Home page of BPDFamily.com, online relationship supportMember registration here
November 15, 2018, 12:51:59 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Board Admins: Harley Quinn, Harri, Once Removed, Radcliffwendydarling
Senior Ambassadors: Flourdust, Mutt, Turkish, Woolspinner2000
Ambassadors: BeagleGirl, bluek9, Cat Familiar, CryWolf, Enabler, Feeling Better, formflier, Insom, JNChell, Merlot, Mustbeabetterway, RolandOfEld, spero, zachira
  Help!   Groups   Please Donate Login to Post New?--Register to post Here  
PSYCHOLOGY: Help us build this database.
Pages: 1 ... 3 [4]  All   Go Down
Author Topic: TREATMENT: Why marriage counseling so often fails  (Read 6495 times)

Offline Offline

Posts: 49

« Reply #75 on: February 27, 2012, 03:33:26 PM »

MC for us was quite frankly a waste of $250-$500 every month, depending on how often we went.

My BPDH wouldn’t usually try to blame me, b/c he found out early on he could not get away with that one.  But, he would blame others from his past, as well as past uncontrollable incidents of unfortunate fate that were traumatic.  Even though he finally stopped doing that, he never took any responsibility for himself regardless.  I think b/c internally, he still blamed his past, even though outwardly, he wasn’t expressing this.  He learned in some respects what to say and what to avoid saying (mirroring).  All I can say is that he still fails to take responsibility for himself.

I would let PDH do most of the talking at the start of each session, but it would get to the point where it sounded as if we had no problems.  He would try to paint this picture of an ideal that in reality did not exist.  I would finally have to step in and fill in the gaps where he failed to do so.  If I wasn’t there, the therapist would have only heard half the story, if that, and would think that other than a few little occasional snafus, everything was honky dory.  As if!

The last therapist that we saw together was always validating of me and clearly understood what I was going through, so that part helped.  But I could have gotten that from an individual therapist.  I guess what helped – rather, what was supposed to help, b/c I don’t think it ever really did – was that H was there to hear the validation.  In other words, he couldn’t argue that I was in the wrong with my perceptions, b/c the therapist generally sided with me (though not in a way that made H feel ganged up on).

Yes, the gist was working on communication, though the couples counselor felt I had that part down pat.  It was BPDH who didn’t, and still doesn’t.

BPDH recently fired our couples counselor, and I had also been seeing my own therapist anyway, and still am.  BPDH just started seeing therapist #4 for him in as many years.  I have no hope that anything will change from his end.



This board is intended for general questions about BPD and other personality disorders, trait definitions, and related therapies and diagnostics. Topics should be formatted as a question.

Please do not host topics related to the specific pwBPD in your life - those discussions should be hosted on an appropraite [L1] - [L4] board.

You will find indepth information provided by our senior members in our workshop board discussions (click here).

Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Person in your life: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 436

« Reply #76 on: March 16, 2012, 11:55:22 PM »

In my 26 year marriage to uBPDxh, we were in counseling off and on from year one. I was encouraged that my ex would go to counseling, though frustrated and confused at why it did not produce lasting changes. I kept depending on counselors to have the answers.  Multiple counselors did not pick up on the BPD piece, and my ex seemed to enjoy trying to charm the women therapists--or getting them to feel sorry for him. His early wounds were from his mom, and it makes sense now how he looks for connections and nurturing from female relationships. The several male therapists didn't last long---ex got upset and refused to go back. It wasn't until I read SWOE's that it all started to make sense.  It's my opinion that the vast majority of counselors are not educated on high functioning BPD's---and only look for low functioning symptoms for BPD consideration. So it was missed---and that was the elephant in the room all along.


"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something
else is more important than fear."

Ambrose Redmoon
Offline Offline

Posts: 64

« Reply #77 on: April 24, 2013, 05:10:49 PM »

Hello everyone.  My first post here.  I am currently in marriage counselling with what I believe to be an uBPDw, I think that's the right abbreviation.  So many of the posts in this thread resonate with me.

We have had three different marriage counselors over the years. My wife regularly dissolves into floods of tears whenever we attend counselling sessions. She is extremely intelligent, and always describes her plight with such great passion,clarity and anguish. Most people who hear her story immediately assume I must be a really terrible husband, including the counsellors/therapists.  She always somehow manages to put spin on everything to make even the tiniest domestic incident seem like it was a horrible slight against her, usually without materially changing the facts too much, which I think is in some ways quite an amazing skill. I usually try to patiently explain to the counsellor that the incident described didn't feel at all like that to me, but because I do not immediately seem to respond to the floods of tears and upset from my wife, I am often labelled as callous, or 'not in touch with my emotions', which just validates my wife's point of view that I am the cause of all our problems.  Over the years, she has tried in turn to label me with things like Asperger's Syndrome, to account for this lack of sympathy with her point of view.  I feel it is very difficult to be sympathetic towards something that didn't seem to actual happen, at least in the way it was described.

Often, as soon as the sessions are over, the tears immediately switch off, and my wife goes back to being her usual, rather detached self.   It seems like a performance to me, but if I suggest this to her, my wife uses that as a weapon against me, and tells the therapist that I am so callous that I even accuse her of trying to manipulate me via her anguish, to which the counsellors usually look duly horrified.   I even got a kiss today after the session, straight after reeling off all the horrible things she claims I do to her to make her feel so terrible that she had to cry throughout the whole session.

The therapists all seem very convinced by her. I pointed out that her crying through the whole session isn't very easy for me to deal with, but was told by the therapist that 'feelings can't be controlled'. If I try to point out the logical inconsistencies in her account of events, which there are occasionally, I am criticised for being "too rational", and not 'engaging on an emotional level' with our problems. 

Another problem is that the same rules don't seem to apply to me as to her.  She will quite happily criticize me for something, and the therapist will agree with her that this is unreasonable or undesirable, but if I then point out that she also does the same thing, this is somehow 'different', or in a different context that makes it acceptable.  The therapist never calls her on it, and says 'But this is just the same thing you claim your husband does, which you say hurts so much'.

The therapist asked us to summarize our childhood experiences.  My wife initially refused to talk about hers - she had a really difficult relationship with her mother, and I think she thought it would prejudice her argument to talk about it.  Even though she glossed over the worst parts, there was still a lot there for the therapist to get stuck into. However, instead the therapist opted to home in on my childhood (which was mostly happy, and I told her so) somehow in a bid to try and 'prove' that it wasn't as happy as I said it was.

We have three children, and the extremely difficult atmosphere in the household is affecting them too.  But according to the therapist, my poor attitude towards my wife is what is really affecting their views.  She essentially argued that because they are children, their views on us as parents don't really count for much, and so I should always support my wife, even if the children complain about how they are treated, and even if I sympathize with their complaints.  She essentially argued that I am teaching my children to disrespect their mother, by my own poor attitude towards my wife.  When I asked how I should behave when my children come crying to me because of horrible things their mother has said to them, she just said I should believe and support my wife.  But my own experience tells me that my wife does say horrible things, and then tries to spin them to seem less horrible - because she does the same thing to me too.

If I express any upset or frustration to my wife at the things she has said or done, she makes it seem like I am the problem, and claims I won't stop 'going on' about things, and have an inability to 'let go' of situations.  She never apologies for anything, never admits guilt, and never seems sorry about what she has done. 

I don't think I will go to another joint counselling session.  It seems a waste of money, and the therapist is so clearly in my wife's corner.  She essentially justified this today by arguing that she didn't want to see my wife go back into hospital (she briefly admitted herself to psychiatric hospital 8 years ago).


Offline Offline

Posts: 10

« Reply #78 on: July 08, 2013, 07:10:19 AM »

My BPD wife and I have been married for nearly six years. Back in December I got tired of her constant misdirections, inconsistent messages and telling me that all the mistakes she had made were my fault. I had an affair and ultimately left her for the other woman.

Over an extended period she begged me to come back and said she would forgive my affair. When we went to counselling it was instantly all about her and about my affair. She neatly pushed aside everything she had done and the first three sessions were instantly about what I had done to her. The abusive Facebook post, repeated broken promises and horrendoous debts didn't even get discussed.  It became like a three ring circus. Since then she has hit me and locked me in the house during arguments.

Right now she is telling me that she's changed that she realises she has issues but she still loves me and she wants to put it right. Even so when I raise things like her locking me in or the time she smashed a bottle of drink on my doorstep she seems to say that while she is sorry she did these things surely I must recognise that they were my fault.

She wants to try again and get more counselling but I have to say I am struggling with it slightly. I love her to bits and the chemistry is amazing but I don't know I can get the confidence to expose myself to potentially getting the BPD run around again. I think if you are going to get counselling then you absolutely have to make sure the counsellor will have experience in dealing with any specific underlying issues that either of you suffers from.

Certainly in our first round of marriage counselling the counsellor went straight for the victim act, as a result didn't get all the issues on the table and thus completely missed the broadness of our issuies.

Offline Offline

Posts: 10

« Reply #79 on: July 08, 2013, 07:11:57 AM »

I shoudl add we went to marriage counselling two years previously at my request. The counsellor called her out on her behaviour and she decided there was no point going anymore because he didn't get her.
Offline Offline

Posts: 335

« Reply #80 on: July 08, 2013, 12:00:16 PM »

How did MC work for those who did try it?

What went wrong?

What went well?

Did/Is your SO going to any individual T sessions?

How did MC work for those who did try it?

What an utter waste of time for me!  My x IS a therapist, so when we went for counseling, she would put on her own “therapist” face and manipulate the hell out of the situation. 

What went wrong?

I essentially had two therapists ganging up on me.  It was intimidating, abusive, and obviously MY feelings were minimized. 

What went well?


Did/Is your SO going to any individual T sessions?

She said she was / is, but again, her being a therapist herself, I am sure she manipulates, omits, and adds to her stories to play the “victim” role.


Offline Offline

Person in your life: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 12

« Reply #81 on: November 18, 2017, 05:44:04 PM »

Having previous individual therapy will make a HUGE difference in whether or not MC works, since those who are willing to get individual treatment are the ones who recognize - at some level - that they need help and are willing to seek out and work towards getting healthier.

Sadly, a great many of the members here don't have partners who fit that criteria. They have partners who are deep in denial and blame, leaving the non the focus of everything that is wrong. Without the ability to self analyze, then progress is pretty much doomed from the start.

Adding to those poor statistics is that so many nons feel like helpless victims too, so they wind up feeling stymied and unable to enact any changes on their own.

And round and round you go 

My partner initially sought therapy when we first started dating which made me hopeful.  However, he stopped going, and began to blame me for all the problems in the relationship.  We tried couple's counseling, and that was not helpful.  I was often blamed for his outbursts, I was told by my ex and and the T that I was judgmental, but I was like, didn't you just judge me?  It was very hard, I'm quick to look at my piece and take too much responsibility, and I think my partner took advantage of that, and the two therapists we saw were lazy and also took advantage of that.  That is my piece - I abandoned myself. 

Anyhow, I shared all this to say, that going to therapy doesn't necessarily mean someone is willing to work on themselves, rather that they want to give the impression of working on themselves.

Offline Offline

Person in your life: Romantic partner
Posts: 30

« Reply #82 on: July 19, 2018, 12:45:00 AM »

I would say MT was a total unmitigated disaster and it has put my marriage on the brink of divorce. I have twin six year old boys so the consequences are not limited to me and my SO either.

I went to counseling with my wife after she attacked me during a fight. I asked her to seek counseling. She made a phone call, after which she decided based on that phone call that she was being emotionally abused. Soon after that she had a panic attack.

I was pretty depressed at this time due to a stressful job transition and our relationship troubles.

We went to counseling and our marriage counselor emphasized that we learn how to really listen to each other and really speak our truth. Quickly everything was based on my depression. We would make agreements in counseling and she would fail to follow them. When I tried to make her accountable, I was belittled. Sometimes the counselor failed to hold her accountable after promising to do so. I became distraught in counseling several times and the MT would belittle me and admonish me. Several friends of mine questioned me about our counselor, but I stayed committed to our process, until one day my wife declared, "I don't want to work on it anymore," as though she had ever wanted to work on it. I din't know about BPD at that point and was very confused. I was taking responsibility for everything.

My individual counselor has been good at helping me get my bearings these last few months. I have also read some good books about separation and BPD. I have worked to create a pretty peaceful home life, but its still pretty rough. I think our MT helped devalue me to the point that I don't know if my marriage will ever recover.

Recently though she has agreed to go to counseling with me again. She has been asking to go to mediation, and I have been resisting, but I got her to agree to go to counseling as a precursor to mediation. I will try hard to find a good counselor. Would appreciate any tips. Its interesting that she says she is frustrated that I wont agree to mediation but is relying on me to set things up. Totally typical.
Links and Information
The Big Picture
5 Dimensions of Personality
BPD? How can I know?
Get Someone into Therapy
Treatment of BPD
Full Clinical Definition
Top 50 Questions

My Child has BPD
My Parent/Sibling has BPD
My Significant Other has BPD
Recovering a Breakup
My Failing Romance
Endorsed Books
Archived Articles

How to Stop Reacting
Ending Cycle of Conflict
Listen with Empathy
Don't Be Invalidating
Values and Boundaries
On-Line CBT Program
>> More Tools

Membership Eligibility
Messageboard Guidelines
Suicidal Ideation
Domestic Violence
Policy and Disclaimers
Professional Endorsements


Your Account

Moderation Appeal
Become a Sponsor
Sponsorship Account

Pages: 1 ... 3 [4]  All   Go Up
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2006-2018, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!