T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 41699
posted 10-03-2009 11:21 PM
Well this feels eek. I'm about to become a mod and yet I still have big issues of my own to deal with. Buuuuut mods are people too, and I know you guys all have your problems
So I guess this is fine. Soooo I feel like me and my boyfriend need some couples counseling. I just think it'd help us out because the type of analysis and unbiased-ness we need right now to really assess our situation just is impossible to come from either of us. I also know that I should very probably be in counseling anyway, since I never got to really deal with my emotional abuse -- I hopped pretty much from that relationship into this one, and slowly started to deal with my abuse. Not the way round it's supposed to be. And I HAVE made progress, but I don't know how much more I can make by myself. Plus I have some insecurities and ... definite personality issues, as I'll explain in a bit, that I think a counselor could really help out with. So I should see a therapist anyway, I feel... However, my boyfriend actually laughed at the idea of going to see a couples counsellor. Because in his opinion, we can deal with this ourselves. But he's thought we could deal with ALL our issues ourselves, but NOTHING has changed. The fact is, we sure as hell HAVEN'T dealt with our own issues, or our "us" issues by ourselves. Okay, I know this is pretty long already, and it's about to get longer. But let's take a look at the situation. So you guys have... already met my boyfriend, per se. In not exactly the best of circumstances as I, like the vast majority of people here, post only about the issues. But it's the worst bits that tell us the most about people, methinks. So I don't think it's unfair for you to know those bits about my past. However, my very own issues have not been dealt with so much. Soooo, me. This'll be hard, but I need to be as honest as possible to actually be able to get the help I'm looking for. So me, myself, and I. Well there was the emotional abuse I went through a year ago and never got to deal with, and it probably has made me as insecure as I am. But I'm not going to deny that I was freaking insecure beforehand, in fact it's the insecurities I did have that got me manipulated... So I'm like, deathly afraid of... something? Losing him? Disappointing people? That second one for sure. Both. And yet I have for srs anger issues. Like, when I get angry, I get verbally abusive, and I stop caring what I say. And in general I'm just a hyper-sensitive kind of person (which my mother has not failed to point out to me :\ [apparently that makes me "weak"]). Whenever we get into even a fairly small argument, I burst into tears. And my mood is really affected by external factors, so I'm pretty easy to make sad (and happy, too!). So I think I'm a bit of a rollercoaster ride for him. AND when I'm angry, I tend not to respect his boundaries so much (not in terms of sexual boundaries, no way. I mean like when he requests that we stop talking to each other for the night, to let us cool down), but when I do calm down... oh, the guilt and d'oh-shit-why-did-I-say-that. So I'm an utter bitch. And he's a stubborn arsehole. Good, glad we've got that down. Now, so, we've had a bit of issues before, one recent one me feeling like he just doesn't respect me, ya know? Sometimes... he does not say things the nicest. The straw on my humpedy back had been when he said, oh so sensitive, that "most" women are more emotional than men, and emotion "tends" to lead to irrationality. Oh boy I had a field day with that one. But we eventually sort of worked it out by him skipping around with things like "I meant women CAN BE more emotional" and more importantly (and thankfully) "that doesn't mean I respect them any less, and it doesn't mean I automatically assume women are going to be less rational". Apparently he treats people on a case-by-case basis. Okay, fine, I'd still rather he just didn't think that, but okay. However, it'd been a series of incidences like that that led up to me just being fed up with that, and explaining exactly how disrespected I felt, etc. And we sort of dealt with it, but not reeeally. We dealt with it by him saying how he no way doesn't respect me, no worries. Okay, sorry for the rambly-ness, but I'm almost done here. So today's issue is this; forever and ever, I've constantly felt outweighed in arguments or disagreements. Like he has one up on me by default. And the way he acts makes me feel like HIS say is more important than mine, my understanding of things and of myself are of less value than his. Like he always has the advantage, the power and control over the conversation, you know? Like he calls the shots. And that seriously upsets me, as I'm sure you can imagine. However, he says he doesn't think that imbalance exists at all, and basically it's all in my head. Well, he says he thinks it's about how I percieve things. And he thinks that's been influenced by my past abuse. Okay, well, to each his own. I'd be okay with that. IF he agreed to really properly keep an eye on and analyse the way he acts, you know, pay attention to stuff he may not have been aware of? Really consider how his actions may appear to everyone but himself. However, he basically says "well I honestly don't believe it's me who's the problem" and he thinks he's analysed his own actions as much as he can (because apparently he analyses as close as possible, 24/7, everything he does) so it should be up to ME to point out what he's doing to make me feel this way, because obviously if he's done all the analysing he can do, he needs someone outside himself to analyse. Soooo... it's all on me. And not only that, he's very much leaning on the "I think it's the way you perceive things" angle; and he was saying how we should address that FIRST (...why? I refused, said we should analyse ourselves at the same time, over a fairly long period of time, you know? Can't just see in one go what's going wrong). So it's pretty much all down to me. Oh, except "WE" will be analysing the way I percieve things. So. I have to give him specific examples of the way he treats me that makes me feel this way, otherwise he won't believe that it's his actions that are the problem. Examples are things one can explain away, though, right; "oh, no, you're just misinterpreting it, that's not at all how I meant it/what I was doing". And then I have to analyse myself. And he gets to help! He gets to point out all the ways I'm perceiving stuff wrong, how fun Maybe I'm just very bitter right now, and if I were to say this to him, like this, he'd for sure be all "I'm not an *******, I don't have motives like that, you KNOW me, you should know that". But it's like... once again, it's all on me, and he's calling the shots. Which is the whole freaking problem to begin with! And so I want to bring in some outside help. But he really thinks the idea is ridiculous... I'm so, so sorry about the length, you must be dead by now. But I'd be eternally grateful for any input or advice you can give me. PLEEEASE, I'M GOING INSANE D8
Member # 43325
posted 10-04-2009 12:14 AM
I'm about to go to bed, but I have one thing to say before I go (your post wasn't too long by the way!).
"I've constantly felt outweighed in arguments or disagreements. Like he has one up on me by default. And the way he acts makes me feel like HIS say is more important than mine, my understanding of things and of myself are of less value than his. Like he always has the advantage, the power and control over the conversation, you know? Like he calls the shots." I've felt very similar before (and been in a similar situation with past emotional abuse). I was also told it was how I perceived things or that it wasn't what they "meant". I figured that meant something was wrong with *me*. I changed my thinking however. If someone says something and it hurts your feelings, their intent becomes basically irrelevant. What *really* matters is that they hurt your feelings and need to own up to that, rather than putting the blame on you by saying you "took it the wrong way" or something to that effect. I would like to say more, but it was a very long day and I need some rest. I'll be thinking of you though. And I hope what I said made some sense (ya never know, I often ramble when I'm tired. )
Member # 33665
posted 10-04-2009 02:53 AM
Onionpie, how long has this relationship been going on for? How long did the two of you date before becoming exclusive? I ask because you had been in an emotionally abusive relationship a year ago so this relationship can't have been going on for very long and, to be quite frank, a relationship that isn't even a year old and where kids are not involved? Really not worth the energy and expense of couples' counseling. Granted, that is my view and you may feel differently, but here is my reasoning:
At this early stage, things should still be pretty easy, smooth, and if they aren't, then that's likely an indication that one or both of you have things that need to be addressed on your own outside of any relationship (meaning: it's probably not the best time to be in a relationship) or it just means that you are not compatible with one another. The latter happens, and it can suck, but I feel it's important to recognize that, cut your losses, and decide whether or not you even want to maintain a friendship. And actually, recognizing that sooner means there's a better chance of forging a lasting and meaningful friendship. There's just too many people out there and very little time in this life, and in a way, you're each depriving yourselves of finding someone who better suits you, and oftentimes staying with someone who doesn't for reasons that are not so great (fear of being alone, pride, not wanting to "lose" the challenge of making it work when it really should not be that challenging). I'll share a bit about what's been going on with me lately (I'm a sharer ). I got out of an abusive relationship 2 years ago next January. The relationship lasted 3 years. In the meantime, I've had counseling, I've read, I’ve gotten a lot of support from various places, and I’m in the process of working out the balance in my life between education, family, friends, volunteer work, etc. I’ve made a lot of great strides and am in a very good, healthy place. However, I'm not perfect, and I'm not completely healed. I recently tried my hand at dating again, thinking I was ready. Unfortunately, I found that my judgment was still not quite the best as the person I chose to pursue was not a very good person (deceptive is a good word). I discovered that with certain people, people a lot like my ex, I can still be powerless, even though I like to think I'm Buffy most of the time (but then, she always had guy trouble, too). I saw the deception, the half-truths, the insincerity, the serious issues that this guy had, and I was annoyed with how he treated me, yet as soon as we spoke, I'd melt into a puddle, giggle, flirt, and become nervous. This feeling would last for about half an hour after each conversation, and then I'd realize he just "played" me again and become furious, think of all the things I wanted to tell him, like how being a jerk and a flake (and slightly misogynistic) did not make him "quirky" or "cute," as he seemed to think. But then he'd call, and I'd transform into condensation. Two months this lasted, until I finally saw it (thanks to the help of a great friend) and decided I needed something better in my life. So, I've cut him out (as much as I can, anyway; unfortunately, politics and my projected profession play a role in this). Whatever happens to him, it doesn't matter to me anymore. I also realized, though, that as much as I want to date, I'm still not ready. It may have only taken two months to figure it all out, but that's still two months too long, and I was questioning my very dear principles during that time, which I don't think is a good sign. I can sublimate my desires for a relationship by hanging out with friends and meeting new people and having conversations with them, and I have. It's long, and it's slow, and I do feel that clock just ticking away, but I have to ignore it because I know this is the best thing for me and for any potential partner. That's not an easy decision to make, and I have to reaffirm it for myself every once in a while, but I can do it. You can, too (forgive the cheesiness and the cliché). You've already started on a great path here, both in talking candidly about these issues and in having a desire to help others. As they say, though, you have to save yourself from drowning before you can save anyone else. You had the shore in sight, but you were pulled back by an undercurrent, so now the question is whether or not you can break free of that undercurrent and do what's best for you. This isn't the first major problem with this partner; communication has been a big issue all along, based on your posting history, and I don't need to tell you just how key communication is.
Member # 41699
posted 10-04-2009 10:15 AM
parapluie: thank you for the reply, and I agree. It should be more about the fact that he hurt my feelings than whether that was his intention or not. And generally when he hurts my feelings, he DOES apologise first off, and sometimes tries to explain that he didn't mean it that way. But in terms of me feeling overwhelmed by him having all the power, he feels the need to explain how that isn't the case, before anything else.
hey orca, thanks so much for the quick and thorough reply The abusive relationship was from the beginning of june through to about the middle of september. My current boyfriend and I had been very close friends through all of that, and we both knew there'd been mutual romantic feelings between us since before my abusive relationship even started. And since, at the time, I didn't consider the abusive relationship to BE abusive, or even a big deal, my current boyfriend and I started dating only a few weeks after. And a few weeks (about half a dozen or so dates and a lot of general hanging out) after that, we pretty much became exclusive. So it's going on a year, now. I understand that you don't think it's worth the couples counseling, and I'm inclined to agree, except that I really do want to get through this. Not out of fear of being alone; I've been single, I know it isn't hell ;P Not out of pride, or for the challenge, and not to keep from hurting his feelings. It's because I WANT to be with him, we have so much fun together, we love each other. And no, love isn't enough, but we've worked through some disagreements before with mutual caring, patience, and respect. And what exactly do you mean about our communication being bad? I mean, what should we do to improve it? Like, we DO communicate; we're both good at explaining how we feel about shit, like in this situation. He knows how I'm feeling, and vice versa. But then there's the whole deal of apparently-I'm-taking-things-wrong-and-that-dynamic-isn't-there. And by the by, if it's just that I'm "misinterpretting" his actions, whose responsibility is that, anyway? I mean, he should be aware of how he might come across to others, as should we all, but he can't necessarily just somehow know how I'll take anything he says. But on the other hand, should it really be all on ME to completely change the way I percieve things? So I'm a bit stuck here. And just as a side note, this isn't just a dynamic between me and him. He tends to act that way in disagreements with everyone, he seems to just be like a lead weight in ANY argument. I think he just has a crap way of arguing with people in general, I think he's too forceful
Member # 37835
posted 10-04-2009 11:34 AM
I must say I'm with orca on this one--it's sounding to me like the two of you aren't in a good place for communicating right now. Ultimately, the fact that you don't feel like you can argue in a productive way with him may actually be a sign of a deeper incompatibility. What I found in starting a relationship after my abusive one (the abusive one ended almost 3 1/2 years ago, my current relationship has been 2 years), was that we had to work hard to build a solid foundation *from the beginning* in terms of working around all of my quirks that are due to the past abuse. I honestly do not believe I could have laid the ground work for a stable relationship without a deep awareness of my own issues. I think that the support group I was a part of for a year before the relationship started was absolutely key in helping me know what to look out for at the beginning. I know your situation may be very different, and you may be very different from me, but I get worried when anyone talks about starting a relationship soon after an abusive one. It's hard to build the right foundation, and once certain patterns of communication are set, and certain dynamics are in place, it can be really hard to change them. Honestly, I'd encourage you to take a break from the relationship, see a counselor once or twice, and work on evaluating whether or not this relationship is best for *you* right now. It doesn't have to be a break up, just a couple of weeks for some reflection where you don't talk every day. I think you really do need to feel like you have half the control in a relationship, since surviving an abusive relationship makes issues of control a lot more salient in future relationships. Does that make sense?
Member # 41699
posted 10-04-2009 01:05 PM
it absolutely makes sense, atm1. And I agree. My past abuse really does makes control an even bigger issue in my relationships.
And now knowing that my other relationship was abusive, I know it was a really bad idea to get into this one so soon, and it's not that surprising that there have been some issues caused by that. But at the time, neither of us realized it had been abusive (I hadn't told my boyfriend much of the extent of the treatment I got in my previous relationship), and since it had only been a 3 month relationship online, neither of us figured it'd affect me very badly... until it did. Ok, so in terms of counselling for myself, where should I go? I know there are a couple of therapists at my university, but the waiting lines for them are huge, and I've met some other women who've tried going to them and they did not have good experiences. I have an insurance plan from my dad's work, and I know it covers medical stuff like BC, but I don't know if it covers therapy. And I'm not sure if I really want to ask my parents about it, though I think I will have to eventually either way, because it's not like they'll let me just wander out of the house randomly without knowing where I'm going And I don't even know if my parents would agree I need it; my mum would likely take it as another sign of "weakness" to use as ammunition in a later argument, or just be like "you can talk to me about anything!" ...though she might agree to let me do it anyway because they do tend to be fairly good about letting me do what I feel is right for myself. However, if insurance DOESN'T cover it, they're not likely to agree, and then I'll have no idea what the heck to do. Are therapists only ever a private practice? Would there be any free-to-students kind of dealy? I've never dealt with this kind of thing before I could consult a friend of mine, whose entire family, including her, are in therapy...
Member # 37835
posted 10-04-2009 02:31 PM
Consulting your friend is probably a good first move.
You also might want to check in with a local rape crisis center and see if they can refer you to anyone. A local women's shelter may also be able to offer you references, and both might sponsor support groups if that's a direction you'd like to go in. Also, I'd encourage you to talk to your friend about it, and see if she has a counselor she'd recommend. You can call your insurance company directly to see what they cover, too. Are you up for making those phone calls?
Member # 41699
posted 10-04-2009 08:18 PM
So I talked to my friend and she didn't really recommend either of the therapists she'd seen, though she did say that since I actually have more of a goal (healing from abuse), it might be of more use to me because the appointments would be more inclined to GO somewhere, which hers did not do.
And I just had a thought. My brother is seeing a psychologist for his mental/learning disorder, and that and his meds are covered by insurance. So yes, if I get into counselling too, it'll be covered. I don't know if I'd feel comfortable going into or calling a rape crisis centre since I haven't been raped. I'd feel like I'm sort of invading a safe space, you know, or taking up someone's time that is better dedicated to someone in crisis. Though I might get up the nerve to try it. I was looking around online, and there IS a database of therapists/counsellors for my city, but I don't know how reliable the descriptions are going to be -- they're written by the therapists themselves, so it's not going to say anything bad about them. Whereas a rape crisis centre would have better info on who's actually GOOD. I'm also a bit worried because I wouldn't know what to say, really... I feel like I've progressed to a point that it's hard to pinpoint where to take the next step. Like, I was able to overcome the need to try and analyse and figure out exactly why and how what happened to me happened. But I still get triggered by certain images or phrases, which I would... rather like to overcome, if I can. I also don't know how much of my insecurities stemmed or were aggravated by the emotional manipulation, so I don't want to be too quick to pin it on that. I also find it hard to really explain my insecurities, and some are just like, normal people insecurities. But they're insecurities I want to deal with, because they're crap, and I do crap things because of them. What my friend suggested was to keep a journal and write what I'm feeling and thinking, what made me feel that way, whenever I have a bout of insecurity, and then use it as conversation-fodder when I meet the therapist. Which is an awesome idea, so I will start that, and hopefully it'll work. Sorry, this has all been very rambly, I'm just trying to figure this out...
Member # 33665
posted 10-04-2009 08:23 PM
Hey Onionpie, most rape crisis centers also have resources for survivors of abuse. The one I started volunteering at has a helpline that gives information on anything ranging from help for rape survivors to help for abuse survivors to drug abuse recovery and treatment to suicide intervention to basic housing and shelter information, etc., so every volunteer there who answers the phones has a resources sheet and knows how to find further resources. In fact, referrals are a
major part of what the center (and the helpline, specifically) does. Just because you are not in immediate crisis doesn't mean that you can't call. You wouldn't be taking up resources; that's what they're there for. And if your rape crisis center does not do that, then they could at least direct you to someplace that does. As for not knowing what to say in a therapy session, it can help to create a list of talking points, problems you've been having, as your friend suggested. The first couple of sessions are usually going to be a little awkward as you get used to talking to the person and figure out if they are a good fit for you as a therapist. [ 10-04-2009, 08:31 PM: Message edited by: orca ]