*see my last post for an encouraging update on an inept MC issue. Please, pals, do NOT give up on yourselves. Mr Uxor is trying again. I feared he never would.*
I was on here for a few years, needing support in reconciliation. I have no idea if any veterans are still around. Hi, again, if I am new, but old to you!
THE PAST SITUATION:
Mr. Uxor and I were doing pretty well when I left. I had entered therapy with a counselor who did EMDR, which helped powerfully. Mr. Uxor and I were meeting with his IC and as an alternating MC situation since therapy is limited where we are.
We were not perfect, but doing pretty well. We had parents ill and passing. We had grown kids crossing good milestones. We had a work situation that the xAP was cleverly creating ways to remain in front of us - and I had the gift of support here from others who knew what it was like to choose between moving away from that craziness or keeping your connections to your grown kids and aging parents. It is all in the archives now.
But about 4 years ago, Mr. Uxor's IC began to seem disconnected on guiding us. Mr. Uxor felt like what had once been specifics on how to manage his own pain and triggers that brought him down the slippery slope of being a WH in mind - then body - were not being addressed. Strategies when we brought marriage issues and conflicts to him were not being offered. And then the IC/MC moved onto another job that was heavily connected to Mr. Uxor's family in a charity function - the very source of Mr. Uxor's pain and triggers. Mr Uxor simply stopped scheduling and no questions were ever asked by his IC/our sort-of MC.
My own IC worked through some of this time with me. She gave him support materials she sent home with me. But he and I rapidly began to have escalating issues again.
Then Mr. Uxor said it. All the times I had asked for us to get counseling years BEFORE he betrayed our marriage, he had never trusted counselors. He began to cover his past resentment from pain caused by manipulations by people who were counselors connected to his family in his teens. He was happy for me. Wished he had a counselor like mine, but now felt very let down by the one he had for years to survive this mess, who he trusted....who now was bonding to the very people Mr Uxor had spent a lifetime feeling used and manipulated by in his FOO.
My own IC wanted us to find two separate people - an IC for Mr. Uxor and an MC for us. Mr Uxor would only consider it if it was not where he worked regionally, and where his family could make connection or have notoriety for their philanthropy.
To his credit, he made calls and reached out for references through a marriage recovery program we had been enrolled in after DDay. He did not find an IC, but did find an MC not too far away, but far enough to create a buffer. We could zoom the meetings.
THE LAST 3 YEARS:
It started out how I would expect. The MC would ask us how things went. We would hit bumps and describe them. She would ask how we felt and work toward empathizing what the other was experiencing. She would give us materials (we had done SO MANY MATERIALS!!!), that should have built empathy, understanding and ways to navigate and communicate these bumps life gives.
And, like before our marriage had crashed, Mr. Uxor would struggle to do the materials. To remember the steps to build and not break. And the MC would ask what happened with that. The usual - Work....stress....his family....doesn't come naturally to him....
Our conflicts were increasing. He knew - he said he could feel his increased irritation and he was just sure if I said things differently (he could never state how) or if he changed his work, or if his family would just be different, then he could do better. He would express it that way to our MC. I just kept thinking at some point she would explain that eliminating stress does not teach us to cope with it. More stress just fills in with no skills to face it.
(Is this the point where I explain that my own counselor has identified he is on the narcissism spectrum? But we both agree , not off the scales. I think we can all be self focused at times....but he has many of the traits. On and off. He can be in one brain an truly have empathy and compassion. But in the other, no one exists but him... until he sees the ripple effect of who he is, later, and truly tries to stay in an empathetic and aware zone.
He has never been a physically dangerous person. So if I keep my head on straight, I am generally safe.
My IC had to work me down a few times, though, thinking that I am the narcissist because he had me believing what he does is actually my fault....She has me straightened out on that one now.)
And I waited for our MC to give him strategies on this. But something started happening.
He would ask how to control his reactiveness to me when he was stressed or overwhelmed. And she began describing the human mind and impulse control. Description of what happens, but without a way to manage it or take action to do something in place of reactions. And he would wait for the next session to have action steps....that never came. He wanted to know what and how to do things. She just seemed to "normalize" his reactiveness.
Then it began to shift. She would "chit chat" with us. On fun things in our life. It would take up perhaps 1/3 of the session. I would have to be the bad guy and bring us onto the therapy platform. It felt precarious, like I was being set up as being controlling and no fun by doing so.
Then when we had a conflict that he had quit the materials she had told us to work on, it was like a non-event to her. That he no longer used any marriage materials we had received in recovery programs. Or anything from our own pre-marriage programming from our faith. That things we agreed to do were being dropped. I would state a desire to use anything he felt comfortable with at all. His choice. He could not make a choice.
She would ask why, he would say, " I just don't remember them. I am busy. It doesn't come naturally" then we would finish all the sessions talking about his family and his work stress. And I would be asked, almost accusatorily how does he need to be supported and what am I doing?
Last fall I told him I was done - we were not progressing. Our conflicts were increasing, and I wasn't going to go into the Christmas Season beating myself up as not good enough for him, while I was working my tail off for everyone to have great memories through the season for our again parents, our grown kids' families, and his work associate events. That he had asked her to refer him to his own IC and when he researched names and gave them to her... it never happened.
I was still the only one in IC....
He agreed, but asked to give it a couple more tries, and (I was so grateful for this initiative) asked to take the reins and design a structure and expectation to the sessions. Chit-chat down to 5 minutes, One of us talks for 10, the other for 10, alternate this. Make an action strategy for each of us in the last 15 minutes, and schedule on the last 5.
That happened 2 times.
Just after, I had a death in my family. Mr Uxor was awesome to me. Did the steps assigned in the prior session. I reported that in a session, but noticed that the structure was gone again. My reporting was squeezed into chit-chat that disregarded I was coping with a death. He did express that he had vented at me a couple of times because he finds it stressful to deal with my family on top of his own stress. I said I needed him to understand that we both experience that, and waited for he to define that as empathy and support of my grief. All she she said was "let's call that a win!" That was the end of the session. I decided - well, she maybe figures that is the lay of my land, I chose to be with someone who all stress is about him, and so is mine......
A WEEK AGO:
Then it blew up in session. We'd had a horrible all day, a week prior - a "no solutions" all day fight. He had crossed boundaries with insults, mocking me, saying he could interrupt me anytime because that is ok if I am wrong, that I am the problem because I don't have a schedule like other women, that I sit around at home doing nothing but memorize marriage materials (He said that when I ask him to please stay on subject, please give me space and time to just think and process, etc.LOL I have not looked at any of those materials in months) and, when I said we are meeting his needs, but we need to meet mine too - and he asks (for the gazillionth time, what they are - like I have never said them) so I have him write them down. But then he declared, there are too many words, so he can skip words....like "vows".
So, I left it hovering. I created distance. Took some time for myself alone. Which did not last. Because he wanted to re-connect. I watched him do the predictable dance where he offers to do things he sees as my job (like make a meal) and then want physical connection to assure him he is forgiven...then sex. (He has been called out before on trying to heal us by giving and getting what he wants, not what I say I want.)I reassured him that I recognize this is him trying and an action of love as he knows it, but it is not meeting my need on having a platform to safely manage conflict without me being name called and belittled and mocked for becoming exactly who our family needed.
This was brought to our MC in the session that blew up.
And it was chit-chat for 15 minutes. Where when I tried to bring it on track, she declared that she and her kids had never done a fun activity we and our kids did over President's day.
Suddenly I was triggered. I knew my husband's xAP, and it was always the "be my hero because my husband never gave me the life that your wife and kids have because of you." that she used to play him.
Then it got ugly.
When I said he would not stop interrupting me, and I went off the rails too, and was interrupting back, but stopped us and asked for us to not handle conflict this way - where he insisted he could because I was wrong, she did not ask how I felt, but said "you maybe felt dismissed, minimized..." I thought (I felt a lot more than that....controlled, manipulated) so started to answer "partly - worse, because I want us to treat each other with mutual respect and honor, to use the tools we have been given to manage these fights in a healthy way." She didn't even listen...
She did not affirm me at all, she turned to Mr. Uxor and said, "So you must feel like she is looking down her nose at you, thinks you are stupid, dumb."
Thank the LORD he said, in a very small voice, though, "No...she doesn't do that to me. I feel frustrated that I act that way in the moment and I don't know why."
The session continued that way. Anytime I said what went off track, I would acknowledge my own behavior of going over the ledge, but then trying to get back on track, I would try to express my feelings too...she dismissed me, and told him how he must have felt - but in a negative way that I made him feel. It always made me the aggressor and him the victim.
So, to define how I do support him, and validate what he had said, that I don't look down at him, I then I complimented him on what he does in his talents and abilities, that is extremely complex. I asked that the things I know might also be trusted in our relationship like I trust him on his capabilities. She has heard my compliment his abilities before.
If you read any one thing....read this: At that point, she turned to him on the screen, slightly bounced in her seat, played with her hair, smiled and said about one of the abilities he has that I listed, "WOW, I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT THAT IS....I AM NOT SMART LIKE THAT." and just smiled.
From there she declared that I ask passive aggressive questions (though I had not asked any questions at all....Mr. Uxor, has often defined to her that I am too blunt and direct. He comes from a family where the women use questions to manipulate, and he is the one that does that because he feels like that is how we should communicate....I guess our MC forgot?...)
I reminded her that was Mr. Uxor's trait. That we role reverse on this and she asked him. "Is that true?" In a sarcastic voice that said it wasn't. He had his arms crossed and said "She said it is" and threw it back in my court.
Whereby MC went back to the plan, "So you need to tell her to not do that when she does, and she needs to tell you what she actually wants so you can decide if you want to do it."
I almost lost it, thought my head was going to blow up, then realized....it won't happen. Because I don't ask with an answer already in mind. So I threw my sarcasm in the ring and said, "Good, I am looking forward to finally have permission to be blunt. Which I prefer over mind-reading games anyway. So....thank you."
MC went from playing with her hair for Mr. Uxor (who has his arms crossed and IS glaring at her...THANK YOU!) to nearly scratching her hair out.
Then she says we need to meet in a week. Mr. Uxor presented a date two weeks out instead. They set a time.
All without me. It is set, screens about to close.
And he suddenly says, "If that is ok with you?" Meaning - passive/aggressively - "I expect a "yes", but here is your narcissistic bonus, at least I acknowledged you are in the room."
He did exactly what she accused me of doing.
I took a few days to cool off.
I emailed to cancel our sessions and, since I did the payment, to cancel that too. I kept it simple, that we were mismatched, without insulting her.
I left it up to him. I want him to own his choices....but Mr. Uxor followed with his own cancellation.
He did not see all I saw, the hair playing and smile-gazing, etc. But he was frustrated that she dropped a structure that was working for us. He felt like she did not listen to either of us on what our actual feelings were, but assigned them for what she wanted us to do. He felt disregarded that the MC did not address what he feels is his main issue: Why doesn't he want to solve issues - wants to fight, when he is stressed. He knows I want to manage problems and he wants to fight when there is stress. He admits it. SUCH an opportunity when someone admits they want the fight and do not like that side of themselves.
And....this is HUGE. He said that both the "looking down her nose at you, thinks you're stupid" and the she is a poor victim whose kids never get to do anything fun is just how the xAP sounded (which he also said is untrue - we remember things MC talks about doing that we also never did with our family - and wondered why she even shared things about her kids with us. She only mentioned her husband once, very early on.....I Thought it odd. Now I don't. I think she liked bonding with him during chit-chat. She even defended that some clients really like that when he put a stop to it.
A few days after our notice of discontinuing, she expressed that she wanted to know who we go to and wanted signatures and permissions to pass on her notes on us.
Mr. Uxor asked me - "What notes. She never remembered anything we told her anyway." (Can we all give him some credit for making that point?) The reply was we will circle back when we do.
Mr. Uxor said he doesn't want to try any counseling any more. But he whole supports that I need mine.
So - why am I here?
I can't get in to my own IC for a couple months. I am on a call -back waiting list.
But I just lost my trust in humanity and safe-spaces to support our marriage, again.
And it sucks. I am triggered all over the betrayed part of my brain.
I am posting without edits - will be back later to do so.
[This message edited by Uxoragain at 5:07 PM, Monday, April 24th]