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Ivyivy posted 2/22/2014 14:31 PM

Just to follow up on my post from yesterday. See below for my email and a follow up response from the MC. Let me know your thoughts. I guess I have trouble trusting my own judgement these days.
My Email

As I said in my last email, I am truly dumbfounded by your response. I think that the phrase that really clinched it for me though was:

Affairs only happen in marriages where communication is not possible.

That is one hell of a presumptuous assumption to be making. Maybe that was the cause of my husband's affair - but I am sure that there are plenty of marriages out there with good communication where affairs still happen (for all sorts of reasons). Finally, affairs happen because people make choices on how to handle situations that may not be ideal. I will not accept even 1% of the blame for WH's choice.

At this point, I am comfortable saying that I will not be coming to marriage counseling again and will also recommend that WH seek a new counselor who may have a more reasonable perspective.

MC's Response

Who asked you to accept blame for WH's choice? That is logically impossible. Did you read my point about marital breakdown not being an issue of blame? That the only way , in your marriage, that you each know how to hear each other or to talk to each other involves blame ...and, blame is toxic and a dead end?

Your marriage is in crisis. Your family is at stake. I don't need to tell you that. And, you remained fixed in your insistence that we approach the crisis as a question of blame. You are certain it is only an issue of blame, and WH's choice and behavior is 100% immoral in your beliefs....and, so he bears 100% blame for both ...both...for his choice/behavior (where you are 100% correct) and for the crisis in your marriage (where you are quite incorrect). The second part is impossible because marriage is a joint enterprise and the dynamics that ensue (including cases of total breakdown in communication) happen in the space "between" two people. Two people with their own, distinct, and apparently incompatible subjectivities. There are two subjects in a marriage not just an "I".

You effectively demean yourself to reduce your self to "a victim" in your marriage. You are very much more than that. And, if you won't let yourself be more than that in the marriage, then it is obviously over. There is no marriage possible between a all-responsible and all-powerful perpetrator and a spouse who is nothing other than a powerless and impact-less victim. Victims have no power, no depth, no will, no complexity, no effect on others. Truly. It is a horrible way to reduce a this case yourself. WH lied and betrayed you continuously but he did not make you a victim. You insist on making that of yourself. For, if you insist that WH is nothing more than a criminal and you are a totally un-implicated bystander of an assault...then you will make yourself the opposite pole, a powerless and totally -reduced being that has become "victim" as the cornerstone of her identity in the marriage.

That path will mean that your marriage will end as I wrote you ...with you building a stronger and stronger prosecutorial case against an absolutely and 100% uncaring monster who you are certain has no capacity to ever learn to love . He doesn't know how to love you, nor do you know how to love him. This is not engaging in any hope for healing, it is 100% adversarial. If you remain here ...then, you need to take this to a lawyer. must cannot prosecute and sentence in your own case, as victim # so and so. You need lawyers to fight that case, and you will surely find a capable one willing to build the case with you.

In the end, you will have the pleasure of tremendous, righteous rage and of lasting bitter anger that can't be metabolized. You will have missed an enormous opportunity to believe in yourself and in your marriage to grow and to heal. And, the children will undoubtedly suffer psychological consequences. Whenever there is this degree of animosity and polarization in the story of a marriage, the children will be more adversely affected than if their parents can find the resources to remain engaged in dialogue as adults in crisis, with professional help, even if they opt for divorce. They will have a monster as a father and a rageful and bitter mother. They will be forced to choose sides since the story is presented as having no complexity and no true "subjectivity"...their parents are reduced to just a two-dimensional victim and criminal. And the air remains poisoned with rage. This harms children, period.

If you insist on nothing else but this story of your marriage, a tale of all good and all evil, of all powerful and determinant and all powerless and victimized, you can never never re-construct a marriage...and here I mean, matter how much responsibility/percent-culpability you could get WH to own and how much payment of damages you could extract. Victim and perpetrator will never be a marriage.

Indeed, I will retract "only" from the quote you highlight in your email. In a logical argument, one should never talk about "every" and "always". I apologize for that. The description about possible communication characterizes most of the couples who come to therapy, either after an affair, or not. That is what I can say without over-statement. Good call on that one.

I'm curious about your bafflement. You didn't recognize any similarities between your marriage and the reasoning I laid out regarding a mutually encountered impossibility of understanding each other ? A marriage where the partners have been emotionally distant and disengaged for years a marriage of silences and avoidance a marriage with what seems/seemed like unbridgeable gaps in understanding the other a marriage with simmering rage and disaffection a marriage of hopeless feelings?

Of course you don't have to return to see me, and I will respect that decision. I pledge to say/write no more. I have said my piece. But, if you both do decide that I might be able to help, then, I would be glad to remain involved as the couple WH'a therapist if he so chooses...or, as nobody's therapist as you indicate you are feeling right now.

Think a bit, BS, of the time and effort I have chosen to invest in these communications today and see if you can muster a smidgen of doubt about my true intentions. If I wanted to be an advocate and supporter of WH at your expense, would I need to communicate with you about what I see happening to you? Spend half of my day for research and writing (about the nature of subjectivity and about the issues around sex and fidelity in marriage) writing to you? I could bad-mouth you all I wanted in my office with WH alone if I wanted to take his side and incite him and if I wanted to try to influence in a direction so that the marriage has no chance. I haven't sent WH any bcc of these emails. I have been talking impassioned just to you because I see you making your life worse. I came home from Shabbat services intending to try to follow the injunction to rest, because I don't. And, I answered you because I am upset , BS. You can tell I am upset. But, you will probably be certain that my upset is animosity towards you, that I have malevolent intent towards you. If I felt animosity, BS, I would never give you my time and passionate entreaties as I have today. It is easier to give not a speck of energy nor a speck of valuable caring to someone you feel so critical of or so much animosity towards. That is also the case between you and WH, by the way. There is a ton of caring still invested and buried behind the rage. Maybe I am giving voice to the caring that neither of you can express towards each other. Or, maybe, you will think, I am an incompetent and arrogant ass who couldn't care less about you? Probably what you will conclude. If so, that is a shame. I doubled down on my highly unusual means of trying to resuscitate this marriage....I've written you again and more impassioned. You will feel you know what I really am trying to exonerate WH at your expense. You will think what you want. I have no more to say, finally.

[This message edited by Ivyivy at 8:45 AM, February 27th, 2014 (Thursday)]

atsenaotie posted 2/22/2014 14:38 PM

I already commented about my opinion on the approach to MC and A recovery this MC takes, so I will not repeat that here.

I am surprised that this MC continues the email exchanges. For this reason alone I would look for another MC/IC. Email and text are, in my opinion, horrible ways to manage emotionally difficult discussions. There is huge room for miss-interpretation, there is little to no feedback on facial expression, tone, and body language.

I would have expected the MC to acknowledge your feelings and recommend that they be a point for discussion at the next session, or perhaps some IC with you to better get to know you before more MC efforts. I would not expect arguing with a client via email.

-- ats

ShiningAutumn8 posted 2/22/2014 14:41 PM

I can barely make sense of it, as she is so verbous. Alot seems like word salad to me. Its good she admitted her statement was wrong. But the rest just gives me a headache. Its too hard to even sifest whay she's saying. For that alone I'd probably pick another counseler.

Did you or will you post what your original letter to WH said?

ShiningAutumn8 posted 2/22/2014 14:47 PM

I also was wondering, is it normal for a counseler to communicate by email like this? I agree it leaves lots of room for misinterpretation.

I also do not care for how she says "you will react like this" or "you will think this" in essense, basically accusing you of having a certain response to her emails. It seems odd and unprofessional to me.

Tearsoflove posted 2/22/2014 14:50 PM

So what he is saying that if you don't see it his way then the only alternative is divorce? Seriously?

While he makes some valid points about needing to open lines of communication and work to make that better, if you husband is not working on whatever inside him allowed him to justify an affair, it will happen over and over again whether he is with you or someone else. If he stays with you, you will always fear another affair unless you feel safe because he's done the work on himself. It really doesn't matter if you forgive him if he hasn't done the work and considers the marriage at fault for his behavior.

His implication is also that a victim of a betrayal (not necessarily a crime) is incapable of being a survivor. It's either you decide that you are a participant in your betrayal or you remain a victim and that's completely illogical. I'd hate to see how he would counsel a victim of rape or any other crime since his insistence that by feeling betrayed, you continue to paint yourself as a victim and that it means you believe the perpetrator has no capability to change or improve. Humanity doesn't work that way. Feeling betrayed does not mean that you believe your husband can't improve. But his refusal to hold your husband accountable for the betrayal because he has excuses for it (notice I said excuses, not reasons) allows your husband to skate by without doing any real work.

It sounds to me as if your husband painted you as completely non-communicative and rigid in his IC sessions and the therapist had already given him a pass because of it. It does not sound as if he believes that the perpetrator of betrayal owes the victim of that betrayal (and yes, you are a victim of betrayal) any type of remorse. It's just pretend it didn't happen and move on or you stay a victim. That outlook is bullshit. Without seeing remorse from the perpetrator, it will be very difficult to forgive and without your husband acknowledging his betrayal and showing remorse, it will be very difficult for him not to continue to use you as an excuse for bad behavior.

The therapist is a sanctimonious dolt. Wonderful that he acknowledged that your husband is responsible for having an affair. Too bad it doesn't matter if he acknowledges it---only if your husband does and that isn't likely to happen as long as the therapist continues to move forward as if there is ever a good reason for an affair. It's not as if your husband cut you off in traffic. He betrayed you, risked your health, broke promises. If we owe someone we bump into an apology, why would we get a pass on betraying the person we were supposed to put above all others?

Dealing with the infidelity first will open you up to dealing with marital issues. Not the other way around.

[This message edited by Tearsoflove at 3:00 PM, February 22nd (Saturday)]

Dreamboat posted 2/22/2014 14:55 PM

With all do respect, this guy is a bluthering idiot who likes to hear himself talk.

He seems to believe that you have cast yourself as a victim your entire life and you have doomed your M because of that. He does not seemed to be able to understand that you are a victim of your WS betrayal, just like someone who is mugged is a victim. Your WS ran you over with a mack truck and this guy is standing over your bloodied body saying "Don't be a victim." He does not seem to realize that before you can begin to heal emotionally, you DO need your WH to accept the blame of betrayal completely. This guy wants to skip over that part and start to work on the issues in the M before the A started, without recognizing that you cannot heal a M when one of the spouses is an unremorseful WS. Perhaps this guy is seeing regret in your WS and confusing it with remorse. They are not the same. I am only speculating here and I don't know what this guy and your WS have discussed. But I do know that if you sent the MC a list of issues you are still having, then WS has done little to address your concerns since dday. And to me, that means he is not fully remorseful.

The one thing that this guy said that I agree with is that I do think he cares. That does not make him any less of an idiot. I do not see 1/2 day of research in anything he said in this letter or the previous letter. He just seems to repeat himself over and over but using different words and sentences.

Cut your losses and go NC with this guy. If you are not in IC then I suggest that you find one. Allow your WS to work on his issues and work with your own IC to try to start to heal and save MC for a later date.

[This message edited by Dreamboat at 2:59 PM, February 22nd (Saturday)]

TheGarden posted 2/22/2014 15:00 PM

This therapist is:

1) Way too emotionally invested in and worked up about you and your story. A good therapist would not be arguing with a client via email.

2) Completely wrong to be telling you he knows beyond a shadow of a doubt what will happen to you or your marriage (if you don't do what he tells you to do).

3) Still a really bad writer. As an academic myself (in the field, even), it is my personal belief that as the writing goes, so goes the thinking process. Rambling, disjointed writing = rambling, disjointed thinking. I don't believe for a second that this person is a serious researcher. If he is, someone else must construct his many journal articles about "issues around sex and fidelity in marriage".

4) Related to #3: uses a lot of five-dollar therapy "buzz words". They sound important and scary, but they really don't add much to his argument.

5) Is trying to manipulate you by bringing up your children. Think of the children, IvyIvy! If you don't come back to therapy with me, your children will SUFFER! You wouldn't want that, would you, IvyIvy?

6) Thinks a lot of himself and his powers of healing / prediction.

Also, I haven't gotten the sense from your posts that you perceive yourself as a victim, only that you are angry with WS (as you have every right to be).

Regardless, even if there are grains of truth somewhere in this opus, this person is at a minimum not capable of expressing them to you (or possibly anyone) in a helpful and professional way. For that reason alone, I would ditch this guy so fast his head would spin.

We have a habit in this country of treating mental health professionals as though they are all-knowing and all-seeing, but the sad truth is that in far too many cases they are just flawed human beings like everyone else, and there are many who are bad at their job. Even the good ones won't be able to connect with every client.

We all have a responsibility to ourselves to listen to that voice inside that tells us when a professional we have hired is not working out for us. There is absolutely no reason why you should ever stick with a therapist who patronizes you, who takes your WS's side, who writes you overly emotional diatribes, who only wants to work on your WS's dissatisfaction with the marriage when you are emotionally bleeding out all over his office floor, or with whom you simply don't feel comfortable. Move on, and please don't feel guilty about it. There are many other fish (mental health professionals) in the sea - shop around until you find someone who helps you cope instead of instigating self-doubt and grief.

[This message edited by TheGarden at 3:04 PM, February 22nd (Saturday)]

rachelc posted 2/22/2014 15:02 PM

This MC needs to be reported!
Also, it appears he suffers from a case of narcissism..
Please don't engage with him anymore...,

Dreamboat posted 2/22/2014 15:03 PM

5) Is trying to manipulate you by bringing up your children. Think of the children, IvyIvy! If you don't come back to therapy with me, your children will SUFFER! You wouldn't want that, would you, IvyIvy?

Yes, I completely skipped over this. IMO, statements like that are very manipulative and borderline evil.

SisterMilkshake posted 2/22/2014 15:03 PM

I do believe this MC isn't being malicious in his intentions towards you. He is just wrong, dead wrong. Clueless in how to really help a BS heal from infidelity.

What he doesn't seem to understand that your marriage is in crisis from your WH's infidelity, PERIOD. That is what needs to be dealt with first and foremost. And, yes we are victims as BS's. We are victims from actions and choices that we had no say in but bear the most heinous of consequences. It does us no good to stay in victim mode, but we should be validated that we were victimized.

Pre A marital issues will be dealt with after the crisis of infidelity is beaten to death with a stick or until you, the BS, says "enough" you have all you need and are satisfied, for the most part, that your WS has truly "gotten" it and has owned his shit 100%. Then we move on to pre A marital issues, communication being probably a very important first step in that journey. Yes, they are fully to blame for their choice. There is blame. WS needs to accept the blame. Nothing in the marriage "made" anyone do something.

gonnabe2016 posted 2/22/2014 15:14 PM

The guy just totally talks in circles...

Gotmegood posted 2/22/2014 15:16 PM

Yikes! Many many uncomfortable and I even think unprofessional moments from this e-mail have been pointed out already by others. But I will add , talk about throwing guilt! And, I'm sorry, but an e-mail????? "You insist on making yourself a victim" ???? This is not helpful. Just adding my voice, I would dump this counsellor IN A HEARTBEAT.
I'm sorry you ended up with this person, and think that you certainly are NOT behaving as if you want to be a victim, nor ever wanted to be a victim. You seem strong to me. And strong people speak up when something doesn't seem right. Good for you!

Take2 posted 2/22/2014 15:26 PM

With something as personal as counseling - a professional should know that not every client/counselor is a good match. Your letter was direct and to the point. The responses you've received are anything but professional. He should be wishing you well and gracefully backing out. Instead he seems to have taken it personally...

And if he'd done any research - I dare say he'd have stumbled on the reality that some people deal with stress by cheating, some are self-destructing, some are looking for a high...

I don't know how long ago your Dday was, I'm assuming it is only recently that you learned of it or sought MC for it -- but your profile says it was a LTA... That is a huge blow!! Now if you'd been in counseling for a year and he was pushing this I might understand it, but directing you toward marital communication issues is like tending to your sprained ankle when you are bleeding out. And telling you that your only alternative is to be a bitter, divorced victim for the rest of your life...? Excuse me? This guy not only sounds arrogant but he sounds like a NPD asshole. And no - I don't believe he truly cares. I think he is more focused on proving himself right and you wrong.

NC - you've said your peace, walk away. He isn't going to be of any help.

Gosh - that letter pissed me off!

Oftencheatedon posted 2/22/2014 15:34 PM

No reputable counselor would ever send a communication like this. Extremely inappropriate.

I have associates who work in the mental health field with varying qualifications - psychiatrists, psychologists, LCSW, etc. Not one of them would ever do anything like this.

Not all counselors are good. Some are just mistaken and some like this one are just off track. I had one that I went to many, many years ago that kept telling me that I needed to cut my ties with my mother and do my own thing.

It was laughable as I'd ignored both parents' opiinions on where I went to college, where I lived, etc. I figured that she had a major "mother" issue and had decided that all problems originated there.

undertherug posted 2/22/2014 15:52 PM

I also had a lot of trouble following the MC's ramblings. Sincerely hope you don't receive a bill for these "services."

gonnabe2016 posted 2/22/2014 15:53 PM

I said it on your other thread and I'm gonna say it again. I have a very strong suspicion that your WH is *trashing* you in his IC sessions with this guy. It may not be an overt trashing, though, it may be your WH who is placing HIMSELF in the victim role. Some people are VERY good at doing that in a very disingenuous and insidious way.

At any point in time did you indicate that you thought the MC was *taking your WH's side*? Because that MC was just making way too many assumptions about you at the end -- "you will probably be certain that [he feels] animosity towards you" and that he has "malevolent intent towards you" and that you think he's an incompetent and arrogant ass and that you will feel that you know what he is really trying to do.

That whole last paragraph is SO FAR outside the bounds of professionalism that it's not even funny. There is something seriously wrong with that dude.

You will have missed an enormous opportunity to believe in yourself and in your marriage to grow and to heal.

I call bullshit on this kum-by-yah crap. This is completely impossible to do if you are dealing with an unremorseful WS.

As ats referred to in your other post, one person can be the greatest communicator in the world, but if the person *receiving* that communication has a fucked-up thought process that doesn't allow them to *hear* you correctly -- then it's not going to make a darn bit of difference......and because of stupid MC's like this one, YOU will remain in a 'marriage' that resembles more of a torture chamber than a safe haven.

In case you can't tell, this really pisses me off for you....

realitybites posted 2/22/2014 15:58 PM first thought as I read this is that this T loves to right alot of words. WAY too many words.

My T used to respond back to my emails and let me tell you if it was 2 sentences that was it....he basically was not going to have a "fight" with me by email although he let it be my way of 'venting' my thoughts and we would talk about it in our next session.

This T loves to spout a bunch of crap. Loves to be right and loves to make you believe they are helping you while running you around in circles.

A good T will wait until they have you back in their office and help you work thru things you felt you needed to write down.

Stillstings posted 2/22/2014 16:09 PM

While I know counselors may not give the best advice, I have to say this. You know what you are taught in Counseling 101? People lie. A lot. I've had clients get angry at me and say I'm not helpful only to come clean weeks later and admit they were not truthful.

Martial counseling is extremely difficult as you not only have to sort out the information of one person, but 2 people. Do you know what it's like to have a couple play the he said/she said game with you? Completely ridiculous and that hour is wasted trying to referee and create a line of communication.

I could rant on but will refrain from doing so. It's very hard seeing stupid names be tossed around at people who are not actively out to get you but may be misinformed for various reasons.

Neverwudaguessed posted 2/22/2014 16:14 PM

I read your first post and hesitated to respond because so many jumped to provide very comprehensive responses with regard to their thoughts about your marriage counselor, but I had decided today that I could not sit on the one thought that continued to nag at me, and while we were out, I told my husband I was going to find your post and tell you how I felt. Now this!
Regardless of my feelings about how this counselor relates to you, I have a real problem with a counselor who has spend some time in individual counseling sessions with one partner and then agrees to do marriage counseling with both. I am a counselor, although not practicing, and while I have heard of others here using IC's as MC's, I never saw that as a good idea. In this case, you are unhappy and asking for advice so I cannot stay silent. How does a counselor work with one partner and invest so much time and energy with regard to that one side of the issue (s) and then turn that off to be objective on behalf of the other partner so that both will benefit in a maximum way from therapy? And then where is the safe place for the first person to work through issues privately? I just cannot see how this approach works well in any case. In your case, this counselor seems to be desperate to keep you working on the marriage, but the approach is critical. There are so many statements that are judgmental. I do not know how long it has been since your DDay, but I think the affair issues have to come first, then the marriage issues. And the statements regarding your view as the victim are extremely narrow. You are a victim of the affair, of the betrayal, lies, perhaps having been put in physical danger due to unprotected sex, etc. What you choose to do with that, and how you use your internal power to rise above that will be your own story. BUt to say that victims have no power, no depth, no will, and to take that point of view renders your marriage as over is plain wrong. The audacity of her to express that to you is beyond me. Many people perceive themselves as victims at one time or another. However, that does not mean that they don't work to make themselves strong and healthy. That does not make them lacking in depth, or self-demeaning. This person is too invested in your therapy; she/he has lost objectivity and is not behaving in a healthy, professional way. Find yourself someone who is an expert in infidelity; then you may find yourself working as part of a team instead of you against your W and NC. So sorry!

sisoon posted 2/22/2014 16:36 PM

Sorry, TG, this is likely to be rambling and disjointed.

Affairs only happen in marriages where communication is not possible.

Well, that's sort of true for my M - my W simply could not bring herself to communicate with me. That's not an M problem - it's all on my W's shoulders. She accepts that, in part because that's what her IC, who is our MC, teaches.

This guy doesn't seem to realize there are several potential ways for the impossibility of communications to play out.

I think it's true that you need to move beyond blame. Your H can help you by acknowledging and accepting his responsibility for cheating. You can do that even without your H's help, but it takes some time.

I'm a big believer/user of Drama Triangle concepts, which I expect 'perpetrator' and 'victim' come from in his email. The trouble is, in betraying you, your H did act as persecuter/perpetrator. You are his victim. That's materially different from being in a DT, but it looks the same. This guy should see that, but he doesn't.

It's way too early to guess what you and your H will do. Still, the best way to avoid his outcome is to find a new C.

That indicates that he's dealing with his issues, not yours. I think that he cares and that he wants to help - it's just that WRT your issues he doesn't have the tools. I hope he recognizes that.

It probably would have been better if he had obeyed the Command to rest.

[This message edited by sisoon at 4:38 PM, February 22nd (Saturday)]

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