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feeling pressured into having couples counselling in an emotionally abusive relationship

(29 Posts)
abbdabb Sat 18-Jun-11 21:09:45

'D'H is pressuring me into having couples counselling.

I feel really uncomfortable about this. I have recently started counselling through Relate, my counsellor feels that our relationship is emotionally abusive. I agree. It has been difficult but I am making huge steps towards working out what I want from a relationship & gaining a lot of confidence & self worth.

'D'H was against counselling to start with. I guess he has now seen some changes in me. He has told me he phoned Relate & they have advised joint counselling. Why would they advise this?


Oakmaiden Sat 18-Jun-11 21:12:38

I don't really understand why you WOULDN'T want to?

Surely if the relationship IS emotionally abusive the joint counselling would help?

Alambil Sat 18-Jun-11 21:14:24

It's only been recently changed that relate would see couples in abusive relationships. I have NO idea why they've changed the rules, but I would strongly advise against it. WA say that counselling together is likely to give him more ammunition - that is not something you want.

I wonder if he's noticing the changes in you and starting to panic.

Be careful and don't be blind to things escalating if or when they do.

abbdabb Sat 18-Jun-11 21:16:52

Oakmaiden - initially, that is what I wanted. But as the relationship IS emotionally abusive, I feel it would be another weapon that H would hold over me & use against me. Emotional abuse is a complicated thing. I would feel threatened & unable to put my views forward in this situation.

abbdabb Sat 18-Jun-11 21:18:12

Lewisfan - yes, that is my fear

Longtalljosie Sat 18-Jun-11 21:18:32

If you don't want to, don't. You know why he wants to do it. He wants to get him and the therapist to agree it's all your fault. Bollocks to that.

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Sat 18-Jun-11 21:19:02

Under no circumstances should you go to counselling with an emotional abuser. They are very manipulative indeed and will use whatever you say in counselling against you.

I think Lewisfan has a point when she asks if he's noticing the changes in you.

I don't know how much you know about domestic abuse but have you heard of

the hoover manouver

Oakmaiden Sat 18-Jun-11 21:23:50

Sorry - I guess I just don't understand it then. It just seems that if you want a relationship to improve you have to both work at it, and if you don't then you have to move on.... I do understand that is sometimes hard to do, though.

Probably I am lucky in not understanding.

abbdabb Sat 18-Jun-11 21:26:40

Thanks for that link, NotSuch.

I feel if I don't agree, I won't be trying to work things out. But I also feel his sudden change regarding conselling IS due to the changes H is seeing in me.

Can't believe relate now see couples in abusive relationships. WHY??

solareclipse Sat 18-Jun-11 21:28:47

You will be blamed for everything. Don't go there.

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Sat 18-Jun-11 21:31:43

"Sorry - I guess I just don't understand it then. It just seems that if you want a relationship to improve you have to both work at it"

Oakmaiden, that's the point - abusers don't want the relationship to improve - they just want to continue abusing their victim.

chris123456 Sat 18-Jun-11 21:32:15

When I went to Relate - two seperate counsellors and a couple of years apart - same relationship, I found them to be very good. There were joint sessions but also many individual sessions - you will have the chance to say what you need to without your abuser being present

abbdabb Sat 18-Jun-11 21:35:30

chris - did the joint counselling improve your relationship? was it abusive? are you still together?

BelleDameSansMerci Sat 18-Jun-11 21:38:33

There's a whole lot of reasons why couples counselling in abusive relationships is not a good idea unless the counsellor is very experienced at dealing with abusive relationships. This might be useful in helping to explain it more fully.

abbdabb Sat 18-Jun-11 21:48:03

belle - Have been 'speed reading' that link - very useful, thank you. H is trying to 'fix' me. as far as he is concerned, I am the one with the problems.

If I do go down the couples counselling route, I HAVE to ensure that they are experienced in abusive relationships. I see it now.

H has no empathy towards me, am not sure what the gains would be ...

BelleDameSansMerci Sat 18-Jun-11 22:04:05

abbdabb, I'm not sure there will be any gains unless he is willing to change. sad

abbdabb Sat 18-Jun-11 22:16:16

My instincts are saying 'no' - I will have to trust my instincts. smile

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Sat 18-Jun-11 22:21:35

Always trust your instincts

That's what they're there for.

Anniegetyourgun Sat 18-Jun-11 22:27:58

He could, of course, be lying. It's quite possible that Relate told him no such thing, or if they did, that he misrepresented himself to get the answer he was looking for. Used to get that sort of BS from XH all the time.

abbdabb Sat 18-Jun-11 22:39:24

I will trust my instincts, regardless of the s**t that will be thrown at me.

Yes, annie, he may be lying/manipulating.

FreudianSlipper Sat 18-Jun-11 22:54:48

why would any counsellor that felt you were in an abusive relationship tell you to have therapy together? he is lying (most probable) or they are giving very bad advice. it is very important that if you are going to counselling you see a counsellor on your own otherwise he can and most probably will use your couple therapy to manipulate and bully you more

Latteaddict Sun 19-Jun-11 01:51:39

Don't do it. I got loads out of my individual counselling. Helped me see that I take the "blame" for when other people (ie DH) aren't happy about something. I have now, after quite a while, realised that DH (we're separated now!) is controlling/bullying/verbally abusive, and to rather an extreme extent. Once one thing fell into place, everything else crashed around it, and I've got a truly omg, what have I been doing, realisation.

If I'd ever been discussing things in the same space as him, I'd never have got that far - I'd have never had a chance as he'd have talked over me/across me/told me I was wrong etc etc.

He's actually now just had a counselling session for himself - after I told him that the way he interacts with everyone is wrong and I have no intention of getting back with him. However, he has already verbally abused and threatened DS1 behind my back, while he has supposedly realised the errors he's made, gone on anti-depressants and is making a real effort to change. It's all for show, to try to stop me from carrying on with the divorce.

I'm very very sure that, in a few weeks time, once the house is on the market, and divorce well underway, his individual counselling will stop because I'm sure it's only a means to an end. Meantime, I'm already listening to him quoting "therapy speak" at me that he's picked up from his session - in many ways he's going to get more manipulative tools from going than any benefit to him as a person.

Stick with your insticts and avoid doing anything that he could twist/use against you. You need to get yourself totally balanced first. Hope this makes sense x

BestCautious Sun 19-Jun-11 02:25:30

i had a session with Relate and my ex.

It was fucking horrible.

But I will say that I made it very clear in the session that we were done. I felt backed up by the counsellor- and this is a guy who could fool everyone.

It was horrid, but it drew a line under all of it, which is what I wanted.

At the end of the day, nobody else is in charge of you- just hold onto that.

chris123456 Sun 19-Jun-11 04:40:53

"chris - did the joint counselling improve your relationship? was it abusive? are you still together"?

We got dumped because ex had difficulties being truthful - it was abusive - and not still together. I found the one on one sessions with the counsellors to be very helpful. And for me because it was Relate it put everything in a context for me and made it relevant. I'm not sure seeing a counsellor just on my own would have had the same effect for me.

abbdabb Sun 19-Jun-11 06:28:49

latte - thanks, I can really relate (no pun intended)to what you are saying, hope all goes well.

thanks for replying, chris. I suppose its down to what works for the individual.

I will continue the counselling - on my own. smile

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