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Counselling nightmare (& lundy bancroft's book)

(93 Posts)
Heather2013 Fri 26-Jul-13 09:26:22

I posted a week or two ago about a tough situation with my partner. We've been going to counselling for about 4 months. Counsellor believes him that I am over-powering, constantly nagging him and dictating to him (gross exagerration / lies). She says that his opinion is as true as my opinion, or else i am disrespecting him. Anyway, I have been asked to modify the way I ask him to help, which I have done well, and have found that rather than him responding enthusiastically, he nit-picks everything i say. EG: me: "Are you ok?" him: "I know what you mean by that", me: "Can you put baby's bib on please?" (after he didn't do it first time) him: "you don't have repeat yourself, i'm going to do it" me"sorry, I thought you'd forgotton" him "too late, the damage is done".
The counsellor cross-examines me, and makes me feel stupid (told me to look up "disrespectful" and "hurtful" in the dictionary because I thought they were more or less the same.)
I was too scared to mention Lundy Bancroft's book because she is such a clever clogs and I know she will tear me to shreds. When I showed the book to partner his reply was that I am the female version of that, and that he could pick up "Mein Kampf" and say it was true.
This counselling was the last chance saloon and although I don't blame her personally, because of the style of counselling our relationship is now properly hitting the wall. I didn't think there was domestic abuse to start with, but then it came up because of the angry violent episodes during which partner has put fist through wall, thrown numerous pieces of crockery and lashed out at anything and everything. Immediately after he did these things, he comes to me (still angry) and says he is sorry for doing that but i have to take responsibility for making him do it by provoking him. I didn't feel I wanted to apologise under these terms, and was always so upset at the damage that I didn't see how it was my fault. The counsellors only response to the domestic abuse situation is that we have to consider if there is a future in the relationship. She's right about that, but at no point has she confirmed to partner that it is well out of order to be violent, aggressive, frequently angry and demanding. He thinks he is a top guy, all loving and caring, and that I am a mental controlling B*tch.!
Mumsnetters replied to my last post by saying to stop going to the counsellor, and i totally admire the forthright decisiveness you guys have. I felt if I said I wasn't going back to her - well it just looks like I don't like what she's saying and am a bad loser. I thought it would get better. I thought she would stop focusing on me and start working on his anger. I honestly can't believe that in this day and age these practices are legitimate!
After reading Lundy Bancroft's book, it rings so many bells. I can't go back now, to apologising for his angry outbursts.
Partner is now packing bags. How do I explain to 3 year old. her birthday next week and I am a mess. Please help but please be gentle.

fusspot66 Fri 26-Jul-13 09:32:09

There are wiser posters than me who will hopefully be along soon but honestly, that counselor is dangerous. He is physically intimidating you. Kick him out . Your DD needs her mum safe and happy.

BasilBabyEater Fri 26-Jul-13 09:33:25

Report the counsellor to her trade body.

Her refusal to confirm to your partner that what he is doing is domestic abuse and therefore her validation of the domestic abuse, is outrageous and the sooner people start complaining about these charlatans, the better.

Don't worry about your 3 year old. She'll be fine. Kids adapt very quickly and don't ever forget that how your xp relates with her now, is his responsibility and not your's.

BloomingRose Fri 26-Jul-13 09:33:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 26-Jul-13 09:34:35

Good grief, why did you show him the Lundy book? Were you hoping he would see the light and admit he is abusive?

angry violent episodes during which partner has put fist through wall, thrown numerous pieces of crockery and lashed out at anything and everything. Immediately after he did these things, he comes to me (still angry) and says he is sorry for doing that but i have to take responsibility for making him do it by provoking him.

Definitely an abusive man.

Stop trying to get him to admit he is abusive or trying to get the counsellor to make him see he is abusive (she won't, even if she thinks it is. That's not how counselling work). You don't need validation from either of them. Just make your own choice about whether you are prepared to stay in this marriage or not. He will not change. He will keep on thinking that you are a mental controlling bitch. You cannot change that either. All you can change is whether you are in or out of this marriage.

KoalaFace Fri 26-Jul-13 09:44:54

Is your counsellor accredited to BACP? Because unfortunately there are no laws against calling yourself a "counsellor" without any training whatsoever.

If she is accredited make a complaint. It is totally inappropriate for a counsellor to take sides. It's not what they are there for. They are simply there to help explore feelings and communicate them. Not a judge!!

Your partner is certainly abusive and manipulative.

Let him go. Give lots of cuddles to DD. Tell her mummy and daddy both love her very much and tell her when she'll next be seeing her dad. Still talk about her birthday.

I wouldn't blame you for being put off counselling but please, please consider looking up BACP accredited, person centred counsellors in your area. Having an initial meeting with a few and see who is a good fit for you to go and explore your own feelings. Not with your partner but on your own for your own sake.

fabulousfoxgloves Fri 26-Jul-13 09:46:59

>>Good grief, why did you show him the Lundy book? Were you hoping he would see the light and admit he is abusive? <<

I think if you don't know how abuse works (and most of us don't, otherwise we would not stay in such relationships for so long, and you only see clearly when you are out of it), then you will try anything to make the relationship work. So, you tried getting him to see the light, it didn't work, but it is not something to blame yourself for. Ditto, you tried the counselling, it didn't work. He's going - do you know what, he is doing you a massive favour here, as there are some who never get out.

But yes, hotDAMN is right (and it has taken me counselling on my own and six months out of my marriage to see it), even though it sounds obvious - you will not and cannot influence what he does, or hope that he will start to behave rationally and reasonably, you can only take responsibility for what you do. And for your DD. She will be fine. All the explanation you need is that there was too much shouting, it wasn't nice, and Mummy and Daddy do not want her to live with that. And take it from there. One step at a time.

Heather2013 Fri 26-Jul-13 09:55:36

Yeah, you're right. Like I said, I am just shocked that in this day and age this can happen. I am an educated woman, I am articulate. I am annoyed with myself for being so naive to mother him for this long, and to cover up his outbursts, cleaning up the mess and never telling anyone because I wanted the whole happy families facade so much.
I hid the book for over a week, I just got it out in absolute frustration, as he was still lecturing me that I had not taken responsibility for anything (not true - but I didn't make him hurl bowls of cereal across the living room by provoking him to the point that it was inevitable).
I didn't realise that's how counselling worked. They should say at the start that it's really only suitable if you are prepared to take 50% responsibility. I am just devastated that there is no-one to stand up to him and make him see that he is wrong. Why can't the counsellor even say that he is out of order? She has made him ten times worse, by agreeing with him that I am "dictatorial" and over-powering and he is now feeling entitled to criticise everything I say because she has made it ok.
Obviously before I had kids it was easier to break up, but I just feel so scared and that I will feel guilty in the future. Thank you for saying that my girl will be fine. She loves her daddy so much and I just don't know how to explain it to her.

KnittedWaffle Fri 26-Jul-13 10:02:28

Absolutely stop going. It doesn't matter if you look like a 'sore loser'.
It does matter that you are being abused and the counselling sessions are giving him the green light to continue and up the ante.

I would also report her.

Heather2013 Fri 26-Jul-13 10:06:44

Like I said, Counsellor is a right smart arse, and i'm sure she has it all covered. There is no way I will be able to substantiate a complaint, although I will try. She will say that she didn't take sides. She is a psychologist and has an answer for everything. Like she says when she asks me a question I go back months, whereas partner goes back over last week. (So what?) Or in my abuse questionnaire i used the terms "I feel" and "I believe", so apparently this is defensiveness. She says that she thinks that my problems go way back before partner. There may be an element of that, but why is that really relevant - can partner behave as he wants to and if I'm not happy, then it's because of problems in my background.
You are right - he is doing me a favour by leaving. I am grateful to him for that. I won't have to do his bloody washing and ironing for starters.
I'm just sad about the whole thing; I thought that counselling would sort things out and make things better! So much for that plan!

Heather2013 Fri 26-Jul-13 10:07:26

Ok, what are my main points that will sound credible to complain against?

Twinklestein Fri 26-Jul-13 10:09:36

I am just devastated that there is no-one to stand up to him and make him see that he is wrong. Why can't the counsellor even say that he is out of order? She has made him ten times worse, by agreeing with him that I am "dictatorial" and over-powering and he is now feeling entitled to criticise everything I say because she has made it ok.

Because she is totally incompetent & totally unprofessional.

She has failed to keep you safe. And failed to identify abuse.
She is now enabling the abuse. Please stop.

It doesn't matter what other people think as to why you are stopping, the only thing that matters is the truth and you know what that is.

lemonluscious Fri 26-Jul-13 10:14:27

A couple I know who went to marriage counselling came out of it with the wife being blamed for everything. Basically the DH wanted to split because she was tired, wanted to go to bed early after looking after the kids all day and he wanted her to party. My friend said that he was blamed for nothing. Her take on this was that counsellors will try to get the woman to change and try and save the marriage because they are more likely to suck it up than the husband.

Lizzabadger Fri 26-Jul-13 10:14:51

You need to end the relationship and stop the counselling. Your daughter will be fine. I think I'd put my energy into making the break rather than complaining about the counsellor (not sure who you would complain to as counselling is unregulated).

Twinklestein Fri 26-Jul-13 10:15:18

Ok, what are my main points that will sound credible to complain against?

The was she has behaved contravenes all guidelines on couples' counselling.

If she works for Relate or similar, then you can report her to that organisation.

If she does not, you can report her to her training body.

Couples' counselling has very strict rules: if there is any evidence of abuse/violence in a relationship then the counsellor must:
a) see you alone & b) pass you on to specialists in domestic abuse.

If she is not a specialist in dv herself (and she can't be given her actions) she should not being seeing you at all.

Everything she had done is wrong. This is not your fault, it's a terrible situation & it must stop now. Today. You will no longer attend.

Twinklestein Fri 26-Jul-13 10:16:19

way not was ^

Heather2013 Fri 26-Jul-13 10:21:14

I will no longer attend. I will cancel the bloody direct debit today! I will complain, though. I have often thought that partner would have had me admitted to an asylum or burned on a stake in a previous era. So much for having faith in the times we live in.
The counsellors can't honestly sit round and decide that they will put pressure on the women to get on with meeting their husbands demands and stop whingeing, can they?

Doingfine Fri 26-Jul-13 10:22:12

Sounds like your counsellor has no training in domestic abuse and whilst this wont make for a bad counsellor they are unknowingly working outside their competence. Coe conditions are being kept including not judging the abusive behaviour but this is wrong. Domestic abuse is on a spectrum and when only one member of a couple is allowed an opinion that is power and control. When violent actions are used against inanimate objects that is saying "this is what I want to do to you". Couple counselling is about both parties changing and not safe.

Heather2013 Fri 26-Jul-13 10:24:22

By the way, I can't tell you how grateful I am for you taking the time to read this and kindly respond. This is possibly the best thing about the modern era in terms of what support I have got.

neunundneunzigluftballons Fri 26-Jul-13 10:25:10

This councillor could easily be a right wing hold family together women are always wrong person you have no idea of her slant . If you include the detail here to her professional body at the very least it will help to build a card long term against her. Definitely get out though.

neunundneunzigluftballons Fri 26-Jul-13 10:25:46

Card is case

Heather2013 Fri 26-Jul-13 10:27:58

She has told us a lot about her own personal life. Is she allowed to do that? It started with the odd anecdote, which I assumed was to make herself personable, but I've heard things that have really bothered me. Can I complain about this?

Twinklestein Fri 26-Jul-13 10:32:00

Definitely complain about her talking about herself!

Totally, totally wrong.

You're not paying money to hear her talk about her own life!

Does this woman have any training? Does she have a website? Did
she tell you where she trained at the start? Does she work for a couples' counselling organisation?

It sounds like you really need some support. Could you face looking for someone reputable to see alone? Do you have friends/family around you?

BasilBabyEater Fri 26-Jul-13 10:35:02

Also it's not just building a case against her.

It's also raising awareness within the profession, of how easy it is for perfectly reasonable counsellors who are well-educated and well-informed, to not understand or recognise the dynamics of domestic abuse.

There are so many cases of couples going to counselling and having the DV or DA of one of the parties validated because of the lack of awareness of the issues of their counsellor. The sooner that profession grapples properly with that and is on the ultra alert for it, the better - because at the moment, they are doing serious harm.

Your DD can still have a happy, functional childhood without her daddy living with her. In fact, she will have a more functional childhood - you've stopped being in denial about the situation you are in, you've stopped pretending and trying to maintain that happy family facade. You're stronger and more honest as a result and you'll be a better mother and raise a healthier, happier child. Really you will, please don't believe you're doing something bad to your DD by splitting with her father, on the contrary, you're doing her a massive favour by role modelling a positive expectation of relationships.

Heather2013 Fri 26-Jul-13 10:36:10

Yes, I can definitely find someone else. I do have family and friends. Needless to say I tell very little to anyone about this. My mum knows and she will help me with practical things like looking after children. She's not a brilliant confidante, though, there are some issues there. There's dysfunction galore, really, but her heart is in the right place and she will support me (just hold it against me in future!)

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