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Really fucking depressed after relationship counselling

(54 Posts)
pablothepenguin Tue 23-Feb-16 19:28:16

First proper session after assessment, both by myself. I think a fair summary would be that I am too compliant and he's a bit controlling so it's a terrible combination but we could both work on those things.

I don't know why I'm so depressed apart from I'm really bloody depressed anyway. I just can't face the working together. I feel really overwhelmed.

She suggests seeing us both by ourselves and then together. And it might help to talk about my childhood. I absolutely do not want to do that.

I don't know what I expected. If I wanted to hear LTB I could have posted here for free! It's just so daunting. I feel sick.

Is it always this difficult at the beginning?

ImperialBlether Tue 23-Feb-16 19:31:31

That's what would put me off going for counselling, too.

You have to work with your husband but having marital problems? That must be really hard.

Cabrinha Tue 23-Feb-16 19:32:28

I've heard a lot of people say that it's bloody hard work and can be really upsetting. But ultimately worth it. I only had two sessions as XH faked illness for the second. He was so committed hmm

Why don't you want to talk about your childhood? Because it was fine and you see it as pointless, or because it wasn't fine and you don't want to go into it? If the latter, really really have a think about doing it. It could be a gift to yourself, albeit a hard one. If it has a bearing on your level of compliance, maybe it will really help. Maybe it's time flowers

kittybiscuits Tue 23-Feb-16 19:36:44

LTB.

They don't look to blame - they work on the assumption that both parties have a part to play in the difficulties. But unfortunately sometimes that is wholly inappropriate.

If you are going for individual counselling then find someone you can really work with and there are other options that may be preferable to Relate.

KittyandTeal Tue 23-Feb-16 19:37:01

I have no experience of couples counselling but after year of therapy and counselling the big thing I've learnt is that it always gets worse before it gets better.

That sounds depressing but it really isn't. Keep going with it hang on and work through and it will get better. I'm not saying that if you realise you are unhappy with your dh or that he is controlling that you should stay and work at it with him, I mean stick with it for you on a personal level.

lljkk Tue 23-Feb-16 19:40:43

well... it's supposed to push you out of your comfort zone which was so safe you didn't want to leave & hence why you ended up in an impossible rut.

If the solution was easy you wouldn't have needed counselling to try to improve things.

I dunno about your childhood, but it's fair game to ask what emotional baggage from your past may be preventing you from leaving the rut now.

goddessofsmallthings Tue 23-Feb-16 20:02:00

"I think a fair summary would be that I am too compliant and he's a bit controlling so it's a terrible combination"

Rather than a "terrible combination" that would seem to be a match made in heaven, unless you are being 'too compliant' because he's more than 'a bit controlling' in which case couples counselling is not recommended.

Although you 'don't know' what you expected, what were you hoping for when you booked the session? Were you hoping for permission to ltb or hoping that a counsellor would be able to rein your h in and stop him being controlling?

Is your marriage a continuation of your childhood where you are treading on eggshells and knocking yourself yourself out to please an overly demanding husband, just as you did with one or both of your parents who expected you to attain a perfection that they were unable to achieve?

Are you feeling depressed by the level of control your h exerts over you? Do you fear 'working together' with him will result in you continuing to fail his expectations of what a dw should be, or what he expects you to be?

Has the counsellor suggested that your h talks about his childhood, or does she seem to have been taken in swayed by his account of your personality? Did you feel able to speak up for yourself in this first session or did you allow your h to have centre stage?

When/if you meet with the counsellor alone, please know that you can talk about whatever you want and you do not have to refer to, or make any mention of your childhood if you don't want to.

pablothepenguin Tue 23-Feb-16 20:18:47

Thanks for comments. I think she will find DH really easy to work with. I know that shouldn't worry me but I'm uncomfortable.

The childhood experience (mainly violence) is absolutely relevant, I know and acknowledge that. I can see how it shapes me. I don't want to think about it or analyse it further. Another family member did and ended up in a psychiatric ward. I know that sounds dramatic but I am aware enough to know that exploring it is risky.

I would much rather DH acknowledge that impact and not do the things that I don't cope so well with. I hate that she focused on this because DH blames everything on my disproportionate reaction to shouting etc.

I guess it's obvious that it wouldn't be easy.

Maybe I should stop worrying about the joint but until we get to that.

goddess DH wasn't there. I booked the session because he wanted us both to go but I didn't want to go together. Don't know what I expected. Or maybe, honestly, maybe that DH is to blame for where we've got to.

Sorry, this us all a bit all over the place.

goddessofsmallthings Tue 23-Feb-16 20:43:54

It's only to be expected that this is a 'bit all over the place', but I'm somewhat concerned that the counsellor honed in on your childhood because you told her that your "DH blames everything on my disproportionate reaction to shouting etc".

I'm curious as to what the 'etc' consists of, but first and foremost I want you to know that, despite my very happy childhood, I have what could be termed a 'disproportionate reaction to shouting' as I would/could not stay with a man who shouted at me for any reason other than to warn me of impending danger.

With regard to "I would much rather DH acknowledge that impact and not do the things that I don't cope so well with", any loving and caring partner would not find it difficult to comply with this very reasonable request and the fact that your h is insenstiive to your needs suggests that he's not only controlling, he's also abusive.

I suggest you make contact with your nearest branch of Women's Aid via the national website and talk tbrough the shouting and the 'etc' with someone who will instinctively understand where you're coming from, and also invest in a copy of 'Why Does He Do That' by Lundy Bancroft as I feel sure you'll recognise your h within the pages.

www.womensaid.org.uk

antimatter Tue 23-Feb-16 21:04:01

I'll second goddess re:shouting

Why would anyone think it is OK to shout at their partner or any member of your family?

Anger management course instead?

Cabrinha Tue 23-Feb-16 21:42:36

OP, my father had MH issues (eventually a breakdown, signed off work for a year). He was unpredictable, and shouted a lot.

I cannot bear people shouting. It makes me really uncomfortable to hear friends shout at their children. Disproportionately so - my heart starts to race, my temperature goes up, I can get clammy, I feel awkward and uncomfortable.

I don't need therapy to understand why, how that is an impact of being the scared confused child.

In 25 years of some 20 adult relationships (some v short!) I have never had to deal with my discomfort at shouting from a partner. Because actually, most people do not shout at their partners.

OP, regardless of him being sensitive to your childhood impact he shouldn't be shouting at you.

Suddenlyseymour Tue 23-Feb-16 21:49:16

What cabrinha says - in all my relationships, i have never been shouted at by a partner - ever. And i wouldn't remain in a relationship if shouting was exhibited, unless of course to alert me to danger.

kittybiscuits Tue 23-Feb-16 22:48:15

Many years ago I was told I had trust issues going back to childhood (I do) because my ex wouldn't admit he had been shagging someone else for 6 months (he had). I even had a second attempt at couples counselling with him many years later with a similar outcome. Just because you had a tough childhood, doesn't mean he's not an abusive asshole. Wise words from Goddess and Cabrinha

NotnowNigel Tue 23-Feb-16 23:13:29

I think you should put relationship counselling on hold indefinitely and focus on getting it straight in your own mind on whether he is abusive first.

Controlling, shouting, your history of a violent childhood - all strong indicators that you might well end up in an abusive relationship.

jellyjiggles Wed 24-Feb-16 04:03:25

Counselling gets harder before you see results. Tell your counsellor your scared of digging up the past and why! It's their job to support and guide you through the really tough things.

Keep your DH out of the sessions regarding your past and your fears.

Atenco Wed 24-Feb-16 05:46:15

Agree about the shouting, totally unpleasant and unnecessary, and digging up your childhood. I think that that is only something you should when you feel that you are able to go into and is not something that any counsellor should force on you.

pablothepenguin Wed 24-Feb-16 06:03:19

Cabrinha thanks for explaining the shouting thing so well. Anger terrifies me.

I have spent weeks doing the most ridiculous mental gymnastics, confusing myself, seeking help on here (trying to read Bancroft "Should I Stay or Should I Go" goddess), trying to block what I hear. Not helped by a close friend not getting it at all.
But I know how it is.

But I can't leave. Some obvious practical reasons but it's more than that, I just can't. I don't know how to change that and I'm going under.

Maybe the counselling will help me work out how to change that so I can make a decision. She talked about looking at why I have lived like this for so long. Why I thought it was OK. Maybe that will be useful.

The problem with the abuse question is that a lot of the time I do what he wants me to do because I don't want him to be annoyed at me. He doesn't hit me, he doesn't even often shout. Sometimes it's just expressing displeasure - which is hardly abusive.

pablothepenguin Wed 24-Feb-16 06:06:24

Just saw night time replies. I think I will explain to the counsellor what I have said here re the childhood digging around.

goddessofsmallthings Wed 24-Feb-16 06:07:11

How did you source the cousellor and what are her qualifications?

With regard to I think she will find DH really easy to work with. I know that shouldn't worry me but I'm uncomfortable is this because your h is particularly charming to others?

How long have you been married and do you have dc?

pablothepenguin Wed 24-Feb-16 06:14:38

Relate. No idea re qualifications, has been doing it 20 yrs though.

Yes, my husband is very nice, he is eloquent, he is intelligent. He has an impressive job.

Together nearly 20 years. Married part of that. Yes we have children. Sorry trying not to be too identifying.

bb888 Wed 24-Feb-16 06:30:28

The problem with the abuse question is that a lot of the time I do what he wants me to do because I don't want him to be annoyed at me. He doesn't hit me, he doesn't even often shout.

I think thats how it works though isn't it. You are framing his behaviour as someone who behaves in a way you find unpleasant and frightening in order to make you do what he wants. He doesn't 'need' to hit you or shout all the time does he? He has it working fine for him any way.

She might have him pegged for what he is and not be quite as impressed by his persona as you think. Individual sessions sounds like an excellent idea though, so that you can take time to get your own head sorted out without him interfering with it.

Marchate Wed 24-Feb-16 10:27:00

You do what he wants to avoid conflict

While this can be appropriate in very limited circumstances - in public, but it's sorted out/nipped in the bud later - if it happens regularly that is abuse

He controls you, he will control the counsellor. If you can find another counselling service, go there and start from scratch. Alone. He has already manipulated the Relate sessions to be about him and how he's a poor soul, trying so hard

pablothepenguin Wed 24-Feb-16 10:30:55

Sorry, I've been really unclear. He hadn't been to relate. I've been by myself. Any views the counsellor has are from what I've said. I am feeling horribly guilty about the whole thing which is maybe coming across.

Marchate Wed 24-Feb-16 10:39:15

Oh I see. In that case, use the time to talk about how you feel. Resist putting his case for him!

LikeASoulWithoutAMind Wed 24-Feb-16 10:43:56

Pablo joint counselling isn't really recommended where one partner is controlling or abusive.

It sounds to me like counselling just for you would be much more appropriate at this stage. I'm not sure Relate is the right place to provide this though. Would you consider looking for another counsellor to work with? Look for a counsellor who's a member of BACP.

Counselling can be quite hard work but my experience is it's ultimately very worthwhile. A skilled counsellor will hold you through the process though and help you deal with the difficult emotions that it brings up. If you can afford to pay that will help as you will be in control of how many sessions you have - often with NHS or charity funded sessions you are limited to 6, which isn't always enough.

flowers to you. Would it help to talk to us more about the dynamics of what's happening at home?

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