2005-07-06 - 11:33 a.m.
Westley and I did end up going to the marriage counselor together two Fridays ago. He had said we couldn't afford it so he wanted to put it off, but then he agreed to meet me there and I agreed we's skip the following week instead. I was happy he did so.
Westely said something like corporal punishment isn't the same as violence and that he REFUSES to give up HIS LEGALLY PROTECTED RIGHT TO use this method of child rearing.
Then the counselor asked "IS that right MORE IMPORTANT THAT YOUR MARRIAGE?
or something along those lines.... FIGHTING WORDS and VERY INFLEXIBLE. BASICALLY WORD OF A DEAL BREAKER IN A MARRIAGE, and then he said "we're done" and got up and said he's find a counselor that would HELP us and not pontificate... or something like that. And he stormed out
I, in typical fashion of KNOWING he is ALL TALK AND FULL OF CRAP IGNORED the outburst and said "Well, we can continue and if he calms down maybe he'll re-join us, but if not that's fine too." and then I proceeded to continue with the session.
AT one point I said "I think I should go out and invite Westley to come back in if he wants to . Maybe he will and then we can move on from here"
I went out and did so and he said "I'm leaving in four minutes with or without you. I've already waited ten."
I told the counselor what he said and that it was an empty threat. As I figured Westely did drive off (I think I wasn't really paying attention to him while in the rest of the session) and then came back. IN any case he was there to give me a ride and didn't complain about me remaining- but said he wouldn't be going back to him. He did also say he didn't want ME to go back (Not that matters for me seeking an individual counselor-- as I would go back if I WANTED to However its a moot point as this guy is not a part of our insurance so if I WANTED an individual therapist I wouldn't use him anyway. I Actually DON't though as after a few weeks with him ALONE I realize there isn't much utlity in that UNLESS I am ready to be medicated, which I AM NOT! I mean all a therapist can tell me is the obvious: MAINTAIN INDIVIDUALITY AND AUTONOMY. DUH!!! Easy to diagnose as a key aspect of what would make MY PERSONAL SITUATION HEALTHIER! But until I AM READY to actually WORK to do that, its not really something I can otherwise do. And I am not yet interested in doing that. It doesn't seem to REALLY be in either MY individual best interest OR that of any of the kids!)
But its another manifestation of an attempt to control on WESTELY'S part to say "DON't GO to him." but he knows that I wouldn't LISTEN to that if I didn't want to! ANd he knows its WRONG of him to have that initial reaction of being controlling- so I didn't worry too much about his knee jerk defensive reaction. I UNDERSTOOD it was from HIS VULNERABILITY at having been EXPOSED to the core- at having HIS DEEPEST WOUND revealed!
I was glad he later said "Well I can't TELL you not to go to him, but I would PREFER you don't and I WON'T pay for it."
YEAH OK!! (FACITIOUS THERE....) I mean REALLY... come on... MY USE OF INSURANCE COULDN'T REFLECT POORLY ON HIM BY THE HR STAFF THAT PROCESSES it! HE however has ALWAYS refused to file claims for ANY counseling and HE HOLDS the idea of mental health being stigmitizing! But that's HIS ISSUE and not one I WILL AGREE to take on. I am not worried about it and in fact DID use insurance in the past, and would do so in the future!
The counselor is concerned however about WESTELY's LACK OF ABILITY to compromise on issues EVEN WHEN THEY RESULT in NEGATIVE IMPACT ON HIS LIFE. He said correctly that when someone is SO UNBENDING even in the face of negative personal consequences that IS NOT NORMAL and is in fact WAY OFF THE RADAR of HEALTHY BEHAVIOR. It in fact is what is defined as PATHOLOGICAL!
He thinks the stance on insurance, and discomfort of having babysitters is DOWNRIGHT CRAZY.... but I think if ONE WAS ABUSED as a child, it makes SENSE that they are AFRAID OF WHO WATCHES their children! I think there is a fundamental BLOCK of realizing in most moments IT WAS THEIR PARENTS THEMSELVES WHO ADMINISTERED THE ABUSE, and that maybe they don't realize THEY NEVER HAD A SITTER TO HIDE THAT ABUSE! But then when they grow up they feel UNTRUSTING of other caretakers for their kids, and also tend to want to NOT HAVE OTHER PEOPLE WATCH THEIR KIDS AS THEY GREW UP WITHOUT SITTERS so they ASSUME that is because IT IS HEALTIEST FOR KIDS TO HAVE THAT TIME WITH ONLY PARENTS. (AND I SUPPOSE THAT IS TRUE WHEN THE PARENTS HAVE HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS WITH KIDS! SINCE WE DO HAVE HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE KIDS I DON'T worry about this and figure TIME FLYS so we may as well enjoy this time with the kids EVEN IF WESTLY has an unhealthy QUIRK about this issue! ALSO he HAS used sitters WHEN COMFORTABLE with knowing them some time, and is open to doing so again. He just needs time to get to know the caregiver FIRST and we haven't yet met anyone here! )
So ALL THESE THINGS WOULD BE GREAT CONCERN IF IN FACT WESTELY REALLY REFUSED TO CHANGE
However I HAVE OBSERVED THAT WHILE HE ACTS LIKE AND SAYS HE WILL NOT CHANGE AND OUT OF NARCISSIC PRIDE ARGUES AND DEFENDS IN THAT SELF PROTECTIVE STANCE, HIS BEHAVIOR ACTUALLY SUBSEQUETNLY DOES CHANGE! ANd that is the reason I still have cofidence in our relationship and the ability to grow and move forward!
That night Westley and I DID TALK at length in a very open and I think HELPFUL WAY.
Interestingly he HEARD the counselor say to him "WHat kind of violent problem do you have?" and felt attacked which is why he got up and left.
Last weekend we had company over and at one point in answer to a question that Westly HADN"T HEARD asked of him, his friend here asked "Where are you both originally from" I answered LI for me, and Westchester for Westely who was at the other end of the table. He looked up and said "WHAT?" and I repeated that we had been asked where we were from and he said "Oh- But not Rocester."
His friend knew what I had said and realized Westely misheard. When I talked to Westely about this LATER and tried to indicate I thought he was DEFENSIVE and heard something as an attack that the counselor didn't say- as I didn't HEAR it he defended himself as "I HAVE GREAT HEARING. I can even hear when you leave the TV ON. Your the one with the hearing problem. you say one thing when you mean another somtimes"
I tried to tell him that IS true, but he also hears things SOMETIMES when others say other things and I urged him to consider having his hearing tested!
I SERIOUSLY think that would benefit him! He had that ACUTE HEARING and the irritation of being UNUSUALLY SENSITIVE to stimuli of sounds (not unusual when you look at Aspergers I swear he meets most of the criterion)So he assumes he has impeccible hearing! Maybe he does- but maybe just maybe his processing isn't PERFECT!
He is continuing to be stubborn regarding refusing to go back to this counselor. HE said the guy ATTACKED him and was not helpful to us. He said the guy was UNPROFESSIONAL and that even when Ron Clark disagreed with him he didn't ARGUE with him like this guy did.
I think he is CORRECT that Ron Clark WAS INDEED a better counselor. I think this guy WAS VERY GOOD, however he cut to the chase and got to the HEART of issues TOO QUICKLY without first having developed TRUST AND RAPPORT needed. I think there is a fine balance there in the art of therapy!
That night however we did talk and Westley did acknowledge he can recall HUNDREDS OF TIMES in which his parents ADMINISTERED CORPORAL PUNISHMENT. He talked of being belted. He talked of the use of sticks. He talked of being a child that whether he knows it or not was VERY BADLY ABUSED.
It is so clear to me that he has DONE WELL with NOT EMULATING HIS ABUSIVE PARENTS in regard to physical discipline. He took a Soft cover book and swatted KAterina on the butt ONE TIME and I intervened. He had Soren get a stick , and in that case the walk of Soren in picking out the stick (about a twenty minute process) and then the administering of one VERY LIGHT - barely touching with hardly any force, was a case in which I said "WOW! I SEE THE WISDOM OF THAT AS A METHOD OF ALLOWING A PARENT TO CALM DOWN!" That ONE time of using an object with Soren, allowed Westely the time to lapse so he did not act IN ANGER in the moment. IT allowed the time out to diffuse, and it allowed SOREN a degree of control. He picked a mylar piece made out of a styrofoam material that was being used for the construction at the time and I can attest that was likely a spanking that had LESS sting than the few others he received. I said at the time that I would let WESTLY do that to see how I thought it worked. I later said I could see how it WAS a lesser of evils, but that I thought it STILL not necessary and didn't want to make that part of our discipline.
At which I directly voiced my discontent and then took the strong action of enforcement of the no violence policy!
So although he is defending, and I SEE he is trying to make SENSE of HIS ABUSE by being in that INTELLECTUAL PHASE of IDENTIFYING WITH HIS ABUSER I know that in the past HE HAS BEEN CRITICAL of his parents. HE HAS identified that they have harmed him. HE ALSO has at times said things like "I never misbehaved like that when I was a child!" and acted like he was the holier than thou child. So it is refreshing to be able to TALK to him about the REALITY : THat he was not a perfect child and that he did not have perfect parents.
It is important to be able to point out the FACTS To him
THE FACT that HE WAS HIT BY HIS PARENTS WITH OBJECTS OVER AND OVER AGAIN
THE FACT THAT HE DOES NOT DO THIS TO OUR CHILDREN BECAUSE HE FUNDAMENTALLY KNOWS IT IS WRONG and there are better ways to teach
THE FACT HIS PARENTS WERE ABUSIVE
and to acknowledge that HE DOES HAVE ANGER AND PAIN AS A RESULT OF THAT ABUSE
While I fundamentally AGREE-
And I am hopeful that EVEN if we go to various counselors that IS CONTINUATION AND CONTITY ENOUGH to make real progress!
I think this CAN BE DONE if I DO NOT ALLOW WESTLEY TO IGNORE THOSE FACTS HE HAS ACKNOWLEDGED.
IN a sense WESTLEY HIMSELF is working through his issues. So typical of a narcissic persons--they have to do it themselves! but I think at some level HE REALLY IS working through them.
I felt good about what I SAW as an important BREAKTHROUGH in a way of him ACKNOWLEDGING some realitys of how he was raised.
HE also is still interested in continuing, albeit with a DIFFERENT counselor. NO matter as he is STILL the same person, and I am still the same person and the issues WILL STILL BE THERE TO UNCOVER AND ADDRESS.
This morning though he said he wanted me to call Catholic Charities again. I called them and they didn't call back.
At some level it is HIS RESPONSIBILITY to get us into counseling. He has THWARTED the process. HE is interested in going BECAUSE THE LOUDOUN COURT WANTS HIM TO. HE said "I have to call that guy and get a letter that we saw him six times. AND IT BETTER BE POSITIVE"
I said "It won't be."
But that again will be HIS CONSEQUENCE and I can't do much to help him with that.
If the court IS NOT SATISFIED with his efforts in marriage counseling, his attorney told him to be prepared to be given a conviction on the count of domestic violence FOR THE ONE SLAP TO MY FOREARM last July, and his subsequent refusal to willingly enter anger management in VA and enter into marriage counseling at any committed level.
So that being the case, the therapist was amazed that WESTLELY would be so hotheaded in his walking away and refusing to continue treatment with him.
I actually suggested we try to find sitting and go to the MOST HELPFUL IMAGO WORKSHOP that our VA MARRIAGE COUNSELOR is holding in AUGUST. I thought that would be the best thing for us as BECAUSE WESTELY HAS A TRUSTING RELATIONSHIP With that counselor he is more OPEN with him and feels less vulnerable.
He said it wouldn't meet the criterion of the court as they want REGULAR counseling.
So I am trying to get ahold of the Catholic Charities here in NY today to see if we can continue this journey.In any case, I feel like we both have much greater insight.
And abusive background or not, and intellectualizing or denying or not, at least I STILL see loving treatment of our children on a daily basis, and while there are those occassional control moves WITH ME taken (with finances) I know that is only because I am TEMPORARILY home and not yet working. ANd in the midst of all of this I ALSO see loving behavior and trust of ME growing. That alone makes a HUGE difference, as when WESTELY feels secure in MY LOVE for him , he is open to discussion and growth without feeling vulerable and attacked. He has learned to differentiate between a differing opinion and a personal attack from me! Maybe someday he'll get to that point with others too....
That feeling of being attacked when someone disagrees with you is really the worst outcome of being a child who has been abused. The seeming ARROGANCE and self protectionist stance is really to hide that child like vulnerabilty and feeling of NOT BEING LOVED and NOT BEING LISTENED TO, CARED ABOUT AND VALIDATED.
I feel like there should be a support group SOMEWHERE for FAMILYS ATTACKING THE HIDDEN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE WITH THE SECRET WEAPON OF LOVE
I REMEMBER THAT VERY CATHOLIC TENANT ATTACK THE SIN NOT THE SINNER.
I think that is what I believe is possible
I STILL BElieve in the power of love.
I BELIEVE in the possibilty of forgiveness
AND I BELIEVE WE CAN PURGE OUR FAMILY OF THE SIN OF ABUSE WHILE STILL MAINTAINING THE INTEGRITY OF OUR FAMILY