Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The problem with sharing the same therapists pt III

Guess what, world? There are no exceptions to the rule. Do NOT share the same therapist.

Yesterday was my first appointment since the domestic abuse incident two weeks ago. My husband has seen the therapist twice since then, and good for him. For the record,I did call her office the very next day to report that he was so physically threatening I had to ask him to leave the house. Also, my son who was THERE also made a notation in my contemporaneous record about the incident from his point of view, which states more or less that mom is calm and rational and dad is angry and belligerent. I brought this record with me to therapy, but it turned out to be of no interest to the therapist anyway. Regardless, it's important to have for other reasons (which I hope to never need but a girl's got to be prepated, ya know?).

The EMDR was working really well. I will have to write another post about how really well it is working. I deserve to complete the full steps of EMDR, but as far as we had gotten was such a good thing for me. In therapy, we were getting closer and closer to recent times in the timeline of traumatic events, which is what I really need to get through. That was and has always been my intent in contracting for this therapy.

However it looks like I will have to find some other way to finish the steps, or just rely on my own inner resources to get through what lies ahead. Showing up for my appointment yesterday did not get me any healing or help.

So,when I walked in, the first thing I noticed was that the EMDR equipment was not in sight. That sucks because that is the sole reason I am in therapy. Absence of equipment noted. A pit of unease opened up in my stomach.

The next thing I noticed was the lack of empathetic concern I think is the minimal standard for respectable counselor. I did call her office the next day, so she knows it was bad enough that I had to ask my husband to leave the premises. In fact, it was the worst incident since he went to Life Skills in 2009, the very first time that he absolutely refused to abide the Domestic Abuse Prevention Plan that he wrote in his own hand and signed in 2009. It was wanting to be free and clear of the PTSD from the domestic abuse that sent me to a counselor in the first place. At that time, the very beginning, she seemed very empathetic about that. That was before she took on my husband as a patient as well, however.

She did not ask me if I was okay. She did not show any concern for me at all. What she said was "I heard about the argument". I countered that it was not an argument, it was an incidence of domestic abuse. The pit in my stomach got bigger.

This made her visibly angry, again. She retorted "Well it sounds like an argument to me: you asked him to leave the house. That sounds like an argument."

Again I insisted it was not a mere argument, it was an episode of domestic violence. She unhappily, completely lacking any sympathy or kindnessf for me, in fact she was clearly peeved with me, repeated back, "Okay, I'll call it an incidence of domestic abuse. Does that make you happy?"

That's when I knew. There are no exceptions. The literature is right- ladies, you will not be believed by your husband's acquaintances, counselors, the neighbors, or your pastor. None of us will be. It doesn't matter how calm you may be, people will never believe the mild mannered charmer who they see face to face is a raging monster to you in private. It just won't happen. Not for any of us. I am not special. My husband is not special. Our life is straight out of the domestic abuse play book- honeymoon, tension, explosion, honeymoon, tension, explosion.

I told the therapist I thought I should find a new counselor. She heartily (not professionally) agreed. I got up to leave, and she told me I wasn't going anywhere she had some things to say to me.


No, I was not going to stick around for anything she had to say. She said she had some things to tell me about how it was going with my husband, and I said I didn't think that was ethical. Then she said that he had asked her to share with me, but now she wasn't going to tell me. I said if he had asked her to tell me, then she should. But no, now I didn't get to know.

Whatever. I kept walking out. I was dialing my husband as I went, to tell him that she had kicked me out of therapy. This made her really mad, and she started saying "I didn't kick you out, you quit" which is technically true. Then she added, "Good luck finding anyone who can work with YOU!"

It's a shame, because EMDR was helping me so much, and my therapist wouldn't even be professional enough to make a transition to a new therapist easy for me. Also, she holds all the power in this (should be professional) relationship. I am taking a class in Medical Ethics and Law, and my textbook says that psychotherapy notes are privileged UNLESS you sue or lodge a complaint against the therapist. So, I can slip off into my own world, and her furiously scribbled opinions from the last time she went off on me will remain private. No one can ever see them, unless I lodge a complaint against her. Then it will be her word against mine, and who do YOU think the guild of professional psychotherapists are going to give the most weight to, a patient who by seeking professional help is admitting to needing help, or one of their own, a trained professional? All of her opinions will have the weight of medical diagnosis, while my opinions will just be considered the vendetta of a disordered person. Lose-lose for me.

Also, every other medical record you have a right to see by law, and add an amendment or rebuttal to that record if you disagree with what it written there. Not psychotherapy notes. A patient doesn't even have the right to see them, as the therapist can claim it would be detrimental to your emotional/psychological well-being. Yes, they really hold that much power over you.

I shared all this with my daughter last night, who basically said "I told you so." Lolz. She said about herself, "The odds are good I will be smarter than they are to start with (true for her, she is really brilliant with an Einstein level IQ)and I am in college. I know that just because they graduated from college doesn't mean squat." She has a point.

She then asked me if I ever thought of myself as Sarah Conner of Terminator fame. I had to say no, but don't I wish I had her arms! :p

Well, my daughter told me that she had always thought of me as Sarah Conner, and that I had the same mental toughness that the character Sarah Conner displayed. She told me that she knows I can handle this career transition and she is behind me 100%. Heck, she drove an hour over to the house to tell me all this in person. =D

So there's the update. I am in school full-time, working on taking charge of my life and becoming self-supporting. Pray for me: I have some paper-work snafus to deal with before my next stage of education. It is not easy going back as an adult student. Although teaching high school for the last six years has me well prepared academically, the paper trial is problematic. I need my shot records, for one thing, and my childhood pediatrician is dead and the health department back home decided to shred all documentation over 25 years old in the late 80s. My high school transcripts should have my shot records on them, so I have sent away for a copy of those. Let's hope that works out.

My husband will continue with the therapist. I hope that turns out to be a good thing, as I have heard from other abandoned middle aged wives that it was counseling that convinced their husbands that they deserved better than the wife of their youth. :/ But the man needs some kind of help, and EMDR works really well if that therapist will actually use it with him.

And finally, I am no exception. Domestic abuse is domestic abuse. Even though each person has their own story, and even though each angry man has probably been victimized in some way as a child that deserves sympathy and support, in the end, women still get the shaft. No one is going to cut us a break. If we stay, we are weak and probably asking for it. If we leave, we are heartless shrews who walked away from our vows and left those poor hurting men to cry in their beer.

I wish women would at least be there for each other, but that isn't going to happen either. So be there for yourself, sisters. And let Jesus be there for you. He certainly knows what it is like to be "despised and rejected of men". The only way to get any real help from the shelters, etc. is to stay until you are physically hurt enough to require medical attention, and screw that. You deserve better than that. Who cares if anyone believes you were in real danger? If you feel you are in danger, protect yourself. FTW,not FML. =)

Make peace now with the reality that no matter what you choose, some people will vilify that choice.

Make peace now with the reality that no matter what you do, some people will condemn you.

Make peace not with the reality that no matter what your spouse chooses to do, some people will still blame you.

For me, it's important that I have peace with God, and that my children both support me. Some women don't even get that. I am really blessed that way. There was a time when his emotional abuse used the children against me, so I am really really grateful that he took responsibility for his actions when he did. He may go back on that, and say that the real problem all along was me, but the children have already seen the truth and they wont' be going back. I really appreciate that, and I know that is a true blessing.

Well, home work awaits. Peace and good will, SS


  1. I'm so sorry, Shadow.
    It's true. Women are often dispised and rejected of men so Jesus IS their best comfort and encouragement.
    As a woman who has stared divorce in the face, I know what it is to have to finally let go of the dream of a healed marriage.

  2. Thanks, Mara. Sorry you share in the sisterhood of screwed over wives.

  3. We are still married. We came through the fire. Things are much better now. But divorce was a very real threat, and in truth, I needed to get the attitude that it was over before things would change for real.

    But not all marriages can be saved. And it's not always the wife's fault if it can't be.

    Wish the church could get that.

    Like you, the kids were on my side. I even had two sons ready to do some domestic abuse on their dad. All they needed was the word from me.

    Their dad has no idea how close it came to that.
    He was drunk and wouldn't have had a chance.

    (Note, I've never been hit. mostly just verbal stuff. still, abuse is abuse and is not to be tolerated.)

  4. No, it is not to be tolerated because if it is, verbal abuse does turn to physical violence.

    I was reading Jon Zen's book "What's With Paul and Women" this morning. It was the early church fathers who decided that a man could do/say anything to his wife as long as it stopped short of death. Some people modify that today to say we must tolerate everything up to physical violence, but many religious people still hold to the life-threatening standard.

    My son is a 6'1", 230 lb kick-boxer. All he had to do was come downstairs for my husband to back off of physically intimidating me. My husband still kept the cursing and blaming up, though. It honestly was the very first time that my husband did not hold himself to following the DAPP he put in his own hands. Very scary stuff.

    It's really disheartening that the professional *I* first turned to for help is not going to be a help to me. I am really skeptical that she can honestly be a help to my husband, if she does not fully believe that he is a batterer. Yes, he's wounded child but that child is a spiteful little S.O.B. and he's in a grown man's body. It's not that I lack compassion for my husband's inner wounds- it's that he can and will hurt me in a misguided effort to release his anger and find some power for his powerless inner child.


  5. In my honest, and not at all professional opinion, if this woman cannot (will not) be objective and unbiased about BOTH of you, she should see neither of you.

    I'm glad your kids are both with you on this. Keep up that contemporaneous record. It will come in handy some day.

  6. Reporting the therapist may not do you any good, but it could start a trail of unprofessional conduct if (when) she pulls that sh*t again. You may not be believed, but Victim #3, #4, #5, will have some credibility. I am a few credits short of a counseling degree and I could write a multi-page list of the ethics she has violated.

    On that same note, it was implied in my classes that we should NOT take detailed notes, just b/c of the possibility of them being subpoenaed and twisted in court. Gotta go, more later...

  7. "We should not take detailed notes as therapists," it should have read. So she might not have written as much as you thought... although considering how many other rules she's broken, who knows...

    So sorry for all you've been through. I can definitely, definitely relate, and coming from the other side, I can say it does get better. All the work you've done to save your marriage is work that will benefit you, and your life, and those in your life, even if the marriage doesn't make it.

    Praying for strength for you and yours, and good, positive, uplifting people in your path as you make your journey.

  8. I'm with Tikatu on this: she was a terrible counselor. period. For you and because of being so out-of-line with you, for him. But I understand the draw of staying with her because of the EMDR--I think it isn't worth it but I understand.

    Recently found a book at Amazon called Do It Yourself Eye Movement Techniques for Emotional Healing by Fred Friedburg. I haven't read it yet so I can't really recommend it but just the title alone makes it worth checking out.

    I hope you both individually find the support and therapeutic challenge you need (whether professionally or otherwise) so that you can make a successful relationship for the future

  9. Thanks Sandra, and Final! Gotta study, so more later. I had a nice note written but blogger ate it. Hmph.

  10. SS, hope everything is okay, update us when you can.

  11. I'm brand new here and haven't read the history, so apologize if this has been covered already: Since you were encouraged by EMDR,have you also considered DNMS? Some people have recommended that as an alternate to EMDR, so just thought I'd throw it out there.

    Again, I haven't read anything else here, but I have an abused friend whose fundy pastor counseled her to continue to endure the violent behaviors. And yes, it was physical. That situation was one of a series of events that drove me further and further away from my prior affiliation with that mindset (and that organization).

    The counselor you've visited sounds thoroughly inept and unable to be objective. A male counselor who can't be charmed by another guy, and who knows the male mind well enough to be fully supportive of you, could potentially prove beneficial. Unfortunately, many people in the counseling business carry serious wounds and histories with them that prevent them from being effective in certain situations.

    Jumping way out on a limb since I've read nothing else here: The male abuser is often consumed by self-hatred and projects that upon his victim(s). If there's any way this man could learn how deeply he is loved, this behavior would change from the inside-out. But we guys are often so stubborn - and so convinced we're right - that we refuse to consider a different reality.

  12. Hey, haven't read here in Long while...saw this other day, it caught my attention but I just went on, NOW I know why God led me to read this...maybe some of this will help you,

    one, if there is violence you should be working on divorce, to hell with understanding his b.s. Sorry, that's my take on it. secondly, this is probably Why he chose this counselor [if that's the case] because she IS a woman and

    you are aware, that there are what we Radical Feminists term as 'fun feminists' which is, women who pander and cater to men, including to their porn crap, bdsm [no kidding here], traditionalism, etc., that Claim they are 'feminists' but truly are MISOGYNIST TO THE CORE. They are our worst enemies, speaking on women's rights terms that is, they truly are...

    for whatever reason they worship the phallic male, because it IS phallic-center worship, they also many of them, Assimilate into maleness, because they value male characteristics/via constructs while demonizing feminine whether those traits or natural or by constructs, doesn't matter, and This is part of what we term as the backlash. You can thank the patriarchal mens right's agenda for this...most of them whom are conservative and/or Christian.

    Many women caved, that and many women sold others out FOR power, ambition, what I call ambition whores, this is why women IN power who have not confronted internalized misogyny and constructs will NOT help to liberate women [e.g. women in ministry], they'll only assimilate and become parrots for men.

    This is what it seems that you've run into, but Be aware, the Psychiatric/psychology fields in of themselves are VERY misogynist, always have been, they are VERY pro-pedophile, man's right AT the expense of victims, meaning women, they have a history of horrid experimentation on women such as lobotomies, etc., and this field is Still very heavily dominated by misogynist and occult influences, that's fact...those of us survivors of RA [ritual abuse] KNOW that many in this field are what we call, of the dark side, so to speak,

  13. [cont] so you have to be VERY careful, especially if being a woman OR a survivor of Any kind of sexual abuse, of counselors, it's a second field of Exploitation of women--be Aware of this. What you NEED to LOOK for in a counselor is something is is WOMAN CENTERED with a background study in Gender Constructs, and check to see if they are post modern feminists,

    because Most of them ARE the fun feminist or sex-positive which Means, in favor of porn, bdsm, pedophilia sympathies, etc., basically, women with dicks.

    Sorry but that's the gist of it...And many of these women, professional, get OFF on the attention of men, it's a Power trip, Just because they hold a degree, doesn't mean squat, I know a lot of idiots to put it mildly who hold doctorates, they simply Spew the mind control academia DOCTRINES...politicized, you have to really do a lot of questioning and Go with your gut,

    which is what it sounds like you did and YOU were right, those Instincts, God gave us, follow them. There is a myth that because it's a woman they'll understand, it's a myth

    women perpetuate the patriarchy and misogyny both in religion AND in the secular, though many Rad Fems will say this is the only way women can survive in patriarchal world, I strongly disagree...I think a lot of it is simply because they lust for power.

    Therapies are good, but they are Only as good as the person working with you while being healed and what I mean by that is, that what Works in therapy is not so much the 'methods' as the heart of the one working with you...IF that heart is not in agreement, then the energy is already wrong,

    and it can actually work Against you, rather than for you. And this is where a lot of unhealthy dependence on therapies happens...and believe me, it's Meant to be that way, that whole field is profit driven, you really have to watch out for that, medical that is,

    anything that charges for profit, one should be put on notice. Especially, women, contact Domestic Violence shelters for Good counselors for women, that THEY HAVE USED,

    also anger management, who Work with men, would be good source...they Know all to well the games men play. This is where the criminal system, often has better resources, sometimes, it depends,

    but also be aware that there IS a very strong backlash in our culture where DV is concerned, again, we can thank the poor poor menz rights agenda for this, our media, our porn culture,

  14. and it's filtering in everywhere. This is why I am involved in yes radical feminism, even if I may not concur with many of the anti-religious beliefs, because they Are women centered and they are not in the 'worshiping' the phallic crap,

    you know It is bad, when we now have, pole dancers for Jesus, no joke, that's the new 'in' thing now--it's gotten pathetic. You know it's bad, when us rad fems are fighting porn and rape culture and the increasing bdsm [horrid] culture and the majority of those opposed to our work ARE IN FACT,

    WOMEN, those fun feminist, corporate types, either traditionalist or liberal--

    when you have women who are embracing rape as kink, you KNOW we are in Babylon...and you know, there are Many rad fems, who are beginning to See it, and many are paying attention, to even those of us, who believe in Jesus,

    That is how bad it's getting out there. The focus needs to be 'off' of him, it is NOT your responsibility to make Him happy, to cure Him, to Fix Him, HIS BEHAVIOR IS HIS DOING, HE NEEDS TO GROW UP,

    and this counselor, is Enabling his childish behavior, and endangering the lives of those around him.

    I'd report her to the ethics and STATE board IMMEDIATELY, damn right I would,

    let them investigate, we have Enough male violence out there, we do not need therapists playing into their hands, Grooming more Victims,

    I'd also report her to all the DV shelters in your area, and be Strong about it.

    Stand your ground...therapy, does not mean we sell our souls or our common sense--she is NOT a 'goddess'

    no matter how many menz she panders to or how many she gets to desire her or whatever her issue is--she is abusing power, all there is to it, an attention whore....[I know, crass but you know I don't waste words]

    And I would bet money, she has far more Male clients, than female...I'd bet on it.



  15. sorry long post, Reason I share this btw, I think the shelter of church culture, for women, often leaves them with this misguided belief that Because there are women in fields in the secular, that these women will be For women and against male violence, patriarchal values, etc., because it's OUTSIDE of church culture,

    this is far from the truth and is I think, really one of the more Dangerous influences on women who are YES either challenging patriarchal and spiritual abuses/in church culture, etc., OR who are leaving that, and they go to the secular hoping to find solidarity,

    not realizing that many are actually wolves who are Just as bad as the wolves in church. I saw this a lot on the ex-quiverfull, one example, what I term as 'gatekeepers' and these influences, are Just as misogynist if not MORE SO than the doctrines that have kept women bound,

    when women leave or challenge these environments they are So happy to find those who embrace them and who SEEM women friendly, but it's not always as it appears, there are Just as many if not WORSE misogynist influences and enemies of women OUTSIDE of church culture,

    many of whom yes claim to be Liberal. Reason I know, was liberal for years, so knowing what it is to live in a very restrictive fundie environment then to go to a very liberal one, only to find many of the same kinds of forces work in both,

    and the thing is, sometimes it's not too clear, this is Why having internal strengths, rather than Dependence on others, is so vital for women, not easy to come by however. But in this day and age, necessary,

    this goes for men too, but I speak here to women leaving abuse or dealing abuse in Christianese culture...knowledge is key here, it's NOT just abuses against women IN church, women need to know about the History of male violence in Culture period, as well as in fields, hierarchies, etc., Because you ARE going to run into this time and time again, in the world,

    the church doesn't prepare women for this, and the Wolves [allegory] wait, for Exactly women who have been victimized Especially where there is money and power to be made from,

    this is what exploitation is, why women are vulnerable, especially those who have left violence relationships. You simply cannot trust everyone, it yes sucks, you have to develop a thick skin,

    wise as a serpent, harmless as a dove, you know,

    it's about being Empowered, not Dis-empowered, any therapist that is working to Dis-empower you,

    you need to look elsewhere.

    Same goes for anyplace, be it college or job [what you can do you know], who you get support from, etc., environments ARE important, there tends to be this belief that women who leave violent relationships can be OK in environments that are conducive to perpetuating co dependence,

    I think it's very dangerous and only works to set us up to continue unhealthy patterns...because our radars are off--

    boundaries...if a therapist doesn't respect boundaries, it doesn't matter What type of therapy they use or what...because it's simply just Replacing the bondage, rituals, of abuse.

    Does that make sense?

    It takes time, to work on the radar, to TRUST your inner voice, your self, Christianese culture teaches women [and men actually] to NOT trust the inner self,

    there needs to be some balance there...your gut was telling you, and I can guarantee you your gut was right.

    Bravo btw, for trusting your COURAGE, and walking away,

    it means, you're on the way to being healed, and FREE.

    Take some solace in that.



  16. so sorry to hear you've been living through the down side of the cycle lately. it sucks. it hurts. I couldn't function when I was there.

    I've been away from him for just over a year now and it has been a challenge, but in such a beautiful way...

    suddenly I see myself again, I continue on the path of self discovery that was severed when our relationship began, unbeknownst to me at the time

    God is faithful. he will see you through. there is no "right" answer. all we can do is the next thing we perceive as right.

    thank God you are trusting yourself, that's what it boiled down to for me. but his definitions of me still ring in my ears even after a year away.

    great song: "king of anything" by sara bareilles

    I appreciate reading your story and the comments, having been there recently.

    it really is freedom on the other side.

  17. Thanks, Allison. I appreciate your support. =)