, you are thinking that if you do something nice that he will behave while he is here and won't frighten you or drink." She was absolutely right. I was still trying to control him and thinking I could somehow manage the situation to my expectations.
Our brains have been re-wired by codependency. We must make extra efforts to stay on track. Sometimes I need my really honest friend to tell it to me like it is. Thank goodness for her.

I'm rooting for you Liz,
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Old 09-12-2012, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by LaTeeDa View Post
It sounds to me like, since you have been unable to change him, you are looking for a therapist who can. Good luck with that.

Seems he's looking for the same thing.....(therapist who can change you.)

L
It definitely seems like you're both trying to "fix" each other, which won't work out well. He's an A, plain and simple. The only person who can fix an A is the A themselves, and trying to force it on them isn't going to get you much more than a heaping pile of contempt (which you seem to have in spades already). You can't change him, and a therapist sure as heck can't. He has to want to change himself, and he's screaming at you loud and clear that he doesn't want to. At the end of this, all you're probably going to have is two people who are still trying to fix each other, with neither one willing to claim defeat over trying to CONTROL ANOTHER PERSON.
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Old 09-12-2012, 04:45 PM
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IMO, LaTeeDa has hit the nail on the head.

I also, like Fire Sprite, cannot understand your logic, you know he is immature and unwilling/unable to change and you are still waiting for the Tooth Fairy to spray him with foo foo dust and "poof" he will become the man you want him to be...taint gonna happen.
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Old 09-12-2012, 05:07 PM
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Whoa now....

You don't have to be sure that you want to save things to go to a marriage counselor and you don't have to see the other person engaging like you want them to. You can stay married with 1% hope but divorce requires certainty.

Finding a counselor you both like is a big deal.

My suggestion (feel free to ignore it) is that you ask him to find a new one and keep going to this one until he does. Counseling will either make a dent and start to help or it will convince you that there is no hope.

....But why are you there? If you know you want out and are certain and just looking for "Yeah, he's an ass.... run honey!" then stop spending the time, money and energy.

If seeing a sign from him that he's willing to engage and start moving forward would be enough for you to dig in and be willing to work too then by all means, have at it....

A good counselor won't take sides unless it is just... so ridiculously one sided that they have to. A smart counselor will give you both some credit and challenge you both even if one of you is MUCH closer to being reasonable. If you guys are in conflict, the marriage is not over. When you move from conflict to withdrawal it's pretty much done unless you can get back into conflict and heading back toward intimacy, right?

...LOL, love and hate are very close, ambivalence is the antithesis of love, not hate or anger.

Hang in there. Put it on him.

Just a suggestion, but instead of laughing or saying "yeah, he agreed with me!" why not try a different approach - a sincerely kind one (doesn't matter if he deserves it, do it for you). Why not "Hey, I was thinking and that counselor didn't seem willing to listen to you. I really want this to work for us so why don't you look for someone you are more comfortable with and once you find one, we can switch?".

First, it disarms him - you are showing concern for him so he can't really bitch. Second, it makes him responsible for solving the issue, not you and third... what the hell do you have to lose?

No better way to confuse a person who is determined to argue than to agree. Yup, you are right... now what?
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Old 09-12-2012, 05:16 PM
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Dear Liz, you have made it abundantly clear that you wish to remain in the marriage. You also have expressed that you are unhappy.

As you know, of course, you have free will to do what you want. You can stay forever, and nobody here is going to tell you to leave.

As far as I can see, those who choose to stay (as well as those who end up letting go) have one path that seems to work toward their happiness. That is commiting oneself to a 12-step program (Ex: alanon) and really working all the steps, along with help of a sponsor. REALLY working it--not just dabbling the toes here and there, or learning just enough of the "right words" to keep everyone at bay. Tha t would be like an alcoholic dabbling at AA. LOL.

You say that you have a personal therapist---I am assuming to work on issues arising from your abusive childhood and continuing abuse. Most of the people on this board that speak of long term recovery seem to have the same. Family of origin work seems to require the same committment as working the 12-step program. The best therapist in the world can't do the work themselves.

It seems to me that this is the path to personal happiness---rather than spinning wheels playing games with marital therapists. Direct the energy where it will do the most good.

If you can't make this committment for yourself---could you do it for your son? This is the one who is being damaged the most---as we all know, the children suffer the most.

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Old 09-12-2012, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by PohsFriend View Post
You can stay married with 1% hope but divorce requires certainty.
While I agree with the other points in your post, I gotta disagree with this. There is no certainty in life. We make the best decisions we can based on the information we have. If I waited to leave until I was 100% sure, without a shred of doubt, I would still be married to an A and miserable.

There is a tipping point, when the pain of staying becomes bigger than the fear of leaving. It's not 100%, it's just when the bad outweighs the good.

L
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Old 09-12-2012, 05:30 PM
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I totally have to agree with LaTeeDa. It was sooo hard to choose divorce, and I definitely didn't feel 100% all the time (still don't sometimes when I allow guilt to enter my serenity). But I do know that I was sinking down along with my alcoholic and had to do something. Someone had to stay afloat above depression and gloom for the kids! I chose divorce for all of us, but I did not feel hope or relief in that act, just a sadness that there was no change taking place and I couldn't survive much longer with him.
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Old 09-12-2012, 07:48 PM
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Divorce is definitely never a 100% decision. I remember my "D-Day" as one of mixed emotions. My mother was bouncing down the courthouse steps while I tried to fight off tears. There are things I still love about my ex-husband, but there was too much bad to outweigh the good. Thankfully he wasn't an A and we're still friends, able to co-parent our two children. Marriage counseling is something that both people need to be willing to enter, going in with the intention of finding out if their marriage can be saved (if they want it). It sounds more like both of you are just looking for someone to tell the other that they're wrong, so you have an excuse to say, "I'm right! I'm right! I'm right!" That's not healthy at all, and it certainly isn't doing your son any favors to see you treating each other that way (don't think he doesn't notice).
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:06 AM
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Nothing is 100%, fair enough

My point was that it sounds like the OP is still trying and fighting. ...figure if it's worth the hour to go to the MC it's worth trying to make the hour count.
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:20 AM
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Lightbulb

Mamakit, thanks for sharing Your story helped me tonight as I am struggling with my guilt and wanting to pander to my A. It may be that I am trying to control the situation (divorce v. dissolution) by catering to him.
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