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Doc@DrIrene.com

Comments for Guy's Boyfriend

Guy's Boyfriend

Material posted here is intended for educational purposes only, and must not be considered a substitute for informed advice from your own health care provider.

Courtesy of Dr. Irene Matiatos   Copyrightę 1998-2001. The material on this website may be distributed freely for non-commercial or educational purposes provided that author credit is given. For commercial distribution, please contact the author at Doc@drirene.com

 

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, April 09, 2001

S1

To clarify some points: setting boundaries had not stabilized my boyfriend so that I felt his behaviour was the same as before the first violation of boundaries, hence I thought we should go to a therapist. Setting boundaries very often does not stabilize the partner. It is a first step. Then, you can expect more of the same but subtler, and you must set boundaries for that. And what follows. Etc., etc.. The therapist insisted that we both go along together, although I had tried briefly to outline the problem - mentioning examples of abuse, and hoped the therapist would catch on. You wanted the therapist to fix him. So, you walk into the therapist's office, explain the problem, dumping your boyfriend on his doorstep. But he won't have it. Neither would I. Had you walked into my office outlining the problem, I too would have insisted you come together. I would also jump down your throat asking you to stay in your own skin and stop being "Dr. Kyle."  As background I mentioned the fact that my boyfriend is manic-depressive. I could not understand what the therapist was doing and spoke to him on my own last week, and was told:

He would not point out bad behaviour, it was not his job. We speak two different languages, but he would not try to establish rules of communication. He would not attempt to restore respectful behaviour, or do anything about my boyfriend's aggression. This is that particular therapist's approach. That is not a problem in itself, except that you don't like his approach.. My attitude was paradoxical - I know my boyfriend is manic-depressive and expect him to behave normally. That he would not try and show my boyfriend he has a problem, it was not his job and would be unethical. That he was not doing 'couples counseling'. That I needed therapy as I was suffering, and needed help to tolerate the bad behaviour. When I said I would only come to him for help in setting boundaries - it's not something I am used to doing - I expect adults to behave like adults (when my boyfriend first became abusive - jokes in front of others I told myself he was an adult and must know that it was wrong, and that whatever problems he had they would pass - this was before I leant he was manic-depressive), he looked at me blankly. He looked at you blankly because abuse is poorly recognized; because your model of how to handle abuse comes from this site, and because I developed the material I present, you are unlikely to see it elsewhere. However, another directive therapist, likely another cognitive behaviorist, is more willing than the therapist you chose to act as a consultant/advisor. Your person is psychodynamic and, indeed, from that perspective, it is unethical to be directive. From mine, it is unethical not to be!

This is the situation in Germany. Anyway I am thinking of suing the therapist. That's silly; it's very unlikely you have a case. You are dumping your outrage on him for not working to accomplish your albeit reasonable goals. Quite simply, if you don't like his style, go elsewhere. He tells me one thing - my boyfriend is too sick to see his own problem, too sick to expect normal behaviour, (I accept there will be occasions when he provokes - as long as it is not too often or too severe, I know what to do now), and tells my boyfriend his behaviour is normal, that he has no problem. Other than taking his "side" to empower him, I don't know why he would say this. This is not honest, and therefore a game from which only he profits. I agree with you, but it is less likely that he is a thief than he is working under the assumptions of the theoretical model he's trained in. It was only when I spoke to him last week - after 5 months - that I knew he was not going to do anything for the relationship. He must have known that was my expectation - another dishonesty. The only honest thing he could do if he felt it unethical to try and persuade someone they have a problem, was to tell us he could not help us. Again, we're in agreement, but if he's psychodynamic, he won't "believe" the presenting problem and will wait, without intervening, to see what develops. I think your behavior may have helped convinced him that you are a control freak, despite your obvious good intent. Anyway this is the situation in Germany. It is against this background that I say my boyfriend had a point of view when he was so angry that he ignored my birthday - because I sit there with the therapist talking about his behaviour and he is getting no real support, other than to be told his behaviour is 'normal' - which deep inside he does not believe himself. But I did refuse to see or speak to him for three weeks. You are still trying to change others Kyle, and make them over according to your plan. Not that your plan is "wrong"; it's that you cannot change anyone outside of yourself. I take back what I said about your being less codependent; you proved me wrong. I agree with this therapist to the extent that I too think you are in pain and would benefit from a person you can talk to alone - and who can help you better understand the only way your life will change is when you internally deal with stuff inside yourself instead of demanding that other people or situations be changed. That's codependent!

Kyle

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, April 09, 2001

S1

Kyle, Dr. Irene is right. Change yourself. Good luck, DS

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 10, 2001

S1

I've just told my boyfriend we don't need to go to the therapist any more - and he insisted that he wanted to. Oh well. The therapy started well. When I say I outlined the problem, I mean I gave examples of bad behaviour without listing every little thing. We were both challenged. But when I mentioned that my boyfriend had begun to demand proof concerning my financial affairs in England, which I had resisted - apart from anything else, I can only obtain proof through someone with whom I have always done things on a basis of trust - and I pointed out that I had always been honest and upfront and that my financial affairs were my financial affairs, I was challenged by the therapist and told I was being awkward. This worried me. I wonder why he challenged you? Was he picking up something? Can you think of anything he may have been picking up?

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 10, 2001

S1

Getting a new therapist sounds like a really good idea. I've had 3, 2 of which were wonderful. The other was fine, but I didn't care for her approach, so I found someone else. For another situation/person her style might work, but I'm paying a lot of money and need for my therapist to "feel" right. Yes.

The books on Dr. Irene's list are very good and have helped me learn to focus on taking care of myself. It took a year of trying to make an abusive relationship work before I got out (once I understood the situation and my own issues). Getting out was the most self-loving thing I could do!!

Take care of you, SK Thanks SK. I am having a very hard time getting Kyle to understand that while I am not contesting anything he is saying about his boyfriend, that's neither here nor there since there's nothing he can do about the boyfriends behavior. I'm having a hard time helping Kyle COPE internally with all the junk - or leave, if he can't or won't... 

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 10, 2001

S1

And one last point: the therapist told me that my boyfriend's bad behaviour did have something to do with me, whatever I might think. I suggested this was not a healthy attributional style. He disagreed. I was further told that his bad behaviour was his way of communicating and I should try harder to understand what he wants from me. The therapist is encouraging you to be more codependent? I told him I had been doing this and tried to speak to him about abuse. He was not interested. Understanding this therapist - until I spoke to him on my own - was almost as difficult as understanding my boyfriend and I feel I've been slowly drawn into an unproductive situation in the same slow way as with my boyfriend. I asked him directly whether he was saying that this relationship cannot work. He answered evasively. I've been told I'm doing everything wrong - perhaps, perhaps not. I do not mind being told that, if he is prepared to try and explain to my boyfriend that perhaps he might be doing everything wrong too. I don't have much of the data, but I can tell you that you are trying to FIX your boyfriend, or have the therapist FIX him. You are assuming you have the correct "take." Perhaps you do. So what? How has that helped your situation? If he hasn't heard you yet, why will he now? Can you accept what is and stop trying to control (FIX) your boyfriend? Can you use that energy to FIX yourself? You are so hell-bent on this FIX-HIM track, you don't see how you appear to others: like a rigid control freak! Can you FIX that?  

Kyle

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, May 16, 2001

S1

I am going out with a boy that is going out with another girl

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, April 21, 2003

S1

I am in abusive relationship. I am very scared. If I try to get a restraining order, I am afraid that will just enrage my boyfriend and I will get even more hurt. What should I do? And if I do get the restraining order and he attacks where should I turn?