UPDATE! Long because I just need to dump it all somewhere!
I had a busy week! Early in the week I met with the new counselor who does neurofeedback, EMDR, and had agreed to see us as a new MC. She specializes in trauma recovery in general, which is why I reached out to her, even though my main goal was to find new MC.
This woman also sees nuerofeedback as a great tool for basically whatever ails you – in the head. Haha! I went ahead with the “brain wave mapping” before the appointment. Partly out of curiosity, partly out of desperation! She let me share what I’ve been struggling with, and talked to me about EMDR. She thought it would really help, and my usual IC had agreed that it might be a tool to try. She went over the brain mapping results and – shocker – they showed a persistent state of hypervigilance that goes along with feeling “triggered.” (The skeptic in me thinks these results could be totally bogus and I would have no way to know. But, I digress…). She explained how neurofeedback works and I was intrigued, even if I felt a little like she advocated for a solution without a deep understanding of my issue. Then again, maybe that’s my problem all along. I’m overthinking it all. I want to overtalk it all. She can see plainly what’s up, understands why I’m in this predicament, and wants to get right to work. She advocated coupling neurofeedback with EMDR but would offer EMDR regardless. I’m still reading up, but I’ve booked EMDR starting in January. Two sessions, and then see how I’m doing. But I’ll probably try the neurofeedback too because why not. Can’t hurt, might help, and I’ve got more flexibility in my schedule these days than I likely will by spring. Now is the time to try it.
So, all of that left a pretty good first impression overall, even though I’m still skeptical of neurofeedback.
And then we met with her together for MC. Let me start by saying it was good overall and we will be going back. But it was certainly a different vibe thean when we spoke one on one about me specifically! And there were a few things that didn’t quite sit with me right. I’m trying to give it time. Even my FWH, when I expressed the concern, said she might be trying to win his trust by not going at him very hard at first, given I had already met with her before and I had told her he was a bit skeptical.
She got background from both of us about our childhoods, our parents’ marriages that we were witness to, our own marriage and past patterns, etc. She asked us to think back to what was going on leading up to “the incidents” as she put it. She was weirdly vague about WHAT the incidents were, almost dismissive. She asked him if it meant anything, how he felt after. Of course he said it meant nothing, he felt deeply ashamed and embarrassed. I kind of thought she would want to know more about what happened. Gosh, my IC let me spill every last detail! But – that’s a different approach and just “for me.” So I get that. She didn’t ask for much info. Part of me felt like it was a strategy to keep him from going on the defensive I could see that as feasible. We all know why we are there, we don’t need to discuss the details right away. Perhaps especially because I had already told her how much he retreats into shame and guilt. That’s the last thing we need within the first half hour of MC! But the result was I felt like she did more defending him than I expected. She did at one point ask him if he knew “why he did it” but then offered answers… “bored, lacking a connection, wanted attention?...” All he had to do is say “uh, yes.” So we better be revisiting that and I plan to point out to her that I wasn’t comfortable with that at all. He needs to think and articulate specifically himself. (Which he has attempted to do, but I’m not done hearing it). I did manage to explain that what hurts the most lately is feeling like my pain is a burden to him. He has even said it feels sometimes like I’ve got “an agenda” to simply hurt him like he hurt me. Oh yeah that goes over reallll well with me. He didn’t do that in the past, just recent months. He claims he is “burned out” and I have confessed that we did talk about it almost very single day since DDay. She talked about the importance of treating both people in MC, recognizing that both people are hurting – but in different ways and for different reasons. At one point she even said – and I quote!... “He seems sorry.” She frankly seemed more concerned about his feeling “tapped out” (her words) than about me – after having been incredibly empathetic when we met one on one, acknowledging the trauma as very real. It was a little weird! And I hated some of what she said because I knew she was right, I just didn’t expect to hear her saying it and not offering the “other side” of the story to him. She mostly talked to me, about working on moving forward because I did make a choice to stay. I did a LOT of crying. I actually feel like I managed to reach him more effectively than I have lately, probably because it was a neutral setting, which I guess is the point. She did say things like “we’ll get back to that” a number of times. So I guess it makes sense to start easy, start slow, make we are both comfortable enough being there to get something out of it. Truth is, that’s what I want. Truth is, I KNOW he’s hurting too. I want him to look forward to MC as a place he feels comfortable enough to get down in the trenches with me, and I can’t expect that on the first day. So I’m guarded but hopeful.
So… she spent over an hour with us, which was nice. In the end she assured me she felt like the EMDR would really help me, and in turn help us in MC. The vibe was relaxed even as emotional as I was. In the end she advocated for using the MC space as the only place, for now, that we talk about any of the past issues. She basically instructed us (me, since it’s no challenge for him!) to not talk about anything other than now, today, the little things, tend to the kids and the home, etc., for a couple weeks until we can go back. To take a break from talking about “it” so much, so often. It’s a fair request. It’s DAMN hard.
He has been attentive since then, affectionate, appreciative, etc. I was really triggered by something last night and I think he picked up on it. I would like him to have acknowledged with words, but he seemed to try with touch and body language. He will have no trouble taking the “don’t talk about it” assignment seriously, but I am watching his actions carefully. What triggered me is something I have to bring up eventually. I’m willing to try and wait. A while back I challenged him to ‘ask me everyday for a week if I hit a trigger that day’ and he did it. He hated the request because basically I was requesting him to give me a chance to remind him of his mistake, everyday. But he did it. So I’m going to try and be deliberate about a break. We will see how long I last! 3 days so far. Haha!
Have a great week, everyone!