Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

dh (separated)

(64 Posts)
muser31 Tue 04-Mar-14 05:52:37

so we are starting marriage counselling this week, i am nervous. he has been emotionally abusive in the past we been separated for a good while now and have a 3 yr old dd - we are hoping to get our issues ironed out, tbh i don't see much hope of getting back together but this will be a way of getting some closure, even possibly hoping for an outcome of good communication with him. i am so worried though about bringing everything up again - he wouldn't deal with it all at the time, and in a way im over it all, but it has to be dealt with now, and im so pissed off that i have to bring it all up again, i know its going to be very very stressful (counselling was the last time, when we were married) so i think im going to need as much support as i can. ive been told this counsellor is very experienced with domestic violence etc, i really hope she finds a way to make him realise his selfishness even with the way he deals with childcare etc now - i feel we have so much to sort out, issues from when we were married and lots of issues from after we separated too. its going to be fun....NOT. sigh. i just feel like 'not this again' should have been over long long ago!!

Casmama Tue 04-Mar-14 05:57:35

Sorry no experience of this but mYbe you need to decide how far you are going to take this. That could be a time limit or it could be that within the first session there are certain things that you need him to concede/ admit to which are fundamental to moving forward. Then if those things don't happen you can decide that you are flogging a dead horse and are not prepared to go any further.
Good luck

YoniMatopoeia Tue 04-Mar-14 05:58:11

Why are you doing this? What do you hope to get from it?

muser31 Tue 04-Mar-14 06:40:09

yes i am doing this basically for closure, and to make SURE that i have done my best and there really is NO chance of us getting back together - really to see if he can see the mistakes he has made and wants to change. yes, i totally see that there is no point drawing this out and once i have put my points across to him and given it a few sessions i am not going to go on with it if i feel its not going anywhere. another reason that im doing it is for dd - to get us talking on parenting issues.

mummytime Tue 04-Mar-14 06:58:14

I think from what I have heard from others that there is little chance that you will get anything but heartache from this.

Before you go, if at all possible I would like to speak to this counsellors ex-clients. Because I would be truly worried if the "victims" come out of sessions of counselling with her feeling they have been blamed or not listened to.
This counselling website says: Counselling is not recommended for abusers, who may use the opportunity to re-enforce their own inability to take responsibility and ‘poor me’ position.

What steps have you taken to recover yourself? What books have you read? What counselling have you had alone? Freedom programme?

Fleminggot Tue 04-Mar-14 07:09:23

Is there a reason you have to do counselling together? Could you not just go on your own?

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 04-Mar-14 07:14:59

Cancel the joint sessions; its no point at all doing this.

You have managed to separate from him; doing this further enmeshes you with him again. Your own reasons are valid but not applicable here. He will not give you the time of day because he is at heart abusive and will not co-operate. He could manipulate the counsellor and can use such sessions as a stick to further beat you with.

Joint counselling is never ever recommended where there has been abuse within the relationship. It may lead to just more heartache and pain for you if you go down this route.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 04-Mar-14 07:16:06

An abusive man will not 'see' his mistakes or own up to any failings. As far as he's concerned, he's right and everyone else has the problem. Selfish bullies do not respond to counselling and, quite honestly, I think you are wasting your time and risking yet more disappointment. I think it would be more constructive for you personally to consciously reject him once and for all rather than keeping on with some mistaken idea of obligation to give him more opportunities. He won't give you closure. You'll have to supply your own.

muser31 Tue 04-Mar-14 07:38:51

i totally understand this and i realise that in a way i am being a bit stupid going through this... but i think i need this in some sort of way, and i have waited a long time for this.... i really do take all your advice on board though and i am grateful for it, as i am more determined now - if i think it is not going well i will just cancel it even after the first or second session, get a divorce as the 2 years will be up soon - and also can i get contact arrangements sorted through the courts? i am at the minute entitled to legal aid. i am prepared for all this... and i just think because of my personal values etc i need this. i just need to know i did my absolute. i need confirmation there is no hope and i will probably see that in his attitude in the first or second session - probably with a lot of stress and heartache... but what i am hoping is that it won't go on and on. the best case scenario is that he wll see and change... and that is a miracle i know.

mummytime Tue 04-Mar-14 09:10:24

Just one thing to think about.

If at counselling he burst into tears admitted how awful he had been, promised to change, begged for another chance. Would you ever be able to fully trust that he wasn't going to slip back into his old ways? Would you find yourself trying to minimise stress points so he didn't get too stressed and slip into his old ways?

Lweji Tue 04-Mar-14 09:13:02

Forget about doing all you can. What has he done?

He has been abusive, and there is nothing you can do about it. You can't change him. Only he can change.
You can only evaluate whether he has changed or not.

Don't beat yourself up and don't find more ways to torture yourself.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 04-Mar-14 09:14:48

You are not just being a bit stupid here. Your own values are and have been totally disregarded by him, what makes you think that he will be at all reasonable this time around.

"i just need to know i did my absolute".

Please do not keep growing flowers in the hole you have dug for yourself. You've already done more than enough and it is well and truly over. Give yourself and your DD a better life, one without this man in it he is still controlling you.

I think you will ultimately kick yourself for allowing yourself to be dragged down both by him and this route again. You've already done counselling once and it got you nowhere. What can seeing a different counsellor do really?. Such men do not change. The definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

The only person who can provide "closure" here is you; not him because it is in his interests to make you squirm at the end of his hook for as long as possible.

You'd be far better off instead channelling your energies now into getting proper legal advice, divorcing this man and using the courts re child access.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 04-Mar-14 09:19:13

The only positive slant I could put on this OP is that, in the course of the counselling session, you will see and change. I sincerely hope you look at him, see him for the miserable creature he really is and get the motivation you need to properly end it. Sometimes time apart enables detachment and detachment can bring clarity of purpose.

AnyFucker Tue 04-Mar-14 09:24:07

Why bother, seriously

Joint counselling is not recommended where there is abuse. A good counsellor would know this and refuse to accept the sessions

You are onto a loser before you start, and you know it

What a a waste of time and energy, better used in moving forward for your own sake

Anniegetyourgun Tue 04-Mar-14 09:38:29

Having refused - furiously - to engage in counselling when I believed it might save our marriage, XH became very keen on it once I was determined the marriage was over. Turned out he was under the impression the whole point of marriage guidance counselling was to bring couples together again, whilst I was there to gain closure and a modicum of understanding if possible, just as you are, OP. He even told the counsellor it was her job and she just looked at him blankly and said "No, it is not my job to do that, J." Obviously the entire process was doomed and we had six sessions of pointless wrangling, during one of which the counsellor half-shouted "Stop it! You're behaving like a pair of five-year-olds!"

The only thing I got out of it was observing the counsellor's reaction to XH's behaviour, which was quite enlightening. When he used "that voice" and she jumped back in her chair, for example. Or when he said something completely off the wall and her face was a study in confusion. Helped me to realise it really wasn't just me. There was no chance she'd get through to him, anyway, as he had 0 respect for her because she was fat.

He liked the mediator we saw later much better - being slim and well groomed helped, and to be fair she was really nice and seemed very capable - but as I wasn't prepared to carry on with it unless he paid half, we didn't do more than one taster session. It would have been a complete waste of time anyway, and I suspect he only wanted to do it to drain the money available to pay my solicitor.

Evie2014 Tue 04-Mar-14 09:43:20

This is going to sound harsh but believe me, if he is an abuser, you will not get closure. You will never get him to change or admit that he was wrong (unless it's on a minor point, as part of a bigger game plan to manipulate a situation).

Cogito says it perfectly. He will only see it as him being right and everyone else being wrong. Going to counselling is only giving him more attention, which is exactly what he wants. It's not going to help you. Please, don't waste any more of your precious time on this person.

Twinklestein Tue 04-Mar-14 10:07:14

You have already done your absolute OP. You're flogging a dead horse, or more precisely, you're flogging yourself.

If this counsellor were genuinely 'very experienced' with dv she would not be seeing you together.

I understand that you hope you may get him to see the error of his ways, but in fact all you are doing is putting yourself in line for more abuse and distress.

Lweji Tue 04-Mar-14 10:36:36

ExH told me after we separated that he had seen a counsellor (who knows if it's true, but he was supposed to be seeing a psychiatrist because he had social anxiety, wasn't working, and would need to keep it up to qualify for benefits - but still, who knows if he even mentioned the DV to them).

Interestingly, what came out of his mouth was: "she told me that I shouldn't have been violent to you".
Not "I shouldn't have been violent to you" or "I'm sorry I was violent to you and I wish I hand't" or something like that.
And this was when I had already left him and reported him to the police.

But, I don't think you can expect better in your case, sadly.

muser31 Tue 04-Mar-14 10:43:29

Thanks for sharing experience and advice. I have already decided to go through with it though and rising my gut feeling that is the right decision even if to prove once and for all he's a twat.... Also like Cogito said to change me and give me the motivation to go through with the divorce. Please don't try to dissuade me any morebut just help me through it. ... totally get why u are telling me not to do it though I just need to. In work here buit will come back and reply more later really appreciate the support

AnyFucker Tue 04-Mar-14 10:47:54

If you want help for your own sake, have individual counselling

Watching him potentially have a counsellor wound around his little finger like I expect he did to you for years is not going to give you any closure at all

It seems you are intent on it though, so good luck

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 04-Mar-14 10:53:14

You can only do what you think right but simply put this is not one of your better decisions and will come back to bite you hard.

Lweji Tue 04-Mar-14 10:54:55

As for advice, only as previously given of observing him more than anything.
When I was leaving ex and giving him the chances I really shouldn't have I was basically just watching him too and making notes. Such as his refusal to go to counselling when I told him that it was a condition to have any chance of getting back together.

And focus on the effect on the children, and joint parenting, less on fixing the relationship.

kyotokate Tue 04-Mar-14 11:13:25

I left my husband thirty years ago and he refused to go to marriage guidance (as it was called then!!) when we were together. About 6 months after I left he made an appointment for joint councelling!! It was obvious from the beginning of the session it was going to be a waste of time so I left after about 10 mins.

OP I really think you are wasting your time and you need to concentrate on yourself and your DD and your joint future. Good Luck....

AliceDoesntLiveHereAnymore Tue 04-Mar-14 14:07:48

I have to agree with those recommending individual counselling for yourself, if you are looking for closure and the strength to go through the divorce.

If he wants to fix his behaviour, then he should go to individual counselling for himself.

Joint counselling in an abusive (verbal, physical, or any other type) situation isn't recommended. I'm quite surprised the counsellor agreed to it.

muser31 Tue 04-Mar-14 15:16:29

well ive been thinking about it all a lot today. in some ways i should have ended the relationship a long time ago. but there was never any closure, he refused to communicate properly and i said i needed space, then things were impossible to sort out after that.

i have a whole list of stuff that he will need to change for us to be able to make things work, and im going to show it to both him and the counsellor. im just waiting for him to react to it, argue about it etc etc and then that will be my get out of jail free card in a way. i don't know i just need to see all the things i have written, i need him to show that he is not going to agree with them or something.

we have both been to individual counselling. he went to 'prepare himself' yeah right. to me it was his way of putting it off. and i went to be clear in my mind what i wanted, so i am fairly clear what i want... and if things don't work out i will go back to get the strength to go through the divorce.

please can people tell me - if i do decide im not going forward in our relationship, but i feel that we can get along ok for the sake of our dd, should i continue with the marriage counselling (with him knowing we are not getting back together) in order to sort out childcare arrangements, and all the parenting styles order to make things as amicable as possible (which was the reason i wanted to wait the 2 years before getting divorced)

OR just stop all contact, go through a solicitor and get it all formally drawn up - i am not familiar with this process.... does the solicitor or judge draw up a contact arrangements which will include holidays, what happens when dd is sick, all that kind of thing that would have been talked about in mediation? thanks

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: