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VIDEO: "What is parental alienation?" Parental alienation is when a parent allows a child to participate or hear them degrade the other parent. This is not uncommon in divorces and the children often adjust. In severe cases, however, it can be devastating to the child. This video provides a helpful overview.
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Author Topic: Turned on Couples Therapist  (Read 3692 times)
ConverseHome
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« on: February 23, 2014, 05:35:21 PM »

My xBPDgf and I were seeing a fantastic couples therapist for the last six months. Both my x and I believed she was enormously competent, as she was not only credentialed like crazy, but also very effective, empathic, and v. good at drawing insights into each of our backgrounds and how this was informing our behavior, and the dynamic between us.

Of course, only problem was I was there for us to find mutual understanding, compassion, and ways to learn from our dynamic with the hope of a healthier us and a future together (we have been together for six years, living together for three with my two children). My xBPDgf was there to argue her point of view with the T, fix me, and to triangulate with the T, something for which my x could win an Olympic gold medal.

So, my x moved out in late December, though we've been seeing T every week since then to try to reconcile (for the umpteenth time). My x was convinced that I (yes me) has BPD, and said this several times to T. The therapist, in our last (and truly last) session, said unequivocally that I do not have BPD, and that there are perhaps deep emotional issues informing my x's need to diagnose/pathologize me. With this, my x lost it, and completely turned on the T. It was rather horrifying to watch. In a blink, the T went from being 'wise,' 'competent,' and 'insightful' (my x's words), to being irresponsible and incompetent.

Has anyone experienced such a thing? Am I to understand her turning on the T as yet another symptom, if you will, of this disorder? I'm left shattered, bewildered, though at the same time oddly stronger as I'm now left picking up the pieces of my life, all the while drawing upon every ounce of emotional resolve I have to be strong for my children, work towards selling our house (which I can't afford on my own), and find a place to rent for myself and my children. I feel so guilty about having put my children through all of this, and frankly, even felt guilt watching my x turn on the T.

I keep reminding myself my x is disordered, and intellectually I know this, but emotionally it is just so very hard. I will get through this, I will be good and fair to myself, I will not do what my x has done to me, that is demonize me and call me the most wretched things. Despite all she has done, I am not capable of hating or turning in that kind of way. One of my many solaces is that I didn't become like her, with hate in my heart, and an inability to absorb even an ounce of responsibility/accountability. Still, it's the guilt I must continue to work on.
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Madison66
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« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2014, 09:40:46 PM »

ConverseHome,

I'm sorry you had such a rough experience with couple's T.  Unfortunately, I CAN relate to your experience.  I did three rounds of couples T during the last two years of my 3 year r/s with my uBPD/NPD ex gf.  In the first round of T, the T was outstanding and separated us after a few sessions due to the obvious issues with my ex (abandonment issues, sexual abuse by a female HS coach, attachment issues, narcissistic issues, emotional dysregulation, extreme self shame, etc.).  She had about three sessions with my ex and my ex told me about the issues and the treatment plan.  For whatever reason, we had a couples session shortly after and things went really bad during the session.  I simply discussed an issue we had previously had where she was dumping on me and not supporting my needs.  At the start of the session, I could see that my ex's eyes were not right (hollow and glazed over).  She became emotionally dysregulated, began crying and saying she wasn't really ready to be in a r/s and had never had these issues with another partner (emotional blackmail even in a T session!).  The T tried her best to reel her back in, but at the end of the session when I went to use the restroom and the T went to get my ex a glass of water, my ex left and wouldn't talk to me for several days.  She vilified the T and would never go back.  The worst part was that this was the point in the r/s where I should have RUN, RUN, RUN AND RUN!  I caved and began walking on egg shells like never before.  We did two more rounds of T and I worried the whole time that if I really express my feelings, my ex would leave.  The other real issue in the second and third rounds of T was that the central issue that should have been addressed was the emotional abuse that was worsening around that time.  I was just angry and in a no win situation doing couples T at that time.  There was no way it was going to work based on the ongoing abuse.  I just didn't understand how bad it was and then in T, my ex would project the issues on to me and I would walk out with my head spinning.  I was the one in the end to get so fed up I called the T off.  The r/s was finished for good within about two months.  

Tough situation, but I learned so much about myself during the process.  Here are a few things:

1. You can't have emotional abuse and intimacy in a r/s

2. Abuse must be clearly communicated as a central issue during T

3. I simply couldn't participate in T or in the r/s without being my true self and that wasn't possible with this r/s and partner

4. You can not walk on egg shells and be able to express your true feelings in T

5. I should have walked from the r/s after the first round of T failed and my ex refused to work on the issues she admitted to at the time with that T

6. As a man being emotionally abused by a female, gender bias does happen

7. As I worked on my own issues and my ex refused to deal with hers, couples T was futile and the r/s would end sooner or later

8. R/s should NEVER be that hard

Now, the first T remained as my individual T and she is the one who really helped me work on myself and build the strength to leave the r/s.  She has also be HUGE in helping me with my recovery.  I would have never found this T without the r/s happening.
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Turkish
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Relationship status: "Divorced"/abandoned in Feb 2013.
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« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2014, 10:08:18 PM »

Wow, Madison, that kind of describes how it would have gone if my Ex had made it past more than one joint session and two individual sessions before she quit. I stayed with the same T for 4 more months. Even down to my Ex writing in her journal "I wasn't ready for this r/s!" And she not having these issues with her past relationships (who are narc man boys, so there you go). Good list. Yes, a r/s shouldn't be this hard, which is why I almost figured out BPD in Year 1, yet still continued almost 5 more years... .
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    “For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.” ― Rudyard Kipling
Madison66
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« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2014, 10:49:42 PM »

Yeah, her narc ex h left her for another woman.  In regards to the statement that she used to state that she "might not be ready for a r/s", that triggered my own abandonment issues and she knew it.  It's sad what I allowed myself to endure.  I have such a different outlook on what my future r/s (s) will look like.  And, if I chose to participate in couples T in the future it will be with a partner who will have the ability to learn and grow with me during the process.
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Turkish
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« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2014, 10:57:21 PM »

Yeah, her narc ex h left her for another woman.  In regards to the statement that she used to state that she "might not be ready for a r/s", that triggered my own abandonment issues and she knew it.  It's sad what I allowed myself to endure.  I have such a different outlook on what my future r/s (s) will look like.  And, if I chose to participate in couples T in the future it will be with a partner who will have the ability to learn and grow with me during the process.

I would be open to pre-marital conseling in the future... . if my partner were not, then  Red flag/bad  (click to insert in post)

As for that comment I read in her journal, it just pissed me off. 2 kids, a home and mortgage and 6 years later, and you're saying that now? *bah*
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    “For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.” ― Rudyard Kipling
Tausk
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« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2014, 12:48:38 AM »

Hi ConverseHome:

It's very hard. I'm sorry you're going through so much confusion and pain.  I went through many of the same issues.  My ex and I saw six different counselor's at different times in our four years together.  None of them helped, and many hurt.  And even times were there seemed to be progress, was only temporary.

If your ex has BPD, you should know that there's a fair amount of information that indicates that couples counseling doesn't work at all for r/s with BPD.  It simply becomes a forum for the pwBPD to shift blame and to find a mediator to take sides.   Couples counseling is based on behaviors, including empathy and taking responsibility, which are simply outside the capacity for many pwBPD.  

Are you seeing your own counselor?  That's ultimately what helped me in the counseling tool box.  

Working through my FOO issues and understanding why I moved into such a unfulfilling interaction has changed my life.  

Keep on the board and sharing. I think you'll see you're not alone.  And then understand your feeling are common, and you're on the right path to recovery, and not just totally crazy.  Smiling (click to insert in post)  And then hope will come to you because we understand.
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iluminati
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« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2014, 07:16:39 AM »

I'm not surprised by this happening.  I know on my end that whenever we tried counseling, it quickly became an attempt to "fix" me by eliminating my boundaries, fusing myself onto my stbxw and making her serve her needs.  I was adept at forcing her to speak her peace about what she felt instead of deflecting attention onto me, and she couldn't handle dealing with her issues.  She did better when she was in DBT, but she ended up getting kicked out of that.  She even tried to get involved with my personal therapist to steer her in her treatment of me.  So not a good thing.

I think the issue is that they are so afraid of dealing with their core issues that they'll focus on anything else.  Until and unless they are willing to face the facts, therapy is a waste of time.
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He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.~ Matthew 5:45
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