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.
Husband making me doubt myself and making me look stupid in counselling(31 Posts)
I have name changed for this as I think he knows my usual name.
We have been having counselling as he wants to try and save the marriage but is denying things and making me feel stupid.
I mentioned something that was bothering me, about his reaction to something we had talked about and he had sulked.
He accused me of not trusting my parents in the original conversation (not at the counselling) yet when I brought this up he denied he said it, and said I must have misinterpreted what he said. He also told the counsellor he had offered an alternative at the time. (It was about a weekend away, I didn't want to go abroad as I don't like leaving the kids and I'm terrified of flying, which he knows, I said I was happy to go in the UK).
He did say that about my parents, as I remember him saying it at the time, and I told a couple of my friends who remember it too, as I was upset at the time.
He also sulked and didn't want to talk about it, so didn't offer an alternative. My friend remembers this too.
He turns into this charming person with the counsellor, and I just wanted to call him up on it, but there's no point as he would deny it.
I just wanted some acknowledgement from him, even if he couldn't remember just saying, oh I'm sorry I don't remember saying that, rather than categorically saying he didn't say it.
I'm seeing the counsellor on my own next time so I will mention this, but if I bring things up he either denies them, or says he will help with things,even though when I have asked before he never helped.
It's like he's saying the right things to the counsellor so he looks good, it's all about his image.
I just start to doubt myself and think that if I start pulling him up on it I will look petty and he will deny it, as the counsellor even said I was probably misinterpreting what he said!
He's saying what he thinks are the right things but I know he's talking bullshit, is there even any point mentioning it too the counsellor as i know she isn't going to take sides?
He wants to save your marriage? What about you? You know, your councillor is not a judge, they don't get to decide that you have to stay together , so really does it matter what the councillor thinks of your husband? You know the man, it's for you to decide how to proceed.
Sounds like couple counselling isn't working for you. Would one to one be more beneficial?
counsellor - sorry, typing quickly while cooking
You don't need your counsellor to say "Yes, he's a twat, you can leave." You can just decide that for yourself.
After the session, do you bring up dh's bullshit with him? Does he admit he's lying or continue telling you you've misinterpreted etc?
If you don't know what it is, look up 'gaslighting.'
Also, do you think his wanting to save the marriage is also about him wanting to save face, publicly, to friends, family etc?
Do you want to save the marriage?
There is no benefit in having counselling jointly with an abusive partner. You're in a vulnerable situation when you're opening up and he will use this to twist your words and hurt you further. Just watch - I bet he starts to use the things you've opened up about to further harm or provoke you.
yes speak to the counsellor on your own. Tell her your concerns and then seek counselling and support on your own. No good counsellor will work do couples counselling if they suspect abuse?
ofgs if I'd looked at your name, OP, I wouldn't have asked the gaslighting question. I am a total moron.
this is why joint counselling is not recommended where there is any kind of abuse in a relationship, including emotional abuse and/or gaslighting
he still has you doubting and second-guessing yourself, even in what should be the "safe space" of counselling
No need to apologize Thingummy I'm glad you mentioned it too
I had some individual counselling first which is what led to this (a different counsellor obviously)
I doubt myself as even though I know in my mind it's not all my fault, he has treated me like an employee/child and not as an equal, and over the years my confidence and self esteem has got lower and lower, it was never great to start with. I do think he may be emotionally abusive, but because he comes across to others as very charming, people think he's a great guy, which makes me doubt myself even more
I didn't call him up on it, as he wouldn't admit it anyway, he is very set in his ways and sees things very black and white. He lacks empathy and understanding, and to me they are hugely important.
I'm just scared I suppose, I do have some individual counselling booked for when this has finished.
What's the benefit of doing the couples counselling for you (not him)?
He doesn't want to save your marriage he wants the counsellor to tell you that you are the problem and that he is perfect.
My xh lied in our counselling session. He literally walked in, having not spoken to me in a week, promised me the world, sobbed, cried, and when I said, "his words aren't worth anything" the counsellor turned to him and said, "does that make you feel like you can never get anything right?"
The following week I went back with a list of how he'd lied and what he'd done in the week. She sat there with this face and said to me, "Chris, I'm so sorry, I don't think that we can help you." I agreed.
Xh said we were "ganging up on him".
She was supposed to tell him he was great and that I had to be nicer to him.
If he's lying in counselling he doesn't want to make it work, he wants to manipulate you.
He's blown it, hasn't he? You have him this final chance to make things right and he threw it away
Oh and I started keeping a diary. That way when he denied things or twisted things I could look back and see what really happened. It made for some very grim reading.
Trust yourself. He is not good for you.
Thingummy OP uses term gas lighting in her NC! My DH did this in couples counselling as well. I kept challenging it, feeling safer doing it in front of a third party than when just the two of us were talking. Your counsellor should begin to see how you operate as a couple, if she's any good. You could try pointing out to DH some of the things he's been doing while having counselling to try and save the marriage. From your post:
Made you feel stupid
and asking him how behaving like that can save the marriage when(I presume) it's that kind of behaviour that has led to difficulties in the marriage. You ask if there's any point mentioning it to the counsellor, yes, definitely! May I ask how come you are seeing the counsellor on your own next time? Was it at her instigation, because if so, she may already be suspecting his viewpoint ?
Posted with lots of posts! Slow internet here! Keeping a diary very good advice. You might be thinking your niggles are "petty" because the recent ones that come to mind don't seem that significant. Once you have collected a whole barrage of evidence - the rest, not the tip of the iceberg - they probably won't seem petty to you or your counsellor.
I'm seeing her on my own as I asked too previously as I was struggling to say what I wanted to say so she helped me think what I wanted to say, and could prompt me.
She asked at the end if another one on my own would help, or did we want a joint one. But she also said she thinks counselling will work as we are both being very open and willing to work on things
I felt a bit got at in the last one, as I was admitting things (I pulled him up on passive aggressive behavior around him tidying up and commenting to the kids he couldn't tuck them in yet as the house was a tip, instead of discussing it with me) and he said the house was a tip and he expected it to be tidy when he got in from work. I said that made me feel like he was saying I was a slattern and he denied that, saying it was clean just untidy. I admitted I was a hoarder (I am, and am prepared to tell the truth) and I said I need help sorting out as I struggle to throw things away, he said he would take time off work to help me. I have suggested this to him before, funnily enough he has never done it! When I do sort out instead of saying it's good, he picks up on the things I've missed out! So because I was prepared to tell the truth, he loved that he could be seen as the good guy, I will bring this up next time on my own too.
And yes Chris that makes sense, he wouldn't want to be the one to end it and look like the bad guy, he wants people to think he is trying. He won't even tell his closest friends about the counselling, he doesn't want anyone to see him as less than perfect. I wouldn't expect him to tell everyone, but if he really wanted it too work I think he would be asking their advice.
It sounds like the counsellor is being run rings around. They rely on both parties being honest, when one isn't they can't help at all.
You aren't the bad guy if your marriage hasn't worked. You shouldn't put up with someone who makes you unhappy. He doesn't sound like a nice person to me. It doesn't matter if other people think he's great, you're married to him and you know the truth.
At least you can say you gave it a go. You can't fix things alone and it seems he has no intention of changing. How generous of him to offer to help you to fix your issues (when he's refused in the past without an audience), funny how he's not admitting to his own issues.
I would use my time alone with the counsellor to tell her exactly how it is, and that I won't be returning because he's shown that he doesn't want to mend things or work with me, he just wants to pretend he's someone he's not.
Ishe. I think you and others are right. He isn't really interested in improving your relationship, he is just going through the motions. FWIW, my XH did this. He managed to sabotage every session. It was part of a campaign of trying to make out he had done everything he could
whilst online dating and generally trying to make me out to be a witch
It sounds like he's more interested in impressing the counsellor than sorting out the issues. I think I'd call him on this bullshit in front of the counsellor and either he commits to improving things or there's no point going.
he is used to getting how own way, this man, I reckon
so he will be quite enjoying wrapping the counsellor around his little finger and even more of a bonus if he crushes you just a little bit more in the process
win/win for him
God this sounds familiar.
I went into couples' counseling expecting the counselor to help us stay together, and, if I'm honest, to tell my H to stop being such a bastard to me. I admitted where I'd gone wrong, and watched, open-mouthed, as he lied his ass off, denying, inventing and acting like a completely different person. The counselor was eating out of his hand. She made a few comments about where I could try harder and even now, years later, he still quotes these. In the final session, when I finally plucked up the courage to describe the assault that had driven us to counseling, she was shocked; he denied it. But even in her shock, she was still making excuses for him ("but he was drunk, and he says he stopped drinking a few weeks ago")
I was looking for an 'expert' to judge our marriage, or to police his behaviour. What I realise now is that the whole point was that we were meant to be showing each other that we were decent people who loved each other and were both committed to working it out. He wasn't. He just wanted to be right. That's no basis for a relationship.
Our counselor was pretty poor, we were her first ever clients, and the training was minimal. But even with a better/more experienced counselor, they're not magicians or mind readers, and they can only go on the information provided.
So he is more interested in gaslighting you and appearing the better person then actually rescuing your relationship. Hmmm
Counselling is never recommended for couples where one of them is abusive towards the other... He WILL use this as a stick to beat you with time and time again.
Be brave and pick him up and say in front of the counsellor "You're lying and twisting what happened to make yourself look good" as a statement not a question.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.