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Counselor says trust and forgive now or divorce

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HurtButHopeful? posted 7/15/2013 19:17 PM

What is your take on this?

I told H in MC today that I didn't know if I would ever feel safe in the M again, and that I didn't know if I could ever trust him again. We had troubles before the A, but I felt safe and I could forgive him. My new feelings are directly connected to the trauma the A caused.

Our MC said I have hurt WH too, by attitudes, and disrespecting him in my tone and words, and if I don't know if I'll ever be able to trust or forgive H, for having an A then I should just "let him loose" now.

She said our M is doomed if I am not able to trust or forgive him.

She said that I can't compare my pain to his, and that he didn't cause me more pain by his A than I have caused him by attitudes or disrespect over the years.

When she said that, I told her I disagree, but then I turned to my H and told him, "If you want to listen to her, then let's go now and file the papers." MC got upset with me and said, "Don't put him in that position."

I really don't know what to think. Am I a sociopath, with no real connection to reality or other people's feelings but my own? I'm beginning to wonder.

One friend told me to get a new MC if she is giving me ultimatums. I don't want to run/quit counselling just because I hear something I don't like. Sometimes our MC will get one of us riled up to see our reaction.

After that, H and I began having some real communication, while MC sat silently. She did say that we should say to each other: what do you want me to do? instead of playing tit-for-tat when we start having trouble commmunicating.

What do you all think?

painpaingoaway posted 7/15/2013 19:23 PM

I don't want to run/quit counselling just because I hear something I don't like.
Ummm...I suggest you run. She needs to have her license revoked.

SuperDuperWonderboy posted 7/15/2013 19:36 PM

She said that I can't compare my pain to his, and that he didn't cause me more pain by his A than I have caused him by attitudes or disrespect over the years.

I believe my head would have exploded upon hearing this.

Please find another counselor, preferably one without shit for brains.

HurtButHopeful? posted 7/15/2013 19:39 PM

She is the second counselor who has said that I should not be struggling with trust and forgiveness by this time (today is a trigger because 4 years ago today he left our home to go back to OW after asking me for a D to M her.)

IDK...yes I do know. The A has damaged me deeply....I realized today that it brought back an old issue I had dealt with years ago...fear of abandonment. Now, every day, I am aware that I could be blindsided. Our children and I could be dumped by H for someone, or something else without any warning. I thought he was committed to me and our children "Till death do us part." But by his A, he added a little clause, "Until one of us meets someone younger, cuter, needier, smaller, (fill in the blank)."

He's committed to us for now...when that might change again...IDK.

still-living posted 7/15/2013 19:40 PM

I do believe that a marriage can significantly improve if a BS regains a high level of trust and also that you forgive him. Obviously the WS needs to help you reach this point, but also, it requires work on your part to build your confidence to begin trusting yourself, knowing that you will be strong enough should it happen again, understanding how it happened, and understanding how you both have changed (if this is true) and how it likely will not happen again (if you both have changed), and also knowing that forgiveness is a gift that you give yourself. Is it possible that IC would be more helpful to you than this MC?

Alexisk17 posted 7/15/2013 19:45 PM

While our MC said it differently I would have to say that he offered similar advice. I figured I would give him the benefit of the doubt for 6 months and make a decision then. One thing that really stuck with me was when MC said that I could either have anxiety and mistrust or a happy marraige... not both.

We spent the first 5 or 6 sessions working on our lack of communication and picturing what we wanted our new marraige to look like and how it will work. Only then did we start to talk about the A and the pain/trauma it caused.

Our pain as the BS is recognizable to everyone around us. It is no surprise that we feel this way. My WH though has been hurting for a long time. Some of that pain was caused by me and I should be held accountable for that. He had poor coping skills and chose to cheat instead of getting help for our broken marraige. I will not shoulder any of that blame.

This is only my experience though and what is working for us. It sounds like you need to find a MC who you are both comfortable with or else it could stall progress.


njgal480 posted 7/15/2013 19:50 PM

What is it with all of these uneducated counselors out there?
None of them are up on the current theories having to do with infidelity.
Authors like Shirley Glass in Not Just Friends describes how traumatic infidelity is for the BS.
We cannot simply forgive and move on.
A good book about the traumatic effect is Transcending Post Infidelity Stress Disorder by Dr. Ortman.
He wrote this after he saw a pattern with all of his clients that were betrayed by infidelity.They displayed symptoms of PTSD.
Not something that you can just 'get over'.
I think this counselor was a WS herself and she is relating too much with your WH.
I would look for a new counselor.

HurtButHopeful? posted 7/15/2013 20:00 PM

WH is/has been NC. He will answer all my q's but he never initiates a conversation to share any of his insights, or what he is learning (he is not in IC.)


I was in IC with our current MC for 2 years. She helped me a lot. I think I might get a different IC, if I go again, because she seems to be biased.

My H is a likeable person, and generally, if she asks him how things are going in our M, he says things are good/getting better. If there has been a problem during the week, he thinks we got through it better than before. But our M was always that way: ignore the elephant in the middle of the livingroom. I'm the bad person for pointing out the elephant. I don't even think he sees the elephant sometimes.

I don't know if I will ever feel safe again in our M. I'm getting older, have been a SAHM and homeschooling our children for 18 years. Our younger children want to continue homeschooling and so do I. That means my career is on hold for 6 more years. I'll be 59...just starting my career again?

When we had our first child we both agreed I'd be a SAHM and homeschool, then I'd help our children when they got M and started having families of their own...if they wanted my help...we had no help from family, and it was very difficult never having a I want to be available to help our children. I don't want to go back to work outside the home.

H's A threw me for a loop. When he was with OW, he said the children could go back to public school, I could go back to work and get govt. help....he went back on everything he had formerly said. Now he says he thinks the way he did before the A...

How can one change so drastically, back and forth? What is real?

Maybe my mind has been so rattled by the A, I'll never trust what I see or hear.

HurtButHopeful? posted 7/15/2013 20:10 PM

Thank you, Alexisk17

He had poor coping skills and chose to cheat instead of getting help for our broken marriage.

This is what I need to know about in order to begin trusting he won't do it again. But MC isn't going into any of that. WH doesn't go into that.

Because of his lack of communication with me about the why's, I am afraid he'll revert back to his old coping skills...which led him down the slippery slope.

He's not having an A, says he has good boundaries with women, nor using porn...but if he doesn't face the whys...

Honest communication, initiated by him, about himself, on a regular basis, is what I need to build trust, and with trust, I believe forgiveness will come.

njgal: Transcending Post Infidelity Stress Disorder by Dr. Ortman. I'll get this book this week. Thank you!

edited again to add: When I was searching Amazon for the above book, I found another that people liked even more: Your Sexually Addicted Spouse: How Partners Can Cope and Heal
Barbara Steffens getting that one tonight!

[This message edited by HurtButHopeful? at 8:33 PM, July 15th (Monday)]

Lionne posted 7/15/2013 20:28 PM

I have a question. When was the last lie, deception or other betrayal, such as his attempt to blame you for his infidelity? Then you have to count your healing from that date.

And if that date is less that 2.5 years ago, then you are certainly well within the time frame that the experts HERE (those who have lived and breathed the injury) have indicated that it takes to heal.

Betrayal leads to the BS feeling unsafe, YOU didn't do that to yourself. And if you have any prior issues of abandonment, those have been inflamed by your WS's behavior, both the affairs and the continued cheating with porn.

The MC is an idiot. You aren't just hearing things you don't like, you are being disrespected and the fact that your husband cheated on you is being compared to you being angry with him about other things. She should be validating you.

HurtButHopeful? posted 7/15/2013 20:40 PM

When was the last lie, deception or other betrayal, such as his attempt to blame you for his infidelity?


A year ago, March 2012 I discovered he had lied to us about being late to a family evening out. He had been acting like I was unreasonable being upset that he was an hour late...the event was over. He said he had been late because he had gotten an important phone call. When I saw the computer open in the bathroom, I asked for his PW and he gave it to me. There was the porn.

He said he was relieved he was caught...he wanted to be caught. My IC (same one) told me he put me in the mother position, and him in the bad boy position...which I HATE!

He said he hasn't looked at it since, and sporadically goes to SA meetings.

The porn and lying took me back to square 1...but farther back, because it was now the 2nd lie and betrayal while I was trusting him fully.

So I'm 15 months into our new R.

blakesteele posted 7/15/2013 20:50 PM

Counselors are people are medical such they make mistakes. Not saying your counselor made a mistake but it is possible.

And just like medical doctors, some of their techniques are sound but do cause pain. She may have a valid plan to help you both.

I do however question her understanding of the trauma that you are experiencing when she states you have damaged your husband in the same way and intensity as his affair has caused you.

As we go through counseling I am NOW seeing how some of my actions hurt intimacy and actually reinforced some of my wifes poor coping mechanisms that she had before we even met. So yes I have a role to change my ways and replace them with ways that build intimacy. But to say I caused the same level of damage, same level of pain to her as her decision to have an affair is sooooo not even in the ball park of correctness. It is so the difference between a neighborhood t-ball game in the empty lot and the 7th game of the world series. (I might be a bit biased here...but I have never read anything about a WS having PTSD...and I don't see my wife triggering over last time I fell asleep on the sofa after coming home from work).

I too feel as you do ... able to ask any question I want to my wife and she answers...but she does not regularly initiate such interactions. I think this is normal...would prefer it not be this way...but I get their stance.

Also, with regards to your husband saying you should go back to work then returning to his original stance...I think this too is normal. While the WS recovers from their broken relationship with their AP...they do some strange things....things not at all inline with their true soul. I think this is because in addition to lying to us they lied to themselves...and they are scared to reveal this to their they rewrite foundational stances to ease their own shock at what they have done.

Just a thought...who knows if I am close to right. I just know my wife said and emailed things in a way that appeared to be 100% accurate and true...only to find out later they were just diversionary tactics as she readied herself to accept more responsibility of what she had done.

So try not to read to much into the time when your husband reversed his stance on you staying at home...and reversed it again to come back to the original stance. I know that is easier said then done...and I continue to struggle with what I have read and what she has said during this time....just impossible to completely remove this from the fabric that is this trauma.

I have read both Just Friends and PTSD books that were mentioned...these were my two favorite out of the 20 or so I have read regarding this trauma.

As far as I am concerned every counselor out there should read these...and assign them to their clients.

[This message edited by blakesteele at 8:59 PM, July 15th (Monday)]

sisoon posted 7/15/2013 22:29 PM

I see a 2009 registration date and think maybe the MC is right and it's time for you to decide. Then I see a false R until a year ago and think this MC sure sounds like she's taken a side, which is IMO a major violation of her role.

"If you want to listen to her, then let's go now and file the papers." MC got upset with me and said, "Don't put him in that position."

If MC really said 'Trust or D', her getting upset when you made a choice seems more evidence that she's taken your H's side.

This MC sounds like she's damaging your relationship.

WRT your H's pain, sure he's in pain - he's really effed up his life, your life, your kids's lives. What has he done to heal?

[This message edited by sisoon at 10:31 PM, July 15th (Monday)]

Missymomma posted 7/15/2013 22:44 PM

Woah, woah. You just threw in there he goes to SA now. Are you two seeing a marital CSAT? Is he seeing a CSAT? SAs are very manipulative and regular therapists are not equipped to handle them. (Of course there will be a few exceptions, but not many). A marital CSAT would not be pushing forgiveness already. They say 3-5 years from formal disclosure before forgiveness should be entertained, and a lot of work during that time.

HurtButHopeful? posted 7/15/2013 22:55 PM


To be fair, our MC used to be a CSAT for many years. She left that to be a regular counselor b/c sexual offenders (not just sex addicts) cases were so intense and sometimes depressing. My H was told by his IC that he probably wasn't a full-fledged SA, but just looking at porn, and a little out of control. Since WH hasn't had a great struggle staying away from porn, he feels he has been freed from it, and his IC agreed. He is no longer seeing an IC, but is attending SA meetings sporadically.

nuance posted 7/15/2013 22:56 PM

Ask the next MC beforehand what s/he thinks about it. Only hire after that.

It took me 9 years for me to forgive my FWW. And I'll never trust 100% anyone again ever. So there's that...

Missymomma posted 7/15/2013 23:18 PM

I can imagine that having treated sex offenders was draining. Not all CSATs will do that line of work, unless they work at a facility and then those are some of the clients. Mine has worked with offenders in the past.

Does she agree that your WH is not an SA? Going to meetings sporadically and not working the steps, is a little concerning but I am not clear whether he was diagnosed as SA or not? How long after your last DDay did he stop therapy?

It is kind of shocking to me that a marital CSAT would insist you decide whether to trust and forgive or let him loose, only one year after your last DDay. All of their training and literature says 3-5 years. Did you challenge her on this? Although, if she quit a while back, that was before Carnes therapy had evolved to stop placing so much blame on the spouse. Trauma model wasn't embraced by Carnes until recently.

HurtButHopeful? posted 7/15/2013 23:35 PM


Who/What is Carnes?

Our MC hasn't addressed whether or not she thinks H is a SA. She has mostly been working on our (lack of) communication skills. She said neither of us is nice to each other, and today said that we are very much the same.

She did tell H several weeks ago that had she been I, she wouldn't have stayed M to him after what he did...if she has taken sides, it happened later. I don't think she has taken sides...I think she was frustrated, and was also trying to get a reaction. She says I am a strong woman, and direct...more so than she, so she pushes buttons on purpose sometimes. I do need a 2x4 at times, and she will give me one. But this time, she really bothered me.

I did tell her that I disagreed, and she acknowledged that she heard me. She and I are very different, and I do appreciate her...a lot, actually.

Perhaps, like you said she has been out of the loop of the current stuff, and was going off older ideas.

I can be a nag, short, have an attitude...hey! I have latin blood, from the "Old Country" and all this was pre-A. But I did not make my H cheat...I will not take responsibility for that choice.

I will D him if and when I decide....not a minute earlier, and not a minute later. It's my call, and I won't let any counselor coerce me into doing anything.

I hate to just quit seeing her...I am not a quitter. I'd at least like to go to the last meeting, and tell her "You're fired."

Missymomma posted 7/15/2013 23:40 PM

You don't have to quit if you don't want to! It does sound like you and your WH pulled together a little in therapy. Sounds like she has a different approach/style than I am used to in therapy. If she is pushing buttons for a reaction, that is a little different than the style of therapist I prefer.

I am kind of surprised she hasn't addressed whether he is an SA or not. Our marital CSAT pushed my SAWH to start with a different CSAT because he obviously didn't have a good recovery going when we started going to her.

womaninflux posted 7/16/2013 00:57 AM

Patrick Carnes is the Ph.D who pioneered the acceptance/mainstreaming of SA as a bonafide disease. Many of the CSATs in practice today have embraced his work/approach and put it into practice as they treat their clients.

You really should read up on him/his work.

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