June 16, 2010

Couples Therapy --Part Deux

Our first session went alright, it was your typical get to know you, what do you think is wrong in this relationship kind of session. I can only explain yesterday’s session in one word, exhausting.
She started asking about our week and asked if anything happened after our last session. I gave her the cliff note version of our weekend in Santa Barbara and the incident in the bar in which stemmed into our conversation about “The Guy” and his friendly flirting ways. “Please explain friendly flirting” the therapist asked. Seriously I have no patience for this mumbo jumbo. I wanted to say “a flirt times 10”, but I knew she wanted a deeper definition. So I told her that a friendly flirt to me is one who is overly nice, overly seeking the attention of the opposite sex, will drop what he’s doing at a drop of a dime to help someone(woman) in need, flirts with his eyes and smile, overly attentive, will express his desires and life philosophy to a total stranger just to get validation that he’s a good person. Well, of course she sits there examining her legal pad and says “so your definition describes me”. Ohhhh great! she’s going to validate his behavior because she doesn’t see that what he is doing is disrespectful, which undoubtedly is the case. She throws out “so this woman comes up to you guys, and just directs her attention to him, they mirror each other because they are out going and friendly and this bothers you…do you not want him to have female friends?” , screw you lady, that’s NOT what I’m saying. I told her calmly that it doesn’t bother me that he has female friends, up until he got fired he conversed with his female co-workers all the time, it’s the ones that he keeps secret is what I have a problem with.
After a few minutes of therapist babble, and moments of dissecting “the guy” and hearing excuses for his “friendly flirting” and the need to help women when it’s us he needs to help. I told them both flat out that I’m tired of the excuses for his actions or lack of smarts when it comes to boundaries, I’m tired of him not being accountable for his everyday life, work schedule, money etc . Then she looks at me and says “who does he remind you of?, ohhhh great I’m about to be dissected. I looked at him and then back to her and shrugged my shoulders. Seriously I didn’t want to go there, I had a long day and I didn’t want my brain to be her sandbox to play in, but of course I opened up and said “the men in my past”, “which man in particular, Jolene”…… “my father” ohh no what did I just do, and of course here comes the scalpel!
Here’s the thing, I’ve already worked through this with my own counselor and I didn’t want to go here with her, but she kept slicing away….so with her legal pad ready and scalpel in hand I began, but she only got the cliff note version. I told her that my father was always full of excuses, he was hardly a man of his word. “did he cheat on your mother?”… “I wouldn’t be surprised” I replied, I went on to say that he was a cop and he was always out with his buddies or kept late at work (or so he said), or on a sports team of some sort but when he HAD to take me along to these games I saw him do his own style of “friendly flirting” with the women on the team, especially one blonde. I wasn’t na├»ve, I knew he was playing with fire. I remember nights being tossed in the car on the search for my father or sitting in the back seat watching my mom watch him through a window at the bar. Of course he had excuses , but it stemmed further than that, I was for the first 6 years of my life his little girl then once my sister came around someone took my seat on my dads lap and I heard excuse after excuse why he couldn’t be there for me. “so he sort of abandoned you once your sister came along? He wasn’t the man you thought he was, was he?” . and she got a big fat NO. The counselor was under the impression that my parents were divorced, and I quickly corrected her and told her that they are still together and reside in Wisconsin, granted their relationship may be based on lies and heartless emotion they still portray a picture of husband and wife. My mom is the controlling manipulator and my dad has now drawn up the white flag and has become her puppet. It’s sad really. I finished up by saying that I have no relationship with my parents, that after many visits to my counselor I am no longer expecting them to turn into the parents my sister had the pleasure to have in her life, that I have to think of them as deceased……and that’s how I cope, their games can’t hurt me any longer.
As she drew up her scalpel she said that the men in my life are never what they seem. I’ve been searching all my life for a man to hold strong to his word, to bring safety into my life and to stop with excuses but it continues in a vicious circle. She tells me that I never had good role models to mirror a healthy relationship therefore I find myself constantly in dysfunctional ones. Great!!!!! “The Guy” interjects and begins to talk about his fear of me leaving him, because he’s lost so many that he has loved, he tells her about losing his brother at a young age and how with that he was never able to work through his emotions which now turn into anger. He shares with her how he’ll ask me a question about us or what was the best part of this past weekend and the answer he got wasn’t to his liking. With a stern voice the therapist looks at him and says “YOU’RE SETTING YOURSELF UP!” , she continues to ask him what he would have done if I said I had a horrible weekend. He said he would feel hurt. I told her that he constantly needs validation and it’s exhausting. “do you love me”, “do I make you happy?”, “what can I do to make you happy?” , “do you still find me attractive?”.
I told you it was exhausting, didn’t I ? the rest of the session was your typical he said, she said visit. She spoke about “Divine Interruptions” which God throws down at us to prevent us from something bad, she heard Joel Olsteen speak about this and it actually made a lot of sense. She basically stated that our cancellation of our wedding was a divine interruption and if we would have gotten married we would have now been headed to divorce court. She looks down at her legal pad and turns her glance to me and said “Jolene while you were speaking you said ….when I WAS in love with him….are you not in love with him now?”.
Where’s the hidden stenographer and please have her tell me when I said that? quickly I try and recall when I said that I wasn’t in love with him as they both wait for an answer. I then told her that I am not sure anymore, so much as gone on, and he’s not the man that he made himself out to be. As she started to wrap up the session, he interrupted and said that he had one last thing to say and it was to me. He started to tell me how much he loves me and how much I mean to him….he told me that he will do everything in his power to make things right. The whole time he was reciting what he has told me over and over again I sat there thinking “you have to be kidding me? Tears, emotion is he trying to score points with the therapist”. When he was done, there was silence and I know they were expecting me to reply, but HOW?? The silence was awkward and I wasn’t going to break it, I seriously had a few montages going through my head….one of which I laughed out loud and said ARE YOU KIDDING ME!! And it didn’t end well. So I waited until she said “so what do you have to say Jolene”, and I looked at her and said “honestly, he says this ALL the time and until I see action behind those words it doesn’t mean much”. She looked at him and said “ok, so you know what she wants…..she wants you to be a man of your word, she wants a safe place”

“See you guys in 2 weeks and leave all that went on here today …..HERE, don’t bring it home”.

Easier said than done