Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Hum of the Trauma Field

Yesterday my therapist referred to my situation as a "trauma field".  In other words, I'm trying to heal and rest while the bombs are still going off, and the mines are still active.  

Today in couple's therapy I heard the hum of that trauma field grow louder. The last few days Roi spoke gently, tread softly, and was more or less caring and humane. I have not initiated conversations about "us" or bothered to think about what he's doing when he's not with me. We circled each other carefully. 

In therapy stuff started coming up, because that's what you do in therapy, but as I heard Roi's usual responses to my upsets I felt the pain, the rage, the panic, the physicalness of it clench down on my skull, my ribcage, my stomach. Roi was hammering away at how my responses to his "wrongs" were so overblown. As he expanded and expanded his analogy of just how enormous my reactions are, comparing them to nuclear bombs and wastelands and scorched earth -- I don't know exactly what he said because once I started hearing "nuclear" I couldn't hear anything anymore and I said sharply, "I can NOT listen to this. I cannot listen to this. For two reasons. 1) My reactions were not "overblown" for a long time, yet your actions and reactions have remained the same, and 2) we've already established I'm suffering from acute and complex PTSD and I've given you that." 

I'm not sure I would have ever done such a thing in therapy before, to interrupt the other person, but frankly I was astonished and angry that the therapist wasn't calling him out on this. After all, she had called me out on being "absolute" earlier. 

Her response was to say that she thinks couple's therapy is not good for me right now. That I am too early into my treatment and need to be "stabilized". Which? True. This isn't good for me because I can't HEAR him. All I hear when he starts going off about MY response is a loud hum in my head and I want to break something. And what I want in that moment is for someone to hold Roi accountable for his behavior. In couple's therapy it is still me that has to be accountable. "Yes, I'm doing this to take care of myself. Yes, I'm committed to my therapy. Yes, I'll do that. Yes, yes, yes." while Roi sits on the other side of the couch and for every request that is made on him he has a litany of excuses, "no I haven't been totally honest with my sponsor, but that isn't really the problem. I would think about going to therapy IF I could afford it. I would do this, if that." 

So the upshot is that I have to continue to do my hard work, Roi may or may not do anything different, but he IS going to go away for three weeks for some peace and quiet and we're calling an absolute truce in the meantime. No discussion of the relationship. No decisions. No sex. No RELATIONSHIP, just a putting down of the guns. 

I can do that. I've been doing that.


  1. Briar,

    I too want break something and he isn't my husband. What they are doing to you is absolutely enraging!!! I simply cannot believe what's going on. Its not YOU that isn't ready for couple's therapy, its HIM and I doubt that he ever will be.

    He's doing a total mindfuck on you honey and he's in cahoots with that ignorant awful shrink. Your instincts were spot on and I am SO glad that you spoke up. BRAVA!!! He is totally full of shit.

    Overblown???? What a fucking joke!!! He's lucky that he's alive. Sorry, for my crassness, but this is just not right. All his lame excuses, minimizing, blaming, twisting, manipulation, deflection, putting the onus on YOU (cause you got angry at poor lil ol HIM)... as THE problem (all of that is mindfuck)and then these gems:

    "no I haven't been totally honest with my sponsor, but that isn't really the problem."

    (like hell, it isn't!!!)

    "I would think about going to therapy IF I could afford it. I would do this, if that."

    blah, blah, blah... wtf??? sorry, but I am absolutely enraged by his behavior.

    Honey... please. I do not know you or your husband, but this is a man who is clearly NOT in recovery. He might be going through some of the motions of a man who's SUPPOSED to be in recovery, but until he can accept 100% percent responsibility and be 100% accountable to YOU AND his sponsor and his therapist, and move heaven and earth to "try" and make it up to you, then he doesn't stand a glimmer of a chance.

    He may not actually even be acting out, but what I am seeing then is a man who's a "dry drunk" and pretty effin narcissistic. very tough.

    I really feel for you and completely understand how and why you're so distraught. What sane woman wouldn't be?

    wishing you much strength in the coming days.



  2. I don't think the therapist is entirely ignorant. I think she was trying to do the best she could with the short time she had (only 4-6 sessions) and has advised us that IF we want to work things out we need to see an addictions specialist who sees couples.

    I do think she is somewhat ignorant to what narcissistic personality disorder/addiction (because they are practically interchangeable) looks like. She has called him out on stuff before, it was only in this session. And like I said, she is somewhat right. I'm not in any condition to deal with him at all, much less with some idea of making things right. For all I know she was being wise in her way by helping me to keep the focus on me since he's probably hopeless.

    I am angry at her, but I'm not enraged.

  3. I'm really sorry honey. You're not enraged? Okay, then I'll be enraged for the both of us. I have had a lifetime of abuse and now, I've come full circle and when I see it happening to another woman, it makes my stomach turn.

    No one could deal with his nonsense. Its abuse honey. Its abusive of him to deflect, minimize, contort his horrible, heinous behavior and then make himself out to be the VICTIM of your completely JUSTIFIABLE rage. How dare he and how dare that lame therapist for not calling him on it? She's NOT helping, in the slightest. grrrrrr...

    "nuclear bombs and wastelands and scorched earth"

    Those are not the words of a loving, compassionate husband who cares deeply for his wife. It is clear that the only person he truly cares about is himself. If your couple's shrink didn't pick up on how hurtful his words must've been for you, then I still feel that she's a loser and actually doing more harm than good. If she doesn't address the bad behavior/hurtful comments that means that she's condoning it, by inference and therefore rewarding it. She doesn't doesn't have to be a so-called "addiction specialist" to get it. That's total crap. His actions are basic sex addiction 101 mindfuck. very, very common and typical behavior coming from an addict. She does have enough sense, however to know that she's in waaaaaay over her ignorant head, because unless Roi can begin to accept that he's done a truly awful thing to you and that you are entitled to WHATEVER it is that you are feeling for his soul crushing actions, then he IS hopeless.

    Alright...I'll shut up now. :) I am going to pray for peace... You really deserve some.

    xo ~ L

  4. Briar,

    I'm going to comment from my own experience with joint therapy. D and I went to marriage counseling right after DDay. I was insistent that we go to marriage counseling, individual counseling, that he go to a CSAT, weekly meetings or I was leaving his ass. I was so convinced that this was the right thing to do because in my head I thought, the more doctors involved, the more experts, the better the results. It backfired on us both and I didn't realize how much damage I almost caused until someone on a forum read a post of mine and not so kindly pointed out what I was doing. And she was so right. I needed the kick! LOL

    My long winded point is this - while in the beginning of marriage counseling I was feeling a sense of "HA HA..see, you screwed up!", after a few weeks, watching D's confusion about the "why's" began to frustrate me, then anger me and we just left pissed off spending money to feel what we could have felt at home.

    He does so much better seeing someone who specializes in sex addiction, but if Roi can see someone who specializes in addiction period, maybe he can begin to make some progress. But he has got to stop lying to himself first. It appears he is blaming everyone but himself.

    I think you're time apart from him will be a God send. It will give you a chance to work on your exit plan (I think I recall you saying you were doing that) along with your recovery and attend meetings whenever you want without worries. It will also give you time with your kids. Plus, you can see a counselor more hearing comments from the peanut gallery.


  5. L, first of all, you totally get brownie points for making me chuckle with this, "we just left pissed off spending money to feel what we could have felt at home".

    I do think the time apart will be good. It's only that it pokes at some tender spots, as does Roi painting things as they are not, or making excuses for things that are.

    And I realized last night that the therapist may not have handled everything the way I wanted, and I was angry at hearing Roi once again telling me and someone else how I'm overreacting to everything, BUT it changes nothing. I already KNEW that, and I already HAVE a plan, and what happened yesterday does nothing to change it. So I can relax and keep doing what I'm doing.

    There's no question it was a trauma response though. So the therapist IS right about that. We won't be able to talk until I'm calmer, even if that talking is to say, "see ya".

    I can't totally let go of the idea that he'll be on a little peaceful island for three weeks, totally relaxed, while I'm here working on stopping the internal bleeding, which YES, his behaviors helped cause. He still has to work while there but that's barely consolation.

    Off to see my therapist now.

  6. Briar,

    Confession - I thought that I'd get emails on follow up comments...duh....this is the first one I've actually checked. So sorry!

    "L, first of all, you totally get brownie points for making me chuckle with this, "we just left pissed off spending money to feel what we could have felt at home". "