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