Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The First Session

The counseling session was not as bad as a visit to the dentist. It's a very experienced male, by the way, so hopefully he's not an idiot with a bias against normal male behavior. I felt awful laughing at some of what my wife said, but at least I wasn't yelling. If the laughing bothered her, she didn't let on. Rather, she was very thankful that I agreed to go, and has been in a good mood and sweet to me ever since I "agreed" to go. Yes, I agreed after my money was already committed to it. It was interesting because...

1. I found out she considers me a "rage-aholic". That was a surprise. I couldn't help but think of Homer Simpson's line, "I'm a rage-aholic! I'm addicted to rage-ahol!"

2. When she described what happened on vacation, she was going to make it sound like I had just started yelling like a madman. I had to break in and point out that she had been yelling at me, and I yelled back, then her sister yelled at me, and I yelled back, and that I was in a situation that I would never had subjected her to in the first place.

3. She's now upfront about the reason we live where we do - to be close to her family. The same family she is now avoiding. She used to say to me (and others) that we're living there (as opposed to closer to where I do most of my in-person work, or closer to my family) because she liked the house and the layout fit our needs. This is connected to why I yelled at her a few months back "because she got sick". I didn't yell as her because she got sick. I yelled at her because she was insisting I was going to take time off from work to take care of her, to which I asked why in the world we were living where we were, so far away from my family members who could (and wanted to) help out without taking any time off of work. When we were deciding to buy that house, I pointed those things out to her... we were going to have to live with the problems the house had because we weren't going to be asking the bank to take care of them, and we weren't going to have the money to do much to fix the place up. And we were going to be far from my family and work. Yet, these things continue to be issues, which is why they may prompt my yelling. We didn't quite go over all of this in session. But when I yell about something related to the house, she takes it as a personal attack on her and her family.

4. The real problem with my yelling may be that her mother yelled when she got drunk. She equated my alleged "rageaholism" with her mother's alcoholism. There's no comparison. Yes, there are some superficial similarities... we both deny our "addictions" are as bad as my wife says they are. But that would be true if she found a complete stranger and accused them of being addicted to gambling and the stranger denied it. See! Just like her mother! She focused a lot on the tone of my voice when I yell. So, perhaps if I yell in a different tone it will be a-okay?

5. She clearly conspired with my sister (and her own sister, obviously) to set up this counseling session and not tell me until it was too late to cancel. I have talked with my sister and also my mother on separate phone calls. After each call, my wife asked me if I told them about the counseling. And when I told her I hadn't mentioned it, she asked me why. Why bother? They both surely know about it. They can bring it up if they want. I'll likely not talk with them about it.

6. It sounded for a while like my wife was going to directly ask me to further cut back in usage of the desktop computer and mobile device. She said I would be happy if I didn't have her and the kids and all I did was sit on the computer. If I didn't have her and the kids, I wouldn't be on the computer all of the time, I'd be out with friends some of the time. But yes, since I'm a reader and a writer, and that can all be done on the computer, I can keep myself entertained by sitting in front of the computer. Mind you, all of the DVR space is taken by her shows and the kids' shows. I like to be productive rather than sitting around, and when the kids are occupied and my wife is occupied, I take the chance to get online. Technology is the only way I can still keep in touch with my friends at all. I pointed out that if the goal was to reduce my stress, doing something to increase my stress was a funny way to do it. Late in the session, she told me she was not asking me to cut back, but c'mon... she made her feelings known, and now I'm going to be some uncaring jerk who keeps right on... reading the news and barely keeping in contact with my friends.

Again, she was very appreciative that I had gone. Jump through the hoop, get a biscuit. That's a good boy.

4 comments:

  1. Anonymous8:43 AM

    DOes this ring a bell?

    http://www.shrink4men.com/2011/10/08/shrink4men-radio-monday-october-10-2011-at-9pm-est-making-friends-with-your-anger/

    John VI

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  2. Thanks... It has been a while since I've gone to read that blog (I've had to cut back a lot on my reading already) and I'll have to check out that posting.

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  3. Jump through the hoop, get a biscuit. That's a good boy.

    It seems to me that that is exactly what you are doing, Ken. However, it would very hypocritical of me to criticize you for it.

    My impression of 'counselling' is that it is intended not so much to fix a marriage as to provide one party with a forum for self-justification.

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  4. curiepoint10:34 PM

    That is exactly correct. Guess which one gets to express their concerns openly, and guess which one is put on the defensive.

    Yet, to speak in one's own defense is considered unjustified anger. After an endless catalog of atrocities laid at the feet of one party, the offended party is not allowed to deny or qualify or speak of their own concerns...because the session is already "working on your issues".

    TRANSLATION: You are not to be believed. All that you say is a lie due to the emotions behind the response to allegations. You must not speak as an individual. You are barely human because you are so broken.

    I am not exaggerating in the least.

    Every session I ever attended left me battered and angry. That would lead to a few days of silence between us, only to be brought up in the next session as to my being uncooperative.

    I gave the heave-ho to both the therapist, and the woman who claimed to love me. The only question I ever had was simply:

    If she loved me so much, how come there is never a kind or concilliatory word from her? It isn't about re-kindling love, nor preserving the partnership. It's about putting one in control of the other...forever.

    ReplyDelete

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