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Comments to Recognizing Abuse in Therapy

Comments to Recognizing Abuse in Therapy

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 2000. 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: Sunday, May 07, 2000

S1

My experience with 2 therapists: Impatience toward the victim, i.e., "Why don't you just stand up for yourself?" as if it were as simple as that. The abuse escalated when I (the V) stood up for my self. One therapist suggested simple anger management skills to the A. They didn't help. The other therapist managed the (single session) as if we had a dispute which could be resolved by talking about our differences. In neither case was the abuse recognized. The A continued to blame the V. The therapists operated as if A and V were equals, had equal power in the relationship and shared the blame for the "conflicts". When told about incidents of abuse, they bought into the idea that V must have done something to instigate it. Maybe because A presented a calm rational front in therapy while V became emotionally distraught. I went on blaming myself until I found this website. Ugh. I'm glad you found us. Welcome aboard. Dr. Irene

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, May 07, 2000

S1

We went to counseling after a particularly painful evening in which my husband belittled me in front of his brother and sister-in-law and I told him we had to go to a therapist or I would leave. We spent a year in largely unsuccessful couples therapy. Looking back now, I am angry, and feel that I was a victim of my husband's manipulations and the therapist's ignorance. Blame the professions rather than the therapist. 

At first the therapist, after meeting with me once and getting a brief history, decided that because of the verbal abuse in my childhood that perhaps I was "too sensitive" - until I pointed out to her that both my sister-in-law and brother-in-law had told me they didn't know why I put up with my h. and that his comments often made them angry enough that they left the room. Why didn't she think that if I had been verbally abused growing up that perhaps I was in the same sort of situation now??? Blame the therapist.

Before I found this site, I had found something about how some people use communication to control, not communicate, and took it in. It seemed to me to be exactly what was going on, and we had been working on "communication." She dismissed it. She knew no better.

The therapist gave me the Patricia Evans book The Verbally Abusive Relationship  to read, to see if there was abuse going on GOOD FOR HER! She gets points for that! , but what was happening was too subtle for me to see - except for the obvious put-downs. Yes. I honestly didn't know, even after a year of couples therapy, why felt so lousy, until I found Evan's second book, Survivors of Verbal Abuse Speak Out on the bargain table of our bookstore. My hand reached for it, although as I reached for it I was telling myself that the verbal abuse (the obvious stuff) had stopped. My hand was a lot smarter than I was--and smarter than the therapist! I opened it and everything the survivors wrote sounded like I could have written it! The day after buying the book I found this site, and it's helped me enormously.

I am now in counseling (alone) with someone recommended by the women's shelter. Getting stronger and less co-dependent, and seeing more each day. :) Thanks for sharing.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, May 08, 2000

S1

YES! My husband and I are now in therapy, both joint and individual, and are addressing our relationship as an abusive one. Thank god - since I am now seeing that he is beginning to use his tactics on our oldest child (3 years old). However, our first foray into counseling was just as bad as what has been described. When I complained that he treated me with contempt and rudeness, I was told that I was just too emotionally needy and that I needed to recognize that my husband just couldn't give me the intimacy I was seeking. I was also treated as if I was high maintenance for complaining about him - I was told that my husband had a right to vent some stress after work, that my home was HIS safe haven and if that was the only place he felt like he could truly be himself, I shouldn't take that away from him. My husband, who is the classic abuser - a real charmer outside of our relationship, came off as a great guy. Needless to say, I was VERY CONFUSED, and questioned myself even more after three months of that. We stopped going and after several months of searching for an answer, I stumbled across Dr. Irene's site. I now feel like my eyes are truly open for the first time in 7 years! I now know why I question every thought or opinion I have before, and even sometimes after, I say it. I now know why I have been avoiding social situations - because my husband has time and again told me that I can't handle myself properly in public. And, I have a lot of anger, not only at my husband who I see, right now, as a threat to my emotional well-being rather than a marriage partner, but also at the first therapist. He, without knowing it, actually contributed to it and validated my husband's actions! I actually would really like to go back and see him and tell him how "off the mark" he was and urge him to get some training in abuse issues!

 

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, May 08, 2000

S1

Dr. Irene:

I went to a Dr. LaXXX he is Sky's counselor and I left feeling angry and offended. He basically told me he sided with Sky because he knew him better. At least he was honest. Then when I would bring up an issue he would tell me "Men just don't do that". If Sky would bring up an issue he would tell me I needed to change.

I told this Doctor that Sky had hit me 5 times and his verbal abuse was terrible. He just ignored what I said. Sky left the session with his usual confidence that he is just a nice guy. No one sees his abuse except me. Dr. LaXXX does not understand abuse.

I have insisted on counseling for our relationship and every time Sky will recommend this Doctor. This guy is clueless and I told Sky I think he just tells you what you want to hear. Sky defends him and why not. Sky is a serious verbal and emotional abuser and here is a Doctor telling him he is ok. I said to Sky you filter the information you want him to hear. You should both feel OK with the counselor.

I think it is very hard for any counselor to see one person and discover the real issues. Sky is smooth in public. He is polite and a perfect gentleman. No one would ever know that in private he will torture the person who lives with him. An abuse counselor knows this...

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, May 08, 2000

S1

Dr. Irene:

I had a similar experience with "marriage" counseling. My husband and I have been married for 15 years. We entered into counseling as a last resort (I had asked my husband to leave.) because my emotionally and verbally husband refused to see that he had any responsibility for our marital difficulties.

I love to read, and about 1 1/2 years ago began reading and discovering that there was such a thing as verbal/emotional abuse. I felt so unhappy, depressed for years and years (have been medicated for about 4 years), and felt like there was something horribly wrong with me because no matter how hard I tried I could do nothing right. Then I noticed that I felt this way FOR YEARS!!! Whether I was working in a professional position, or at home running my day-care business, I didn't do enough, and never did enough right. No matter what happened, I was wrong. Everything was my fault....... I'll skip over all that, and just say that he agreed to go to counseling only after I asked him to leave, and basically told him there was no hope for our relationship. He went to counseling - only for 2 or 3 sessions. I felt unsafe there. I had to relive my worst moments and worst experiences with my husband in order to get the counselor to see that we didn't just have a difference of opinion over issues. He didn't see the abuse, and when I spoke up or interrupted to interject a thought, I was told to be quiet and let my husband speak. When I told the therapist I felt I couldn't be close to my husband and trust him entirely, because I had been hurt too often and too deeply by him, he addressed my husband and said "Do you feel that your wife has put you in a position where, if you make one mistake, you are out?" I couldn't believe my ears!

After the 2nd or 3rd session, we did not go back. My husband never brought it up again, until the next time I told him he needed to leave our home. I know in my heart that the things the therapist did, although well intentioned, were very damaging for me, as they made my husband feel totally validated in his behavior. At one point he told the therapist he could never abuse me, he could never hit me. The therapist responded that he could look in my husbands eyes and see that he was so in love with me and was not that type of person.

Several months later we were on a family trip to a corn maze where we were joking and having fun (or so I thought). I joked about my husbands' leading us down the wrong path several times, and jokingly gave my 7 yr old son the "leader" title. For the first time in a long time I was genuinely having fun and meant no harm by my poking fun. My son was thrilled and ran ahead of his dad, stopping to wait for us at the next turn. As I approached my husband, I realized that he had stopped, and was blocking my way. I wondered why, and as I went to duck around him and pass him - he took is hand and whacked me in the side of the head. I was stunned! and angry! I told him I could call the police and get a protective order for what he did. Then he was all apologies as he chased after me, but even his apology was half-hearted as he included a remark on how "I moved - he didn't mean to hit me like that." I never thought he would hit me, so this action was a shock to me.

My son goes to the same therapist (he's got Asperger's disorder and has a lot of emotional difficulties), and TOLD him that his dad had hit me. I had the opportunity to meet with the therapist when my son was sick. I forced myself to overcome my discomfort, and went to the appointment when my son was sick and couldn't make it. I sat down and we spoke for a few minutes about my son's progress. The therapist then asked me what happened in the corn maze (my son told him the story).... I took a deep breath and told him everything. At that point, he told me my husband was abusive. I had the opportunity to say "I tried to tell you that and you couldn't see it. You made him feel like he was right, and I was the problem." The therapist apologized, and said he felt my husband was so deep within himself that he couldn't get him to recognize his own emotion. I guess his sole focus was to get him to know what he was feeling and why. Good for the therapist. He was honest with you about his error.

Now my husband and I are back in counseling by order of the court. After a night of rage, he threatened our son, and I called the police. There was a no-contact order put into effect at my request, which was nulled 3 days later at my request. During the time of the no-contact order, my son (with special needs) was unable to handle the idea of not seeing or speaking with his dad for 2.5 weeks, and I was fearful of his having to be hospitalized due to his raw emotion. The judge put a "90 day stay" on my husband's hearing, and told him and I to go to counseling and they would see what progress was being made at that point. The charges will be dropped if there are no problems. My husband bent over backwards at that point to say the right things about mending our relationship and changing his ways. Now it is not even 2 months since our court date and the red flags are flying for me! Even in counseling, he cannot admit that he was abusive. I have been pouring my heart out to him in a "safer" counseling environment, but he is unable to admit that he's hurt me or been abusive in the past. The word "abuse" sends him out of the room. If he sees me reading any abuse material, he leaves the room. Now he's just better at telling me his feelings at totally inappropriate times, irregardless of my feelings! I find myself pulling away again emotionally, while he's telling me he "wants sex more than once a week". Oh, he told me that the night before I went in for an endometrial biopsy, which I was very worried about.

I know I've rambled on, and I know I'm far from perfect. I feel I have codependent tendencies, and I am working hard to set boundaries so I can live a healthier life and teach my children to do so. I just wanted to share that the second time around in counseling isn't much better. My husbands goal is to have the charges dropped and then pay a lawyer to erase all evidence that the charges and the arrest were ever made. We are in the process of filing for bankruptcy, and have no money - let alone the $1000 for this legal fee. I feel like he's lived his life that way and treated me like those charges for 15 years. I'm still confused and scared and unsure of the future of my marriage (I have my doubts) and all this counseling hasn't helped us.

Thanks for listening, and I hope this helps someone. If you do enter counseling with your abuser, please keep yourself safe! Good luck to you and yours...

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, May 08, 2000

S1

I posted my experience with 2 therapists above. Another thought - even when the victim, abuser, and therapist all agreed that some incident was abusive and even perhaps that the victim did not cause it, the therapist's focus was "why did you put up with that?" No questions for the abuser.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, May 08, 2000

S1

Sadly, I have been told that my husband is not abusive, but that I am just too sensitive. My husband has a closed system of logic that does not allow any further dialogue on any issue. I am frightened of him. Also, I believe that my husband thinks that he is the subject, the object and the standard for his life and mine.

I am a victim of his wrath, vs his physical illness and because his illness is serious, I feel I must endure. Does anybody have any answers? Mckeegan4u@aol.com You don't endure...

 B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, May 10, 2000

S1

One time my brother's therapist asked me if our problems may be sibling rivalry. This was when my brother was on parole after I had him arrested, his second time in prison. This was after the substance abuse clinic and his parole officer referred him to the mental health clinic because his paranoia was abnormal. Sure, it's all just sibling rivalry! Months later this same therapist discharged my brother from the clinic because he suspected he was drinking. He referred him back to the substance abuse clinic. My brother was left hanging with no medication! This put me into a very dangerous situation, and I would have sued the clinic if he had harmed me.

I had to do my own research on how to treat a mentally ill person (he has a paranoid personality disorder) and a substance abuse problem. His disorder is the primary problem, dropping him from that support was stupid! If his therapist suspected him of drinking, he should have asked my brother what was causing stress, not dump him back to the substance abuse clinic who referred him to mental health in the first place! I'm not saying don't treat the substance abuse, but treat the primary problem along with it! I called the state's quality control board and found out that the discharge was illegal. He is back in therapy with a new counselor. Wow! Good for you - and your brother - for being proactive...

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, May 10, 2000

S1

Dear Dr. Irene, I had gone to a counselor with my husband. I found him very unsupportive nor did he even the mention of possibility of emotional abuse. He suggested that I needed medication, even though he could not prescribe drugs. I then ended up going to a Psychiatrist, and described the things that had been related to the previous counselor, and was told that sounded like a controlling and emotionally abusive situation. My husband still contends to this day that I am mentally ill because this counselor suggested that I needed medication. Your husband is misguided. My marriage needed help at that time, and I feel that perhaps if this counselor had been more in tune, rather than labeling me my marriage might have a chance of surviving rather than ending in divorce. It is like he gave my husband the green light to go ahead and free wheel however he wanted.:-(  I'm sorry...

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, May 10, 2000

S1

I was with a counselor that seemed more frustrated with me than anything. he wouldn't answer my questions or let me progress at my own pace. I finally found a counselor that has helped me a lot and listens well. The problem with being in a verbally abusive relationship for as long as I was, 24 years, is that you don't trust your perceptions about anything - so a bad counselor can do a lot of damage. I found that a women is a lot better for this than a man. A Women just seems to have more empathy. I don't know about women having more empathy, but I know you are entirely on target with the not trusting yourself part. I'm glad you found someone you could connect with.

Good luck to everyone Elle

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, May 10, 2000

S1

Based on a few things I've read elsewhere online, I've got some advice for anyone in a verbally abusive relationship who wants to get help. STAY AWAY from any therapist who is a John Gray (Mars-and-Venus books author) fan. This goes about triple if sex is one of the control issues. I'm quite serious here. Go read http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/women_rebuttal_from_uranus/spchless.htm and you'll see what I mean. Unfortunately. *shudder*

I'm so grateful that this is one problem my relationship does NOT have, and that we are in agreement about how harmful this particular breed of nonsense is!!

-AngryGirl  Yikes! scary stuff as presented... Is it possible he's being taken out of context? Honestly, I don't know enough about his stuff to comment one way or the other.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, May 10, 2000

S1

I never really liked John Gray's books. Aren't we all from the planet Earth? After reading some of his answers from the Yahoo interview (found from the above referenced site), all I can say is, I'm glad I'm not his wife! YUK! You're right, AngryGirl! should we have sex when we don't feel like it? Like, when there is a crisis in your family, or a death, and you're feeling lousy? Your mate says he feels neglected instead of maybe wondering what's going on with you? Why you might not want sex? Lack of consideration for the other one's feelings. That's one of the reasons I left a relationship.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, May 11, 2000

S1

What about a man being verbally abused by his wife? Same thing as a wife being verbally abused by her husband. Not OK.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, May 11, 2000

S1

My husband and I went to counseling 11 years ago. I told the counselor about by husbands "anger" problems, and how they he had hit or choked me on several occasions in the past. This counseling incident was provoked by a coffee cup being thrown at me, I ducked, luckily. I was told that I knew when we was reaching his boiling point, don't go there!!!!! I quit attending the sessions after that. We are still married, but I don't really communicate because everything makes him angry. I feel hopelessly stuck. I want out of this 18 year relationship from hell, but don't know how to get out.  You get out step by step, one foot in front on the other. But, you are the only one who can do it. 

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, May 11, 2000

S1

It's unfortunate that John Gray's meaning and context have come across imprecisely. I've seen other people confused by this as well. I'm sure he doesn't mean anyone should be expected to have sex if they're seriously worried by some crisis or other distraction. Mostly it's two important distinctions that are missing. If you "don't feel like" having sex, what exactly does that mean? He's really talking about not feeling aroused. He points out that a number of women find if they start having sex anyway, they do get turned on once they get into it. Physiological difference, that's all. In addition to that, he's pointing out that if you can give a guy a backrub, then why not a hand job? You can do that without actually "having sex." It's just a nice thing to do for someone. Yes. This is plausible. Also, don't forget that the sex issues does not have the same meaning in a "normal" relationship, where the balance of power between the couple is pretty even.

But it does assume you feel some affection toward the guy in the first place. That's different from "not feeling like it" in the sense of harboring anger, or fear, or some other negative emotion toward the guy that actively inhibits sexual intimacy. Most important, the whole object of doing these things from a woman's viewpoint is that she should get some good vibes back from the guy. It can be a way of pumping up a so-so relationship. Correct.

Gray exaggerates gender differences to compensate for the reality that many people are less aware of them than they could be - especially after decades of denial about them. The fact that we're all from Earth doesn't mean we're all the same, but many people seem unable to perceive the nature of those differences. Exaggeration is one way of clarifying them, but Gray's science-fiction fantasy is also a way of inviting people to leave their earthbound preconceptions behind and go on a journey of exploration with open minds. It's a method of overcoming mental blocks.

However, the second important distinction is that Gray is dealing with the majority of ordinary relationships where couples don't always understand one another or interact with one another as well as they might. If you're in the minority of chronically abusive relationships, you may end up giving blowjobs until you're blue in the face, and all you'll get back is more abuse. For that matter, following Gray's advice could be part of a litmus test of whether you're in an abusive relationship or not, depending on what you do get back! All I can say is, try it if you like; but YMMV. That's not "Mars and Venus." That's "Your Mileage May Vary." :) Agreed.  

- Gordon

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, May 11, 2000

S1

Mayhap I shouldn't have opened this can of worms....

At the risk of sounding like Tex's Kali, I fail to see how there can be ANY ACCEPTABLE CONTEXT for this:

"That's all excuses. It takes two minutes. That's all complete baloney, and that attitude ruins marriages. Women make this big deal out of a two-minute hand job. They want him to go do something for her! They want him to go clean this up or do this or whatever. Two minutes! That's all it takes. Big deal! This can make [your husband's] day, make him feel happy, it can save your marriage. [You are] just pissed off because [you're] not getting what [you] want and [you're] using that as an excuse. [You would] get more of what you want if you would take the time for a quickie!"

That is just -- repulsive. Not to mention completely degrading toward women, and completely lacking any consideration for boundaries. There are SO MANY REASONS that a woman might not want to have sex at that moment, no matter how loving her relationship normally is, and here it seems that most of the posters are female victims of abuse. Going to a counselor who subscribes to this "quickies fix everything" mentality is only going to make things worse.

Not meant as a personal attack, but those who can't see that need to think with their brains and not their genitals. END OF STORY.

[/soapbox]

-AngryGirl

This is an excellent example of why "ordinary" couples techniques are inappropriate in abuse. In abuse, all the rules for ordinary counseling are lost. The aim of abuse counseling is to stop the abuse and balance the power in the relationship.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, May 11, 2000

S1

I have been to three different counselors over the past year and a half. A waste of time, each of them. Why? I gave sex to my husband "on demand", while he complained we never "did it" enough. Over the years, each time he "demanded," the tougher it was for me to want or give it. When I didn't give it, he took it. Yuk. Finally, I was no more than a body for him to use, an empty shell. I had to detach to block out the emotional pain. I resent him using my body while emotionally I starve. The act of making love bonds two people through the most intimate of emotions, as well as touching. Making love does not even require intercourse. Yes. When a woman "gives sex" to a man to appease his biological urges, this tears them apart, separates them emotionally, and creates a chasm so great that not even the best counselor in the world can help. Sex, intimate touching to appease a horny man, can be torture to a tired, stressed woman who is starving for a man to touch her as his friend, his love, her comforter...not like a two bit hooker. Men have an amazing ability to equate "sex" with love.....sex, in itself, IS NOT LOVE. The man sits with the counselor thinking "she never gives me sex so how can I show her love". The woman sits there thinking "he never shows me love, so how can I give him sex". And the counselor sits there clueless.  When the imbalance of abuse exists...

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, May 12, 2000

S1

To the previous poster: VERY well said. Gray's stuff is scary- in fact, I think that he encourages the abusive mindset- his books let me act however they want and basically tell women not to speak their minds for fear of sending their husband into his 'cave' but that no matter what he will return to his 'cave' and she just has to deal with it. Tough. Well, for those of us who deal with abusive men, they spend their lives in their 'cave' but we're being bad spouses if we think that we deserve a little more in a relationship? Not to mention that Gray has no credentials and has done no research on any of this. His views on men and women are just that- his views. Which would be fine if his book came with that warning, but it doesn't, it markets itself as an authority on relationships. -SatokoGirl

Gray's stuff is scary - when the counselor is unaware of abuse phenomena.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, May 12, 2000

S1

I sympathize of course with the poster who "gave sex on demand." The whole trouble is that with this particular man you gave and gave, more and more, and got less and less back--in fact, nothing but criticism. When that happens, regardless of whether the issue is sex, or money, practical help, or love itself, anyone would feel used. Your last three sentences hit the nail on the head. Here are two people, both needing something of one another, but either unwilling or unable to give to the other--as if marriage, or life itself, were not dependent on exchange--"and the counselor sits there clueless."

But what if the counselor were John Gray? Could he sit there and tell you "the answer to your problem is sex on demand?" Hardly, since you were already doing that. So much of what he writes is also about what men ought to do for their wives, listening, supporting, complimenting, comforting: many ways of being loving. Gray would have to say your husband had gross shortcomings; it's obvious the man wasn't doing any of that, and nothing you were doing was getting your needs met. That almost defines an abusive relationship.

So now I come to think of it, maybe Gray's books aren't valueless after all to someone in an abusive relationship. His normal premise is that "if you do your part, your marriage ought to work better." But if you're doing that anyway and nothing is getting better, take a look at all the things Gray would advise your partner to do for you--because that's about your own needs. The contrast there alone could be an eye-opener to anyone with an abusive partner. (I'm not suggesting a woman is "abusive" because she doesn't like the "quickie" part, a mere option that people overemphasize anyway; I mean take it as a whole.) And if the partner won't listen, rejects it all out of hand, won't change anything, that might be a big clue to what kind of relationship you're in. I agree.

- Gordon

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, May 13, 2000

S1

I have not only felt lack of compassion from counselors, but also from leaders in support groups. What would you call it when after 20 yrs. of marriage I ask my husband to please take his clothes upstairs to be put away in our bedroom - because we now lived in a tri-level house and I felt this wasn't asking too much of him, only to have him leave the pile I had just washed, ironed and folded either lying in the family room where I folded them, took them upstairs, but left them on the bed or floor, or only put on what he needed for that day? Or asking my husband to please eat in the kitchen where he could still watch TV and not in the family room because I wanted our brand new house to stay nice only to be told, "I will eat WHERE I WANT!"?

I call this abusive. Why am I told I could get a job if I really WANTED to? This is true, but I didn't want to work for McDonald's. This was told to me in a support group setting by one of the leaders.

I am still struggling to end this relationship. : (  This may or may not be abuse...not enough info here.

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, May 14, 2000

S1

Concerning the previous poster whose husband doesn't pick up his laundry or eat in the kitchen: It seems a stretch to call that abusive. Inconsiderate and perhaps even hostile, but abusive? The group leader who told her she could get a job if she "really wanted to" might be ill-informed , maybe just blunt and unfeeling, but abusive?? Where do we draw the line? -  SG

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, May 14, 2000

S1

Just over a year ago, my husband and I went to couples counseling through my EAP (employee assistance program). We were referred to a woman, who saw us three times, and despite being told that my husband had a volatile temper and that he had sent a bag of groceries sailing earlier (the same day as the third counseling session), she pronounced that we were both depressed, and that I was more depressed than him. Well, she was probably right, though she may have missed the boat... She wanted me to see a psychiatrist to have my antidepressant increased and for additional counseling. However, for him counseling was OPTIONAL! She also was aware that he smoked pot (but seemed to believe him when he said he was no longer smoking, which I knew wasn't true). There's more, but you get the idea. Yuk.

How did I handle it? At the time, I knew nothing about verbal abuse or about Patricia Evans. I told my friends and family about the counselor's advice, and no one who knew us could believe that she had come to that conclusion. I did call my primary care physician and she did increase the dosage of my anti-depressant, but I did not follow up on the counselor's advice to get additional counseling. In fact, after that incident, I have resisted counseling whenever it has been suggested. It wasn't until I had been on one of the e-mail lists for a period of time that I realized what had actually happened! Don't look at counseling as a pronouncement of being sicker than he is.  

Meanwhile, my husband has never missed an opportunity to bring that up as "proof" that I am "responsible" for our situation, and that I think she is an idiot solely because she didn't agree with me. 

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, May 14, 2000

S1

Re SB's $0.02 worth. Yes, and please be fair. Imagine, you work hard to earn the money to buy a house. You choose to share your house with a partner who doesn't earn income, so you pay all the bills. But you can't relax in your own home, slouch in the family-room Barcalounger you also bought, with the TV, a beer, and a pizza (isn't that what the family room is FOR?) because your partner has somehow assumed the right to dictate where you can and can't eat.

"I will eat where I want" isn't abuse. It's a man defending his own boundaries, his own rights in the bit of real estate he labors for years to pay for. If he sounds grumpy about it, could that be because he's fed up with shooing away trespassers?

If the issue is that you do the housework and his eating makes a mess for you, fine, tell him to clean it up himself.

Our house has a plaque on the wall, facing anyone who comes in the back door as friends usually do. It says "Our house is CLEAN enough to be HEALTHY, and DIRTY enough to be HAPPY." We may live in more mess than some, but we're free to enjoy ourselves in it.

To be just as fair, the same goes for all those bitching about "if only the house was clean." You've got two sensible choices: pitch in and help clean it, or quitcherbellyachin' and make love in the dirt instead.

"Why can't we all just get along?" - Rodney King.  :)

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, May 15, 2000

S1

I have had several experiences with marriage counselors where the abuse issues have not been addressed. My husband and I are seeing our 4th therapist currently. It has been very frustrating for me as the sessions usually have involved him trying to convince the counselor how terrible I am.....more abuse really. I defend myself and try to tell my side of the story as I find that he usually exaggerates and tells blatant lies about me.

One of the problems that I see with traditional couples counseling is that the therapist does not want any blame to be placed nor do they allow for ongoing discussion of past incidents of abuse. I have found that this approach left me feeling as if there was no way to even have them see that the abuse occurred. It seems to be more important to them to keep the abuser comfortable in counseling when in my opinion they need to be confronted with the destructiveness of their behavior. My husband does get very angry in counseling when I tell it like it is. It blows my mind that the counselor does not call him on it and suggest ways for him to get control of his angry feelings. It is frustrating because no one seems to have the guts to call the abuse what is and to address it with him. Their solution is usually about negotiation of some sort meaning that I am to further try to accommodate him and adjust my tone of voice or whatever else it is that he says causes him to be angry. None of the counselors have even so much as asked him to examine his anger personally. When I have expressed my own anger towards my husband for his treatment of me, I do not think that it is acknowledged and validated as even in the session his reaction to my righteous anger becomes the focus. He takes the floor and what I say is swept under the rug. Once again, he turns it all back on me. This has happened repeatedly even though I have clearly stated that I believe that I have been emotionally and verbally abused. He responds with all his BS about how I am the one who has abused him. Again, it is turned back on me. 

We have just recently started with a new therapist and his approach so far has been to have us take a personality test to try to show my husband that we are different and that differences are not bad. One of his major problems is his need to have others, especially me, to agree with him on everything. Sure enough we were different in all four categories of personality. My husband saw this as justification for his attitude towards me and more reason why I am not good enough for him. I saw it as a tool to help us to understand and accept the differences better. I am working towards acceptance and tolerance ( not of abuse though) and he is working towards justifying his abuse. This therapist did point out to my husband last week that because of his personality it is very hard for him to see other people point of views and that this is a blind spot to him in relationships. He also told him that he was critical and demanding of others and himself. He told him that he needed to make a decision about whether he is willing to work on becoming less critical of me because if he wasn't then the marriage would not work. His response to this later was that he may be incapable of being less critical because I am so different from him, more of I am like this because you make me. He saw it as a way out of the marriage....just needs to decide that he doesn't want to change. I told him that he had a choice to make, that he could take responsibility and learn to become a more tolerant and kinder person now or he could leave and find that his next partner will not like his attitude either. I think he truly believes that if he had a different partner that he would not get angry. I don't believe this for a second. I am sure that it would be just a matter of time before she was the object of his abuse and criticism. It is the classic....you change to accommodate me so that I do not have to. I know first hand that there is no way to accommodate this man as he is, that no matter what I have done in response to his complaints was never enough, that he will always find something new to complain about. God knows I have tried this!!!

So, it is my hope that our new therapist will be able to help him to see how destructive his behavior is in our marriage. He also told him last week that if he did not choose to work on becoming less critical that my spending my life with him would be no way for me to live my life, that it would be a terrible life for me. How true is that???

I have and will continue to stand up for myself and use our therapy sessions to confront him on the abuse. Ultimately, I will leave the marriage if he chooses not to address his issues. I will not accept the abuse as okay!! I think that our new therapist is helping me to see that his admitted lack of respect and constant criticism is not acceptable and for that I am grateful! :)

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, May 15, 2000

S1

I wrote the last post and then read all the others and want to post again now....

The SEX thing......an abuser will use whatever he can to make the other inadequate in order to justify his anger. He claims that I am the best lover that he has ever had. I believe that is true as I am very attentive and skilled ;). On the other hand, he has accused me of withholding sex to manipulate him. I have brought this up in therapy. I have never done this. It is as if he doesn't think that I should ever not be in the mood. He accused me of this a week after giving birth. MAN!!! I knew that he was just trying to hurt me. Our therapist at that time asked about frequency and at the time it was at least 3 times a week. She told him that he ought to be grateful because most couples our age with children do not get it so often.. LOL! He didn't believe her.

About Meds....He has also used the fact that I was depressed after a couple of years of trying to make our marriage work as proof that I was the one with the problem. Got mad at me for not staying on Prozac when I found that it did not help me. I simply decided that I was depressed because I was abused and the answer for me was not medication to cover the natural symptoms but to do something to change the situation. Sorry but for me, taking prescription drugs to avoid legitimate feelings is no different than using alcohol or other addictive substances. I am not saying that Anti depressants don't serve others well but simply that I saw them as a way to stay in denial rather than deal with my reality. The irony of his accusations here is that he was prescribed Anxiety medication that was really helping him but quit because he didn't want people to think that something was wrong with him. This doesn't jive with his belief that I am cause of all the problems and that he is fine.

About the Mars and Venus topic....we do need to learn about the differences and I actually there was a time when my husband and I were listening to JG tapes and my husband for the first time was able to laugh at himself and at me. It helped with the lack of tolerance that he has for our differences. It validated my idea that differences are okay and expected!! MD You used your tapes in a way that balanced your power! Good!

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, May 15, 2000

S1

When I went to marriage counseling, everything got turned around to be MY problem. Granted, I am not blameless, but NO words about abuse were spoken. I am unsure if I want to continue with the counseling, I think separation counseling might be best at this point.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, May 16, 2000

S1

After 5 years of trying hard to maintain in my relationship with a man that works on the road 85 -95% of the time all the while acquiring children (4 now the last three eighteen months) apart. Left at home alone with all the responsibilities, my husband came home with all the classic comments from the list of abusive behaviors. Of course My first response was to think it was me. After reading one self help book after another, I realized I had dealt with accepted and chose not to live as a victim to any misspent youthful beliefs. So then I read all the marriage books I could possibly read, knowing I had not had a good example to emulate. This only left me crying alone at night because it was only fortifying the fact it takes two to have a relationship and I was clearly alone. 

I refer to the series of events in the 6th year of marriage as what I called the eye opening experience, and began to detach myself and preparing to take control of my life. This was sure to be difficult with the fixed "allowance" , four small children and nothing in my name nor a marketable education. I took the initiative and purchased a computer thru a student loan. When I look back and see the things that I accomplished and how I did them, I was proud of myself. :) As I am taking control of my life because I no longer choose to be manipulated by a man who married me and left me alone to accept the neglect and the abuse (which has taken on the cycles of physical abuse), the opposition is getting more intense. Once I was willing to accept any of the consequences for just getting out after years of me suggesting marriage counseling, he decides we needed to go to marriage counseling. I almost begrudgingly agreed, but did it as long as he knew it was with the understanding that this was not a guarantee nor a promise it was going to work. 

After about six visits of course it was obvious if you can't be home from work 95 - 85% of the time, you can't attend counseling either. The counselor offered to do it by phone with him - of course he had an excuse as well as one for no correspondence. Of course there is a pattern to how hard he would try. It lasted from a couple of weeks to sometimes a month or two. As far as the counseling goes, I felt very cheated. During the last visit with the three of us sitting there, the counselor made the announcement at least four times "You need him. You need him!" I was devastated by this whole session; it only gave my husband more fuel. I needed him! I'm thinking who needs this.  

Now, ten years of crap from a man who takes sheer pleasure in dishing it out, I would like to say that this computer was probably the greatest debt I ever acquired! It has enabled me to find the resources I needed to help myself (and my children), because I know one of the reasons my husband's and my relationship has become almost intolerable even after counseling. I refuse to be a victim and before I become an angry abuser/victim in retaliation, I am finding away out. I must admit with my compassion and with the genuine love I have for my husband as a human being, I am not (yet) bitter; very careful not to make excuses for him and his behavior; am going to share some of the information I have found and printed, with as little discussion as possible, so not to get drawn into his games and walk away letting him make a choice to do something for himself. I still find myself second guessing my confidence so in your personal opinion although I know you don't know the whole circumstance do you perceive someone that may be a victim, abuser/victim or abuser? I'm not sure I understand your question, but if you are asking if a victim can behave like an abuser, the answer is yes. Anybody can misbehave!

 

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, May 17, 2000

S1

Seven years of marriage and six counselors..... at the end of one session, my husband was getting so angry his veins stuck out and he was literally foaming at the mouth. The counselor said, "times up." I said, "excuse me, I'm too terrified to leave right now with this angry person. I don't know what he might do. He's so very angry. I'm really scared.." But too bad, end of the day, no help offered. I felt I had to leave with my husband, in our car. Another counselor suggested the "meet him halfway" thing. What on earth do you think I'd been doing? Meeting him halfway. Then again halfway. Then closing the gap again halfway. He never moved an inch towards me, and I was doing all the accommodating. Counselors never saw this.

I also got the "give him sex on demand" prescription. And "try watching erotic films together to help you get turned on." One counselor suggested that we read a John Gray book together. Boy, that sure sent us down the wrong path. I actually did try all of these things in good faith, and they only made our relationship worse.

When I told the counselor I was unhappy because my husband criticized me often, and that it seemed I could do no right, the counselor validated my husband by saying, "well, if I worked hard all day, of course I'd want to come home to a clean house..." This counselor is male, unmarried, no children. (I'm sure there are excellent counselors fitting this description, but this wasn't one of them -- disclaimer)

Then I tried the Christian thing. I thought if I submitted or was a godly woman, that God would somehow reach my husband through me, and that everything would be all right. I had faith.

I was made to feel that I was the problem. I believed the counselors for many years, and just kept trying harder. I wish it had just been one or two counselors; could have dismissed that, maybe. But can six out of six counselors be wrong? Now, I know that they can.

It really makes me laugh when I tell people our marriage is over and we're getting divorced, and they say, "oh, have you tried counselling?"

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, May 17, 2000

S1

Sometimes my husband of 3 years will walk away from me and sulk at social gatherings that we attend together if he feels I'm not giving him enough attention. In marriage counselling, our therapist said that I need to reassure him more that he is important to me and give him more attention. I have been working so hard at learning not to take care of other people's feelings. I think that as long as I am considerate and kind and don't ignore him, that that is the extent of my responsibility. I feel that the therapist is blaming me for my husband's feelings, instead of working with him on his insecurities and teaching him how to take care of himself. I'm so frustrated!

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, May 20, 2000

S1

Have I had experience in counseling where the abuse issues were not met? YOU BET!!!!

I convinced my husband to go to a husband/wife counseling team after 10 years of marriage. I had never heard of "verbal/emotional abuse". I called my husband's actions "double standards". i.e., he treated everyone nice but me.

When I brought this up to the counselors, the husband asked me to list them. I took two weeks to carefully list 10 years of examples. When we returned, the husband was home sick, the wife had a cold, too, and I had to remind her of my list that we were supposed to discuss. She told me to read it out loud. I did. Then she look at me and said, "So . . . what do you want to do about it?"

I was floored.

We (I) dropped these people. We next went to a psychologist who had treated me for panic attacks. By this time, I had stumbled onto Patricia Evans' book and now knew what the problem was. I told the psychologist, in front of my husband, that this was the problem and to read this book. He then proceeded to advise us to "go out on dates". I was flabbergasted. I made an appointment to see him alone and took him to task. I said, "Why would I want to hire a babysitter and go out to be abused? I can stay home for free and be abused. We need to STOP the abuse before we go out on dates." He indicated to me that he had no proof that my husband was abusive. I dropped him.

Next, we went to a woman psychologist. I went to her first and asked if she were familiar with verbal abuse. She assured me that she was. She borrowed my Patricia Evans book. I gave her my list of examples of abuse. I gave her a tape recording of my husband ranting at me. My husband and I were seeing her separately. I thought we had finally found the help we needed. Imagine my surprise when one night my husband told me his distress that he had asked this woman to apportion the blame in our marriage. [what a question! Shows where his heart was.] And she answered [what kind of professional would answer this question???] that she thought *I* was 60% at fault and he was 40% at fault!!!!!! My husband was upset because he thought she would say that I was at least 90% at fault.

We quit her. I thought long and hard about filing a complaint with the licensing board against this woman who assured me that she understood verbal abuse and then gave my abuser ammunition.

Oh! And did I mention our minister who had counseled us together and separately, who went to my husband and told him EVERYTHING I had ever said to him? Oh, yes, that really helped. We switched churches.

As far as I'm concerned, counseling is out forever. My only support right now is this board. I am grateful for it.

Marie

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, May 22, 2000

S1

My husband verbally abused me DURING couseling! Ranted and raved about my alleged infidelities and my problems with satisfying him sexually. I was sent home to work on my "intimacy issues."

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, May 24, 2000

S1

My AH(abuser/husband) moved out at the end of March. We have been married and in an increasingly abusive marriage for 26 years. For the past five years I tried to get him to go in for marriage counseling. Right up until the very day he left he refused. When I hired a lawyer and had a court date set he had a change of heart. Too late. I said that I needed to see him get long term therapy for his abusive behaviors and I had to see the results before I would now agree to couples counseling. I have been seeing a therapist since last fall. He told me last week that he talked to one therepist on his cell phone for 14 minutes and she told him it didn't sound like he was the one with the problem. He said he decided to get a second opinion, so he arranged to see another therepist for a "whole hour", but in the end was told that the only thing we needed was couples counseling. So now he has been validated in his belief that I am the one that is off base. He's right, I'm wrong. He said he will agree to go for marriage counseling, but that is all. No way, no how! I'm sticking with my decision.

 

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, May 28, 2000

S1

I am writing this under stess and fear. I was getting ready to do an errand with my husband on the holiday and he became rageful because he dropped his cell phone and possibly broke it. He blamed me for his broken phone and then, He threw my things in the car around to cause an effect of fear. I asked to be handed my things and he said no. I got out of the car and refused to go with him anywhere. He threw all of my things out of my car and sped off. He is not use to me refusing his orders and his tantrum behavior. I am usually very quiet and ignore his outbursts. He has never hit me and I am not afraid of physical violence. I am afraid of his rage attacks. Teri

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, May 28, 2000

S1

I am writing this under stess and fear. I was getting ready to do an errand with my husband on the holiday and he became rageful because he dropped his cell phone and possibly broke it. He blamed me for his broken phone and then, He threw my things in the car around to cause an effect of fear. I asked to be handed my things and he said no. I got out of the car and refused to go with him anywhere. He threw all of my things out of my car and sped off. He is not use to me refusing his orders and his tantrum behavior. I am usually very quiet and ignore his outbursts. He has never hit me and I am not afraid of physical violence. I am afraid of his rage attacks. We did have one hour of couple therapy 13 years ago and the counselor was very condescending to me and told me my husband did not have a problem showing his loving feelings and being intimate. He is a charming person to many people and he is also a rageaholic in private. I found the counselor to be of no help to me and quite frankly more hurtful because he basically joined my husband in trying to make me the one with a problem Teri

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, June 02, 2000

S1

Yes, when taking a psychological history I indicated to the psychiatrist that I was divorced. I cited my then husband's unpredicatable behaviour due to alcoholism. He replied that his alcoholism was not my problem. I replied that it was my problem since I suffered a broken collar bone from an uncharacteristic physical assault. Needless to say, I changed therapists.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, June 02, 2000

S1

Yes, when taking a psychological history I indicated to the psychiatrist that I was divorced. I cited my then husband's unpredicatable behaviour due to alcoholism. He replied that his alcoholism was not my problem. I replied that it was my problem since I suffered a broken collar bone from an uncharacteristic physical assault. Needless to say, I changed therapists.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, June 03, 2000

S1

When my first marriage was ending my abusive husband and I went to some counseling...I was already bent on leaving because I couldn't take anymore but I went anyhow. I was basically told that it was my fault that he was depressed and mean. The counselor did this one exercize that just killed me (we were already separated at the time). She had me think of a situation in which I was happily married...then she asked me if I knew who the person was that I saw. I said no, and she said, well good, that means there's still room for John (not his real name). How did I handle it? I simply didn't go back. I had enough by that time. He conned 2 counselors plus a child custody evaluator...and he conned me for 5 years. He would threaten suicide...throw things...tell me how awful I was...and still...I was supposed to leave room for him in my dreams...ICK.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, June 09, 2000

S1

 

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, June 09, 2000

S1

I went to a marriage counselor shortly after I was arrested for domestic violence. (I am a 110 lb 42 yr old woman with no past record whatsoever. My husband is 18 years my senior whom I've been with since I was 23.) I went to this man 3 times, each time requesting or suggesting that maybe I should be on medication. I told him that I had no intention of continuing my marriage. However, I wanted him to see my husband too, since we have 3 children and a family business and needed to continue with at least an amicable relationship. I told him that my husband is a very nice man, which he is. His verbal abuse had escalated to public humiliation which I could no longer tolerate. It was unbearable. He met with my husband. My husband was hoping for reconciliation. On my fourth visit to the counselor he was hostile towards me. He confronted me on several minor issues where I found myself feeling the need to defend myself. He told me that I should be seeing him at least twice a week, that I should see a psychiatrist because I may be bi-polar and should be put on medication. I'm not bi-polar as it turns out. Nor am I mentally ill in any way. I was in an abusive, controlling relationship and now have the courage to put an end to it. After 18 years of having my husband convince me that I was completely to blame I had finally gotten him into counselling. This counsellor (who was 3 times married) had no business counselling couples. His misogynistic attitude was apparent from the onset. It turns out that my husband & my divorce attorney were in collusion in regards to getting me arrested so that my husband would look better in court when trying to keep our business. It's a long sordid tale, I fell into their trap but I'm no dumb bunny. I'll be suing the pants off of my lawyer. The counsellor was someone he referred me to. Unbelieveable, huh? 

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, June 19, 2000

S1

I too have had the experience of seeing an ineffective counselor. I won't go into the details, but my husband exhibited all of the classic signs of verbal abuse. I had read Patricia Evans book and was relieved and amazed to finally understand what I was living with, but I hadn't gotten up the nerve to discuss it with my husband. We began seeing a counselor as what I considered a last resort. While talking with the counselor separate from my husband, I handed her my copy of Patricia Evans book, complete with highlights and post-its. Even if she was familiar with the book, I thought she would be interested in knowing what I chose to highlight. I told her what an impact this book had made on me - that I felt like the book did more than shed a little light on our relationship, it defined it. Her response was that she thought they had that book around somewhere and she immediately handed it back to me. If that were to happen again now, I would know it was time to leave. At that point, I was in the angry stage. (By the way, your stages are right on target!!!). The counseling continued, with my husband saying the right things while he was there and then treating me awful at home and no one but me finding his behavior to be a problem. Finally, I chose to stop seeing the counselor because the only effect was keeping me emotionally upset all the time. The good news is that I have recently seen a counselor for individual counseling that I believe will prove to be drastically more helpful. I have only seen her once so far, but it was obvious from the first five minutes that she understood what I was living with. The ironic thing is that I found this counselor only by taking the initiative to ask someone in my office about her recent divorce and to admit to her what I was dealing with. So I guess the message it this: trust your instincts, don't be afraid to open up to others, and don't be afraid to try different counselors until you find one who understands.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, June 20, 2000

S1

 

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, June 22, 2000

S1

My husband and I have been thru marital counseling twice. Both times, although we never followed thru it did not help much. In fact, the last time they split us up and he came home telling me the therapist said he was perfectly fine there is nothing wrong with him and he wasn't going back cuz there was nothing to talk about anymore. He now says therapy doesn't help and he is not going back and that I should go. I will because he has already destroyed my self-confidence which I am slowly getting back, he had taken away my friends and now I am making new but still tries to sabotage that and anything else I try to do to make myself feel good. Trouble is I need to be sure this counselor will make a difference and I don't know how if most are not that versed in this area.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, June 26, 2000

S1

When I've been to ordinary counselling it appears that no one really understands your position. For six years I have tried counselling and each counsellor has finsished saying chose "stay and put up with it, or leave." Its not easy to say to someone who feels so low and is scared. The only option is leave.

Not one said how I could rid my self of co-dependency, each one blamed my partners childhood, infact they made excuses for him, like its just the way he is. He isn't comfortable showing emotion, its not surprising.

No one can change I was told, people are what they are, you have to learn acceptance. Or some people moan its just because they are perfectionist, just live with it. they can't help it.

Listen lady one counsellor said "he is tired, he works long hours, you also would be short fused if you had his lifestyle.

Others would yarn on and on about childhoods, none of them were able to give me some positive steps to heal me.

Even today I have read and read books and books from your site also but some of them are fine for the confident, but for those of us out here that are frightened of the future, have little money or security, its hard to take this advice.

Counselling is so expensive also. I mean if you want to get help chances are you are skint. Then the counselling is only available to the middle class. What do poor working class do?

No seriously the endless monies spent on talking and talking over and over all my life hasn't help a bit.

Techniques which are realistic are what's needed!!!!!

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, June 27, 2000

S1

To this day, five years after my divorce from my first husband, I am terrified of marriage counseling. I was married for 13 years to an extreme emotional abuser. (Three weeks after we got married he screamed at me for stubbing my toe on some furniture and then excused it by saying it was just because he loved me so much and when I was hurt it scared him and his fear came out as anger. For the entire duration of our marriage I walked on eggshells, constantly afraid to talk to my husband about anything - once I told him, after spending all day trying to think how to do so, that the microwave was broken and he went into a rage, accusing me of implying somehow that it was his fault.) We went to at least 6 counselors during our marriage and in every case, they asked me what I had said/done to cause him to react to me that way. Or they told me he'd probably just had a bad day and I should overlook it. Not one ever validated my experience with the title of "abuse." It was ALWAYS either my fault, or a normal relationship quirk. Of course, my husband gloated over his exonerations and metaphorically "patted me on the head" and let it be known that I was the one that was sick. See! the therapist said so! After 10 years of this, I became severely clinically depressed and lost all joy in life and even tried to kill myself. I finally realized I had to get therapy for myself, but I adamantly refused to go to marriage counseling. I went to a therapist by myself, without my husband. After describing three events in our marriage, this therapist immediately used the word "abuse" to describe the experiences. It was like an enormous weight was lifted off my shoulders. It took two years of personal therapy for me to get well enough to decide to never tolerate the abuse again and finally, I left him. Unfortunately, I am again involved in an abusive marriage. The cycle is extremely hard to break. However, this time, I see it it clearly, I know my perceptions are valid, and I will not tolerate it the way I did before. Never will I sink to the level of despair I was in before. But also, I will never seek marriage counseling again because of the fear of being placed in the same situation as the first time. So my husband's family thinks it's all my fault and I'm the the one in the wrong or I wouldn't be afraid to get counseling. I don't care...well, I do, but I'm not going to let their judgments interfere with what I know I have to do to protect my own sanity.

Marji

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, July 08, 2000

S1

When I was married to a physically, emotionally, and verbally abusive man, the family doctor referred us to a Phd. He only spoke to my husband twice. The dr. didn't address his alcoholism or the abuse but told me that I was frigid and that was the problem for all our problems. In addition, this dr. only wanted to know in detail, every single thing about our sex life. He only made the comment of my being frigid and insisted I talk the rest of the time about sex.

After this treatment for about 4 times I called the dr. and said this was not helping and would not come back. I also never went back to the family physician. My abusive husband used this "frigid" issue as an excuse for whatever he thought he was entitled to do. I almost reported this dr. but I didn't. Knowing what I know now, I would have. I actually think he got his "Kicks" talking about others sex lives now. It was a demeaning, scary experience as I was so young and without resources of any kind.

Thank you for letting me think about this-I still need to heal this experience.

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, July 09, 2000

S1

My husband took me to counseling to 'smooth out our problems' which he wouldn't dicuss why he wanted me to go. I only went because he badgered me to go. (I felt like he was trying to control me via the counselor). Well, when we got to her office she asked us to show her our argument style so we started arguing for her and didn't stop until the counselor stood on a chair and blew a whistle for us to stop...Needless to say we were confused and humiliated. When we left her office, he said he would "never do that to me again." I never asked him what he meant by that. We didn't return to that counselor, but, as time passed, he did it again; badgering me to go to a counselor. I went and after a few visits (which she never figured out we were there as a means for him to control me via the counselor) the counselor, said it was him and his semantics, just a matter of linguistics. He decided he didn't want to go back. It happened again much in the same way and for the same reasons. Not one of them addressed co-dependency, Or abuse (even though I complained to all of them that he was too pushy) None of them addressed boundaries or anything real. Thet only made matters worse because I became confused and dis-empowered. Up until then I was doing o.k. with my boundaries and not being controlled or abused. I was asking for what I needed in the relationship, even though my husband was 'projecting' constantly on me. After the counselor visits, I definitely changed, and the abuse kicked in because I became resigned...I still don't understand it completely, but, It felt like in all these case the counselor was abusive. It brought me alot of shame that I kept inside. rjg

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, August 02, 2000

S1

I have been in couples therapy. We just finished a couple of weeks ago. I made copies of some of the articles here at this site and brought them with me. The counselor, who was a she, as I am, was different when I went to her one on one, and when my husband and I went together. She was like a Dr. Jekel and Mr. Hyde. I could not figure her out. My husband is very good at making others believe that he is Mr. Wonderful. So kind and polite to them, and twisting everything I would say to make me look like the one with the problem. We barely discussed the articles. They were basically set aside. I brought up an example which was twisted and thrown back in my face. Here is the ex: Since I have brought up in our counseling that I feel my husband is verbally abusive, he has tried to do things around the house so that when we go back for our session, he has something to say - 'I did this to help' 'I always help you around the house, what did I do this weekend' - so that he looks as if he is so thoughtful and helpful. What he left out were the comments he made while he was actually helping, which I brought up, only to have them twisted around and make it appear as if I am the one who is always taking things the wrong way. Or he comes back with, "I was only kidding." The counselor looks at me as if I am the one with the problem, even commenting on how sometimes when a person is concerned it may come across to the other person as controlling. Anyway, the example which I never really explained was this: My husband did the dishes all weekend long. Four days straight. It was the July 4th weekend. I told him that I really appreciated his help and I also asked him in a joking manner, "What has gotten into you?" Wrong question. He came back with - I always help you out around this house when I am not working. I always try to help. I agreed that yes, he did help me at times. And, yes, he has done the dishes for me before and other things around the house, but that it wasn't for four days in a row. Maybe once or twice the entire weekend, just not everyday. I was just curious as to why all of a sudden the change. Well, he responds to that with - Well, when you get that $25 an hour job, then I will stay home with the kids and take care of things around this house the way they are supposed to be done, and things will look really nice. I said that it sounded good to me. Hopefully, I could find such a job. (But, internally, I was fuming. How dare he. To me what he was saying was that I do not do as good of a job as he does.) I wanted to ask him what he meant by that statement, but I was afraid to say anything because I was so angry. I did not want to react to that, so I bit my tongue and pretended as if all was fine. He also said a couple of other snide remarks, but I just ignored them, and I cannot remember what they were now. Anyway, I brought that up during one of our sessions. I asked him what he meant by what he said in front of the counselor, even commenting on the fact that we both do not have to do things the same way. We can each do the dishes the way we want to. He comes back with - I was only trying to help. I am always helping out around the house as much as I can. If I want to do the dishes and dry them, then put them away, I can. If I want to clean out the drain plug and put the mat, washrag, and dish drain away afterwards, then I can. You can do the dishes the way that you want to. It doesn't make a difference. I did not mean anything by what I said, you are always taking things the wrong way. The couselor just looked at me like I was the one with the problem. I wanted to slap that stupid grin off of her face, which of course, I did not do. I felt totally ganged up on. (He changed everything around in the kitchen because he was inadvertantly telling me that is how it should be done. He does that all of the time. Shows me 'this is the way it should be done.' As if I am incapable, which I am not. I left the session feeling even worse than when I had arrived. He was so happy. He comment while we were walking to the car was, "She likes me a lot. She really likes me." Privately, she told me that she thinks my husband suffers from paranoia and should possibly be on some form of medication, but does she tell him that? No! I first started seeing her privately about sexual abuse, and then we started going as a couple for couples therapy. She knew my history, she knew my deepest, darkest secrets, and yet she did not make me feel that I had her support. I feel worse now than when I first went to her. What is wrong with this picture? Believe me, there is much more to this whole picture than meets the eye. I just am really feeling worn down and question myself even more.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, August 04, 2000

S1

I made an appointment with a male marriage counsellor hoping that it would make my husband feel more comfortable speaking to a man rather than a woman. (I had gone to a woman in the past.)My objective was simply to get him into counselling so that he could understand that I was not the only one with the problem as he had believed and even had me believing for 15 years of our relationship. I went alone for the first visit to this counsellor. When I walked into his office he was on the telephone with a client. I had a seat while waiting for him to finish with his call. When he hung up the phone he said to me, "That women is always threatening suicide. I wish she'd just do it". Clearly this women was annoying him. I tried to casually laugh it off since his comment was obviously meant to be humorous. I was more shocked than anything else. I mean, this was my first visit! And this was his flippant, back-stabbing response regarding a woman in pain! I should've walked out then and there. But I didn't. I asked him how long he'd been counselling her. He said, "Three years". I thought that the poor woman should be referred to someone else since he obviously wasn't helping her. My husband was verbally abusive. The counsellor's response to this was, "If what he says isn't true, then it doesn't mean anything. It's harmless". I was bothered by that remark. I begged to differ with him but he was not receptive to my comments and basically blew off what I had to say. My husband is a soft spoken, nice man. But his techniques for arguing consist of "ad hominem"(against the man) rather than "ad rem"(to the matter at hand). This, of course, had been the criterion for the disintegration of our marriage. Assassinating my character had been extremely effective as my gentle husband's method of control. The hostility he perpetuated via "public humiliation & slander" came at me from complete strangers. And, believe me, from total strangers I was subjected to more damage and danger than I could have ever experienced from any physically abusive man. My husband had others do his dirty work for him. He's that plausible, eloquent and sincere when he speaks. The destruction has been irreparable. During the first 3 sessions, the counsellor told me that I was doing the right thing by leaving my husband, that my husband WAS NOT a nice man (as I had maintained) and that, NO, I did not need to be on medication as I had inquired about consistently. Then, my husband went to see him alone. On my next visit, alone, the counsellor said that my husband was indeed a nice man and was very, very plausible. For the remainder of the session I felt attacked, defenseless and dumbfounded. The counsellor suggested that I may be manic-depressive, that I should be seeing him at least twice a week and that I should be seeing a psychiatrist for medication. I was totally shaken by this experience. I knew that manic-depression was serious but didn't know much about it. I couldn't get in right away for an appointment with the Dr. he recommended, so, I went to the bookstore to find out everything I could about the illness. "The Unquiet Mind" by Kay Redfield Jamison is the book I bought. It was an excellent source. I was relieved to discover that I AM NOT manic-depressive. I had rage, yes, but it was rightful rage regarding my circumstances. And based on what my husband probably told the counsellor, a person of such a description would be mentally ill. That's how believable my husband is. The last thing the counsellor said to me was that counsellors are supposed to remain unbiased and non-judgmental. I just sat there and smiled at him thinking to myself that he was doing just the opposite! What a hypocrite! I subsequently discovered that this counsellor not only didn't have a Ph.D., he didn't have a masters degree! He had a chain of letters after his name on his business card: EdM, LPC, CAC, CDVC and DABFC and last but not least, President! To put it succinctly and in "his own" words, It doesn't mean anything!

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, August 04, 2000

S1

Oooops! Addendum to submission: Aug. 4, 2000 The counsellor had a masters in Education. (Which isn't a big deal.) What I meant to say is that he was basically operating under the LPC. But if a counsellor doesn't have a Ph.D., then find someone else.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, August 07, 2000

S1

Yes, my therapist told us that there is an imbalance of control in our relationship and I have all of it. He has told my husband in one on one relationship that my husband has been very calm throughout of our sessions. When I asked my husband what that meant, he told me to figure it out. I couldn't because I wasn't there. But what I do know from researching this web page is that I was angry, frustrated, and confused. I wanted an answer and I wanted my husband to realize what he was doing. My solution was that I left the marriage. I was not going to put up with the therapist telling me that I had all the control. Thank you so much for this website. You helped me hit the nail on the head!

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, August 17, 2000

S1

My husband's therapist talked me into using him as our relationship therapist, assuring me that he would have no bias toward my husband (he told me that he just happens to be good at not taking sides, even when one of the people had been his individual client--and I fell for it!) When I told him how verbally abusive my husband becomes whenever he's stressed, and whenever we'd argue, he told me that I needed to stay physically present (meaning not leave the room, much less the house); in other words, just stay there and take it and try to reason. After a couple of months of this "technique," my husband, during one of our arguments, threw me to the ground and held me there, squeezing me to the point where I could hardly breathe, and probably bruised my ribcage (I didn't go to the hospital, because he's a doctor and I thought someone in the ER would know him, etc.). When I told the counselor about it, and told him that in the next session I wanted him to help me sever my relationship with my husband (wanting a safe place to do this), the counselor was silent. I asked him if he would please help me, and he said, "Well, that's not really the way I'd choose to spend my Friday afternoon." I never went back to that therapist. However, I never left my husband, either. I've been too afraid.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, August 31, 2000

S1

Were the abuse issues in my marriage addressed? Definitely not. I was an Adult Child of Alcoholics; therefore, I needed to work on myself, change my ways of thinking and responding, reframe, re-everything!! All my therapy was geared to making adjustments in myself so that I could continue to stay sane in an insane situation. I clearly recall the visit during which I told my psychiatrist about my readings on emotional and verbal abuse. When she asked me if I felt abused, I responded yes. End of discussion. She never mentioned it again. When I'd run out of professionals to go to, an advocate at the local women's shelter finally set me straight on abuse issues. Less than two months later, I filed for divorce. A dozen years of therapy and an emergency hospitalization, and I still thought (an no one disabused me of this notion) that it was all my fault -- I just wasn't trying hard enough, hadn't read the right book, just needed a few more sessions.....nearly 20 years of my life, my sense of self, my very soul diminished on a daily basis by verbal and emotional abuse. And the professional to whom I turned for help knew less than I did.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, September 07, 2000

S1

When my husband and I went into couples therapy, I was told to trust him more and was made to feel bad or wrong for my anger at him and his lies.

It turned out he was a tremendous liar. He lied about small, seemingly inconsequential things to distort my perception of reality and he lied about major things too. After six years of marriage, I found out he was already married. He never mentioned a previous marriage, and we had a big church wedding and everything.

I know now that my anger was trying to tell me that things were not right and I should not just accept them, as I was. Our therapist further made me doubt myself by making me feel like I was so terrible for being suspicious of him and questioning him. After that, I became more passive and more willing to accept his version of the truth, because fighting it just made me feel like I was the abusive one.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, September 09, 2000

S1

Now divorced...I look back on my journey and wish I had the understanding and tools that you provide us all...thank you for all that you do!

The therapy that my ex-wife and I went through seemed to always get centered around the discussion that I was the person in the relationship that was "Wrong" and had caused the "Damage" by having an affair. (My wife had chose not to be intimate with me for close to 8 years of our marriage yet expected me to be "Normal and Loving" in all other areas of our relationship-I'm in no way suggesting I was justified in my behavior but this are of conflict in our marriage did help contribute to my action and behavior.

Our therapist focused on the issue of me breaking my wedding vow, the fact that it was my behavior that had caused the problems in our marriage and for several sessions reminded me of the guilt and shame I should be feeling as a result of my behavior.

I always took 100% responsibility for my actions, but the sessions that took on the finger pointing and sense of self that needed to feel the guilt and shame made my healing from this harder to get through and accomplish.

I realize the enormous hurt of my actions...but I never felt safe in the presence of the therapist since I felt an underlying sense that he felt I was "Defective" and had personal flaws that could only account for what I did or explain my behavior.

Was this blame, shame and personal shortcoming focus normal for the partner in a marriage that has been unfaithful to receive in therapy?

mr r

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, September 22, 2000

S1

Oh Boy!!!!!!!!!!! Can I relate to this. I spent countless dollars hearing that from therapists. I was married to an alcoholic, and crack addict. I was told that I had to handle this guys money and financial responsibilities until he could get a grip on recovery. I went to Al-Anon. Whenever I got angry. I was told that I was not working my program. (whatever the he#$ that meant). Meanwhile, the addict continued to use, waste money and resources. He did not contribute any money to our living expenses. He also resulted to name calling, arguing, picking on my daughter from a previous marriage. Talking about my previous marriage and etc. None of this was addressed in therapy. Even though this was supposed to have been couples therapy, It was more centered towards him and his needs. This set me up to accept more abuse since I was made to feel that my reactions were causing problems in his recovery (Give me a break)!!!

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, September 26, 2000

S1

I went to a therapist in 1992 who said my husband was abusive and I should get out.

Then in 1996 I went to another therapist who said she saw no evidence that my husband was verbally abusive. This made me feel crazy, because I was going to her to get help to haave him stop because the children were affected.

This is with full knowledge that he blamed me for being out of work for three years. I was the incompetent female that triggered rage.

The therapist also asked me what was wrong with me when my husband complained he couldn't find his socks. He refuses to do his laundry or match his socks. I don't wear socks, but I spend almost every night matching socks. My husband also complained that the laundry area was messy. The therapist asked me what my problem was. She didn't care at all that I work full time and do the laundry for five people.

One night, my husband went into a rage and smashed all our dishes. I ordered new ones a few months later and when he broke the first cup I snapped and told him he should replace it. The therapist said I was overattached to possessions.

The experience was very traumatic. She said my mother was psychotic (she isn't). She also questioned my sense of reality in front of my husband.

Then he used this information to scream in front of the children that I was crazy.

Eventually, my self-esteem fell really low and I attempted suicide after one of these sessions with the therapist.

I was constantly blamed for everything. It seemed my husband could do no wrong.

As a result, I warn everyone not to go to marriage counseling.

 

 

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, October 01, 2000

S1

The APA article link does not work. Thank you.

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, October 01, 2000

S1

The APA article link does not work. It goes to the site but there is not an article there. Thank you.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2000

S1

Sixteen years ago, my husband and I went to marriage counseling because I left him, due to an incident when he backed me up to a wall, banged his fists on each side of my head and threatened to throw me off a balcony. The marriage counselor's take on this was that I was too sensitive to his anger due to my background as an ACOA.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, October 11, 2000

S1

My husband and I have been married 13 years and during this time he suffered a severe bout of depression. He was treated with medication and therapy and did well, so well that his therapist declared him cured and took him off all medication. I began noticing changes in him last year (as the medication was being decreased) that were exactly like symptoms from before. He threatened to leave me 3 times, each time I told him to go because I was tired of all the crap he was giving me ( I didn't talk to him, I was too sensitive to what he said, he always tried to build up my self-esteem because I didn't have any etc.) I did get him to go to marriage counseling with me and we have been going for about 5 months. Unfortunately, this counselor does not seem to see the real issue here and also feels that I take things to personally when my husband says them.

I have tried to tell her that normal people don't constantly criticize or comment about a spouses actions. My husband comments on everything I do - If I express an opinion, of course it is wrong. If I play a board game with my in-laws and win, I am too competitive. He can't understand why I don't talk to him and tell him when things upset me rather than keep them inside ( of course, I used to to that, only to be told that I didn't understand the situation and that I just needed to do such-and such to improve myself). The counselor also appears to believe that I am much too sensitive. I did tell her that after living with someone suffering from depression, that that does happen.

Why am I the only one that sees my husbands actions for what they are? I am going to stop the joint counseling and just continue with my own ( different counselor). All I hear from the therapist and my husband is I need to improve my communications skills and really tell my husband how I feel. The therapist has never realized that that is what I have been trying to do for 13 years, only to be told I am controlling and selfish.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, October 25, 2000

S1

I want to comment on the post about having trouble talking about your feelings to your husband. Four years ago, I got up the courage to tell my husband I wasn't happy with our marriage. He yelled and screamed at me. Told me if I wasn't happy that "it was my problem." Then he told me that there is no way he is going to marriage counseling. It's hard to talk to someone when you know there is a good chance they will mock you, yell at you, or discount your feelings. Sometimes I get understanding, but when confiding feelings in this relationship, it is a definite gamble!

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, October 29, 2000

S1

When my husband and I went to counseling for his verbal and physical abuse to me, after I had told the counselor about 30 minutes of examples he looked at me and told me I was sick and needed help because I had chose to allow him to treat me this way. My husband loved the counselors response. We continued with counseling for a few months and sort of got things on aroll. Its been almost 7 yrs but now its starting back up again. I am in counseling again put I am not sharing everthing yet.. The counselor 7 yrs ago told me he would contact child services on me because I was allowing my husband to be abusive in front of them. Now I am deprssed and dont know if I can ever heal because I do blame myself for the past. The kids are all grown up now. I am running out of energy to make my life appear to be fine to everyone around. m

 

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, November 05, 2000

S1

I went to a female counselor for a while because I needed help in getting out of a relationship with a Jeckyl and Hyde type person. I was 'addicted' to the nice side of his personality. During one of our sessions she told me that when I walked into the room she felt a lot of tension which filled the room.. She wanted me to think about why she should be feeling all my tension. What was is about me that made people feel tension? And she advised me about the relationship I was trying to leave saying that either get out of it or accept that he may not be all that bad.

I felt very confused and believed that I must bring these feelings to my boyfriend and maybe that is why he would distance after pursueing me so ardently.

I never went back to this counselor and couldn't imaging how she made so much money doing what she did. She came highly recommended. I later found out that she was a lesbian (I an attractive female). I don't know if this was the problem but I did not appreciate her making me seem 'defective' because I brought tension into the room. I was coming for help, why would I be happy-go-lucky?

SM

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 07, 2000

S1

Hi! My name is Karen and this article really hit home for me. I have been involved in a verbally abusive relationship with my husband, David, for the past six years.

I've recognized that David was a critical person with a temper since before we got married. For years I've been hearing that he wanted to change and I truly wanted to believe that. About two years ago (at my urging) he sought individual therapy. Unfortunately, the person he saw was basically incompitent and even told David that his anger was good and helped him to be a better salesperson. I am a school psychologist by profession and struggled with becoming too involved and telling him what the therapist should do. David told me that one day this therapist was 10 minutes late and he yelled at her. He said that she explained why she was late rather than deal with why he got so angry about her mistake! The final straw came after an incident at a restraunt where he yelled at me for telling a joke. I told him he needed to tell his therapist about this and he reported that she said there were two sides to every story! I'm intelligent enough to realize that some stuff is just plain crap! He did stop seeing her.

Things seemed a little better for a while and I chose to be an ostrach and pretend that they were. As would be expected over the course of the next year thing escalated significantly. He always recognized that screaming at me and calling me a Fucking Cunt or Fucking Idiot was not OK. I also realized this was abusive. There were a lot of other things that I knew didn't make me feel good (pick out just about any sign of Verbal Abuse mentioned in Pat Evans' books)but I realized that I am a sensitive person and owned many of these signs as my own issues.

Last fall things began getting worse. He was yelling at me and calling me abusive names at least once or twice a week. I told him I couldn't take any more and we needed couseling or the marrage was over. He agreed. With his previous negative experience he asked me to find a counselor for us. I asked friends and got the names of several counselors with excellent reputations. Unfortunately, either these individuals didn't have room in their schedules or didn't accept our insurance. From these people I asked for more referrals. It was the holiday season and I was busy with holiday preparations. Not everyone got back to me quickly and I didn't aggressively pursue these contacts because things were so busy. When the abuse intensified I (again) told David that this needed to stop. He blamed me by saying that it was my job to find a therapist and I hadn't. After New Years (a day he told me he hoped a pit bull slit my throat) I called people again. One more person who couldn't see us gave us the name of someone in her practice. I called him he had room and took our insurance so we began seeing him.

I only wish that I had read Patricia Evans books prior to finding a counselor. Oh well hind sight is 20/20! This therapist did recognize that the "Fucking Cunt" and "Fucking Asshole" incidents were abusive but repeatedly stated that there were two sides to aguements (as if these were arguements!). When we began therapy David stated that he saw most of the problems as his not mine.

His perception of ownership of the problems changed as we continued in therapy. More and more I heard that I was wrong and it wasn't just him. The abuse again got worse but now I was essentially told that I was the reason for the abuse. In April I felt that I was falling apart. I cried a great deal, couldn't sleep and thought that it would be better to be dead. We have a two and three year old who mean more to me than anything. As bad as I was feeling, I tried to be positive and upbeat for them. The most important thing in the world is that they are raised to be happy, secure and independent individuals. I am determined to break the cycle. I guess I going off on a tangent - forgive me. Back to April. Following one incident were David screamed and smashed a plate, I couldn't hold it together. I went to my room and cried and truly felt that I was approaching a breakdown. I couldn't take care of my children that evening and that bothered me.

The next day I called our therapist who scheduled to see me alone. I told him how I was feeling. I also told him things needed to change because I wasn't going to live my life like this and I wasn't going to raise my children in this type of environment. He said that he thought it would be a good idea to see David individually and work on his anger. He also suggested I contact my physician about obtaining anti-depressants (I did).

At this time I (again) told David he needed to change or I would get a divorce. He must have believed me because May was the best month I've had with him. He was kind and considerate. We had fun together and there were no incidents of abuse. Things began to change in June. It started with "mildly" abusive behaviors and escaled to the "Fucking Cunt" abuse by the end of the month. When I began to see changes I tries to talk about them to which David became aggitated and exclaimed, "You don't want to give me any credit for the progress I've made. You're too critical (If that isn't the pot calling the kettle . . . )".

By August we were back where we started. The therapist felt that we should meet as a couple again. What a disaster! During couseling David rolled his eyes at me, shook his head and made faces while I spoke (he had done these things since the initial counseling session). During this session he also banged his head while I spoke! I felt that was incredibly condesending and left the session. I then realized that I was to pay for counseling that day and returned with the check. The counselor as why I had gotten so upset to which I replied I felt that David was putting me down. David said that he was just frustrated by what I was saying and was expressing his frustration. The couselor agreed that David needed some means to express frustration in counseling! It should be noted that David is a professional and frequently meets with other professionals as part of his job. He has admitted to becoming frustrated during some of these meetings but you can bet your life he never banged his head! If he doesn't do this at work I should expect he won't do this to me!

I have truly struggled with the fact that I'm "in the field" and I don't want to be critical of other professionals. David has told me that I am too critical. Since David was meeting alone with the counselor. I felt more that he was David's counselor as opposed to mine. David also frequently told me how much the counselor enjoyed meeting with him (he's so funny). At one point I had a dream about the two of them having dinner together and laughing the night away. I felt that some of my the issues with the counselor may have been related to my own insecurities. Although I struggled with this I decided to call the counselor and discuss my feelings.

The next day I phoned the counselor to let him know that I wasn't feeling comfortable with what transpired in the counseling sessions. I told him that I had limited experience conducting groups; however, in the groups in which I was involved there were clearly established rules (e.g. no interrupting). I told him that David wasn't even expected to be as accountable for his behavior as were the students with whom I had worked. The counselor reiterated that different people expressed there anger in different ways. I told him that I have always tried to think carefully about what I say before trying to communicate anything to David. I asked him how I came across. He replied (and I'll never forget this) that maybe I was too calm and like a caged animal maybe David didn't respond well to this. I then exclaimed, "What do you want me to do yell at him". He said some coupled related that way and I was OK for them. I told him that I was willing to work on things in the present but I would not let my life to look like this 10 years from now, 20 years from now nor would I raise my children in this environment!

The counselor had never asked me about my past and I decided that I would talk about my history at the beginning of the next session. I should add that the counselor never asked me about my history nor did he touch base with me after the time I met with him in April because I was "falling apart". During the session I told the counselor about my past which suprised him (I had a disfunctional childhood - What a shock!).

I then took it upon myself to research verbal abuse. I'm not exactly technologically inclined so the internet was a pretty new experience for me (I just hope I haven't spent the past 1 1/2 hours writing this to have it go nowhere!). I did see several reference to Patircia Evans' books. I bought one over the weekend and literally devoured it! I thought "Oh my god. Everthing that David did that 'didn't feel good' to me was actually abuse!" I called the therapist the following week. He had told me several times that things like being condesending, ignoring me, getting irritated . . . were not abuse these were just things couples did to one another (mind you, I never did these things to David). At this point I was pretty angry and even yelled at the counselor and said those things were in fact abuse. He said that he believed that he had been in an abusive relationship himself and he knew about verbal abuse for this reason. I told him that if David had called me a Fucking Cunt on our first date he could bet there wouldn't have been a second date! I then raised my voice and told him that he should read Patricia Evans books himself.

I also contacted a local agency that specialized in domestic abuse. I felt rather foolish when I initially made the call. I was sure that they would say that they delt with real problems (i.e. physical abuse) and that my problem was minor in comparison. I was surprised to hear that what I was enduring was in fact abuse. Several counselors who specilized in abusive behavior were recommended to me and I've seen one several times.

I also spoke to David about his abusive behavior. Initially he replied that he was working on his "stuff" and I should work on mine. After several incidents he said that he recognized that he was angry and abusive and stated that he didn't want to be like his family. He still refused to view all the abusive behavior as abusive.

Last Sunday there was another particularly bad incident. Not only was he abusive but he encouraged by sixteen year old step-daughter to be abusive to me also. I decided I'd had enough and actually called a lawyer Monday. When I got home he told me that he had taken the day off. He said he read Pat Evans' book and he was surprised that his picture wasn't in it. That was a week ago and although he hasn't been perfect he's really discussing his feelings. He's cried about the life that he's missed out on and he says that he's determined to change. I want to believe him but I've heard so many times that he is changing.

The counselor I'm seeing is also in the same practice as David's counselor (but she seems good). David told his counselor that he wants to focus on verbal abuse in counseling. I don't have a high opinion of this person and I don't know how comforting this is to me. David did contact the local agency that specializes in domestic abuse about support groups for verbally abusive men. The only group available is for all abusive men and the literature about the group he received was pretty heavily ladden with men who are ordered to go to group by the courts . . . David said that he didn't feel comfortable with this type of group for him and I'm inclined to agree. So, if you haven't fallen asleep. . . What's out there for abusers that isn't aimed at men involved in the court system? I also took part in a Vera House group aimed at victims of abuse and I felt more comfortable (and got more out of) a group with women whose issues were more similiar to my own. I hope I'm not rationalizing but I do understand where David is coming from on this issue. If anyone has any resouces on groups, articles or books for abusers, please let me know (if I can ever find my way back to this web page).

By the way, I am doing much better than I was in April. I've decided that one way or another my life will change. I'm basically a happy and optimisitic person. I believe that the world although not perfect is basically good. If there is something that isn't right we need to work to make it better. I want to pass this on to my children rather than the critical judgemental view my husband possesses. I also hope to get involved in educating other women about verbal abuse some day (after I've worked through my own issues). It amazes me that even with my experience I knew nothing about this abuse!

I had no intention of writing all this. I guess I needed to get it off my chest. I problably should check what I've typed but I've had it for now!

Thank you for your time!

Karen

B1:
Date: Tuesday, November 07, 2000

S1

Hi! My name is Karen and this article really hit home for me. I have been involved in a verbally abusive relationship with my husband, David, for the past six years.

I've recognized that David was a critical person with a temper since before we got married. For years I've been hearing that he wanted to change and I truly wanted to believe that. About two years ago (at my urging) he sought individual therapy. Unfortunately, the person he saw was basically incompitent and even told David that his anger was good and helped him to be a better salesperson. I am a school psychologist by profession and struggled with becoming too involved and telling him what the therapist should do. David told me that one day this therapist was 10 minutes late and he yelled at her. He said that she explained why she was late rather than deal with why he got so angry about her mistake! The final straw came after an incident at a restraunt where he yelled at me for telling a joke. I told him he needed to tell his therapist about this and he reported that she said there were two sides to every story! I'm intelligent enough to realize that some stuff is just plain crap! He did stop seeing her.

Things seemed a little better for a while and I chose to be an ostrach and pretend that they were. As would be expected over the course of the next year thing escalated significantly. He always recognized that screaming at me and calling me a Fucking Cunt or Fucking Idiot was not OK. I also realized this was abusive. There were a lot of other things that I knew didn't make me feel good (pick out just about any sign of Verbal Abuse mentioned in Pat Evans' books)but I realized that I am a sensitive person and owned many of these signs as my own issues.

Last fall things began getting worse. He was yelling at me and calling me abusive names at least once or twice a week. I told him I couldn't take any more and we needed couseling or the marrage was over. He agreed. With his previous negative experience he asked me to find a counselor for us. I asked friends and got the names of several counselors with excellent reputations. Unfortunately, either these individuals didn't have room in their schedules or didn't accept our insurance. From these people I asked for more referrals. It was the holiday season and I was busy with holiday preparations. Not everyone got back to me quickly and I didn't aggressively pursue these contacts because things were so busy. When the abuse intensified I (again) told David that this needed to stop. He blamed me by saying that it was my job to find a therapist and I hadn't. After New Years (a day he told me he hoped a pit bull slit my throat) I called people again. One more person who couldn't see us gave us the name of someone in her practice. I called him he had room and took our insurance so we began seeing him.

I only wish that I had read Patricia Evans books prior to finding a counselor. Oh well hind sight is 20/20! This therapist did recognize that the "Fucking Cunt" and "Fucking Asshole" incidents were abusive but repeatedly stated that there were two sides to aguements (as if these were arguements!). When we began therapy David stated that he saw most of the problems as his not mine.

His perception of ownership of the problems changed as we continued in therapy. More and more I heard that I was wrong and it wasn't just him. The abuse again got worse but now I was essentially told that I was the reason for the abuse. In April I felt that I was falling apart. I cried a great deal, couldn't sleep and thought that it would be better to be dead. We have a two and three year old who mean more to me than anything. As bad as I was feeling, I tried to be positive and upbeat for them. The most important thing in the world is that they are raised to be happy, secure and independent individuals. I am determined to break the cycle. I guess I going off on a tangent - forgive me. Back to April. Following one incident were David screamed and smashed a plate, I couldn't hold it together. I went to my room and cried and truly felt that I was approaching a breakdown. I couldn't take care of my children that evening and that bothered me.

The next day I called our therapist who scheduled to see me alone. I told him how I was feeling. I also told him things needed to change because I wasn't going to live my life like this and I wasn't going to raise my children in this type of environment. He said that he thought it would be a good idea to see David individually and work on his anger. He also suggested I contact my physician about obtaining anti-depressants (I did).

At this time I (again) told David he needed to change or I would get a divorce. He must have believed me because May was the best month I've had with him. He was kind and considerate. We had fun together and there were no incidents of abuse. Things began to change in June. It started with "mildly" abusive behaviors and escaled to the "Fucking Cunt" abuse by the end of the month. When I began to see changes I tries to talk about them to which David became aggitated and exclaimed, "You don't want to give me any credit for the progress I've made. You're too critical (If that isn't the pot calling the kettle . . . )".

By August we were back where we started. The therapist felt that we should meet as a couple again. What a disaster! During couseling David rolled his eyes at me, shook his head and made faces while I spoke (he had done these things since the initial counseling session). During this session he also banged his head while I spoke! I felt that was incredibly condesending and left the session. I then realized that I was to pay for counseling that day and returned with the check. The counselor as why I had gotten so upset to which I replied I felt that David was putting me down. David said that he was just frustrated by what I was saying and was expressing his frustration. The couselor agreed that David needed some means to express frustration in counseling! It should be noted that David is a professional and frequently meets with other professionals as part of his job. He has admitted to becoming frustrated during some of these meetings but you can bet your life he never banged his head! If he doesn't do this at work I should expect he won't do this to me!

I have truly struggled with the fact that I'm "in the field" and I don't want to be critical of other professionals. David has told me that I am too critical. Since David was meeting alone with the counselor. I felt more that he was David's counselor as opposed to mine. David also frequently told me how much the counselor enjoyed meeting with him (he's so funny). At one point I had a dream about the two of them having dinner together and laughing the night away. I felt that some of my the issues with the counselor may have been related to my own insecurities. Although I struggled with this I decided to call the counselor and discuss my feelings.

The next day I phoned the counselor to let him know that I wasn't feeling comfortable with what transpired in the counseling sessions. I told him that I had limited experience conducting groups; however, in the groups in which I was involved there were clearly established rules (e.g. no interrupting). I told him that David wasn't even expected to be as accountable for his behavior as were the students with whom I had worked. The counselor reiterated that different people expressed there anger in different ways. I told him that I have always tried to think carefully about what I say before trying to communicate anything to David. I asked him how I came across. He replied (and I'll never forget this) that maybe I was too calm and like a caged animal maybe David didn't respond well to this. I then exclaimed, "What do you want me to do yell at him". He said some coupled related that way and I was OK for them. I told him that I was willing to work on things in the present but I would not let my life to look like this 10 years from now, 20 years from now nor would I raise my children in this environment!

The counselor had never asked me about my past and I decided that I would talk about my history at the beginning of the next session. I should add that the counselor never asked me about my history nor did he touch base with me after the time I met with him in April because I was "falling apart". During the session I told the counselor about my past which suprised him (I had a disfunctional childhood - What a shock!).

I then took it upon myself to research verbal abuse. I'm not exactly technologically inclined so the internet was a pretty new experience for me (I just hope I haven't spent the past 1 1/2 hours writing this to have it go nowhere!). I did see several reference to Patircia Evans' books. I bought one over the weekend and literally devoured it! I thought "Oh my god. Everthing that David did that 'didn't feel good' to me was actually abuse!" I called the therapist the following week. He had told me several times that things like being condesending, ignoring me, getting irritated . . . were not abuse these were just things couples did to one another (mind you, I never did these things to David). At this point I was pretty angry and even yelled at the counselor and said those things were in fact abuse. He said that he believed that he had been in an abusive relationship himself and he knew about verbal abuse for this reason. I told him that if David had called me a Fucking Cunt on our first date he could bet there wouldn't have been a second date! I then raised my voice and told him that he should read Patricia Evans books himself.

I also contacted a local agency that specialized in domestic abuse. I felt rather foolish when I initially made the call. I was sure that they would say that they delt with real problems (i.e. physical abuse) and that my problem was minor in comparison. I was surprised to hear that what I was enduring was in fact abuse. Several counselors who specilized in abusive behavior were recommended to me and I've seen one several times.

I also spoke to David about his abusive behavior. Initially he replied that he was working on his "stuff" and I should work on mine. After several incidents he said that he recognized that he was angry and abusive and stated that he didn't want to be like his family. He still refused to view all the abusive behavior as abusive.

Last Sunday there was another particularly bad incident. Not only was he abusive but he encouraged by sixteen year old step-daughter to be abusive to me also. I decided I'd had enough and actually called a lawyer Monday. When I got home he told me that he had taken the day off. He said he read Pat Evans' book and he was surprised that his picture wasn't in it. That was a week ago and although he hasn't been perfect he's really discussing his feelings. He's cried about the life that he's missed out on and he says that he's determined to change. I want to believe him but I've heard so many times that he is changing.

The counselor I'm seeing is also in the same practice as David's counselor (but she seems good). David told his counselor that he wants to focus on verbal abuse in counseling. I don't have a high opinion of this person and I don't know how comforting this is to me. David did contact the local agency that specializes in domestic abuse about support groups for verbally abusive men. The only group available is for all abusive men and the literature about the group he received was pretty heavily ladden with men who are ordered to go to group by the courts . . . David said that he didn't feel comfortable with this type of group for him and I'm inclined to agree. So, if you haven't fallen asleep. . . What's out there for abusers that isn't aimed at men involved in the court system? I also took part in a Vera House group aimed at victims of abuse and I felt more comfortable (and got more out of) a group with women whose issues were more similiar to my own. I hope I'm not rationalizing but I do understand where David is coming from on this issue. If anyone has any resouces on groups, articles or books for abusers, please let me know (if I can ever find my way back to this web page).

By the way, I am doing much better than I was in April. I've decided that one way or another my life will change. I'm basically a happy and optimisitic person. I believe that the world although not perfect is basically good. If there is something that

B1:
Date: Tuesday, November 07, 2000

S1

Hi! My name is Karen and this article really hit home for me. I have been involved in a verbally abusive relationship with my husband, David, for the past six years.

I've recognized that David was a critical person with a temper since before we got married. For years I've been hearing that he wanted to change and I truly wanted to believe that. About two years ago (at my urging) he sought individual therapy. Unfortunately, the person he saw was basically incompitent and even told David that his anger was good and helped him to be a better salesperson. I am a school psychologist by profession and struggled with becoming too involved and telling him what the therapist should do. David told me that one day this therapist was 10 minutes late and he yelled at her. He said that she explained why she was late rather than deal with why he got so angry about her mistake! The final straw came after an incident at a restraunt where he yelled at me for telling a joke. I told him he needed to tell his therapist about this and he reported that she said there were two sides to every story! I'm intelligent enough to realize that some stuff is just plain crap! He did stop seeing her.

Things seemed a little better for a while and I chose to be an ostrach and pretend that they were. As would be expected over the course of the next year thing escalated significantly. He always recognized that screaming at me and calling me a Fucking Cunt or Fucking Idiot was not OK. I also realized this was abusive. There were a lot of other things that I knew didn't make me feel good (pick out just about any sign of Verbal Abuse mentioned in Pat Evans' books)but I realized that I am a sensitive person and owned many of these signs as my own issues.

Last fall things began getting worse. He was yelling at me and calling me abusive names at least once or twice a week. I told him I couldn't take any more and we needed couseling or the marrage was over. He agreed. With his previous negative experience he asked me to find a counselor for us. I asked friends and got the names of several counselors with excellent reputations. Unfortunately, either these individuals didn't have room in their schedules or didn't accept our insurance. From these people I asked for more referrals. It was the holiday season and I was busy with holiday preparations. Not everyone got back to me quickly and I didn't aggressively pursue these contacts because things were so busy. When the abuse intensified I (again) told David that this needed to stop. He blamed me by saying that it was my job to find a therapist and I hadn't. After New Years (a day he told me he hoped a pit bull slit my throat) I called people again. One more person who couldn't see us gave us the name of someone in her practice. I called him he had room and took our insurance so we began seeing him.

I only wish that I had read Patricia Evans books prior to finding a counselor. Oh well hind sight is 20/20! This therapist did recognize that the "Fucking Cunt" and "Fucking Asshole" incidents were abusive but repeatedly stated that there were two sides to aguements (as if these were arguements!). When we began therapy David stated that he saw most of the problems as his not mine.

His perception of ownership of the problems changed as we continued in therapy. More and more I heard that I was wrong and it wasn't just him. The abuse again got worse but now I was essentially told that I was the reason for the abuse. In April I felt that I was falling apart. I cried a great deal, couldn't sleep and thought that it would be better to be dead. We have a two and three year old who mean more to me than anything. As bad as I was feeling, I tried to be positive and upbeat for them. The most important thing in the world is that they are raised to be happy, secure and independent individuals. I am determined to break the cycle. I guess I going off on a tangent - forgive me. Back to April. Following one incident were David screamed and smashed a plate, I couldn't hold it together. I went to my room and cried and truly felt that I was approaching a breakdown. I couldn't take care of my children that evening and that bothered me.

The next day I called our therapist who scheduled to see me alone. I told him how I was feeling. I also told him things needed to change because I wasn't going to live my life like this and I wasn't going to raise my children in this type of environment. He said that he thought it would be a good idea to see David individually and work on his anger. He also suggested I contact my physician about obtaining anti-depressants (I did).

At this time I (again) told David he needed to change or I would get a divorce. He must have believed me because May was the best month I've had with him. He was kind and considerate. We had fun together and there were no incidents of abuse. Things began to change in June. It started with "mildly" abusive behaviors and escaled to the "Fucking Cunt" abuse by the end of the month. When I began to see changes I tries to talk about them to which David became aggitated and exclaimed, "You don't want to give me any credit for the progress I've made. You're too critical (If that isn't the pot calling the kettle . . . )".

By August we were back where we started. The therapist felt that we should meet as a couple again. What a disaster! During couseling David rolled his eyes at me, shook his head and made faces while I spoke (he had done these things since the initial counseling session). During this session he also banged his head while I spoke! I felt that was incredibly condesending and left the session. I then realized that I was to pay for counseling that day and returned with the check. The counselor as why I had gotten so upset to which I replied I felt that David was putting me down. David said that he was just frustrated by what I was saying and was expressing his frustration. The couselor agreed that David needed some means to express frustration in counseling! It should be noted that David is a professional and frequently meets with other professionals as part of his job. He has admitted to becoming frustrated during some of these meetings but you can bet your life he never banged his head! If he doesn't do this at work I should expect he won't do this to me!

I have truly struggled with the fact that I'm "in the field" and I don't want to be critical of other professionals. David has told me that I am too critical. Since David was meeting alone with the counselor. I felt more that he was David's counselor as opposed to mine. David also frequently told me how much the counselor enjoyed meeting with him (he's so funny). At one point I had a dream about the two of them having dinner together and laughing the night away. I felt that some of my the issues with the counselor may have been related to my own insecurities. Although I struggled with this I decided to call the counselor

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 07, 2000

S1

Hi! My name is Karen and this article really hit home for me. I have been involved in a verbally abusive relationship with my husband, David, for the past six years.

I've recognized that David was a critical person with a temper since before we got married. For years I've been hearing that he wanted to change and I truly wanted to believe that. About two years ago (at my urging) he sought individual therapy. Unfortunately, the person he saw was basically incompitent and even told David that his anger was good and helped him to be a better salesperson. I am a school psychologist by profession and struggled with becoming too involved and telling him what the therapist should do. David told me that one day this therapist was 10 minutes late and he yelled at her. He said that she explained why she was late rather than deal with why he got so angry about her mistake! The final straw came after an incident at a restraunt where he yelled at me for telling a joke. I told him he needed to tell his therapist about this and he reported that she said there were two sides to every story! I'm intelligent enough to realize that some stuff is just plain crap! He did stop seeing her.

Things seemed a little better for a while and I chose to be an ostrach and pretend that they were. As would be expected over the course of the next year thing escalated significantly. He always recognized that screaming at me and calling me a Fucking Cunt or Fucking Idiot was not OK. I also realized this was abusive. There were a lot of other things that I knew didn't make me feel good (pick out just about any sign of Verbal Abuse mentioned in Pat Evans' books)but I realized that I am a sensitive person and owned many of these signs as my own issues.

Last fall things began getting worse. He was yelling at me and calling me abusive names at least once or twice a week. I told him I couldn't take any more and we needed couseling or the marrage was over. He agreed. With his previous negative experience he asked me to find a counselor for us. I asked friends and got the names of several counselors with excellent reputations. Unfortunately, either these individuals didn't have room in their schedules or didn't accept our insurance. From these people I asked for more referrals. It was the holiday season and I was busy with holiday preparations. Not everyone got back to me quickly and I didn't aggressively pursue these contacts because things were so busy. When the abuse intensified I (again) told David that this needed to stop. He blamed me by saying that it was my job to find a therapist and I hadn't. After New Years (a day he told me he hoped a pit bull slit my throat) I called people again. One more person who couldn't see us gave us the name of someone in her practice. I called him he had room and took our insurance so we began seeing him.

I only wish that I had read Patricia Evans books prior to finding a counselor. Oh well hind sight is 20/20! This therapist did recognize that the "Fucking Cunt" and "Fucking Asshole" incidents were abusive but repeatedly stated that there were two sides to aguements (as if these were arguements!). When we began therapy David stated that he saw most of the problems as his not mine.

His perception of ownership of the problems changed as we continued in therapy. More and more I heard that I was wrong and it wasn't just him. The abuse again got worse but now I was essentially told that I was the reason for the abuse. In April I felt that I was falling apart. I cried a great deal, couldn't sleep and thought that it would be better to be dead. We have a two and three year old who mean more to me than anything. As bad as I was feeling, I tried to be positive and upbeat for them. The most important thing in the world is that they are raised to be happy, secure and independent individuals. I am determined to break the cycle. I guess I going off on a tangent - forgive me. Back to April. Following one incident were David screamed and smashed a plate, I couldn't hold it together. I went to my room and cried and truly felt that I was approaching a breakdown. I couldn't take care of my children that evening and that bothered me.

The next day I called our therapist who scheduled to see me alone. I told him how I was feeling. I also told him things needed to change because I wasn't going to live my life like this and I wasn't going to raise my children in this type of environment. He said that he thought it would be a good idea to see David individually and work on his anger. He also suggested I contact my physician about obtaining anti-depressants (I did).

At this time I (again) told David he needed to change or I would get a divorce. He must have believed me because May was the best month I've had with him. He was kind and considerate. We had fun together and there were no incidents of abuse. Things began to change in June. It started with "mildly" abusive behaviors and escaled to the "Fucking Cunt" abuse by the end of the month. When I began to see changes I tries to talk about them to which David became aggitated and exclaimed, "You don't want to give me any credit for the progress I've made. You're too critical (If that isn't the pot calling the kettle . . . )".

By August we were back where we started. The therapist felt that we should meet as a couple again. What a disaster! During couseling David rolled his eyes at me, shook his head and made faces while I spoke (he had done these things since the initial counseling session). During this session he also banged his head while I spoke! I felt that was incredibly condesending and left the session. I then realized that I was to pay for counseling that day and returned with the check. The counselor as why I had gotten so upset to which I replied I felt that David was putting me down. David said that he was just frustrated by what I was saying and was expressing his frustration. The couselor agreed that David needed some means to express frustration in counseling! It should be noted that David is a professional and frequently meets with other professionals as part of his job. He has admitted to becoming frustrated during some of these meetings but you can bet your life he never banged his head! If he doesn't do this at work I should expect he won't do this to me!

I have truly struggled with the fact that I'm "in the field" and I don't want to be critical of other professionals. David has told me that I am too critical. Since David was meeting alone with the counselor. I felt more that he was David's counselor as opposed to mine. David also frequently told me how much the counselor enjoyed meeting with him (he's so funny). At one point I had a dream about the two of them having dinner together and laughing the night away. I felt that some of my the issues with the counselor may have been related to my own insecurities. Although I struggled with this I decided to call the counselor and discuss my feelings.

The next day I phoned the counselor to let him know that I wasn't feeling comfortable with what transpired in the counseling sessions. I told him that I had limited experience conducting groups; however, in the groups in which I was involved there were clearly established rules (e.g. no interrupting). I told him that David wasn't even expected to be as accountable for his behavior as were the students with whom I had worked. The counselor reiterated that different people expressed there anger in different ways. I told him that I have always tried to think carefully about what I say before trying to communicate anything to David. I asked him how I came across. He replied (and I'll never forget this) that maybe I was too calm and like a caged animal maybe David didn't respond well to this. I then exclaimed, "What do you want me to do yell at him". He said some coupled related that way and I was OK for them. I told him that I was willing to work on things in the present but I would not let my life to look like this 10 years from now, 20 years from now nor would I raise my children in this environment!

The counselor had never asked me about my past and I decided that I would talk about my history at the beginning of the next session. I should add that the counselor never asked me about my history nor did he touch base with me after the time I met with him in April because I was "falling apart". During the session I told the counselor about my past which suprised him (I had a disfunctional childhood - What a shock!).

I then took it upon myself to research verbal abuse. I'm not exactly technologically inclined so the internet was a pretty new experience for me (I just hope I haven't spent the past 1 1/2 hours writing this to have it go nowhere!). I did see several reference to Patircia Evans' books. I bought one over the weekend and literally devoured it! I thought "Oh my god. Everthing that David did that 'didn't feel good' to me was actually abuse!" I called the therapist the following week. He had told me several times that things like being condesending, ignoring me, getting irritated . . . were not abuse these were just things couples did to one another (mind you, I never did these things to David). At this point I was pretty angry and even yelled at the counselor and said those things were in fact abuse. He said that he believed that he had been in an abusive relationship himself and he knew about verbal abuse for this reason. I told him that if David had called me a Fucking Cunt on our first date he could bet there wouldn't have been a second date! I then raised my voice and told him that he should read Patricia Evans books himself.

I also contacted a local agency that specialized in domestic abuse. I felt rather foolish when I initially made the call. I was sure that they would say that they delt with real problems (i.e. physical abuse) and that my problem was minor in comparison. I was surprised to hear that what I was enduring was in fact abuse. Several counselors who specilized in abusive behavior were recommended to me and I've seen one several times.

I also spoke to David about his abusive behavior. Initially he replied that he was working on his "stuff" and I should work on mine. After several incidents he said that he recognized that he was angry and abusive and stated that he didn't want to be like his family. He still refused to view all the abusive behavior as abusive.

Last Sunday there was another particularly bad incident. Not only was he abusive but he encouraged by sixteen year old step-daughter to be abusive to me also. I decided I'd had enough and actually called a lawyer Monday. When I got home he told me that he had taken the day off. He said he read Pat Evans' book and he was surprised that his picture wasn't in it. That was a week ago and although he hasn't been perfect he's really discussing his feelings. He's cried about the life that he's missed out on and he says that he's determined to change. I want to believe him but I've heard so many times that he is changing.

The counselor I'm seeing is also in the same practice as David's counselor (but she seems good). David told his counselor that he wants to focus on verbal abuse in counseling. I don't have a high opinion of this person and I don't know how comforting this is to me. David did contact the local agency that specializes in domestic abuse about support groups for verbally abusive men. The only group available is for all abusive men and the literature about the group he received was pretty heavily ladden with men who are ordered to go to group by the courts . . . David said that he didn't feel comfortable with this type of group for him and I'm inclined to agree. So, if you haven't fallen asleep. . . What's out there for abusers that isn't aimed at men involved in the court system? I also took part in a Vera House group aimed at victims of abuse and I felt more comfortable (and got more out of) a group with women whose issues were more similiar to my own. I hope I'm not rationalizing but I do understand where David is coming from on this issue. If anyone has any resouces on groups, articles or books for abusers, please let me know (if I can ever find my way back to this web page).

By the way, I am doing much better than I was in April. I've decided that one way or another my life will change. I'm basically a happy and optimisitic person. I believe that the world although not perfect is basically good. If there is something that isn't right we need to work to make it better. I want to pass this on to my children rather than the critical judgemental view my husband possesses. I also hope to get involved in educating other women about verbal abuse some day (after I've worked through my own issues). It amazes me that even with my experience I knew nothing about this abuse!

I had no intention of writing all this. I guess I needed to get it off my chest. I problably should check what I've typed but I've had it for now!

Thank you for your time!

Karen

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, November 11, 2000

S1

Hi Thats yes to the above. I went with my wife of ten years who is also an M.D. to a therapist. I was extremely depressed at the time over my mothers death and a recent near fatal accident. The real pain however was coming from my non relationship with my wife. I tried to get at some of the things my wife was doing with this woman without trigerring a backlash later from my wife. It didn't work by the end of the session they were both discussing what to do about me. It put me into a nose dive that took four months to pull out of. My wifes abuses intensified during this period and only abated when in desperation I began to abuse her,not physicaly but using the exact methods she had used. As sick as that sounds it did give me a chance to get off the floor and take stock of my situation. I am now seeing another therapist who is helping me see how my family situation set me up for this type of relationship. As for my wife she is both in denial and completely freaking out at the change in the status quo. It can be hard not to give into revenge but I know this would be very unhealthy and provide no real relief. My wife has recently agreed to go into couples therapy but I really don't think she has any intentions of owning up to her part in our problems. I'll keep you posted

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, November 12, 2000

S1

Ive been married 14 years to a controlling man, I am 35 and have 3 children 11,9,6 with him. Ive been in contact with Templum in my city and know I am in an abusive relationship,since I have come forward to my husband and asked for a divorce, and after about 3 weeks of hell with him,( being held back by him, taking the money and car, and bringing the kids in on it all )he has agreed to go to marriage counseling, claiming he loves me and never meant to hurt me. The counselors attitude is that we both have some changing to do to make it work. Is this doing my relationship more harm or can it possibly work?

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, November 16, 2000

S1

Our former marriage counselor initially said he had experience with domestic abuse way back when he was in the military... somehow worked with men who had anger problems or something like that. When I recognized that he was too passive or just not assertive/direct enough to recognize or acknowledge our abusive relationship, he attributed it to "not seeing it in private practice". I couldnt believe he said that. I couldnt say anything, because any goof knows it happens in all economic levels. Some just talk about it more than others. So with him saying that I initially felt he was just ignorant. Then I felt embarrassed & ashamed. Were middle class people like us not supposed to talk about it like I see my relatives & some friends do? Anyway, thats what our 'ex-therapist' said about it. He didnt have any resource for my husband. Like an anger's group. I saw one in newspaper one day & finally got him to go. I was told it was a diverse group (because i knew if he went & it was mostly lower eco status group, he would still feel above & not take much from it). Get this, 12 out of 15 were court-appointed to attend due to domestic violence, battering. So when my husband is around these men, of course, he feels better compared to them!! But he did state that control was the underlying reason for verbal or physical aand took from the group what he could... In short, there just doesnt seem to be the support/resources out there for verbal/emotional abuse. I actually had a police officer say he couldnt file a protection order against my husband because he hadnt actually hit me. I asked 'am I to wait & get hit first' & he looked at me like 'umm...yea, to get this order of protection...' like 'uh, yea stupid lady' it seemed to me. I used to carry around a concealed tape recorder. When I listened to them to label the tape or to see if conversation was clear, or somehow erase the dead space, I never could listen long enough to do any of that. One, I was afraid of being caught. Two, I had to relive it & it made me just sick. So I stopped recording if I wasnt to do anything with them but keep changing hiding places for them! Ok, I went off topic....

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, November 17, 2000

S1

Please help me, DR Irene, I have been visiting your site since April , 2000, when my husband physically abused me in front of our 2 children. Though he had hit me only once before ( a slap to the behind that left a red mark)it was the last straw for me and I threatened to leave if he did not get help with his anger. I called women's shelters and spoke to my MD about the situation-detailing the escalation of events over the years. These include his control over the household money and his insistance that the money I made working for him in the family buisness was really HIS, his discouraging me from spending time with my female friends, even my family,his terrifying outbursts of anger with me and others ( he even beat up a fellow team mate on his men's hockey team and verbally abused a buisness associate ) his cursing me for not feeling like making love...sometimes even when I had no idea he had wanted to, and his browbeating me into having an abortion, ( that is still a difficult thing to believe I "allowed" to happen but I did)..and on it goes ... I checked 13 out of 14 signals that applied to me in your list dealing with serious signs of abuse. Well, my MD confirmed it was abuse as did the women's shelter and THEY tried to get me to think about leaving the house. I did not find the strength to do so. I am still here WHY?? I ended up seeing a psychotherapist because I wanted to have validation and support in order to leave my marriage with my children. I wanted to be able to say I tried. My husband refused to get help. My therapist came well recommended by friends and I really like her. but she was never interested in reading the stuff I printed from your site ansd said she would focus on me instead of HIM...I do believe I create my reality,...that this situation has forced me to look at some of my issues of self love and (in)dependance... and she has been concentrating on this line of attack- encouraging and supporting me in my creative endevours and in seeking new work ( I quit working for my husband ...GAAAWD what a relief THAT is!) My problem now is that I do not feel my therapist is supporting that I leave the house and when I asked her last week if she thought mine was a situation of abuse, she said most marriages have PERIODS of abuse and anyway the term abuse was just semantics. I then asked her ( as you recommend ) if she knew who Patricia Evans was... she said "NO", and said I was the 2nd person to ask her that question that week. hmmm. I expressed my strong desire to leave the oppression and harmful energy at my home and said I was worried about how my children would handle the move and divorce. My therapist then talked about love and commitment and responsibility...and stability.. I began to feel guilty.. I am starting to feel confused as well. Like the abuse for her does not exist. and that all the problems are within..etc.She does say that she supports my leaving but I don't feel that from her.. and she even went as far as admitting she felt ours was a case of a couple in crisis and not one of abuse... things are deafeningly quiet these days here I sleep in a spare room on a matress and the children are dispondant. I aM feeling stronger in terms of self worth and have told my husband it is not working out and I am not comming back to the bedroom.As much as I like my therapist I do not think I am getting practical help here. Forgive the length of this post. I know though that I have left out many details and ups and downs I have been expriencing over the last year.What are your thoughts? Thank you

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, November 23, 2000

S1

This past spring I contacted a therapist to help stop the verbal abuse being heaped upon our teenage daughter by my husband, abuse which I have endured for almost 25 years. The therapist's answer was to make contracts with him in order to avoid conflicts, contracts which need to be followed no matter what such as when she should take the dog out, when she should bathe the dog, etc. When she was finished with my daughter, she suggested that I just comply with cleaning the house when and how he wants and told him to be more understanding. This waste of our time resulted in my being physically attacked about 6 weeks ago by my husband and now our daughter has panic attacks preventing her from going to school unless she is totally drugged up. My husband just left the house with our daughter for thanksgiving at his sister's and upon leaving the house he gave me the finger. How do I handle it? I hope that my daughter overcomes her difficulties at which time i will be able to return to the workforce (because I am currently "worthless"), and when our child is 18 I will be out of here.

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Date: Wednesday, November 29, 2000

S1

I am currently in counseling, and I'm not sure that it is meeting my needs. My husband has refused to attend with me, telling me that I have many long-standing problems that I need to work on. In fact, when I've asked my husband to attend in order to help our relationship, he has replied angrily that I'm not attending therapy in order to improve our relationship... I'm going to work on me! (I guess he feels he knows my motives better than I do...) I have to say that I find counseling to be helpful in that I feel it's become a safe place to vent. However, after telling my counselor about specific incidents between my husband and I, I am still left with great doubt and uncertainty as to the nature of the incident... was I abused or not? I feel like my counselor is trying to teach me new ways of interacting with my spouse, how to diffuse a situation and retain some sense of personal control. I have just finished reading Patricia Evans' book on verbally abusive relationships. I feel like I need to hear from others that my perception of things that occur in my marriage is correct... that I'm not losing my mind... and I would like to hear this from my counselor.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, December 07, 2000

S1

I had a therapist who did me a lot of good in many ways, but who did not address the abuse issues in the marriage. She tried to help my husband change the way he treated me, but never did confront him about his abusiveness, yet she insisted I be careful of his feelings, and cautioned me not to "push his buttons." This wasn't at all helpful. He can be very charming, and can seem very warm and concerned and loving. I know it's necessary to form a therapeutic alliance with a client in order to help, but she didn't really seem to know what to do with him. It all fell on my shoulders. She suggested I learn to stand up to him--quit getting defensive and quit allowing his words to wound me (good suggestions, but I had no idea how to manage that.) She told me he thought his behavior was appropriate, his expectations were reasonable, and he didn't have any "issues." She also told me he was a narcissist and "a little bit borderline." This wasn't very useful information at the time. He went into counseling not believing it would do any good. He wasn't even going to go with me, then changed his mind, saying he wanted "to hear what kind of bullshit" I told the counselor. Had I been a little stronger and less battered and damaged at that point, I'd have told him that remark was a nutshell exposition of the problem. I was so unhappy I needed counseling. Instead of trying to find out what was making me so unhappy, or agreeing to counseling to help our relationship, he thought it was "bullshit." It was the crux of the problem. I was in no condition to tell him that, but he might have listened to her if she had confronted him with his distorted and irrational thinking. (She confronted me, and I'm glad she did. She was right about the impossibility of changing him, and she was right in her observation that I got myself very worked up, but she didn't seem to understand why I was such a wreck.) After years of verbal abuse my self esteem was shot, my perceptions were distorted, my nerves were raw. I probably could have benefited from medication, but it wasn't offered. (She suggested he be evalutated for depression. He refused.)

I realize abusers are hard to "reach" and maybe he'd have resisted any approach, but the one that was used didn't ever hit the mark. She didn't stand up to him either. She said we needed to learn to express our love in ways that felt loving to the other person. She didn't seem to "get" that there was nothing I could have done that would have "felt loving" to him because I was nothing to him but a screen for his projections. Nobody ever told him it's not OK to hurt people on purpose, not oneself, not others. Nobody ever told him he's responsible for his own behavior, makes his own choices, and he has to quit blaming others when he behaves badly. She seemed to take sides with him when he said I "took things wrong" or "overreacted." He insisted I needed to learn to "say things right" when I'd had 23 years of experiencing being attacked and hurt if I ever said anything at all. It didn't make any difference what I said or did, if he was not in a mood to receive it, he would punish me. I don't think our therapist appreciated how manipulative and deceitful and cunning he was. I think he beguiled her like he beguiles everyone at first.

Amy

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, December 29, 2000

S1

In my individual session with our couples counselor, she told me that I would have to teach my husband communication skills, etc. This put me in despair since I had spent twenty years trying to get him to acknowledge that we needed to work on our relationship and he needed to look at himself and what he was doing. I spent these years basically working on the relationship by myself! I was told that I would have to open up to him, but after every session together, I got a barrage of criticism for everything I said in the session. Next, I was told that the counseling could not progress until I dealt with MY anger!

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, December 31, 2000

S1

 

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, January 15, 2001

S1

Unfortunately I have experienced a bad couseling situation with a pastor and also with a Christian counselor. I did not know that this happened until it happened to me. My husband and I were in a first session with a pastor and he discounted my inability to complete tasks and my isolating behavior as a choice I was making instead of the possibility of being depressed after 9 years of being very controlled and a great deal of unpredictable and verbally abusive treatment in my marriage. Well, my husband was already very displeased with my lowered capabilities and to have the pastor validate his feelings that I just was lazy and not working hard enough I knew that I was now sitting next to my perpertrator who had just been armed with more ammunition to use against me when we got home. I sobbed in the office because I knew what I would face at home. Consequently, the next day, as a result of being so angry with my refusal to see the pastor again, my husband and I had an arguement and when I could see that I was being berated and there was no good outcome to follow, I got up to leave the room to let things cool down. My husband grabbed me and I heard a loud pop and felt a sharp pain in my chest. I wound up with a broken rib (this was actually the first physical damage done to me.) Most of his attacks are verbal with frequent rages, trapping me in a car going fast, throwing things, controlling money, breaking down doors to get to me when I want to separate myself from him. He is now seeing another counselor and she too tries to have me counsel with him and I now KNOW that is very dangerous for me and counter productive. She even knows about the broken rib but says it wasn't intentional and the way he treats me is not good for a marriage but it is not domestic abuse. We are now separated at this time. Yes, it is imperative that counselors who specialize in this area are found.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, February 05, 2001

S1

I went to counseling a few years ago, alone for about a year. She was a great lady and good to talk to but i dont think she for it either. One of thr things he would complain about was how when we first were together I would meet him at the door with a big hug, made him feel very welcome and special. That of course was before the abuse started, she asked me to try to give him a hug when he came home and if I didnt he should find me for a hug. That made him so angry, but nobody understands that wasnt the issue at all, it was his way of making me jump through hoops to make him happy. If I did this then it would be something else. I will never be able to make him happy.He is very verbally and emotionally abusive, I dont think counseling helped at all. He just learned how to be more manipulative and controlling. He eventually went to counseling but, he would show up late, or right before it was over or sometimes not at all. Once he even brought his cell phone (important business call). Please help me

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, February 08, 2001

S1

I too was in a similar situation. Finally after years of "controlling and neglectful, and passive aggressive abuse and "mind games", all which started when my children began to arrive at 26 years old, I decided that all the problems and not all of the blame was mine. Note my husband waited to "show" this side of himself, until I was "made co-dependant" due to my have two small babies to care for, and had quit work. Prior to that the scale was somewhat more even as to who did what and who got "their way". Also prior to that I was a total knockout, very "wordly" and clearly attractive to "other" less abusive minded men. I see this pattern in men waiting until "circumstantially" the woman, through no real "dependant personality" choice, becomes a prime "victim". Anyway, finally some 20 plus years later, when I was "unable" to keep the pace my husbands travels and neglect set for me, now having four children widely spread apart in ages, and the resistance and abuse to "help" out really began, I went to see the free counselor at my husbands workplace. I won't describe the subtle, passive agressive, and controlling tactics that were used by my husband on me to obtain HIS comfort level lets just say they were the "classical ones" not OVERT to anyone but me. The counselor's assessment after one session was that I needed to "show more appreciation" for my husband's "minimal" efforts and for him. Basically all the "blame" was again laid at my feet by another Man!!! Our second session consisted of this counselor/man and my husband discussing the workplace (where I had also worked prior to "becoming a mom") and NOTHING was said about our problems or the reasons why we were there. I was very angry not only at the addmissions by the counselor that there were "control" issues, and that old dogs (meaning my husband) could learn new tricks, and then to have him turn around and tell me I was supposed to "appreciate" this controlling, sabotuging, passive aggressive, and immature person", that if I would just "appreciate" this treatment more things would improve!!! I was also angry at the "wasted" opportunity, it is very difficult to get men into counseling and to "waste" our second session discussing the dysfunction of the workplace and not our relationship made me ill. On the third session, as I went in alone in tears to discuss that the "changes" ie passification with no real heart in it attempts by my husband to "change" were resulting only in his feigned efforts and were in fact obviously being resented by my husband, he did NOT as my husband who was in the lounge waiting for me, to step in and "let's discuss" your passive aggressive way or responding to your wife's needs and your promises to "work on it" . I mean you get what you pay for, unfortunately we did not return and shortly after everything went back to just as bad or worse than it was, only now my husband could say he "tried everything". I am currently taking the necessary steps to "stop my reactions" and exit from the relationship. Like many I hoped and still do that my husband would see the light regarding his behavior, but am looking out for myself in the meantime. I doubt due to this counselors "bungling" and misunderstanding the gravity of the situation and that this is type behavior originates with the MEN for the most part, he severly hurt our chances for ever constructively change. I never even was give the opportunity to "discover" my role in the cycle, or as a victim, or anything to help me cope either. What a waste, there should be a REQUIREMENT that for a counselor to retain his creditiantials he take courses on this "prickly" subject and it's nuances and subtlies as much as the "obvious" full blown aggressive shouting demeaning control.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, February 13, 2001

S1

My husband and I finally decided to give couples' "marriage counseling" a try. We chose an MFCC. When I first called this counselor, I was in tears. My husband angrily left the house all night and did not tell me where he was going (control/abandonment issues here...) She seemed empathetic and caring. I asked if she knew about Patricia Evans' book and she said "no," but snapped that "it does not take a book to deal with those issues." My mistake number one was not to question this! I scheduled an appointment to see her one-on-one. After hearing my family history, she even offered to give me the name of a counselor who was also a divorce attorney! To make a long story short, she then saw my husband privately. After hearing his side of the story, the counselling was never the same, to say the least, and she never again mentioned giving me the name of the attorney. She had sided with my husband against me. There was no verbal abuse on my husband's part, according to her. Never mind that he throws and breaks objects, stabs knives into cutting boards and gets in my face to swear at me. The way she saw it, I "provoked" the anger and rages by "saying hurtful" things to my husband. "You're carrying the wounds of your mother, and if you don't stop your unkind comments, you are going to lose this man who loves you, " she said. The scary thing is that she was dead serious. After one tearful (the tears were mine...) fight in which my husband threw a bag of paper napkins at me from across a front lawn, I called the counselor for comfort. "Were you hurt?" she asked. "No," I replied. "Well, there you go then. You know if he wanted to really hurt you he could have," she scolded. That spelled the end of counseling with that woman. I never again took her seriously. Whenever I brought up something my husband said that was hurtful, she had this little cliche, "it's not about him; it's about YOU." So much for someone getting a license to get peoples' heads on straight! Counseling is now out of the question. My husband says we cannot afford it, and he says that our counselling failed and proved worthless. He was right in one respect. He refuses to see another counselor now. I could have made one last appointment to give this woman a piece of my mind and get closure, but why waste $100 on that? I knew in my heart that she was totally off base by taking my husband's side and losing her objectivity. She was absolutely blind to the meaning behind the rages, the subtle put-downs, the sarcasm, and the violence of broken objects. Now I just laugh about her and her "professionalism." The $100 has gone to a better cause--to buy something nice for myself!

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, February 14, 2001

S1

Dear Dr. Irene,

I went to therapy to "spite" my partner who screamed at me that I "needed help." I thought that longstanding issues with my mother were creating the havoc in our relationship. Well, they were, but it was more because my ex was duplicating the same treatment my mother dished out - I had picked a partner who would treat me the same abusive way that my family had while I was growing up.

The therapist, however, was very skillful at seeing my ex's side of any fight. I always ended up feeling like a rebuked child, and my ex would feel totally validated. I would come out of my sessions and apologize to him. He wasn't going with me, and the therapist never met him.

Things got worse and worse, until finally my ex attacked me physically when I decided to take my things home from his house - he and his roommates weren't respecting the boundaries of our relationship, and I didn't want to be so totally ensconced in a home that wasn't mine. I wasn't leaving him, but he became enraged and attacked mein the car on the way home, which was terrifying. We could have both been killed. He then tried to get out of the car while we were doing 75 on the freeway. There's more, but you get the picture. It was completely insane.

My therapist's response was unsympathetic. "Disturbing," she called it. Then she wanted to know what I had done to provoke him. There was no sympathy for what I had been through, no validation of my being strong enough to remove myself from a disrespectful situation. I just left that session and never went back to her, because I decided that she was part of the problem.

Earlier, I had been put on antidepressants because I was getting more and more depressed about the relationship. They were a nightmare. I stopped caring about everything, including the abuse. I stopped caring about my body and I gained a lot of weight. I didn't care about my university work, and I took incompletes in all my classes the semester I was on Celexa. The therapists in the university health center didn't seem to care about this aspect of their treatment.

After the scary incident above, I broke off the relationship, and I instantly felt soooooo much better. I told the therapists I wanted off Celexa because I felt better, and obviously my depression was linked to the relationship. I still had to keep on them a couple more months and wasn't allowed to quit cold turkey. But I consider my case extraordinarily mismanaged, and it was a university health service, which I think is even worse. I never saw that therapist again, not even to tell her I thought she was wrong (which the other therapists encouraged me to do). I just didn't want to see her face again because I felt so betrayed.

I found group therapy much better, and especially the Catbox.

Thanks, Perdida

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, February 15, 2001

S1

I think I am in an abusive marriage. The reason I feel this is because I can see the cycles and because we have about 95% of the characteristics mentioned on different abuse web sites. I have support from my family, but there are a few people(my friend and one of my preachers) who at this point don't believe me. I have come to the point where I feel like I have to just trust my own feelings and go from there. I can't list everything that has happened because it entails 6 years worth of episodes. I have to say, though, that it is a very subtle, slow going type of abuse. And I have all the guilt, sad, confused, sorry, suicide feelings that are mentioned on these websites. I hope I can get help and I don't know if I can ever love or trust again. Thank you, Jennifer

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, February 17, 2001

S1

I have been in traditional couples counseling for a little over a month and the therapist knew from the start my main problem was severe emotional abuse. At this point and time the therapist hasn't "blamed" me for anything that has happened to me. He has asked me to look at the different scenarios my husband has blamed me for and describe how I was at fault. When I really look at the different scenarios I can see I wasn't at fault even though I was the one who ended up apologizing. The therapist has been able to get my husband to admit he feels the world is against him, and that he believes I am responsible for "killing all his emotions inside", making him uncomfortable in our own home because I've taken over with the decorating (I only did this because he wasn't doing anything to help me), and pointed out to me on several occasions the reason he has such severe stomache problems is because I wasn't supportive in the way he needed when he was going through a bad time at work. Our therapist pointed out to my husband that no one in the world should have that much power over another human being and asked him why he would stay with me if I make him so miserable. While I'm comfortable with this therapist and I feel he brings out good points and makes concrete connections in the things that we talk about, I don't know how many more sessions there will need to be before he tells my husband and I what our "main problems are". Meaning, I'm not sure at this time if he understands all his odd behaviors are chronicled on this website and every problem we seem to have stems from his verbal abuse of me. Will there be a point where the therapist should "diagnose" him? I'm not sure how a therapist trained in verbal abuse issues would handle our situation and what I should expect if this person is as knowledgable and effective as he seems?

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, March 02, 2001

S1

I was in marriage counseling, with my "husbands'" counselor. He was referred to this woman for indivudual counseling after he saw a divorce attorney, after the police were called to our house for "yelling and screaming" After my husband had seen this woman for several months, and the verbal abuse was still escalating, I suggested the only way to "resolve" our ongoing fight ( about money) was to see this woman together. I saw her once alone, and asked her if it would be possible for her to help us both given the fact she'd seen him already. She said, althogh many therapists wouldn't, she felt competent she could be neutral. I told her about the abuse, and told her if we ended up getting divorced, I hoped she would help me not get killed. She laughed at that assuming I meant financially. I made it clear I meant KILLED, as in the body... dead. Well, she was a pretty good therapist, we got to a few issues, and she was pretty good at shutting him down when he started to rant in the office. But one day, she said OUT LOUD she just didn't believe verbal abuse was as damaging as physical abuse. The counselor didn't get it, probably won't, even though I went there with a name for what we were doing, I told her it was a verbally abusive relationship. waaaaaa

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, March 04, 2001

S1

Hello,

I wanted to share my last experience with our "marriage" counselor. We started marital counseling (again) in the summer of 1998. We were currently separated for about four months at that time. It took me an entire year to get away from him and I finally did. But, unfortunately, there was not a happy ending. After only a couple of months of counseling, I decided to move back and it is a decision I regret to this day, because now I have to start over. Yes, I was blamed, and told I was too dependent on people, that I was too sensitive because of my horrible first marriage. No serious issues were ever addressed because of my very real fear of his retaliation when the session was over.

Our counselor was a wonderful young woman who was very nice and attentive to what we had to say. But I always felt like we danced on top of the water and I was always afraid to dig deep down and deal with the real issues of the horrible abuse (mainly verbal and emotional) that was going on. We would talk about the kids, and discipline, money issues, my health, etc. I always left feeling like I was the one that had serious problems and I would go home and try to do the best I could to fix them, while he would work on keeping a little more calm. Yah right.

Well, this counselor left a couple of months ago to go on maternity leave, and a new counselor was assigned. I am seeing him by myself and while I like this gentleman, I feel he is really of not much help. I have made the decision yet again to leave this relationship and finally be done with it. It saddens me deeply to have to do this because of our two small children we have together (as well as three older ones from both of our first marriages). But if I don't my mental and physical health will be totally shot, my kids will suffer needlessly, and I will not be able to accomplish the goals and dreams I have set for myself.

I have a lot of things I want to do with my life, and while I am what is considered to be a "victim", I place that blame on myself. I allowed it to happen, and continue to allow it to happen. The cycle is vicious and I want out. There needs to be peace in my life, and I will never have it with this man.

I will continue to go to counseling and seek the support that I so desperately need. Please say some prayers for our family to give me the strength to endure the pain I know I will go through. It is a necessary pain, however, so that I can get to freedom.

Kelly

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, March 12, 2001

S1

I had an instance in counseling where my husband and I went into counseling after a very long difficult time when I had 1 lost a baby and 2 broken my leg a few days later.. and sat on the couch relying on home health aides and my family to help me take care of my then, 7 month old little girl. I repeated told my therapist and then the couples therapist that I felt like a caged animal being jabbed with a stick. My husband had this uncanny ability to state lies, and to look victimized himself in the therapy sessions to the point where the therapist would say things like 'if you don't let him say how he feels without yelling at him , he won't be able to feel comfortable communicating with you'.. I felt so frustrated and betrayed.. first by my husband and then by the therapist. The funny part was.. that after these difficult sessions, I would tell my husband exactly what I thought about what he said and how she responded and he did not disagreee. He knew the woman was doing more harm and creating mor problems for us, but that did not stop him form continuing to falsely elicit her sympathies. I would just sit there and yell at her and at him.. or I would cry endlessly. She eventually even admitted that she took the wrong position, but it was too late because I tol d her that she disappointed me and I could not trust her. I fired her at that point.. and for many years after this, my husband would use it as an example of how I could not "hear" the truth... and he would bring up things this woman would say to me BEFORE she realized what was happening. It was crazy that he got to use that therapy "attempt" against me for a long time. I got her last two bills and never paid them.. in fact, she was lucky that I did not "bill" her for the additional individual therapy that it took to help me recover from that experience. Talk about insult to injury. My husband has hoodwinked a few therapists and I am sure he will hoodwink the judges and people who will decide our fait if I ever get the courage up to divorce him.

Oh ya, my husband who is an alcoholic in addition to being a wife abuser... takes the opportunity in therapy to tell me that he smokes pot (when I am under the impression based on his promises that he has not been smoking pot). Whether he is smoking pot or not doesnt' matter...b/c he is inconsistent and immature and not dependable as a pot smoker.. but when he isn't smoking it (anesthesizing himself), he is a mean and nasty dry drunk. He has NO recovery from this disease..and in fact, thinks that I am the one who has the problem b/c I am committed to bringing up our children in a sober h ome (we are both alcoholics, but I am sober in AA for the last 10 years). Our kids are 5 and 2 and when I ask him if he thinks that he will be setting a good example for our kids (who will already be challenged by having our genes), he says "they won't know". How's that denial?

For me and for the sake of our kids.. it is time to move on. I am full of fear and will need a lot of help and support of people who understand the kind of "abuser" my husband is because he fools a lot of people into thinking that he is a great guy and he has a bitchy wife..

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, April 02, 2001

S1

I asked my partner to come to counselling with me at Relate, the UK relationship counselling service. All I knew was that I couldn't go on as it was and that something was profoundly wrong. At the time I did not understand the dynamics of verbal abuse but as the result of reading this website and Patricia Evans book I now at least know what is going on. We (mainly myself) told our counsellor what had happened but we didn't get to the root of the matter. I used to come out of the sessions feeling frustrated and angry. Verbal abuse was not identified, despite the fact that I explained clearly what was happening, the cycle of attacks, the irrational jealousy, 'crazy making' treatment etc. I am articulate and was highly motivated to get help but still I had to rely on 'luck' and the internet to discover what was happening! We paid a lot of money and effectivly, got no help.

I think there should be a major publicity campaign in the UK to promote awareness of verbal abuse among counsellors. This would help them to empower people such as myself to take responsibility for themselves. The counselling profession should work to ensure that people such as myself and my partner, who do not have money to 'throw away' get real understanding and insight from their cousellor.

Mary

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, April 08, 2001

S1

My therapist told me that she didn't believe me and that (after two sessions with him) she felt she knew him and he couldn't possibly do the things that I said he did. She said I wasn't validating him and the good things he did. I was being too critical of the bad. I told her he wasn't doing any good things except apologizing to me after he was mean. (He's incredibly charming toward people he doesn't know and did actually treat me well in front of people he wanted to impress.) He even admitted that he had a problem and wanted to get help. According to my therapist it was my fault that he wasn't getting better. The thing that confused me was that in our private sessions, she told me I was right on target and she needed to work with him some more, but then in our couple's sessions, it was a completely different story. Then she told us she felt sorry for us. I stopped seeing her and am now getting a divorce. Thanks a million times over for websites (and understanding people)like this to help people like me.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, April 09, 2001

S1

I have been married to "Bill" for 2-1/2 years. It has been and still IS a roller coaster ride. His verbal attacks come like lightning unexpected out of the sky. He hurts. He is a taker, not a giver. He says he has "Wit" and his Mother had "Wit". This "Wit" pisses alot of people off. It is SARCASM at its best! He has physically beaten me last Christmas Day and was arrested for one day. He is going to Anger Management Classes weekly, but by his description, he is the "Class Clown". I wish his instructor knew the REAL him. He drinks daily, he is an Usher at our Baptist Church, he runs the media center also in our church. When I sought out someone for help at the church, I was given scriptures which state that the wife should be obedient to her husband. The Baptist Church did nothing when I reported the beating last Christmas. I have been in the hospital three times because I have gotten so upset that my blood pressure rose and I passed out. The church looked the other way. However....Bill is still their "Brother" and they have forgotten me. I refuse to go back. I sought out 8 people in a high position, and they said that they would "Pray" for ME. No further responses. This was in Dec. and Jan. The church does not believe this great guy is capable of doing those type of things to his wife. After all...he is a Christian!

Jan in Texas

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, May 17, 2001

S1

Yes, this happened to me in counselling. I was told that I had my own shit in this(relationship)too! I broke off from the couples counselling,told my husband to continue with that particular counsellor because he liked him and it took 8 years to convince him that our relationship was unhealthy.I went to my own counsellor. However, once the cat was out of the bag things escalated. I was just as afraid that I might hurt him as him hurting me. I finally left after 22 years of marriage. He made me the bad guy and it's been a long hard struggle to stay on my feet. I felt the counsellor needed to back me up big time, and demand that the abuse stop. Instead his approach was to lay equal blame. This could have come later as I realize I do have to be responsible for myself but the feeling that I wasn't believed even by a counsellor was a huge let down for me,as I did not feel emotionally safe with my ex and now I wasn't safe at the counsellors either. I am still very confused and hurt from my relationship and healing seems such a long way off. /d

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, June 13, 2001

S1

Absolutely! My husband is a strong intimidating person. Just when I felt like we were making progress in our realtionship the counselor got intimiated by him. My husband starting being honest and then got afraid and blamed all off on me. Both of them basically let me know all the things I had to do to fix our relationship...and the last three sessions with the counselor threw me into an emotional state that took months to recover from. I cried uncontrollably and just shook in the sessions. I didn't know how to sort it out. When I went to a new therapist alone...she basically talks the language you do on this site. I'm learning now.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, June 16, 2001

S1

Our entire (blended) family was in counselling with facilitators who were assigned to us by the psychiatric day-treatment facility which my youngest son was attending. His main diagnosis was PTSD and dysthalmic response syndrome...(depression, hyperactivity, inappropriate emotional behavior, lack of grounding in reality)

I assumed (incorrectly) that since the facility was a psychiatric treatment center, that our family therapists knew what they were doing in the counselling of our family.

In the process of working with all of us...my husband, his daughter, myself, my children, it was my husband who was allowed to dictate the agenda of each session. The children and I started out talking about the way that Dad was yelling at all of us so much, at times getting physical (grabbing, shaking, screaming in the childrens ears, faces, and screaming in MY face)and he reacted by telling all the reasons why he HAD to yell...we gave him no choice. We were at fault because we did not do what he told us to do....yes, the kids and I were all at fault, because we did not tow the line, pull our own weight, do as we were told, etc.

So, after that, each therapy session revolved around the question of whether or not the kids and I had improved on our performance during the week....were chores done as directed, did I take my power back (meaning did I succeed in making the kids do the chores that my husband wanted them to do...).

The issues of my husband's abuse of all the rest of us, even his daughter, his daughter's rejection of me and all the other children, his emphasis that I and MY kids were the ones who needed therapy...not himself and HIS daughter, because THEY were the NORMAL ones..etc...were never addressed. As a result, our family remained segregated by my husband and his daughter, instead of becoming unified. Eventually, they both started leaving the family, periodically, especially as she got old enough to take care of herself while he was at work. Jus'me

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, June 16, 2001

S1

Our entire (blended) family was in counselling with facilitators who were assigned to us by the psychiatric day-treatment facility which my youngest son was attending. His main diagnosis was PTSD and dysthalmic response syndrome...(depression, hyperactivity, inappropriate emotional behavior, lack of grounding in reality)

I assumed (incorrectly) that since the facility was a psychiatric treatment center, that our family therapists knew what they were doing in the counselling of our family.

In the process of working with all of us...my husband, his daughter, myself, my children, it was my husband who was allowed to dictate the agenda of each session. The children and I started out talking about the way that Dad was yelling at all of us so much, at times getting physical (grabbing, shaking, screaming in the childrens ears, faces, and screaming in MY face)and he reacted by telling all the reasons why he HAD to yell...we gave him no choice. We were at fault because we did not do what he told us to do....yes, the kids and I were all at fault, because we did not tow the line, pull our own weight, do as we were told, etc.

So, after that, each therapy session revolved around the question of whether or not the kids and I had improved on our performance during the week....were chores done as directed, did I take my power back (meaning did I succeed in making the kids do the chores that my husband wanted them to do...).

The issues of my husband's abuse of all the rest of us, even his daughter, his daughter's rejection of me and all the other children, his emphasis that I and MY kids were the ones who needed therapy...not himself and HIS daughter, because THEY were the NORMAL ones..etc...were never addressed. As a result, our family remained segregated by my husband and his daughter, instead of becoming unified. Eventually, they both started leaving the family, periodically, especially as she got old enough to take care of herself while he was at work. Jus'me

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, July 10, 2001

S1

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, July 17, 2001

S1

I went to counselling once and the therapist told me she felt bad for my husband because I had expressed to her the positive changes he had made, but I felt at the time that those changes were not trustworthy to me. I went to her hoping to have my self-esteem brought up so I would find within myself the courage to leave the environment. I was very upset and tried to explain to her that it took me 11 yrs to get to this point. At the end of the counselling session she didn't even bother to re-book me and when i asked her..she said to me your a strong woman and that if I needed her I could book at another time. Needless to say, I never went back to her. Since then I have started up a support group for women on personal growth.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, July 19, 2001

S1

YES!!!! I have endured physical, sexual, verbal and emotional abuse in my short one year marriage. I left once after only three months and have since left again...for good. My husband was sent to a male counselor for "anger managment" from our marriage counselor (female). My husband is a very intelligent, successful man. He told me he disclosed everything he did to me to this new counselor and thought we should start marriage counseling up again, with him. I agreed...hoping that my husband would be more receptive to a male than a female. I spent almost six months recounting the abuse that occurred, informing the counselor of the continuous verbal and emotional abuse, while my husband sat there and denied almost everything! I would then become frustrated and angry over his denial. The counselor would state that "there are two perceptions" to everything, thus allowing my husband to twist and deny and even lie. This occurred time and time again. The counselor begain to tell me that I was " just too sensitive" and that I "needed to let things roll". I was also told, on our second to last session, that "the world is an unkind and uncaring place....just accept it!" I returned to the last session, told the counselor that I was going to buy it. That my corner of the world wasn't going to be unkind and uncaring and that I beleived my husband was suppose to be my partner, my advocate, not the man who continuously tore me to pieces. I have not gone back to this counselor, I have returned to our original marriage counselor, the female. I have also moved me and my daughter out of this situation and am proceeding with divorce. My husband continues to deny any abuse and even claims that the male counselor thinks I have Borderline Personality Disorder. This is probably a statement of manipulation from my husband since he has tried to convince me for months that there is "something wrong" with me. But who knows...maybe my husband was successful in convincing this one particular counselor that he is a wonderful hisband living with a very sick wife. My counselor affirms that she has worked with Borderlines and I hardly fit the bill. She also states that it was an abusive relationship and fortunately I got out still with enough left of me to rebuild.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, August 10, 2001

S1

Our counselor feels that making my husband feel more important in our marriage, by allowing him to voice his feelings to me, will stop him from blaming me for his unhappiness. Right now I cannot do anything right by my husband. If express my feelings by saying "I feel angry" or "I feel upset" about something, he feels yelled at. I feel crazy because I don't raise my voice, I ask for his availability ("can we talk now?"), and I use "I" statements. My husband, however, will approach me the next day, shouting at me, "You yelled at me." Sometimes I wish I had videocamera footage. When we get into this, our therapist just sort of sits there, saying nothing. My husband claims that I take up too much room emotionally in the relationship, and is always saying "Once again, your feelings are more important." The therapist seems to support the idea that I am taking up too much room in the relationship. I am confused. I feel suicidal. I've tried so hard. I listen and repeat back what my husband says to me without becoming defensive. I express my feelings only when I am feeling the most safe, when my husband says he is ready to listen. I take ownership for my own feelings. I feel that I have little recourse left than to leave. I have a young child, and I have health problems. I don't work. I wish I had other options.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, August 18, 2001

S1

One counselor we saw said that I shouldn't talk about my husband's physically abusing me in couple's therapy because it would make him feel "attacked. When I talked about a particular incident of physical abuse, I was told our marriage was a "sick dance" and the therapist wouldn't discuss the incident.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, August 21, 2001

S1

Last year, I was put in charge of a major project and had to travel quite a bit on business. My husband was livid. We had a fight last August where he pulled the gun on me again. He was certain I had a lover in this other city and that was my motivation for the many trips. After that, I was going to leave him, but my resolve weakened and I stayed. I started going to a marriage counseling website, but he followed my tracks on the computer and figured out who I was and read all of my posts on the bulletin board. I was very angry with him and said many horrible things about him. That gave him some leverage over me as I had never wanted him to read what I wrote and he held it over my head until I caved in and apologized. We saw a marriage counselor at that time as well, but the counselor (male) said my husband’s jealousy was justified given my history with my ex-husband .(I had an affair in my first marriage.) The counselor totally discounted my claims of abuse and accused me of being the abuser based on my husband’s feelings of inadequacy. He even poo-pooed the gun as meaningless. I left feeling like a vicious shrew while my husband was vindicated. I wouldn't go back to see that counselor, so we quit going to counseling altogether.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, August 30, 2001

S1

I spent years in couples counseling with my abusive husband, and while I was never directly blamed for what was happening, I was never validated. Leaving me to constantly think I needed to change something about me to make him stop being "crazy". The worse part was when I had decided to leave and my husband threatened to commit suicide and said that I needed to take him to the hospital. I called our mutual counselor and asked him what I should do and if I was or should feel responsible in any way for how he was feeling. He said, that depended on what I had said to him. I later pointed out to him that everything I had read indicated that my husband was abusive and that "nothing" I did could directly or indirectly change that. He still refused to admit that I was in an abusive relationship. The end result was that I felt sorry for my husband and he was back home from the hospital that night. Saying that as long as I agreed to work on the relationship he did not need to be in the hospital.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, September 19, 2001

S1

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, September 22, 2001

S1

YES! A handful of times, we've been to counselors for various issues--grief counseling, help with communicating and relating better, and also times when I was just so depressed, strung out, confused, etc. I (wife) was always the one initiating therapy; husband came along willingly, to help the counselors fix me! Believing that it takes two to tango, I went in expecting that the counselors would give us BOTH some new skills or lead us to both to some new awarenesses about our behaviors and how to relate better, but my masterfully, subtly, refinedly passive aggressive husband always managed to be so charming, to give the appearance of having his act so together, that the counselors never wanted him back for a second visit and thanked him for coming. The unspoken subtext was, "Thanks so much for coming in to help me figure out what we need to fix about screwed-up Sue." The saddest thing was that for years, I bought into believing I was the only one with a problem. Eventually, though, I wised up, learned to trust my own intuition, and eventually found some books* that could have been written by transcribing what I said and thought about the dynamics of our relationship!!! Once I could show husband these books and websites, I guess he realized that the jig was up--he is actively learning about verbal abuse and passive aggression, and says he wants to stop hurting me and others in his life. He is either a way better actor than even I ever realized, or he is sincere. So far, I see growth and improvement, but am constantly on my guard because the pattern has been for him to shape up for a while (around passive aggressive shenanigans), then suddenly and unpredictably return to the sick old ways and yank the rug from under me when I least expect it..... The books I've read that have been so helpful: The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans; Living with the Passive Aggressive Man by Scott Wexler; and Children of the Self-Absorbed (can't rmember author).

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, September 26, 2001

S1

I was married to a man who is a perpetual wife abuser. Perfect and charming before the marriage, and "Oh, God, what have I done?" within two weeks of the ceremony. He is divorced from his fifth wife now (I was the fourth). In an effort to save our marriage, we went, at my instigation, to counselor after counselor, never returning more than once or twice, because they never agreed with his theory that my behaviour provoked him. He was convinced that there was nothing wrong with him,that I (and his other wives before me) was responsible for creating the problems. The last counselor we went to before our divorce met with my wasband a few times alone before I joined him. I attended only one session, at which I was attacked by both my wasband and the counselor. The counselor said it was obvious to him that I had been abused as a child, possibly sexually abused. I grew up in a very loving home, with a stay-home mom and a wise and supportive father. My wasband had an abusive and dysfunctional family background. The therapist suggested that I had repressed my memories of my father abusing me sexually, and this is why I had made the choice to not have sex with my husband until I felt safe. For an hour the two of them attacked me. When I wasn't being accused of "covering for my father" I was being told that it was okay for R to be angry, and that if he best expressed his anger by yelling and name-calling, there was nothing wrong with that. If I were a supportive wife I would allow him to express himself in any way he needed to (without, of course, responding to his expression in any negative way). I was reduced to tears for about the last half our of our hour-and-a-half long session. All the way home my husband talked about how great it was to finally find a good counselor. I never went back. My husband continued to see this counselor, continued in the affair he was having, eventually married (and divorced) the woman he was seeing (who happened to be his step-sister), was arrested for abusing her, and is now divorced from her and battling the legal system to keep from being forced to go to anger management classes. As he told our son, "I can't accept a plea bargain and go to those classes. That would be admitting that I did something wrong, and I didn't do anything wrong. Everything wrong with our marriage is D's fault..." I'm just thankful that I had the sense to never return to that counselor again. In fact, now that I think about it, I've never seen any other counselor again; I guess it left a bad taste in my mouth.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, October 02, 2001

S1

My husband made sexually explicit video tapes of me without my permission. He also taped my telephone conversations without my knowledge. When we went to counseling I was asked "just how big a deal is this?". I couldn't believe it. My entire life had been turned upside down by the discovery of these violations and I was being asked if it was really a big deal! I am now seeing a counselor who says my husband has a character flaw. Exactly where does that put me? He has physically, verbally and emotionally abused me but I am in counseling WITH him. What should I do?

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, October 17, 2001

S1

Hi- We went to couples therapy and both times got poor advice. One therapist said when my husband was making "jabs" hostile, passive-aggesive comments- I should say "you sound angry dear, is there something you'd like to discuss?" which was met with denial of anger or seen as the go ahead for a verbal vomitting of anger released at me. This therapist never mentioned an abuse cycle and we spent 3 yrs with him (on & off). However, I did get in touch w/my anger and was able to vent a lot, forgive myself a lot and learned I was also becoming a verbal abuser and learned how to stop. Next therapist (after my husband attacked my 7 yr old son and drove us all from the house) we tried keyed in on the abuse cycle; however, he felt that I was 50% responsible for the problem. Worked long hrs trying to convince me I was an alcoholic (so I completely gave up alcohol) and accused me of trying to control the therapy whenever I disagreed w/him. He also pried at me for information regarding other people from our church who were seeing him (a Christian accountability thing) and threatened to tell my pastor I was an alcoholic if I didn't stop drinking completely. He was very shaming. The only thing this guy did for my hubby was to get him to stop one part of the rage/abuse cycle- "The honeymoon phase" Figures, he managed to eliminate the only phase that had any benefit to me at all. (I really didn't miss it- my husband was so cloying during that phase it nearly made me nauseous) It was so EASY for him to break that part of the cycle just like he had a major lite bulb moment and was able to overcome being overly apologetic and sweet just like that! Is that common?? Eventually I left him and went to a female therapist who really did help me to see what my areas of responsibility really were. Still I have work to do- letting go- letting God. Trying to find a way to have a relationship with a man who I don't trust and whom I fear. This website has helped temendously- I felt like an observer as I used the verbal deflection tools and watched the confused angry look on his face as he could NOT get me to spar! It was so effective. "OK" is my new favorite word. As I studied the info and skimmed Patricia Evans book I also realized that my mother in law is an abuser too! It took me 2 weeks to figure this out- but the whole pattern is there! Now I can diffuse more of her nonsense as well! So much confusion has been lifted for me. Thanks for a great website! Debby

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, October 17, 2001

S1

My husband is emotionally and verbally abusive. One councellor would agree with me in private sessions that what he did was wrong and abusive. (holding me down or in a corner to yell and scream at me, blame me for all his problems in life, etc.) I was afraid of confronting my husband with this, since it would lead to a huge battle, just not worth it. I asked this councellor if he would tell him what he was doing was wrong when we were in a session together. The day came and went and the councellor said nothing when my husband ranted and raved at me. At the next individual session I had with this councellor I asked him why he didn't say anything. He said, "what, are you crazy, he said he is a black belt.I don't want to get killed." Wonderful, huh? It did make me realize that my fear of my husband was normal and needed to be dealt with somehow. Changed councellors and got the help I needed.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, November 09, 2001

S1

I had a situation where my boyfriend and I went to a counselor and she never recognized it was an abusive situation. During one session my boyfriend got so angry he stormed out. The counselor just made a comment that he seemed to be a very angry person. Only later after seeing Patricia Evans on television did I realize what the problem was. Everything made sense once I read her book. Counseling did nothing for me. It took seeing Ms Evans and reading the book to give me the strength to leave the relationship. And now I have a social situation where I think the man has control issues. It is a teacher/student situation where I'm very dependent on this teacher, but at least now I recognize it right away so I can make informed decisions and take action. 

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, November 22, 2001

S1

Dr.Irene I am very confused and at the point of just giving up I have tryed my best over the past two decades and up until a few months ago when I found a counselor I trust whom looks at every aspect and is concerned about not just myself but the family as the whole he asks at the end of almost every session about the safety of them. My problem is this back in the late seventies I was medicaly discharged from the Army as Skitz,with O/C disorder,depression later the V.A. came up with Distemic disorder,depression and recived a 100% disabled rate permanent/total This counselor is trying to sort things out and says I may have PTSD he also has been pressing about my childhood very hard and said that I am like this from then Our last session was my trying to find out what is abuse he said any type of physical action(even spanking) as well as verbal demeaning statements Well I admit I fit that on both counts the problem is I just do not REMEMBER my actions,I learned about them from my wife and children the first fifteen years was knowing something was wrong and no one listened when I told them this,over this time combat vets made remarks about PTSD I never thought it was as its something only combat vets had Then five years ago I picked up a book from the libary some(Greek)woman wrote her point was that the person just had to learn to talk about events from the past I tryed talking about the murders,rape ect. and thought I was doing better and had then I fell back into the same problems again Now this counselor says I became this way as a child from some life threating event yet I do not recall any such thing he also claims that I am abused mentaly and physicaly from childhood Is he right and how would PTSD fit in I cannot remember any threat to life from then yet he and my wife(as well as some people over time say this)when events then do not even come close to what happened when I was in the service and as I told him the things that happened in childhood are small compared to then and thats just fact Also to me it seems that I would place the blame else where for my screw ups pointing the finger when I should have figured things out This means in all aspects wife,children my childhood the service ect at what point is it using an excuse for the way I behave and after seeing so many people use the excuse to act as they have what would make me any different from them? Last the problems with my mother and how her family behaved ect is not anything new she had a sister whom never had contact with them when she became an adult I wish that she and I could talk I am sure that we shared much, course that would not happened if she feels like I do it will never be talked about even now At this moment how I precive what is normal is warped not that I ever thought things were right but that it was just the way people are and how life is What I fail to understand is how I let myself become this way and how did I mess it all up and how come I cannot fix myself Well whatever at this point what will it matter the one constant in all this as I have been told is that you cannot prove that and even if I could what would it change my wife refuses to see that she is better off without me in her life(even after the state has just taken the kids)something that should have been done almost two decades ago when I was worse As for the state well their claims that they will help me Quote( the only thing that matters is that you think its true)and what the facts are and that they do not matter just says its the same old thing I am tired worn out and just cannot deal with it any more why is it when I say the truth it did not matter when someone states the think they do abusive acts(known or unkown by them) it has fallen on deaf ears as has acts by people that are crimes Even if I was full blown Skitz had I told you of a murder would it go unnoticed not to be ever thought of or even looked at to ensure if its a fact or a figment I know of a contract murder that a man had done because his wife went to live with a woman and had an affair he told me all the details in a drunken state(he still walks free) And it means notthing as well as all the things I have seen overtime with the Skitz Label I am not to be belived and as the state heads that way(its all in my head)the facts The Truth will again go unheeded as most of what I know has again,and again I guess the question is if certain and known events exist as a FACT, if it matters or not about Skitz or PTSD Is it not about what I am but about what the events are that matter most or is it again just my warped outlook If I have rambeled I am sorry its been five years trying to sort things out and trying to figure what I am doing wrong when I am trying to do my best and over and over I just mess things up so much I cannot even sort them out now its a total loss I cannot see the forest or the trees I cannot see any hope of change when I just cannot figure things out and I have run out of places to look I do not even know what or who I am

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, November 27, 2001

S1

My husband and I saw a counselor who made a superficial assumption that I was overly suspicious and unable to trust because I did not believe my husband was telling the truth. He spent the majority of our sessions dealing with my inability to trust rather than my husband's inability to tell the truth. Thankfully, when the couselor found out my husband was still lying he changed his opinion. Of course, my husband didn't want to continue seeing this man. The counselor made a premature assumption. He should have gathered more facts before choosing a course of therapy. This resulted in a lot of wasted time and misdirected therapy, at a substantial cost. The misdirected therapy pleased my husband on some level and gave him more reason to continue in deception. His error in judgement also gave my husband reason to discredit his ability and thereby reject his final prognosis of my husband's state. It ended up being my husband's scapegoat. The counselor was not skilled enough or prepared to recognize deeply troubled individuals. He took everything that was said at face value instead of seeing beyond the facade my husband displayed.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, December 03, 2001

S1

I was told to be quiet. I was told he is a good person because he takes me to the doctor when I need one. I was told my unstable emotions and anxiety were all my doing. I was told I couldn't mention his distant past experiences. I was told to just get out and do things if I want to. I was told it is part of my mental illness to lie about him. 

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, January 04, 2002

S1

I found another councelor.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, January 28, 2002

S1

Wow did I!

The abuse occured directly in front of the counselor... He actually ranted and raved in front of her and when I tried to say I was uncomfortable (in fact so uncomfortable I had a migraine and facial twitching!) and wanted to walk out, I was told by the counselor that this was "good" that he was getting his feelings out.

It was a pure out and out attack for which I was unable to make any remarks to explain my actions or feelings. I was totally and completely silently weeping and ready to jump out of my skin.

I did not handle it well, it was just more verbal abuse which hurt mightily. Needless to say, at the next counseling meeting I was terrified. My husband actually said he could understand my feelings when he asked me what was wrong, still it did no good. That counselor did not recognize the abuse right in front of her face.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, January 28, 2002

S1

Definitely...although I first entered therapy because my husband threw a pot at me and then disappeared for an entire night when I confronted him about the incident, my therapist never once brought up the issue of abuse. I also frequently talked about his drinking, and how it affected our relationship, and was told that everyone has the right to a drink now and then. I changed therapists when friends suggested my husband was alcoholic. I found a therapist with an "alcohol" background. However I was labeled co-dependent, and told that if the relationship didn't improve, that it was because I didn't know how to detach, to not provoke him, to talk to him correctly, etc... Never was it mentioned that his primary relationship was with a substance, and not me, and that THAT in itself is a form of emotional abuse. Of course, there was much in his behavior that was abusive, that was never addressed. After 3 years with this therapist, and not a change in the marriage, I was exhausted and emotionally depleted, and disturbed that I didn't feel better after so much therapy. I got a divorce, and another therapist! I really wanted to understand what was going on, why I had such a hard time getting out of such an unsatisfying relationship, and was told to "get over it, because it's over". I could go on. I've only just found a therapist, many years and many therapists later, who has brought up the issue of abuse. I've even had an abusive therapist, who yelled at me and criticized me, who was vulgar, and blamed me for his inappropriate and unprofessional behavior!!! Be careful! I believe women especially should be wary of therapy with a male therapist, simply because by definition the therapeutic relationship mimics the conditions under which her personal abuse usually occurs. And because our culture rewards men with patronizing attitudes towards women, however subtle. The therapist is in a unique position to be abusive, and deny it. There needs to be alot more awareness on abuse in relationships, and information on how to choose a therapist! I wasted years and a small fortune on therapy that confused me, stalled my emotional growth, discouraged my learning about how to help myself, etc...It's not a small price to pay.

 

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, February 08, 2002

S1

I have just ended visiting our counselor because of his 'advice'. Luckily, I have done my own research, and was able to recognize that he was not properly trained to handle cases of abuse (my husband is an admitted controller...into verbal abuse). The counselor came recomended by our Pastor, and although I didn't mind the spiritual side of counseling, he did a lot of things that I came to realize were harmful to me...and US as a couple!

When my husband first agreed to go to counseling (as put to him as an ultimatum...from ME!), I was told that this was a 'couples issue'. Since I had previously done' my own research on this, I did not believe it to be a couples issue. I wanted my husband to get the benefit of counseling, so HE went more than I did. Our counselor NEVER had an individual session with me that allowed me to tell 'my side', and was more interested in seeing my DEFENSIVE responses to my hysband's behavior as abusive! My husband has lied on many occasions to me and the counselor, has been manipulative to both of us (although the counselor didn't notice this), and put on a different 'mask' in the presence of the counselor. He would lie in the presence of the counselor, and I would 'blow up'. He would casually turn to the counselor and say something like, "See what I mean?", which of course, would enrage me even more. My husband knows that he is on his 'best behavior' while there, and we have had several talks about how he presents an 'image' to the world, because he doesn't like his real self. Whenever we would go to the counselor, the counselor would simply look at us, as if WE were the ones who were supposed to 'pick a topic'. there really wasn't any feed back or progress reports. My husband CONSTANTLY interrupts me, and I can't get a word in edge-wise (except at counselling, of course!). I interrupt once in a while, usually to correct a 'fact'. The ratio of interruptions is something like 25:1. Yet, my husband complained to the counselor that I was the one who interrupted "too" (he never told the counselor that it was MUCH LESS than HE did, and the counselor never asked). the counselor told him to tell ME to 'knock off the interrupting'! I have asked my husband if HE was also going to stop interrupting, and he said 'No'. The counselor heard me become verbally abusive to my husband. I bacame hostile because my husband LIED. The counselor told me to knock off the verbal abuse, but did not tell my husband to STOP LYING! When my husband would go to counselling alone, he would often come back and tell me what the counselor told him about MY behavior; yet when I would go to the counselor, the counselor would try to encourage me to 'take steps to get out of the marriage'. What's going on here? In one of my individual sessions, the counselor told me that I should be 'grateful' to see 'some progress' regarding my husband's controlling. I coldly asked him, "Would you tell a physically abused woman that she should be 'grateful' that her husband ONLY beats her up six times a week instead of the usual seven times a week?" That question stopped him dead in his tracks. He KNEW where I was going with this. Very often, physically abusive men will go to counseling (...that is, a GOOD program) and are told that they MUST FIRST STOP THE PHYSICAL ABUSE. And many of them do. But then they either continue, or, resort to EMOTIONAL abuse. There is an EXCELLENT book I have read several times over called "When Love Goes Wrong". Under the chapter, "Can Your Partner Change?" it states: "...successful counseling is a process that takes pladce in three stages. In the first stage, which should occur within a few weeks of starting counseling, the man stops using physical force. 'Without this fundamental and immediate change...nothing else is possible.' Then in the second stage the man gives up emotionally abusive behavior, such as intimidation, threats, insults, yelling, name calling (etc.). Finally, the man must begin to see teh woman's point of view...a man may give up physical and emotional abuse, but until he enters the third stage, he is not considered successfully 'changed'".

Thank goodness my husband was also able to see that he was spending a lot of money for counseling, and didn't get very much out of it. He dropped out the following week after me.

Now, I have the task of finding another counselor, only this time, it will be for ME!

Tricia

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, February 08, 2002

S1

I insisted we seek counseling after my husband physically abused me. The psychologist told me I could talk about it in private therapy, but not to bring it up in couple's therapy because it "might make my husband feel attacked."

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, March 06, 2002

S1

every time my husband and I argue, it often ends because he says I am a pshyco bitch cunt and that I need help. Our arguements generally arrouse because i try to tell hime how I am feeling about issues his ex causes with us. I feel the minute he agrees with my point or that is he doesn't he just ends it with your a pshyco bitch cunt and that i need help. i am doubting myself, my feelings and questioning my own judgement for the first time in my lefe. Even more than my judgement I question my sanity. Is this a form of verbal abuse?

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, March 19, 2002

S1

I was in individual therapy for five or so years with the same therapist. She concluded, based on the course of treatment, that my problems were based on my unwillingness to take responsibility for my role in relationships, low self-esteem, depression, anxiety. The solutions were left to me to find. I suffered greatly for many years. I supposed that it was part and parcel of the process. Out of desperation and the fact that I was placed in group therapy with the same counselor overseeing the group, I switched therapists. The new therapist was what I term a "feel good" therapist. I stayed with her for 2 years. She treated our therapeutic relationship in a social context. Therapy wasn't only about me. She personalized the rage and problems I had. To her credit, she did direct me to a better psychiatrist. My first psychiatrist left me on the same meds for 5 years and didn't factor my input on my depression into medical decisions. I felt better with the new doctor and new med combinations within weeks. The therapist finished our last session with the comment that I had a lot of emotional baggage. She had a look of horror in her eyes when she said that. I'm now in short-term counselling with a person who appears to understand verbal abuse and how to treat it. I feel better after only three meetings. It took a lot of courage and persistence to finally get the help I needed. I can see why some people think therapy is self-perpetuating and not particularly helpful.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2002

S1

I am a 35 year old woman ,with three chidren , right now I HAVE BEEN living witj my couple for three years,he is not the father of the kids, when we started living together ,I had a strong depresion ,he blamed me for it ,and said that I did not loved him that I was just dependant not in love with him and that I did not want to live by myself , he help me sorting out my finances and with he kids, I went back to my old therapyst for I thought I needed help to come out of my depression and that in a way my couple was right. My couple started showing strong signs of dissaproval saying one should sort out his/her own problems that I did not need a therapyst (I still go and every time he ridiculices the situation .Knowadays I fill stronger and things work better but my couple does not stop remiding me what he had to go threww to help me , still ridiculaces my work and makes a great emphasys on the fact that I do not have a proper job that I am not productive, I am a painter but since he started controlling my work I paint much less AND NOW i AM TRYING TO SET UP A REWSTAURANT WITH GOOD FOOD AND WORK OF ART TO SELL IN THE SAME PLACE.....So far when I talk to my therapyst about my suffering with my couple and his comments she refers it to myself I suppose she wants me to be responsible saying that the victim "puts herself there " and in a way tryes to provoque the reaction in the other, but to be fair my couple can be the most loving person, and intellectually he is creative and charming besides that I┤m afraid that he is very much like the people describe as abusive and I AM TERRIBLY CONFUSED AND HAVE LOST MUCH OF MY HAPPINESS AND MY CONFIDENCE WHILE ANOTHER SIDE OF ME THINKS THAT WITHOUT HIM i WOULD NOT HAVE PULLED THROUGH , AND SOUNDS VERY MUCH towhat he says I┤m lost

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, April 25, 2002

S1

I was in an emotionally abusive relationship with a boyfriend and told my psychiatrist of some incidents. My therapist told me that I was being oversensitive. When I told my therapist that I was breaking off with my boyfriend, he said it was another failed relationship and I should not break up. I was divorced several years ago from a gambling addict after 23 years of marriage. I terminated my therapy and found a new counselor.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, May 17, 2002

S1

I divorced my abusive husband 8 years ago. We have one child together, and I have full custody. I have had our son has been under the care of a therapist since the divorce (as needed for Adjustment Disorder, then later ADD) and then I sought psychiatric treatment when he suffered depression. To make a long story short, I went to court to protect my son when his father refused to administer meds on visits. Now, 2 years later, the court appointed evaluator is still trying to "make" us get along (the verbal abuse continued after the divorce, and the only way I could deal with it was to have as little contact as possible, since the X could NOT stop the abuse cycle, and I did not want to be pulled into it over and over. I never withheld visitation, but refused to engage in his "control" issues, for the sake of my own well being), and we see a family therapist at the court ordered recommendation of the evaluator. We alternate taking our son to this family tdoc (the court forced my son to give up his therapist of 8 years, since the X didn't like her), and see him every few weeks for parental sessions. At most parental sessions, I sit there quietly, not having the opportunity to say too much, because the therapist is busy running interference, backing the X in the corner (figuratively) as the X almost always starts attacking me verbally. No issues have been resolved. This last session, two nights ago, the X started in on me again about 15 minutes into the session, then got nasty, first saying "Go screw yourself", and then saying "Go f*** yourself." I stopped the session, pointed out this was verbal abuse and that I did NOT have to tolerate it, asked the tdoc to please explain to the X that this would not be tolerated, and said I would wait in the reception area until things were under control, (I had to leave, I simply can not stand this anymore - it makes me sick), and then the tdoc could invite me back in. Well, he never came to get me. When the X came out, the tdoc came to the door of the reception area, told me (rather angrily) the session was over. I said I needed to get my things in his office. He shut the door in my face. I opened the door, followed him down the hallway, but as he reached his door, he said the same thing, and shut door number 2 in my face. I opened it, repeated I needed to get my things, and as I wrote out the check (yes I get to pay for this privilege) I repeated what I had said before I had originally left the room - that it was verbal abuse and I would not tolerate it, and that I had the right to remove myself from the room when it escalated. He stood there, staring at the wall, angry as all get out, and told me that I pushed the X's buttons and brought the abuse upon myself. I asked him exactly how did I push buttons, and he said he refused to speak to me, but repeated that I am to blame for the verbal abuse. I repeated my rights, and left.

This same tdoc just a few weeks ago instructed me to parent my child through the use of anger, to induce fear, in order to intimidate him into compliance (sighting that his father shows anger towards him, and does not seem to have the behavior issues with him as I do. Mind you, this child has recently been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and his new psychiatrist is just begininng to try to find the right meds for him. However, the X insists that nothing is wrong with our son except the effects of my poor parenting.) The family tdoc does not believe my son has bipolar, but he is just a therapist, NOT a child psychiatrist.

Anyway, I have contacted the Women's Crisis Center (they have my records from 8 years ago) and will meet with them for support. I have contacted my attorney, and we will petition the court to stop the attempts at mediation, as it is not working and now it appears we have indeed been stuck with a therapist who does NOT understand abuse, and is contributing to the perpetuation of it. I have the right to have this abuse STOPPED! No one can FORCE me to continue being subjected to it! I will NOT allow it!

Please wish me luck. I'm going to need it, as the courts here have NOT protected my son, and I am not sure that they will protect me, either. My son's GAL has already threatened that if the X and I can not start getting along better, then she will recommend to the court to remove my son from my custodial care and place him in foster care. This whole situation is like a bad Twilight Xone episode to me.....

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, May 17, 2002

S1

My husband intimidated our councelor by using profanity (more than usual), suggesting he could become physically violent and posturing. He also went into his "salesman" mode by speaking rapidly and clouding the issues with insignificant babble. We never addressed his issues, only mine. Anytime the topic would turn to him, he started his "show" and we would return to my issues. The therapist was never able to bring him back to the orginal topic. Very frustrating and counter productive for me. We didn't accomplish a thing. In fact, the therapist dismissed us after about visits proclaiming we were "cured."

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, May 18, 2002

S1

one pastor told my husband he didn't have an anger problem and gave him a book for me on marriage and submission. when i questioned the pastor about this he yelled at me over the telephone--causing me to shake for 2 hours straight. most recently, i had a man who was familiar with my husband's past, make my husband to be a victim and accused me of being over-protective of my children, even though my son was sporting bruises (both physical and emotional) from my husband's angry outburst the night before.he also said that it was a mid-life crisis thing (even though he's been like this since his twenties)this gentleman totally invalidated my experience, my child's experience and pretty much tried to put everything back on me that the Lord has spent the last 2 years healing me from.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, May 25, 2002

S1

Yes, I have had experiences where abuse was not addressed. When I described a certain, specific abusive encounter by my spouse, I was told that his abuse of me was something we should not talk about - it would make him feel "attacked". Instead, the therapist complimented me on how I dressed and suggested I pick out my husbands clothes. As a victim who had been physically, emotionally, and verbally abused - all that did was to reinforce what my abuser told me - it was my fault. In addition, by suggesting I pick out my ex-spouses clothes, he was setting up a scenario in which I would be controlling (and probably been beaten more for). Let me be more specific - the therapist was really enforcing my belief at the time (and what I was being told) - I was the problem - by bringing up the abuse I was trying to play the martyr - that is was wrong for me to talk about it in some way.

A second therapist did not respond to my description of the abuse upon me - she did say that that our marriage was a sick dance - and told me I was equally abusive (even though I let myself be thrown around and did nothing to provoke or respond to the abuse.

I turned to the legal system - documented the abuse, and eventually had him arrested - now we are divorced and have a restraining order in place.

A third counselor told me that I should not react so it would be evident that the abuse was coming from him. I became hyper-vigilant - I made sure not to react - just to cry and experience the pain. All that did was cause the abuse to escalate. In other words, I controlled my reactions - my feelings - which allowed him to abuse and control me.

A fourth therapist told me she did not know who to believe him or me - but she did pat him on the knee and behave in a maternal way. Even after he would giggle, mimic me, and leave the room (slamming doors) during our therapy sessions. I refused to continue in therapy.

Eventually, then I fired four therapists and took control for myself-I stopped tolerating the cycle of abuse.

Then he abused me through the legal system which is another story altogether.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, May 25, 2002

S1

Yes, I have had experiences where abuse was not addressed. When I described a certain, specific abusive encounter by my spouse, I was told that his abuse of me was something we should not talk about - it would make him feel "attacked". Instead, the therapist complimented me on how I dressed and suggested I pick out my husbands clothes. As a victim who had been physically, emotionally, and verbally abused - all that did was to reinforce what my abuser told me - it was my fault. In addition, by suggesting I pick out my ex-spouses clothes, he was setting up a scenario in which I would be controlling (and probably been beaten more for). Let me be more specific - the therapist was really enforcing my belief at the time (and what I was being told) - I was the problem - by bringing up the abuse I was trying to play the martyr - that is was wrong for me to talk about it in some way.

A second therapist did not respond to my description of the abuse upon me - she did say that that our marriage was a sick dance - and told me I was equally abusive (even though I let myself be thrown around and did nothing to provoke or respond to the abuse.

I turned to the legal system - documented the abuse, and eventually had him arrested - now we are divorced and have a restraining order in place.

A third counselor told me that I should not react so it would be evident that the abuse was coming from him. I became hyper-vigilant - I made sure not to react - just to cry and experience the pain. All that did was cause the abuse to escalate. In other words, I controlled my reactions - my feelings - which allowed him to abuse and control me.

A fourth therapist told me she did not know who to believe him or me - but she did pat him on the knee and behave in a maternal way. Even after he would giggle, mimic me, and leave the room (slamming doors) during our therapy sessions. I refused to continue in therapy.

Eventually, then I fired four therapists and took control for myself-I stopped tolerating the cycle of abuse.

Then he abused me through the legal system which is another story altogether.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, May 25, 2002

S1

Yes, I have had experiences where abuse was not addressed. When I described a certain, specific abusive encounter by my spouse, I was told that his abuse of me was something we should not talk about - it would make him feel "attacked". Instead, the therapist complimented me on how I dressed and suggested I pick out my husbands clothes. As a victim who had been physically, emotionally, and verbally abused - all that did was to reinforce what my abuser told me - it was my fault. In addition, by suggesting I pick out my ex-spouses clothes, he was setting up a scenario in which I would be controlling (and probably been beaten more for). Let me be more specific - the therapist was really enforcing my belief at the time (and what I was being told) - I was the problem - by bringing up the abuse I was trying to play the martyr - that is was wrong for me to talk about it in some way.

A second therapist did not respond to my description of the abuse upon me - she did say that that our marriage was a sick dance - and told me I was equally abusive (even though I let myself be thrown around and did nothing to provoke or respond to the abuse.

I turned to the legal system - documented the abuse, and eventually had him arrested - now we are divorced and have a restraining order in place.

A third counselor told me that I should not react so it would be evident that the abuse was coming from him. I became hyper-vigilant - I made sure not to react - just to cry and experience the pain. All that did was cause the abuse to escalate. In other words, I controlled my reactions - my feelings - which allowed him to abuse and control me.

A fourth therapist told me she did not know who to believe him or me - but she did pat him on the knee and behave in a maternal way. Even after he would giggle, mimic me, and leave the room (slamming doors) during our therapy sessions. I refused to continue in therapy.

Eventually, then I fired four therapists and took control for myself-I stopped tolerating the cycle of abuse.

Then he abused me through the legal system which is another story altogether.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, May 25, 2002

S1

Yes, I have had experiences where abuse was not addressed. When I described a certain, specific abusive encounter by my spouse, I was told that his abuse of me was something we should not talk about - it would make him feel "attacked". Instead, the therapist complimented me on how I dressed and suggested I pick out my husbands clothes. As a victim who had been physically, emotionally, and verbally abused - all that did was to reinforce what my abuser told me - it was my fault. In addition, by suggesting I pick out my ex-spouses clothes, he was setting up a scenario in which I would be controlling (and probably been beaten more for). Let me be more specific - the therapist was really enforcing my belief at the time (and what I was being told) - I was the problem - by bringing up the abuse I was trying to play the martyr - that is was wrong for me to talk about it in some way.

A second therapist did not respond to my description of the abuse upon me - she did say that that our marriage was a sick dance - and told me I was equally abusive (even though I let myself be thrown around and did nothing to provoke or respond to the abuse.

I turned to the legal system - documented the abuse, and eventually had him arrested - now we are divorced and have a restraining order in place.

A third counselor told me that I should not react so it would be evident that the abuse was coming from him. I became hyper-vigilant - I made sure not to react - just to cry and experience the pain. All that did was cause the abuse to escalate. In other words, I controlled my reactions - my feelings - which allowed him to abuse and control me.

A fourth therapist told me she did not know who to believe him or me - but she did pat him on the knee and behave in a maternal way. Even after he would giggle, mimic me, and leave the room (slamming doors) during our therapy sessions. I refused to continue in therapy.

Eventually, then I fired four therapists and took control for myself-I stopped tolerating the cycle of abuse.

Then he abused me through the legal system which is another story altogether.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, May 29, 2002

S1

Yes I was blamed. My husband lied and they believed him. He is an alcoholic who is still drinking so he does not have the label. I am in recovery and have been for 19 years but I am stuck with the label and the blame. I ended up with a seroius depressive episode as a result of trying to get help. Today I have a support system. I still get angry about it . He still yells at me. Most of the time he gets his way because it is too hard to do the other. This web page has increased my awareness. We will be away for 2 months, but I will seek counselling again when we get back. I have avoided it because of the past bad experience

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, June 04, 2002

S1

I'm so glad to find other's I can share with. We are going to counseling with a psychologist after my daughter went to the principal in tears and talked about issues at home. Verbal and physical abuse. The psychologist has negated all of this. About my physical abuse he told my H that was wrong but never addressed the point that my H said it WAS MY FAULT because I was "in his face". He told H that was the difference between men and women and women liked to talk. Then he looked at me and I told him the issue was over a pair of sunglasses that I gave to my father thinking they were his. It was H's buddy that left them in my car. Instead of just asking me to get them back he flew into this rage and knocked me all around the kitchen in front of our kids, ALSO NEVER ADDRESSED BY PSYCHOLOGIST! I told him before the abuse started I disengaged by leaving the room. When I did come back in the abuse started again. Not addressed. My H told him his father used to push his grandmother around. When asked if his grandmother was physically hurt, H said No, just pushed around. H stated that things that annoy him is that when he comes home for lunch I'm on-line. So what!!! It's my day off why can't I be on-line and WHY does that bother him? Because I'm not jumping to make his lunch or cater to him. Again, not addressed. He complains the house is not clean enough. I can't even load the dishwasher right for him. Psychologist asked me to para-pharse what he said and I said I heard him say I don't meet his expectations of what a clean house is. This psychologist asked my H is this what you said? He said No and the psychologist said "good...don't let her get away with it"! He told me I'm married to the kids....duh...when you have H in a mood and everyone is walking around on egg-shells, when you have to measure his emotional barometer, when he won't go places as a family, yes I'm married to the kids. We're married to each other in our emotional/verbal abuse palace. I had has the psychologist if he understood what verbal abuse was and he said yes. Last night, regrettably to late, I found the question Doc says we should ask these professionals. Have they every heard of Patricia Evans? If they say no they do not understand what abuse is. I have an appointment alone with him tomorrow. I'm so angry because he has discounted me, like my H, and comprised my position and negated my daughter's emotional pain and courage by talking to the principal. I now have anger at him and my husband and as another poster wrote, I'm also paying for the privilige of being put-down by this professional. I'll post back after my session. I think Doc should look into this issue....it can put many women in danger. They psychological has a responsibility to not treat what they don't understand.

~~~Jo

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, June 05, 2002

S1

yes i had a similar experience in counseling. i stopped going to her. she said his biggest crime was that he was boring and touched me a lot and that i would never find anyone better out there. she said i had to force myself to be affectionate with him.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, June 06, 2002

S1

i have been married for six years. in the past 2 years i have had this strange feeling that something was just wrong in my relationship with my husband. i felt and still feel and emptiness and a lack of an emotional connection as well as a feeling of being controlled and unaccepted by him. about a year ago i started talking to my friends about his behavior. his constant groping of me anytime and anywhere he felt like it. his flashing me while i'm on the phone with friends, his always needing to know where i am, calling constantly, questioning what he feels are indiscrepancies in my stories, criticizing my actions, telling me how i give him no affection or attention and how self-centered and selfish i am and how my priorities are screwed up. the list goes on and on.

anyway, my friends were shocked at all i told them and were and are very supportive of me. i got up the courage to tell my husband about the things that i was unhappy about. he denied any responsibility, twisted everything around and put the blame on me. it was my problem not his. how could i be so unhappy when we have so much ( he makes a ton of money). how ungrateful i am and how he is just such a nice guy who just loves me so much and just wants to be my best friend....blah, blah.

a couple of months ago we started to go to couples therapy. the therapist told me that i should take an anti depressant, that i will never find anyone better than him ( what a charmer he was with all his $ and expensive suits, solid gold watch, etc. ) .

she suggested i get involved with throwing dinner parties and going to the theatre and just enjoy my affluent lifestyle. his biggest crime is that he touches me and he's boring.

boy did she miss the boat on this one. needless to say we stopped going. my husband just thinks i'm depressed and i need something to be unhappy about. i am now seeing a psychologist (female) who specializes in this sort of behavior.

i also read patricia evans verbal abuse book and could not believe what i was reading. i could identify with so much. he does not rant and rave and throw temper tantrums. it is a much more subtle, manipulating, controlling verbal abuse that believe me does just as much damage to your self-esteem. i've also had the blatant abuse such as "go back to your ex-husband so you can f____ him , you're just with me for the money" or "you can blow a guy in a parking lot after going to a bar but i can't even touch my wife in my own house" . a bunch of hurtful, unsubstantiated crap i hear from him.

he is insecure, has no friends, no intimate relationships with his family or me for that matter. and he denies it all, blames me, criticizes and belittles me, has excuses for everything and is just a narcissistic prick....

that's my story. and i will be filing for divorce soon if something doesn't change.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, June 15, 2002

S1

I once was in theapy with my ex partner . the therapist followed harville hendrix theories. these are great in an environment of mutual respect. however, My abuser found ways to abuse me with it of course. one way way to ask for a dialogue at midnight or 2 oclock in the Am. According to our dialog rules I had 12 hours to grant his request. the rest of the hours , he would be at work. this set me up. when i asked the therapist about the rule. she basically indicated we should use our best judgement. I felt totally invalidated with my issue of being prevented from sleeping. this invalidation led to shame when after the most abusive incident when my "partner " screamed at me and charged me ofr 45 mn non stop , he eventually charged into my hands I had held up in slef defense. he then claimed I hit him. in this therapy you have to never disagree with the other person's perception and find a way to validate them. I was profoundly shocked at having to validate his suffereing when I knew I was the abused one. I dealt with it by writing a lettter to the counselor when we were done with therapy explaining my feelings during the experience. i told her i now have a restainning order. i sent her a copy of the lethality questionnaire filled out by the local shelter and gave her some litterature on abuse. I also mentioned couples counseling escaltes abuse. I wish she had apologised. However, I feel good I at least expressed myself. I imagine she was fearful of litigation. I wish I had known before counseling started what the risk to me would be. Thanks for the forum. in florida

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, June 15, 2002

S1

I once was in theapy with my ex partner . the therapist followed harville hendrix theories. these are great in an environment of mutual respect. however, My abuser found ways to abuse me with it of course. one way way to ask for a dialogue at midnight or 2 oclock in the Am. According to our dialog rules I had 12 hours to grant his request. the rest of the hours , he would be at work. this set me up. when i asked the therapist about the rule. she basically indicated we should use our best judgement. I felt totally invalidated with my issue of being prevented from sleeping. this invalidation led to shame when after the most abusive incident when my "partner " screamed at me and charged me for45 mn non stop , he eventually charged into my hands I had held up in self defense. he then claimed I hit him. in this therapy you have to never disagree with the other person's perception and find a way to validate them. I was profoundly shocked at having to validate his suffereing when I knew I was the abused one. I did my part as expected in therapy ( unfortunately). I dealt with it by writing a lettter to the counselor when we were done with therapy explaining my feelings during the experience. i told her i now have a restainning order. i sent her a copy of the lethality questionnaire filled out by the local shelter and gave her some litterature on abuse. I also mentioned couples counseling escalates abuse. I wish she had apologised. However, I feel good I at least expressed myself. I imagine she was fearful of litigation. I wish I had known before counseling started what the risk to me would be. Thanks for the forum. in florida getting stronger by the day.

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, June 30, 2002

S1

Hello,

I am presently reading Patricia Evans book and just took a break from reading it to search for more information on the subject of verbal abuse when I happened upon your website. I thank you.

I was involved with an “ordinary counseling” experience (online) for approximately a year where I had shared with the counselor the many incidents of verbal abuse by my husband. It was my first experience with counseling, and I was apprehensive about sharing my life with a total stranger. I did, however, explain to this Christian counselor/Pastor that I was continually put down by my husband as he never missed an opportunity to belittle me (telling me to use my head for more than just a hat rack, why don’t I just think sometime, calling me dummy, etc.). Not long before the counseling ended, he (the counselor) gave reference, in a journal response, to me sounding dumb. Needless to say, this only added to what I was already dealing with. I had gone to counseling at the advice of an attorney because he said it would serve in my best interest in court if I decided to follow through with the divorce. I was humiliated and on the verge of divorcing my husband (also a pastor) because it had reached the level where he was using the pulpit to try to manipulate and correct me. I experienced a measure of guilt as I left the attorney’s office because of the way he posed the following question: “So, he doesn’t physically abuse you or anything like that, right?” No, my abuse issues were not addressed in counseling and quite honestly I am worse off now than I was when I began.

Disillusioned

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, June 30, 2002

S1

Hello,

I am presently reading Patricia Evans book and just took a break from reading it to search for more information on the subject of verbal abuse when I happened upon your website. I thank you.

I was involved with an “ordinary counseling” experience (online) for approximately a year where I had shared with the counselor the many incidents of verbal abuse by my husband. It was my first experience with counseling, and I was apprehensive about sharing my life with a total stranger. I did, however, explain to this Christian counselor/Pastor that I was continually put down by my husband as he never missed an opportunity to belittle me (telling me to use my head for more than just a hat rack, why don’t I just think sometime, calling me dummy, etc.). Not long before the counseling ended, he (the counselor) gave reference, in a journal response, to me sounding dumb. Needless to say, this only added to what I was already dealing with. I had gone to counseling at the advice of an attorney because he said it would serve in my best interest in court if I decided to follow through with the divorce. I was humiliated and on the verge of divorcing my husband (also a pastor) because it had reached the level where he was using the pulpit to try to manipulate and correct me. I experienced a measure of guilt as I left the attorney’s office because of the way he posed the following question: “So, he doesn’t physically abuse you or anything like that, right?” No, my abuse issues were not addressed in counseling and quite honestly I am worse off now than I was when I began.

Disillusioned

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, July 01, 2002

S1

my 14 yr old granddaughter was verbally & physically abused by her mother for 12yrs before i could get her out of the house what can she read to help with her anger towards her mother? my e mail is mary@assetsecurity.com

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, July 08, 2002

S1

In my area domestic violence victims are told they should attend group meetings sponsered by the YWCA. Some of the women in these groups are mandatory attendees, that or jail! These groups are facilitated by women with little formal education on counseling, one a paralegal, one a nurse etc. One facilitator told the group how a lady came to the police dpt. (where the domestic violence support group, funded by the gvt. is located: Jonah within the Whale) and complained her husband had punched her in the eyes when in fact the woman had put haircolor in her own eyes and falsely reported her husband. I am sure the police officers in the office across the hall loved this story, but it was just boy biting the dog nonsense, and of no help to the women in the group. They give out bubble bath products at Christmas and spend a lot of time having the women tell their violent and sometime sexual stories while the facilitators listen bright eyed, but no offer of solutions to the programming a domestic violence victim must overcome. In other words, too much time describing the problem, too little time on solutions. This lack of trained professionals in court required group meetings needs to be addressed on a national level. It is abuse of tax dollars. Women are dying dayly.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, July 08, 2002

S1

In my area domestic violence victims are told they should attend group meetings sponsered by the YWCA. Some of the women in these groups are mandatory attendees, that or jail! These groups are facilitated by women with little formal education on counseling, one a paralegal, one a nurse etc. One facilitator told the group how a lady came to the police dpt. (where the domestic violence support group, funded by the gvt. is located: Jonah within the Whale) and complained her husband had punched her in the eyes when in fact the woman had put haircolor in her own eyes and falsely reported her husband. I am sure the police officers in the office across the hall loved this story, but it was just boy biting the dog nonsense, and of no help to the women in the group. They give out bubble bath products at Christmas and spend a lot of time having the women tell their violent and sometime sexual stories while the facilitators listen bright eyed, but no offer of solutions to the programming a domestic violence victim must overcome. In other words, too much time describing the problem, too little time on solutions. This lack of trained professionals in court required group meetings needs to be addressed on a national level. It is abuse of tax dollars. Women are dying dayly.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, July 18, 2002

S1

yes, throughout the past 15 yars we have had three diff. counselors. My husband has a way of presenting our"marrital problem" as being in MY head. I'm just beginning to speak up at our sessions, but I pay for it through the week!

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, August 15, 2002

S1

After years of a verbally and emotionally abusive marriage I finally had the courage to say enough. We then decided to seek help with a councilor recommended to us. At the first meeting I was given additional reading material "If He Only Knew" by Gary Smalley. On page 100 it states, "after five years of marriage a husband is responsible for the prolonged disharmony in his marriage." I was also given a list of 100 things I could do to "improve my marriage." After 19 years of abuse it was all my fault. My wife now had more ammunition to emotionally abuse me with since everything was my fault. The only problem was I had reached a point where I just couldn't take it anymore. I didn't care what any councelor said I was not going to take it anymore and started divorce proceedings. As a requirement of divorce in the county I live in we all had to spend some time with the county mental health councelor. Within 5 minutes she had diagnosed the problem and had given me additional reading material. I still will never understand how the first councelor never was able to see what was really going on. John

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, August 17, 2002

S1

I read Patricia Evans book and recognized myself as the victim of verbal and emotional abuse. (I can't believe I had to have this validation to know this!)When I told my counselor I thought I was in an abusive relationship, he said "I don't see it that way. Just because he gets angry sometimes doesn't make him abusive. You shouldn't use that word (the A word!) becuase it's very blaming and emotionally charged". I thought about it and went back the following week and responded that our therapeutic relationship had to come to an end because "I let my husband tell me how to feel and what to think for the past twelve years and I'm not going to give that job to you now. You don't walk in my shoes so you don't know what really goes on in my household." It was an important growth moment for me. From his defensive reaction, I had a very strong feeling that this counselor (male) had been called abusive in his own life. During a counseling session with our marriage counselor I shared how my husband had slapped me across the face that week. It was the first time he had actually hit me. Until that time, he would posture, raise his hand, etc. I was afraid to share this information with my husband present, fearing his response, but I finally blurted it out in the last 5 minutes of our session. He admitted he slapped me, but refuted that it was the scary incident I was describing. The therapist agreed with him that my reaction "didn't ring true". When I asked her why she felt this way, since he admitted he hit me, she told me that she thought I was just angry at him for having had multiple affairs (the reason we were in counseling)and now I was just looking for a way to punish him. It was the last time I tried to go to counseling with him, and have since learned that joint counseling is not recommeded in abusive relationships.

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, August 18, 2002

S1

We had been to counseling many times for our marriage issues. I have come to believe no counseling will help our marriage. Simply because we would talk and talk and never get to real issues. The real issues being my husband's treatment of me. It took me a long time to realize what was going on in our relationship. I did a lot of catharsis. A lot of self-analyzing, and did seek help on my own. When we were in counseling together, he would always focus on me in the counseling sessions. He would repeatedly tell the counselor that I was out of control, angry and abusive. There were times I would come home and cry--trying to comprehend and rationalize what my husband had said, yet asking myself "Is that really me? Am I that way?" I would feel terrible about who I was and lost. An example would be: In counseling the counselor asked why we were there. I responded by saying first communication. We cannot communicate with one another and there is a lack of mutual respect. The counselor responded by saying that he could help with the the communication only. My husband's response to the counselor's question was. Most couples come into counseling for financial reasons. But she has some major anger issues and is out-of-control with her ranting and raving. The counselor response was that most couples do not come in for financial reasons. The main reason is communication problems. They came to the wrong place if it is finance help they need. When addressing my ranting and raving, the counselor asked my husband more questions. My husband went on to say that he was afraid that I would choke him with a necktie in bed at night! I was appalled. After sessions like that I'm emotionally hurting and my husband is like, "How about stopping at so and so for a beer." He has said many things about me that I just couldn't understand. He would then go on to talk about himself and his business. How he runs a company of so many people and all the management training and communication classes he has had. He goes on to explain his sucesses. The counselor responds: Don, if you are so experienced and trained in this area of communication and management, why doesn't it work for you and your wife? Don is somewhat stunned. Then goes on to say she needs drugs to control her behavior, etc. Perhaps St. John's Wort or Prozac. The counselor asked if I would consider this? I responded that I have no desire to take either and have tried St. John's Wort willingly myself and knew that it wasn't going to help. The counselor said that it was my right and it was okay if I preferred not to take those things. He also said he was not licensed to prescribe medications of any kind. Yet, my husband repeatedly tried to persuade the counselor into medications for me and would try to shove the pills at me at home. I feel controlled in and out of the counselor's office. I need help. I am angry, I am hurt, I am mistreated, I am trying to fight back, I am ignored, I am used, I am abused. When my husband would purchase the St. John's Wort for me and expect me to take it. I told him I'm not taking it. The counselor told me to flush the pills down the toilet. I did because he refused to acknowledge my wishes. This probably only made my husband more angry. He would then call the counselor during the week and tell him about how angry I was at home. The counselor would tell me, if you are angry it is okay. Just throw a book on the floor to get it out. He said coaches often would throw chairs around rather than take it out on his team. If I did that, my husband would tell him that I was slamming books on the floor and I would feel worse, as if doing right, wasn't right. My husband then said I was a bad employee, as I worked for my husband's business. The counseling session ended with me quitting work, him afraid that I would throw a bomb into the window of his work and destroying the place. And then ending with "I think my wife is beautiful." I was just appalled. It was like he made me angry and then warmed me up by his last statement. I couldn't believe he was talking about me in either statement he made. My husband quit the counseling claiming that we needed to see a counselor that would prescribe medications for me. I quit later feeling hopeless, jobless, worthless, hurt, pushed around and maniuplated. I don't miss working for him. But it has left me feeling like I'm not a good enough employee, wife, etc. I know I shouldn't feel this way. Doesn't this sound like I'm abused? Or am I abusive, like he says? Abuse was never mentioned once. Would you say this is abuse?

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, September 07, 2002

S1

After months of misery and now a seperation, my husband agreed to go to pastoral counseling. I was seeing a PhD Psychologist for 3 months that my husband refused to see. He calls it psychobabble. Anyway, I weent with him to the session with a church elder and wife and they seemed to want to focus the whole session on the biblical precept of forgiveness. I was shocked that they did not seem interested in the abuse that had occurred. I was told there was no point in discussing it, that my husband was repentent and that all that was holding back the reconciliation of our marriage was my inability to forgive him.. Needless to say, we are still seperated, and I am..... Peaceful along the Gulf Coast

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, September 22, 2002

S1

Yes, you are correct, it was missed in our couples therapy. I wanted to stop going, it was too painful for me. Are you saying that there is hope for a couple where emotional abuse is involved?

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, September 26, 2002

S1

My estranged husband and I attended a few marriage counseling classes where the counselor was not fully aware of the ins and outs of verbal or physical abuse. He recommended that based on my opinion of Michael being verbally abusive that he read up on it..which he was unlikely to do. It never went beyond that. The counselor seemed positive that every relation could work and that based on Michael's love for me that it would. He never looked at the fact that Michael may never be able to change and it was an unhealthy relationship.S1

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, October 03, 2002

S1

This was 16 years ago- My husband and I were only married 6months, I was physically ill and didn't understand why I couldn't get better. I knew in my stomach that something was very wrong, couldn't explain it or understand it. I talked him into seeing a counselor. We are military and I explained what was happening in the relationship and my husband who is very charming simply explained that I had not adjusted to the military life and had come from a rich family full of comforts. The counselor told me that my husband was married first to the military and second to me and if I couldn't handle it then I picked the wrong mate. That was my first experience with a counselor who was not educated in abuse.

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, October 13, 2002

S1

I have been to THREE counselors or more for many years and in each instance "I" having appeared the more distraught and "wordy" have been seen as the one with the problem. I had a theraphist at my husbands work place (police dept) TOTALLY discount ANY "control" and or passive aggressive tendencies in my husband not to mention his explosive ANGER, and his control by intimidation (anger temper) or SABOTOUGING acts, or use of third parties to deliver the "hurts", tell me "be more understanding that your husband is the strong silent type". You bet he is strong and controlling to a fault with me and silent about it publicly!! In short I was councelled to "accept it", by being told to make allowences for HIS strong and silent approach. Strong, silent and deadly approach in his emotional abuse!!!!. I have had a religious counselor tell me "to submit like a good woman would" and to heal my husband with my "willing spirit", and to read the Bible regarding what a "good woman" is in the BIBLE. Did he ever suggest my husband read about what his role is in the Bible? NO. I went to a family theraphists and extensively detailed our relationship regarding my painful experiences or the WAYS in which he abuses emotionally and by his manliness controls by intimidation, his background of family of origin suspected or admitted by him abuse, his narcissistic tendencies, what he does for a living and his "temper", his use of withholding and controlling money, putdowns, and his use of our own children to control me or be against me and his "attempts" to isolate me , and I was told to read a book on "how to raise children" and for me to "tell him to come in and see our psychologist,(she was treating us BOTH, he was IN her offices with me, and SHE SHould have relayed this to HIM) "Go get him (ie be his mother) to "help" when our teenager is screaming so loud the whole neighborhood can hear her disrespect to me, but HE can't, and for me to "learn to communicate" all while HE sat in the room saying things that were CLEARLY red flags of an abusive narcissistic and passive aggressive personality, and abusive themselves. I mean he said, "I have no trouble taking orders from my wife, in my job I have had many less intelligent than me people put in authority over me." She did not pick up on his seeing my needs, request or opinions as DEMANDS, she did not pick up on him referring to ME as being less than intelligent than him, nor did she see the "facial expressions, body language and other things he used during THERAPHY to control, shut me up or let me know I was "in for it" when we got home. He could not make eye contact, with her or me, slouched, tensed, clenched his fists, gave me the "death to you looks and scowls", gritted his teeth, took a "fighting stance" in his chair and did all sorts of "red flag" stuff RIGHT under her nose. He was OBVIOUSLY trying to distort "reality", and threaten me IN session with his "body language" and facial expressions. When he "lied" or rewrote and insulted she told ME not to interupt. He talked in length about "what a nice guy" he is and bragged and did all the stuff to "impress" her. Most theraphists use the solution focused theraphy approach, which ALLOWES their past behavior to go totally unaddressed. Abusers love that one. It is essence is giving them permission to abuse, as long as they send flowers the next day!!!! Astounding. She too bought the nice educated guy "act" emotionally abusive people often use in public and totally ignored the obvious ANGER, threats, and putdowns coming from him and his body during the sessions. While am not saying I am "without fault" these faults usually have to do with a reactive anger to his "games" and are healthy and justified anger AT his "games" of gaslighting and projection, rewriting, total distortions of "putting words in my mouth" or sabotouge and intimadation", I am "emotional" due to the YEARS of such, my boundies are perceived as abuse, my needs as DEMANDS, and there is reactive anger in myself approriate to a stimulus or deliberate and or contrived provocation. In essence if one is HIT, which I am not nor have ever been hit by my spouse, but if one is hit in the fact the NORMAL reaction is pain, then anger and attempts at SELF defense. If one is "angry" without being hit, then one might have an imapproriate OVER REACTION to hit without having been hit. I am using the word HIT to describe "hit by abusive and controlling tactics". I have worked very hard to get "out of denial" regarding the emotional abuse and guilt tripping projection thrown my way, AND to get my husband to consent to counseling ONLY to find once there they "refuse" to see the red flag behaviors in us both that are well known to be evidence of abuse. Because I seem more willing to "work on it", more distraught, more "verbal" about the problem, obviously not as "well "educated" or not the one that is a respected POLICE OFFICER" somehow they conclude MY perceptions must be faulty and I am the one NEEDING the "fixing". For this VERY reason I have seen the "abuse" esculate tremendously. I have decided NO counselor is going to do anything but "make it worse" for us both, but myself in particular. They ALLOW him to stay in denial, and victimize me further. We need more training in these fields and they need educated by "victims", the word co dependant needs TRASHED, nice people are not asking for ABUSE! No one ASKS for this, that is ludicrous. It is the same mentalality that a woman that dresses "fashinably" DESERVES the raping. As most of what is "fashionable" now days is to state our womanhood. Should we all wear pants and smocks, and VEILS? Do we have to hide out, shut up, and obey "orders" and be WILLING to be beat or treated badly because we are WOMEN? This is a sickness in our society that society condones and embraces!!! Even the "well educated" theraphists. If you are treated badly you must deserve it? They need to spend some time with the "victims" in order to fully understand the many forms domestic abuse takes. Thanks

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, November 01, 2002

S1

I sat in a counseling session and listened to my husband tell me that he had to have an affair because living with my depression was more than he could bear and he just had to get away from the constant burden of it. I had a brief postpartum depression after the birth of my son who was then 12! I told this to the therapist and told her I'm upbeat, resilient, and very aware how I felt when I was depressed and would get help immediately if it ever came back. My husband said it's still a burden living with the fear it will come back. The therapist never looked at me, just sat there nodding her head and him and making soothing noises. I did not handle it well. I found myself wondering if because he's very attractive she must be thinking he's generally burdened by being with me and that talking about fear of my becoming depressed was some secret language the two of them had to avoid saying he was too good a catch for me. Years later I realize I'm very attractive and he had a very nice situation with me, so I'm handling that part better, but I still feel very angry with that therapist.

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, November 03, 2002

S1

Yes, I did. I am 54 and was diagnosed just this year as bi-polar. After suffering through a tremendous bout of depression, I remembered that I had traveled through this before - and I realized I needed to contact a therapist. She put me in contact with the psychiatrist made the diagnosis and placed me on WONDERFUL meds that have brought my life into chemical balance for the first time, ever. Prior to the depression, however, my husband and I attended joint counseling (2 months before getting married). My husband is Jewish and the counselor, just coincidentally, is also Jewish. They seemed to hit it off right away, and turned their focus on me. Rather than being up front about our problems at home, my husband spoke about my problems, my reactions, my financial history mess, my sexual history. He portrayed himself as a stable, hard-working, married (prior to me) man of 27 years who had always worked in management (while I had worked in clerical for 35 years) and who rarely made mistakes...until he met me. I started crying. I wasn't imagining that he had manipulated her, and she had bought it like a 5 pound box of chocolates. She focused on me, rather than on us -and told me I needed to have anti-depressants prescribed to help me stay calm. You can imagine what the conversation on the ride home was like. "See, I told you I didn't have any problems. Even she said you're the one who needs help." We attended 3 sessions - all of which ended up pretty much the same way, and I said I didn't want to go any more. When he is angry now, and really needs to throw things in my face, he rants about how I LIED re my commitment to attend joint counseling with him. My reasons have no validity. Consequently, as I've written, I went to a counselor on my own, discovered I am bi-polar, and my life this year has begun to change. It has been slow, but I have seen dramatic results within me. They have not leaked out onto my partner - why should they? He is still who he is. Along with staying on my medications, I have sought legal counseling, I have returned to school, and - with the help of friends I have recently begun to cultivate, and my church - I hope to be out of this house and relationship soon. This time I am not running away, as I have done in times past. Thanks for asking. Susan

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, November 11, 2002

S1

I was in a verbally and emotionally abusive marriage. At one point, we went to marital counseling with a highly credentialed family counselor. The counselor did not recognize the verbal abuse. He said that my family of origin issues and my codependence were rearing their ugly heads, and that the problems were not all my husband's fault. That we both needed to take responsibility, and neither of us was responding in a loving way. (This was actually the exact opposite of my real problem, as the origin of all problems in our little universe.) It did reinforce the existing imbalance of power, which actually seemed to appease my husband for a while. A couple of years later, in roughly the same situation, I went to an individual therapist who was so alarmed for my well being, she wanted me to quit my job and leave town without giving my husband any advance warning. The counselor I found after I moved told me what you yourselve say here: that much of the advice from the marital counselor is in fact valid, if there was no abuse.

S1

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, November 15, 2002

S1

Oh god, yes, I've had a bad experience. NEVER EVER TRUST A MILITARY CHAPLAIN. Ever. When I finally dumped my husband and fled from his verbal abuse and threats of violence, he tried EVERTHING to get me back, including threatening the lives of our housepets. I flew cross-country to retrieve them. He talked me into seeing the chaplain at the base (he was in the Army). I didn't trust that, as he himself was a chaplain's assistant. But he swore that the confidentiality rule was firmly in place with chaplains and I could be assured of privacy and confidentiality. OH GOD did he lie! The chaplain turned out to have practically no psychological training at all. His building seemed to double as a daycare. I wasn't even sure the office we were in was soundproof. During the half hour we talked, he did everything he could to talk me into admitting an extramarital affair. I'd call his manner "wheedling". I lied and fed him some rather significant mistruths, which he ate up with a spoon as if he'd scored a victory point. I didn't feel at all comfortable with this person, whose agenda appeared to be solely getting me to return to living with the monster I'd fled. He did not appear to take into account at all that I had spent six months under the brutal control of a man who claimed to love me, and three weeks in mortal terror of my life, including the previous evening, when my husband broke into my room and snuck into my bed even after I'd told him I didn't want him anywhere near me, and I wondered if I'd greet the dawn from a pool of my own blood. How the heck was I supposed to reconcile with THAT? But I knew what I felt was valid. In the end, I told the chaplain there would be no reconciliation and left. My husband was convinced the chaplain had "done some good", and I let him think that. My only concern was getting the animals out of there and signing some legal paperwork the next morning. He was very smug about it though -- weirdly so, actually, now that I think about it. After I left town with the pets, my husband, with a note of triumph in his voice, confronted me with every single thing I'd said to the chaplain, including the mistruths. He admitted that the chaplain actually was a close, personal friend (something I should have realized myself), and that the chaplain had told him every word I said. I don't think he even realized he was directly contradicting his words from the day before about confidentiality. Oh, well. It was a long time ago. I just give thanks I got away. That wasn't the only duplicitous thing the military did to try to force me to stay with him. I will never, ever, ever trust a military chaplain, nor any other religious counselor. Hope his current wife realizes not to either, when her time comes. Oh, and another thing I learned: Don't trust your estranged controller when he promises to let you sleep in peace to "save hotel costs" if you ever have to spend overnight anywhere near him. Get the hotel. Really. And don't tell him where it is. I still shudder to think I could have been hurt or worse through my naive trust. Kara

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, November 15, 2002

S1

It is so frightening to read all these incredibly similar stories. If there are as many abusive marriages as I think, how can the mental health community not know where to look to see it??? I just sent a letter to our marriage counsellor of 2 years. I'm shocked and saddened at myself for how long it took to find my voice with her. There were moments in her office where I felt like I was going to explode out of my skin or just fall down dead. I couldn't believe how she was always parading out the 50/50 contribution thing. In the letter to her, I told her that NO ONE would ever be able to convince me that a "tone of voice" was equal to screaming profanity and name callling. In the sessions, my husband would twist things around like crazy and confuse the heck out of me. I think that all along he was counting frustrating me and hooking me in so I would fight back and thus, discredit myself in front of the counsellor. The first time I used the word "abuse" he just about went crazy. Now he's turned it all around and has called me abusive. He's told his best friend that he is scared to death of me. About a month ago, I set up a support group for myself. Me and three really great women friends who are savy enough to know all about the symptoms and cycles of abuse. One of these women is my husband's best friends wife. She has been keeping my husbands friend informed about what's really going on, and as a result, my husband's friend has been challenging him. The straw that broke the camel's back for me in counselling was when our counsellor requested that I "cut my husband some slack" which was in direct contradition to something we'd put in our marriage contract we'd drawn up with her. Another time she asked me to try and imagine what it was like for my husband to be married to someone as successful and confident as I am. I really felt she was subtly suggesting I change and "play small" so as not to annoy my husband's delicate male ego. I read somewhere the other day that abusers are afraid of being controlled. As I'm sure most of you can relate to, that is my husband's broken record complaint - you're so controlling. I honestly feel like I have to go and be sick. Reading all of this is a double-edged sword. Really great to have another validation that I'm not crazy, but scary, because how can I let this continue, knowing what I know. Thanks for listening.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, November 20, 2002

S1

Yes, yes, yes. My H is a recovering chem dep (20+ years) but never gave up any of the behaviors. I am now just learning about P/A personalities and it fits perfectly and explains so much. I tried traditional couples counseling twice. With the first, I was assertive (fresh from Al-Anon and family treatment) and was immediately knocked back. We were to "wash the slate clean" so nothing he did in the past could be mentioned (so what were being counseled about??). H's response was he didn't understand why I was so "dissatisfied" and just wanted to sit and hold my hand to comfort me. The counselor offered to step out so we could enjoy that private moment. The next attempt was about four years later and involved family counseling. We had one appointment at which the counselor did point out how my H invalidated me several times. A few days later, social services was at my door to investigate a report of child abuse where I was reported to have taken my daughter by the hair and swung her around and then letting go so she flew into a wall. The counselor was the one who reported this. My daughter denied any such thing happening. I was confused and devastated (I had been severely abused as a child aka "A Child Called It" with numerous injuries that weren't treated in childhood including a skull fracture and ruptured eyeball). My H was very sympathetic and said "We better stop seeing that counselor. We'll end up losing our kids." I know how naive I was (H actually was the one who told the counselor those things which he knew she was obligated to report whether she believed them or not. He had a one on one with her the day before) and I will not be so naive again.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, November 27, 2002

S1

I was told once by a couselor that if i did everything my husband told me to then my husband wouldnt have to hit me so much. He was a councelor who specialized in relationship problems. I walked out of the session.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

S1

Dr., You've hit the nail on the head. I encountered the same problem. Eventually I was able to cope with my BPD spouse when I began to see a therapist/psychologist who validated my feelings and gave me the strength to persevere, as we have four children. Your effort at validating the feelings of those who are abused is most noteworthy and admirable. Best wishes. JK

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, January 02, 2003

S1

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, January 03, 2003

S1

Yes, I had a counselor who usually did not seem to take my claims of then husband's verbally abusive behaviors seriously. The counselor kept going back to my childhood and issues with my mother. The counselor talked to me as though I was the "weak" (or whatever) one needing help. My then husband was not talked to in this manner at all. The counselor would also suggest I ask spouse for support, to ask spouse to sit on sofa with me and hold me ... it was as though counselor had completely missed the boat on what I had been pouring my heart out about. If I asked for anything of that nature, then husband would have, at the least, snapped at me harshly. I told counselor a number of times (I mean in a number of different sessions, over the course of time) that husband was harsh and acted as though resented me. The counselor would ask what I meant by harsh, etc.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, January 06, 2003

S1

I had an experience not with a professional (licensed) counselor, but with my pastor. When I tried to speak to him about the way my husband berates me and treats me like a child, the only thing he had to say was, "All men tear down their wives self-esteem. If he were hitting you, we would be having a different conversation right now." That was over 2 years ago and I have since been going to a counselor who is helping me to become less co-dependent and helping me to recognize the abusive situation I am in. If my pastor had known more about abuse, I believe I would have been more ahead of the game with his support. As it is, I have recently (2 weeks ago) visited with my pastor, and he seems to have a clearer understanding now. Thanks for your sight. It's great!

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, January 07, 2003

S1

On our first attempt at family councelling my two teenagers, my husband and myself all gathered with a therapist. My husband, the reason we were there, was allowed to take over the entire hour long session, say whatever he wanted and the therapist just let him, I felt she had absolutely no control, never even asked any of us what we thought, did we agree or disagree, nothing. He just spent an hour explaining why he was not a bad guy and why we all did these things he just had to handle, blah blah blah and she just let him go. When the hour was over I knew this woman could not ever sort out our mess. There were even times when she agreed with him without even asking us what our interpretation of the event was.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, January 16, 2003

S1

My boyfriend and I were in couples counseling with the therapist who leads his anger management men's group. The therapist told me in a private phone conversation that because I was not willing to do "time outs" properly, that my boyfriend would never be able to get better, even though he was in the group and was trying to work on things. He said my part was to be willing to let him leave when he was raging, which he always wanted to do, but I always panicked and chased after him, begging him to stay. Since I was not "willing" to do that, he'd never get better. I later was able to just step back at those times, even ask for timeouts myself or ask him to leave, and discovered that he would NOT disengage, but would either follow me around continuing the rage, leave and then call later still ranting, or just begin again the next day, later, etc. when we tried to talk about it. Timeouts never did anything except postpone the episode. Nevertheless, I came away feeling guilty that my boyfriend was not able to get better because of me and my inability to do "something" the right way. Also, he would set up situations for me to fail at this, provoking me by saying things during an episode like "you're not going to let me go to bed, are you?" When I would try to explain myself to get out from under the accusation, or point out that he was setting me up, it was an immediate sign to him that what he had just said was true ("see, you just keep going on and on and I was right!") This gave him permission to rage even more. I have tremendous guilt about this and would love to hear from anyone who has comments. terry.journey@verizon.net

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, January 21, 2003

S1

My husband started to verbally abuse me four years ago just a month after our wedding. This year it has now escalated;he has started breaking things; using terrible language towards me in front of our babies; threatening me; and as of yesterday he spit in my face. We went to our pastor about six weeks ago. He was very supportive to me until my husband came along for the next meeting. Every issue was brushed aside. Nothing was addressed, besides the fact that I need to accept the fact men are wired different and women are overly emotional. Then as homework he suggested we get a babysitter so we could enjoy one another alone?????? I am so angry with my husband and scared,why would I want to be alone with him? We are now going to see a "professional", I am terrified.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, January 25, 2003

S1

I had a similar counseling experience. I initiated counseling because my marriage had become intolerable. My husband at the time was controlling, had an explosive temper, and blamed me for not knowing (intuitively) what he wanted. He was emotionally distant and we could talk about nothing that mattered to me, because if it didn't matter to him, it wasn't worth talking about. He was a very intelligent man with many academic degrees and he became the arbitrator of what was the "intelligent" and "right" answer or approach about any issue or topic (including what I ought to like or how I should behave in any situation). I wanted counseling for my husband & myself in order to save our marriage or to learn better communication techniques even if the marriage ended (we had children who would still be in both of our lives if we divorced). The first obstacle to getting counseling was that my insurance would not pay for marriage counseling. The insurer suggested that I attend counseling under the category of "Anxiety" (due to my poor marriage)- a catagory that the insurance recognized as valid. I could still select (and did select) a counselor who specialized in couples therapy. Although the therapist I chose understood the real reason I was seeing her (my marriage), the whole therapy approach was focused on what I was doing "wrong" to feel so much anxiety in my life. Finally, I arranged for my husband to attend sessions and after meeting him, my therapist declared that my husband would never change and I either had to leave the marriage or just put up with the situation (her unspoken words seemed to be "the situation I had created by marrying him in the first place"). I was appalled. I had entered counseling not for an instant-coffee approach, but to explore why my marriage was so bad (my behaviors as well as my husband's) and what options I had to change my behavior, or cope with his, or to prepare to leave the marriage if that was necessary. Although this therapist was respected in the community and had ties to a major university, her behavior was appalling: both in her simplistic and fatalistic approach ("your husband is just like that & there's little for me to say") and her blame on me for the situation. At least at the time, I saw how unreasonable & unprofessional she was, & took steps to find new counseling and eventually to end my marriage in a way that was positive for our children. Ironically, years later, I met the daughter of this first therapist who informed me that her mother (the therapist)had a history of unsuccessful marriages and was in fact now married to a man that the entire family found completely unreasonable. The only person who could tolerate his behavior was his wife, the therapist. I have learned that it is critical to understand how a therapist's personal biases & experiences can color his/her professional judgement. It is a cautionary tale for all.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, January 25, 2003

S1

I related an upsetting event to our counseler; walking downtown my wife looking in at a store window at some wedding rings "noticed" her ring was gone, to me it felt like a staged event. Our counselor told me "women don't throw away their jewelry". Later at dinner, my wife kept looking over at a man sitting by himself finaly she said I wonder why such a cute guy is by himself. The therapists comment was to look at my wife in an amused way and say "he thinks your going to leave him for a younger man". On the way home from dinner my wife volunteers that by a funny coincedence a male coworker had just told her to get rid of that piece of shit ,her ring, the counselors response 'why are you mad at her you she didn't say it...It went on like this for over a year even when my wife told me that my seven year old daughter had told her I had a little penis the counselor never questioned the truth of my wifes claims the entire focus was on my anger

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, January 28, 2003

S1

With alcohol, my husband always turned my perceived problem with him into a 'look what you are doing!' Otherwise he would look at what was going on for both of us. A Relate councillor suggested I looked at what my problem was. In retrospect, I can see that I had a lot of guilt arising from abandoning my mother which put me in victim mode. This attitude had changed the dynamics of our marriage. Perhaps the councillor's hypothesis was right,but the solution then became a green light for more abuse, blaming, power struggles etc.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, January 28, 2003

S1

My husband and I are in marriage counseling. Just recently I truly recognized his crazymaking behaviors for what they are- emotional abuse. I started doing some reading about it and decided that i would bring up in therapy that I was no longer willing to accept the kind of treatment that I had been receiving, that it was emotional abuse and that it was not OK. After I got done with what I had to say the therapist asked me husband how that made him feel. He then spent the next 15-20 minutes of our therapy session denying, refuting, blaming, listing all the things that i had done wrong in the marriage. Unfortunately I allowed myself to get hooked in and we had a huge fight in the therapist's office. Instead of pulling the session back to the issues that I had presented and wanted addressed, she used our fight as a discussion for how to control our reactivity (which we both need to learn to do). However, the issue of his verbal abusiveness never got dealt with and i felt dismissed and sort of non-existent.

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, February 10, 2003

S1

Laughable... I told the counselor, when asked "what I wanted", that I wanted to be treated nicely. I meant not yelled at, sworn at, having dressers thrown around, etc. The counselor proceeded to explain to my husband, "Tyler, what Rebecca wants is to be talked to like a flower, in a vase, on a shelf. She wants to be told that she's pretty, and given compliments, and told that you love her." CHECK, PLEASE!!!! After I puked and gagged and put my eyeballs back in my head, I said (like a true dork!), "Um, I don't think that's what I want." Then, like much less of a dork, I interrupted what the therapist was starting to say in reponse to that, and raising my hand, said, "No, I am *sure* that is not what I want," and went on to explain that I wanted to be treated like a person. Not like dirt, and not like your stupid flower! We are now with a therapist with brains. However, in 3 sessions he has still not recognized the abuse. Or rather, he just doesn't seem to care. Intuitively I trust the therapist alot, but at times when I think he should turn to my hb and say, "You did WHAT?!?", he instead explains to me WHY my hb did such and such. Operating in limbic mode, is the usual explanation. Maybe he's right in that my hb really is changing, but they both just seem to be trying to get me to stay long enough to do the Harville Hendrix Imago therapy. It feels controlling. I think I shall meet w/ the counselor alone and see what the deal is. Thank you so much for your site!! Love, Rebecca

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, February 12, 2003

S1

I was living with a man who shows almost all of the symptoms of BPD, but has not been diagnosed. He also shows signs of sex addiction, he gambles compulsively, and is an alcoholic. He agreed to go to couples counseling to prove to me that he was fine and I was the one full of issues who caused the constant chaos and turmoil between us. He was full of rage and spewed cruel verbal abuse in private, but put on a big show in public. So much so that he was often physically exhausted after basic interaction with others. He had become physically abusive toward me, too. I was at the weakest physical and psychological point in my life. I feared his anger and demeaning treatment so much I didn't say much our first couple of therapy sessions. At that point I didn't say much anywhere. Big mistake. Somehow each session ended with me feeling worse and him feeling justified in the way he treated me. The therapist would listen for awhile and then focus on something I needed to address, which would have been okay if it were even somewhat balanced. We went once a week for two months and every session came around to and ended with the focus on my dysfunction in playing the victim. I knew I had issues and bought into my "fault" that our relationship was the way it was. I wore myself out at home trying to meet his sporadic and impossible demands yet somehow the therapist felt he carried the weight of the relationship which truly intensified his mistreatment. I continued to see the counselor thinking that if I could just understand all of my problems (she said I have so many that if I was truly aware of them my body would probably shut down and I would die. This devastated me. I already felt like a flawed human, at this point I felt there was no hope and became VERY depressed) I could learn how to "fix" them. He quit going to therapy saying until I went to individual counseling there was no point in wasting his energy. I continued to see this therapist, I think trying to prove to her that I know I have issues, but that I am a hard worker hard and am a decent person. I finally found some anger somewhere deep inside myself and used it's energy to move out after a physically violent episode. I stopped therapy only because I couldn't afford it. I am embarassed to admit I still see the man I lived with even though I now recognize how dysfunctional my relationship with him is and that it is both of our responsibility. At times I feel strong and don't "buy in" to his rage. The times I don't, my mind goes back to our therapist and I again start focusing on how bad I am and that I am the cause his mistreatment and deserve it. It was only in hindsight and a lot of self help reading and journaling that I saw how much more damage this therapist caused than already existed in our relationship. The pain from this experience has had lasting effects. I want to go to a week long workshop on love addiction, but am afraid to commit to it and take the chance I'll face a similarly minded therapist. I will probably go because at least he won't be there and I know I need to face the legitimate issues (one of which is definately playing the victim, which I now know to be no better or worse than other dysfunctional behavior)that are blocking me from living a healthy, mature life as my authentic self. I was surprised and gratified to read this article. Thank you. I hope more work is done in this area.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, February 21, 2003

S1

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, March 01, 2003

S1

hi! we are in therapy now. After just taking it for all those years together (12) I finally stood up for myself about a 9 months ago and told him I would leave. I repeated myself 2 times over the months but never could leave. Because of the children, because of whatever... and most importantly because I hoped everytime he said it would all be different because he understood what went wrong between us it really would get differet... of course the 'change' never lasted. He went to being himself again as soon as he thought everything was OK on my side. Last december I gave him the choise: I would leave if we didn't go for couples-counseling. We went, I finally thought he would get help and work on himself, I would get help and work on myself and we would both be working on our relationship. Instead she is telling me that I should let go all of the things I find he did to me, let go of the pain and anger and unhappines and just forgive him becuase he means so well now. He did it because he loved me: he belittled me, put me down, gave me the idea I never was sufficient as a wife, a mother, a person, never kissed me or hugged me, always did 'his' things instead of doing things as a family, always choose to be working instead of being with us, let me take care of everything even his responsibilities and never was there for us in times of need because he just didn't like emotions... all because he loved me. She tells me that now he has changed into this mr. Perfect I miss the thrill of the hunt for his affection, his approval. That I need that adrenalinshot and therefor cannot accept the fact he is wanting to be a wonderfull husband to me. I need to be put down, need to be told I am not adequate. Luckely I have gotten so strong over the last couple of months, so I know she is far from the truth. I just don't go for his sudden 'mr Perfect-play' anymore because I have seen it severall times before. I know he has changed his ways but his thinking is the same way he used too. Of course it hurts when she tells me I need private counseling because there is nothing wrong with my husband but everything wrong with me. Because he sits there, shoulders hanging, looking miserable, teary eyes, sighing ... he is the poor husband. I am the bitch because finally, after 12 years, I have a straight back, chin in the air, I dare to make comments on his behaviour and also dare to question what our counselor says. He finds himself supported by her. I find myself getting even stronger because I know she is wrong.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, March 06, 2003

S1

Yes! I DID have an experience with an 'oridnary counselor'. He was a Pator as well. He DID blame me on several occasions, and told me that my husband's lies were MY problem, too! The one thing I don't like about couple's counselling is that BOTH parties are often 'blamed' for ONE parties behavior. I do not subscribe to the theory of he-abused-her-because-she-let-him stuff, but rather he-abused-her-because-HE-CHOSE-TO! I think that once an abuser hears that his partner is 'partly to blame' for the cycle, he/she gets more caught up in his/her behavior, instead of his/her own! It just becomes more ammunition for the abuser to use against the victim.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, March 25, 2003

S1

Yes, we were counseling for emotionally unavailability of my husband and his refusal to address any real issues. The counselor did not understand the avoidance issue and directed me to make Greg feel more safe. His emphasis was Greg would feel safe therefore marriage would be better for us. The problem was that he was already avoiding almost all conflict to be safe and we were not addressing ANY of my concerns or our problems. His controlling is very constant but passive and hard to confront as he just doesn't want to see the problems.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, March 28, 2003

S1

I have been in a verbally abusive relationship for about 7 1/2 years. It took my friends to open my eyes to the fact that not all relationships are peppered with frequent angry outbursts, yelling and constant complaints. The abuser in my relationship insists that I am the problem because I drink alcohol (he is a 'dry' alcholic). We went to one counseling session a few weeks ago. I told the counselor about his anger and yelling sessions ... the counselor told me that I should 'not be so sensitive'. She told me that I should promise not to drink again and he should promise not to yell anymore. I did quit drinking (though I don't drink to excess anyway) entirely for some time ... and the yelling continued. Because I have an incredible support group in my friends, one of whom is a trained domestic violence counselor, I can see now that his demands that I quit drinking are another attempt at control. But the counselor's statements have given his feelings validity and his anger has become more intense. I am now seriously afraid of this man and wondering how to break off this relationship without endangering myself or my pets.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, April 02, 2003

S1

My husband and I went to see a couples counselor and I was told by this counselor that I was too sensitive to husband's anger because I had grown up in an abusive household. He looked at my husband at one point and said, "It's not you." Luckily at that point, I could see through this tactic. Ugh.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, April 10, 2003

S1

Just understand, that it takes 2 people to form and maintain a relationship. I condone physical abuse in NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM! All I'm saying is that we each draw a line for ourselves as well as the partner that we are involved with. That line should never be crossed, and sometimes those lines get crossed to the point of physical abuse. Truth known...yes I did abuse my spouse...AND I WAS WRONG! But for 14 1/2 years I never so much as raised my hand to this woman. She had been verbally and emotionally abusing me for 2-3 months prior to my lashing out. The things that were said to me were (based on what I have seen and heard from other relationships) was the most horrific events that a human would ever want or need to hear. What was it that finally made me cross my lines? She crossed mine. And she was fully aware where my line was! So think before you judge, sometimes that finger could point back at the person who initiated the attack. Like you said, verbal, emotional, physical abuse is just that....ABUSE!!! And as for the male having "power" over the other, women have the ultimate power. More power than my 6'1" 200lbs. frame could ever produce. The power to destroy my marriage, my soul, rip me from my child, and walk away without ever having to be responsible for what changed between us. THAT'S POWER!

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, April 10, 2003

S1

P.S. I haven't so much as raised a finger to her in the last 2 1/2 months, her "problems" keep arising, my pain hasn't stopped (even a dream just this morning involving another woman!). But I've held my end of the bargain...where is her responsibility? Where is the so called "effort" on her part to love, respect, cherish me? But when I get hurt or need more understanding from her, (because I can't seem to yet understand how a person's mind can disfunction like this) now I am told to leave the house b/c she is tired of dealing with problems and talking about it. Uh...am I missing something? You can bring up problems in our relationship, and then feel you owe me nothing in return (to try to figure out what the hell is going on???) I may get alot of critisism here from you ladies, but...you don't understand how much of an impact you have on our lives. You make us who we are. You can also tear us apart. And it goes both ways guys! Love your spouse and treat her right. Cuz we are only on this earth for a short time. Let's make the best of it, loving the one we chose to be with in the first place.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, April 12, 2003

S1

Yes I was told I was living like a well paid prostitute and was a sado masochist after a vicious sexual assault which left me hospitalized for 3 days. The therapist admitted after time he had misread the situation. I continued to see him for 5 years (Why) I forgave him the (Dr) I now feel strong enough to leave my husband after 37years.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, April 19, 2003

S1

-When told of the last physical abuse incident which occurred when I was 8 months pregnant and subsequently stopped having sex with my husband, she told me I was ruining my marriage by hanging onto it and I had to let it go, without even attempting to address the abuse. -After one session, she told my husband he could “be a bastard at times” and then she apologized profusely and said she didn’t mean it. -When I said that the only reason I don’t think he will hit me again (although I know he will) is because he knows I’ll call the police, she said “Good! It doesn’t matter why he won’t hit you again” -All of the elusive emotional events I tried to address were dismissed as me being weak. -After 3 months of counseling she told us she wasn’t sure what to do, only to come back the next session and say “I got it, you both need to be on medication” -She said we were both needy and has to stop being so sensitive. Luckily our insurance changed and we are no longer able to see this counselor. I have since joined a domestic abuse support group and started seeing a domestic abuse counselor on my own.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, May 02, 2003

S1

yes. I was blamed by the shrink for having to much ambition. I invented wrap snap and go. I told the shrink I was starting a non profit ranch for abused, drug addicted people, a place to stop and smell the roses. Her comment, where would I get the money, and yada yada, Well 2 years later, i did it. And my verbally abusive hubby left because I succeeded!! Deanna Dickson, great person.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, May 06, 2003

S1

We went to 2 different types of counseling. First just a counselor. He wanted me to stop pet grooming, to do anything but that. I enjoyed grooming. She called that squashing me out of exsistance. That was the week he felt under attack by the counselor. He was acussed of being immature and childish for being mad at me for picking up the news papers that were on the kitchen table, and placing in the paper bin. He went home and went to bed, feeling bla! that was the only word he could discribe what was going on. Being in counseling for many years for bipolar. I explained it was depression, a reaction to feeling attacked. Next week I was attacked, by way of bipolar calling me being grandiose, I was just wanting to be heard. Every week we went in feeling worst then better. We stopped seeing her. Then we went to group counseling. We was asked questions before we joined the group. We was caught on one of our better days. We each was owning our parts to the problem. Very first night we went, the counselor gave each of us to correct the other if we was excualating the fight. I got up set with this. It just gave the ok, to correct me even more. See he was standing over me for everything like loading a dishwasher the correct way. To turn on the water hose in the yard. One night in group counseling, turned into a 2 hour fight in the parking lot. He read the chapters in the book he knew the correct way to do this. I ended up walking off. Later I got in the car, we finished the fight at home. See he also made a new rule no smoking in the house, he woke up one morning and decided he was quiting and I needed to quit also. I was outside smoking. He came to the door way and was jumpping up & down, spiting words of anger at me. Scared me. Then he locked me out of the house. I was so numb by this, I climbed a 6ft wooded fence to get out of the back yard. He had my purse, money everything locked in the house. I just knew I could not stay there it was not safe. I went into safty mode at all cost. I walked 5 hours in the middle of the night till I reached a place where the buses started running. I went into the woman's shelter the next day. To be honest I still don't know who would become violent first between us. I have been fighting so hard to keep my human rights, to think to feel, to have an opinion. From what I knew I really was thinking this was just a case of domestic violence, I'm learning this may be more of narcissism. It's still abuse, the reasons are different. bgina77@earthlink.net

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, May 11, 2003

S1

YES, I FOUND IT WAS NOT PICKED UP AND IF I DID PORTRAY IT, THE THERAPIST ONLY SAID TO ME: SO HE HAS PROBLEMS, AND THAT WAS IT. I FELT I WASN'T BEING HEARD AND THEREFORE I WENT TO A DOMESTIC ABUSE CENTER AND FOUND SOMEONE WHO UNDERSTOOD.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, May 15, 2003

S1

During the marriage to my ex-husband, we went for counseling and the counselor asked me questions like, "Do you think you're smarter than him?" Now I am in counseling in my relationship with BF/ex-fiancee, and the counselor has done the following: -When incident was brought up where BF complained about me offering to "help" rake the leaves, because it "sounded" like I was a neighbor offering to help and not like I really felt like it was my responsibility, counselor said he "thought he understood". -There was an incident brought up where BF came in and told me the dog got out of the yard and was in the neighbor's yard. Since I was lying in bed naked and he already had all his clothes and shoes on, I asked, "Do you want me to go get him?" BF stormed out and said, "No, I'll do it!" He came back and said he was "frustrated" because he didn't understand why I thought it was his responsibility to take care of the dog. In counseling, I said I didn't like BF making an assumption about what I thought. Counselor ignored my concern and we spent the whole hour talking about how we were going to divide up the chores when it came to the dog--NOT the real issue, as BF admitted later.

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, June 14, 2003

S1

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, June 18, 2003

S1

1) First marriage counselor would not see us together but wanted to treat my husband. He claims she said I was too sensetive. 2) Second marriage counselor let my husband scream at me for entire sessions and then told us she would not take us as clients after three sessions. 3) Third counselor,I have fired. When I asked why he let my husband abuse me in front of him he said he was not a referee. The counselor spent endless sessions trying to figure out what I did to cause my husband to become verbally abuse and violent. The straw that broke the camels back was when he said I was abusive, sighting a situation in which I said I had to discuss disiplinary action my husband wanted to take against my son from a previous marriage. I explained I would have to discuss this with my son's biological father who is very involved in his life and upbringing. For this comment I was the abuser? I also became pregnant during counseling. The abuse became so bad at that time I explained that the abuse would have to stop or I would need to terminate the pregnancy and divorce. When I finally misscarried as a result of the verbal abuse and stress (it was a high risk pregnancy) I became very disraught, grieving uncontrollably and the counselors responded with a laugh and said "You said you wanted an abortion." Thank god I was in counseling for abused women and they had been advising me that marriage counseling is NOT reccomended for abusive relationships. Just as they said the counselor would try and place blame on me and assume the relationship was equal. All I really want is for the verbal abuse and violence (he is a smasher, shover and breaker)to stop. Marriage Counseling is over we have been to three. My group and individual counseling is a life saver. Thank you for this website it is THE BEST.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, June 25, 2003

S1

In my last counseling session with my husband, he told his problems which were all about me, all lies, and then it was my turn and I felt I had to defend myself and take every little thing he said and justify it. Because his thinking is paranoid and irrational. He said the problem is communication. That's all. I tell him its more. The counselor said we had to stop nit picking at each other and sit down and talk. I tried to tell her I can't talk to him. He doesen't listen. I was to tell him what is acceptable and what is not. I told her it wasen't possible with him. He twists everything around and is not rational. in the session, i told him he needed to leave the home, he blew up and yelled at me, pointing his finger at me, and she just let him. In the session he would lie, and she just let him talk and say things about me that weren't true.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, July 01, 2003

S1

I thank God that I by "accident" stumbled onto your website...having lived the past 11 years in an abusive relationship I am both horrified and relieved to find your material. Recently, in addition to marriage counseling ( which my husband sporatically attended and declared sessions were only for me to " tell everything he did wrong") I began personal counseling with a highly recommended therapist. After trying to explain my husbands' behavior and my hopelessness to understand...it was recommended that I find a doctor to prescribe medication to help me control my "ruminations". I was floored. On my next and final visit I explained a recent "raging" and asked for her help to clarify...my therapist literally slammed her fists into the arms of her chair and bellowed at me " YOU CANNOT BE WRONG" " I am normally a very patient person, you can ask anyone...when other therapists are talking about patients I realize how patient I am...but you, I have never seen anyone like you, I cannot help you with your marital problems, if you would like to continue we cannot discuss your marriage, it is like beating a dead horse". I then questioned her as to any behavior modifications I could begin and her reply: " without medication for you , nothing will change".. I now realize I was only looking for validation that it is NOT okay to be treated as I was treated. Thank you.. for finally giving me that...I was never looking to find if I was "right" or "wrong".. just that it was not okay to be treated as I have been.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, July 04, 2003

S1

I wrote to the supervisor of the couple therapist with a c.c. to The College of Psychologists of Ontario and to my therapist you will find enclose the so-said letter: "My partner and I have started therapy with Mrs. M B. It is my understanding that Mrs. B is under supervised practice. Since there are several fields of study and practice in psychology, I have serious concern that Mrs. B is not familiar with the issue of abuse. On June 24 I had a experience in traditional couples counseling that caused me tremendous pain. I felt the abuse issues in my relationship were not addressed. I had to sit there and listen to my partner falsely accuse me one more time. The therapist Mrs. Beth asked if I acknowledged that my partner had pain? I answered yes but.....The therapist interrupted me and said there was not "buts" about it. But, it still falls short. Because my partner's feelings are hurt it does NOT give him the right to hurt me; the invisible broken bones of emotional and verbal abuse were not addressed when the therapist asked me to acknowledge that my partner was hurt and there is no "buts" about it. . Above all, to disrespect another person is to disrespect one’s self! (How can you possibly feel good about yourself if you treat others in ways you don't respect?) One cannot disrespect oneself and have self-esteem! And F clearly disrespect me. I got out of therapy with a tremendous amount of pain inside. Not only was I not helped, I was harmed. Is this how the invisible broken bones of emotional and verbal abuse is addressed? I feel as if this is a serious mistake. She did not ask me to recognize that underneath anger...there is often hurt. She asked me to feel his pain. I can only be personally responsible for everything inside the boundaries that define "me" from "not me." Everything! I am responsible for my feelings, my values, my behaviour, my thoughts, choices, insights, beliefs, limits - everything! The same goes for F. Nothing, nothing, nothing excuses an adult's selfish, disrespectful or abusive behaviour toward another human being! I am saying I had it with his false accusation. Isn't it selfish to set limits? In fact, it is destructive not to set limits. Who will take care of me if I don't? Who knows more about what I need, or don't need, than I do? It is unfortunate that the word "selfish" has such a bad connotation. Perhaps we need to think in terms of "self caring." I think I can feel that my partner is broken internally. The identity he presents to the world, and often to himself, is a facade. But he has no clue that he has a problem. Although he may admit to occasionally losing his cool or getting loud, he is very, very good at defending his misbehaviour. Although he says he is not perfect he never never apologizes for anything. I know he did not have his infant needs met or pain soothed by the caretaker at a time when it was age appropriate, because his mother committed suicide when he was young and what he remembers of her is that she was beating her children very badly. Every time I miss the boat, (according to F) that is "proof" that I don't care for him or for C (his daughter). He seems to believe that it is my job to meet his needs and hers. For example he wanted me to become C's mother. When I replied I could be her friend but not her mother because she already has a mother, he was very hurt. To this day he did not forgive me for that. Not only that, he thinks I actually have the capability to do so, this is where personal boundaries are lost. As I understand it, boundaries distinguish each individual's "territory," the place where personal responsibility begins and ends. The self is the only area over which an individual has any control. This includes cultivating my ability to say "no," to F even if my actions disappoint him or hurt him. No, I have not written a letter to F' daughter. In therapy F appears innocent or justified in his behaviour. What is wrong is that HE is "always right!" The pattern is typical: he justify his displays of disrespect by blaming me. He said one plus one equal's two... therefore I am the guilty party. Well it it this provocation that characterizes the abusive element of the relationship. To the casual observer, as well as to the therapist who may be unfamiliar with the abuse phenomena, F appears "innocent" or justified in his behaviour. His provocation is transparent, while the "hysterical" partner's (ME) reaction is all too visible. I almost always defend my self. The provocation is always offensive, and it is virtually transparent. The retort, by comparison, is always defensive and highly visible, with me appearing to be at fault. The relationship is one-sided and is exclusively focused on meeting F's emotional needs. (C included) My emotional needs are seldom met -- and are often actively thwarted. The active thwarting of my emotional needs is often the provocation. I am over-responsible, emotional, and codependent; in fact, in therapy I acted out--In this case, my defense appears frivolous and disrespectful of F. I may appear to be the verbal abuser! Francois's emotional and verbal abuse becomes lost in the process and is somehow excused or forgiven because he is hurt!!!! Mrs. B does not seem to see how he is able to get his act together - and very quickly - once his misbehaviour is pointed out to him. I have not yet mastered assertion skills and I am wasting my time and energy getting upset that my partner is "doing it again." But one thing is for sure, I am not wasting time and energy fretting over the correctness of my perceptions ("reality"). I feel the therapist has very little awareness of how slippery my partner can be, and I look bad to this therapist. Why is my partner not asked to stop the games and manipulation? Why I am asked to feel his pain????. I am aware that I have not learn the appropriate expression, and in my -rightful rage - and as a result, my integrity have suffer. How can the pot get away with calling the kettle black? The power may be more balanced (sometimes the balance of power will shift!), but the games continue...as long as I am ask to feel his pain, I have to sit and listen to his false accusation... "doing it again," I fail to see how my perceptions is out of line when, for instance, my partner is accusing me of writing a letter I did not write. These are unfounded accusation and yet it is a facts of my life that justifies him withholding affection, never really forgiving, holding grudges... etc.. If there is a huge difference between taking the blame and taking responsibility I can not take the blame nor take responsibility for something I did not do. I thought part of recovery is about learning to stop assuming blame. My partner said he is not perfect, but he never takes the RESPONSIBILITY for his behaviour. It seems to me he is looking for a scapegoat, a way out, someone to blame and that is me. Nobody ever, ever, ever, EVER causes another person's problems! Nobody has that much power. He is fooling the therapist; he is just being slick again. He was dragged into treatment by me. In therapy he is likable and present himself well. He has also offer plausible explanations to counter my "seemingly" irrational complaints against him. I have not heard the therapist say to my partner that he had a problem too! I understand that a therapist's goal is not to inflict blame on their client's partner, but by stating that "your partner has problems too" is TAKING blame away from the me, and I feel that this can be harmful as he Needs TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY! The main reason I am getting into trouble in "ordinary" counseling is because the therapist does not seem aware of the distorted balance of power. The therapist assumes each individual is equally powerful... On June 24n in therapy a incident in which my partner had a inappropriate expression of jealousy-was exposed. The therapist did not call it a inappropriate expression of jealousy. She said my partner was only "being protective". What happened is while F was away, a neighbour said something to the fact that I had a nice...a//. Well F wanted to know his name. Wanted to go confront him... etc.... This is not being protective. Both violent and non-violent forms of abuse need to be treated with the same emphasis on stopping the abuse and in correcting the balance of power. By asking me to feel my partner's pain, she invalidated my gut-level suspicion, and unwittingly increased my already disabling my self-doubt and guilt! It is necessary for me to ask for Mrs B's credentials, before I even consider going back in therapy with her. As of July the 3rd, I will resume going to therapy with Mrs. G P. I do no longer give permission to Mrs. B to speak with Mrs. P....that is until I am given her credential to work with clients in abusive relationships. I have telephone the Gloucester Resource Centre and asked to receive some documentation. I feel the need to understand Emotional/psychological/verbal abuse. In the eight types of Abuse I read: ~False accusations ~finding fault ~yelling ~intimidation ~making her think she's crazy or stupid ~overpowering her emotions ~disbelieving her ~bringing up old issues ~Inappropriate expression of jealousy ~degrading her ~turning a situation against her ~laughing in her face ~silence ~refusing to do thing with or for her ~Insisting on always getting his own way ~pressuring her ~neglecting her ~expecting her to conform to a role ~making her feel guilty ~manipulating her ~starting arguments ~withholding affection ~punishing her by not sharing in household chores ~never really forgiving, holding grudges ~lying ~threatening to report her to authorities ~refusing to deal with issues For the past 6 months F has Totally ignored me, Side-tracked me, Dominated me, Controlled me, Manipulated, me Falsely blamed, me Constantly opposed me, and he says he does not abuse me! Now the therapist is saying I do have to acknowledge that he has been hurt? On june 24, the therapist said there was no "sins"... Well, the reality of this situation is that, my husband is angry at me because his blood type does not match his daughter's blood type, nor does it match the mothers blood type. How is that my fault since I am not his daughter's mother? I do not understand how accusing me, will change the reality of the situation. Right now I am angry and VERY hurt.... I can only repeat: Yes I understand that F is hurt by this reality but (there is a but) nothing, nothing, nothing excuses an adult's selfish, disrespectful or abusive behaviour toward another human being. This comes at a time when I am Waiting for Cancer Test Results. I already have been for 3 tests. On the 2nd of July I have to go for yet another test. In a controlled experiment that surveyed women waiting for mammograms it was found that the emotional stress of believing they may have breast cancer, even for just a few days, causes patients to indicate they would be likely to delay mammograms. I have been inform end that the number of tests you have, how long they take and how often you will have to go to hospital, all depend on the type of cancer the doctors suspect, where it is and at what stage it is. I have been undergoing test for almost a month and a half while at the same time I am being Unfairly accused Invalidated Discounted Undermined Trivialized Judged harshly Unfairly criticized At the Hospital they compares the fear of thinking about having breast cancer to an "emotional roller coaster" in which a woman can conjure up a sense of vulnerability to the disease. This is something a woman don't have any preparation for in life, so panic is often the first thing that springs to mind! How am I to stay positive, and strong? I do not know. The last therapy session really set me back. Last night F told me that he now understands the therapy is only for him... to set him straight.... he said he understands he has no right to his own feeling... that he can not bring his daughter to therapy because of me... He never tells me when he sees his daughter, he never tells me how she is doing, if she graduated this year... and when I ask it makes me, according to him, a jealous women. All I could reply is that the fact that he has been hurt does not give him the right to hurt me and make my life a living hell. SINCERELY YOURS , AP  Maybe you need to make F HISTORY! Doc

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, July 20, 2003

S1

yes,

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, August 08, 2003

S1

my husband of 9 years and i are in counseling...AGAIN. we discontinued seeing the last counselor because my husband felt she was blaming him for all our problems as she asked to see me separately. in this session she brought up the possibility that my husband might be emotionally and verbally abusive. he badgered me until i told him what was said in the session, regarding her thoughts on our relationship. he refused to go back to her for "us" but would go to help me through "my" problems. i stopped going all together and gave up. now, a couple years later, i have moved out and we are seeing a new therapist for again..."my" depression, anxiety, and the reasons "I want to ruin our marriage." i feel like our therapist is very knowledgable and cares immensely about both of our well-being, however, i have only met with her once alone because, as i explained to her, i do not feel safe to talk openly in front of my husband. to me this would be a sign to her that i need to meet with her alone more often, but i cannot suggest it as my spouse becomes very defensive. anyway, i found this article interesting and i think i will simply have to assert myself and unfortunately not tell my husband that i am going alone. thank you for a very informative website.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, August 20, 2003

S1

I feel compelled to write simply because my situation is the reverse from nearly every one of your other submissions. I am a man. I have been separated from my wife for 18 months now. We have three children between us who spend most of their time with my wife. At first I was not aware that the relationship was abusive, I did not have the tools or the understanding or even the vocabulary to describe it in such terms. I only knew that it was unendurable. We tried marriage counselling twice while I was living at home and both times it failed. I can see why now because it assumed that there was an equality in the relationship that never existed, but I could not see that at the time. Eventually I left though I only moved 1 km away because I needed to be close to my children. The abuse escalated after I left: phone calls at all hours, endless streams of abuse from my wife, constant unexpected arrivals at my house at any time, refusals to leave when she was dropping the children off, phone messages that consisted simply my children crying into the phone, the list just goes on and on. On virtually every occasion my guilt at leaving, my sympathy and understanding of how difficult my wife's position was as a single parent, and my need to keep her on side in order to be able see my children made me believe that I needed to endure the abuse. Added to this was the fact that my family (my mother, brother and sisters) didn't/couldn't understand why I had left and judged me accordingly. Finally we tried counselling again and after my wife spent the entire session telling the counsellor that she just loves me and wants me back and the counsellor expressing what a wonderful relationship we could have I left feeling revolted and incredibly upset. At the time I had no other words to describe how I felt as I still didn't understand the situation. I tried a psychiatrist who seemed to only want to discuss why I refused to let myself get angry. I gave up and then a friend pointed me to this website and to Patricia Evans' book. For the first time I had something that could explain to me why I felt so scared of my wife, why every shred of love that I felt for her had died and why I felt that I could not trust her enough to try and repair the marriage. Reading Evans' book and the checklist in the beginning was a revelation. I saw that my wife was a text book abuser; I can say yes to virtually every single item on the list. I don't imagine that Evans' book is an easy read for anybody who feels that they are the victim of abuse but it is a necessary one. For me the book was doubly hard because it is gender biased. It portrays women as the victims and men as the abusers and while this is certainly true in most cases it was not true in mine. It was incredibly difficult to read of myself (as a man) being constantly cited as the guilty party in the abuse cycle when I knew that I was actually the victim. I wanted to write to Evans and suggest that the book be less gender biased but comments by her in the back of the book made me think that it might be a futile gesture. Evans believes that abuse is a gender issue. It is not and I am living proof of that. At this point I have still not been able to stop my wife's abuse of me though I have managed to limit it. A phone call from her about a month ago left me so emotionally crippled afterwards that I was afraid to leave my house for the next few days. I stayed home, kept the doors locked and refused to answer the phone; I felt as if I had been physically assaulted. I realised after that there could be no more contact between us that wasn't solely about the children and that all contact must be in written form only. This has not stopped the abuse but it has considerably limited it and I now feel somewhat safer. I now have a phone that tells me who is calling and that helps me to choose whether or not I answer it. Until I had that installed I had not even realised just how much anxiety I felt every time I heard the phone ring. I am now also seeing a counsellor at a men's help centre and I am very happy with her (I feel far more comfortable in talking to a woman about this than a man). I am not sure yet if she fully understands the extent of the situation (I have only had 3 sessions to date) but I do believe that she is capable and willing to understand it. During the 2nd session she suggested that we pretend to invite my wife into to room and discuss the abuse with her. My fear, agitation, and anxiety surprised even me given the imaginary nature of the scenario and I felt certain that after that the counsellor saw that there was a very real problem at hand. And my family have come around to a partial understanding of the situation. For that I have me wife to thank for she has "slipped up" a few times over the past year and accidentally revealed the true nature of the relationship in a way that my family could see. But I have other problems as well, the social justice system here (Australia) is also gender biased towards women in terms of custody of the children and visitation rights, and rightly so I feel compelled to add in most instances but in my case it works to my disadvantage. If my wife decides to cancel a weekend visit from my children there is little that I can do about it. My only hope is that as the children age (they are 6, 8, & 12) that they will be able to decide to spend more time with me. I work hard at establishing a caring, loving and affectionate environment while they are here and I do not make negative comments about their mother because they love her as well. My hope is that if I can heal myself and provide a stable and loving environment for them that they will know that I love them, miss them, and do not live away from them by choice. Thank-you, D.