Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Why Does Getting Better Feel so Bad?

Had my first therapy session this morning. I'm going to call her Liz. 

I saw Liz before just for neurofeedback. I didn't have insurance and she was taking a few patients for free so she could practice. It saved my life at that time which was immediately after a double-trauma, but we didn't have official talk time so I didn't tell her about the extent of what was going on. I knew opening the can of worms without the official support wasn't something that would help. 

So even though she's seen me before, we did a 90 minute intake session. I talked mostly about Roi and some about sustained emotional abuse in my childhood (from caregivers, not my parents). She softly validated my pain with words like "abuse", and "torture", and "parasitic". She also stated that Roi's actions were intentional to keep me off-balance.

I talked about things I hadn't ever talked about, and I cried and felt like I was going to throw up or pass out or maybe just die, right there in front of her, just die from all the pain. 

I meet with her again Thursday and she also wants me to see my general practitioner to have blood work done as she wants to make sure I'm not also battling any health problems or vitamin deficiencies. She firmly suggested this stating that I was going to have to take all this seriously and address all fronts. 

Immediately after I drove to our couple's therapist for a session with Roi. He's angry about how much he's financially supporting me, and that despite all that I blame him for everything. He just can't wrap his head around that I'm suffering trauma or that he has enough to do with that to be "blamed". His belief is that I'm just sick in my own right. 

This is both true and not true. He conned me in the beginning, presenting himself as someone who was capable of commitment, loyalty, and emotional support. There's a tape in my head that sometimes plays over and over of a conversation early in our relationship. We were talking about past relationships, and I was describing how some men I had dated bailed when they started to feel strong feelings. I can hear his voice on the other end of the phone, "I'm not like that. I'm a good guy." I can see myself standing in the living room. I can feel my exhaling breath. I can remember feeling that I had met a good guy, not just because of what he was saying but because of how he had been acting. How sweet he had been. How romantic. How caring. How he listened. How he was interested. 

By the time I started realizing the true depth of his manipulations, deceit, and sickness I was entrenched. I worked for him and my financial well-being was wrapped into the whole thing. I tried breaking it off a few times, and the nice guy would appear in full force again, and I couldn't avoid it because we maintained contact for work. He hoovered me. 

My past trauma, and the context started wrapping tighter and tighter and he continued to manipulate and deceive. And then came the big trauma, and I've not been the same since. He's had a hand in all of it.

So when he believes that I had a "latent predisposition to depression" and tries to escape his responsibility, it would be like me having a latent predisposition to diabetes and he's slipping sugar into my food without my knowing and when I end up with full blown diabetes and having to struggle under the disease, him saying, "well, you had a predisposition to diabetes". 

Our therapist is operating under the assumption that we are only going to have 6 sessions and so she's trying to drive toward immediate solutions. Today she suggested that we have three choices. Use our time with her to work on how to separate in the future, separate now short-term and reconvene to see how we feel a few months down the road, or separate now forever. 

I'm angry and annoyed. Though I want to leave, I don't want to discuss it with him. I don't want to give him reason and opportunity to abuse me more, and I've no doubt that he will. From cruel indifference, to dating without discretion, to pressuring me, to financial control. And who knows what else.

At all costs he doesn't want to see how sick he is, so he uses me as the scapegoat. I have no reason to believe this will end just because we officially say we're separating.

The therapist also suggested that we might find the space over time to be allies, to be friends. Which is a little like suggesting that I might become friends with someone who has held me captive and tortured me, and I don't know if she just doesn't see what is really happening here, or if she does but can't say so and this is her way of protecting me, but it doesn't feel like protection. Again though, if she believes we're only going for 6 sessions, what else can she do? 


  1. I just went thru something similar. I was so overwhelmed I had to break it all down into baby steps.

    1) Get on antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds.
    2) Get a job.
    3) Get an apartment even if not the ideal one, one I could immediately
    "escape" to.
    4) Go to counseling and focus on the only thing I had any control over. Myself.
    5) Stay in counseling until I can figure out how not to ever have to repeat 1-4 above.

    Take steps....

  2. Ahhh... yes, I remember on our first date predator saying those exact same words. "I'm a good guy." I felt sick when I read that... he used you... he took your innermost intimate thoughts and deepest fears and became the man YOU needed him to be (for a time, that is)... Its all so gross, I can't stand it.

    Honey, please don't second guess yourself for one second. You have a total handle on his MO and your analogies are spot on. I do understand what your therapist is trying to say, too, but....... most of 'em really have no idea about these dudes. They really, really don't. I think the way to deal with a narc is to be as fake and phony as he is-- in his presence, that is. Don't give him any reason to pin his crapola onto you, because as you know, he will turn a hangnail into the real reason that you are so miserable. It has absolutely nothing to do with him. no, he's a "good guy"... and he "loves" you and is trying his damnedest,(yes, he's an ant trying to walk all the way around the world) but you are too depressed, too miserable, too angry, unforgiving, bitter, heartless and just plain nuts... yeah...I know... I know.

    But you aren't honey. You're as lucid and sane as they come and these dudes prey on our type. We are sensitive and prone to depression. We are nurturing and giving and caring. We love... oh, we love too much!

    If I may, I'd like to offer some suggestions which you may ignore if they don't work for you.

    What is the purpose of the couple's therapy? No wonder you are so upset. Its a lose/lose proposition with Roi. Narcs do not respond to therapy and only perpetuate more and more mindfuck and mindfuck their therapists as well. yuck. Its a recipe for more and more pain and suffering. guaranteed. Go get a massage instead and a pedicure. :)

    As for separating, if you are leaving him... (to quote one of my favorite movies, The Court Jester) "Get in, get on and get out" ASAP. Why prolong the pain? Kill him with kindness and "understanding." He'll be standing there scratching his head, dazed and terribly confused, because he never saw that part played out in a movie. No, he lives for the drama that "good guys" like him thrive on. Around him you are cool and in control, BUSY, relaxed, confident and just taking care of any necessary business. Even if its just an act... oh, he will try to push your buttons, but he's not real, so don't let him.

    You have your blog, your shrink and your friends to vent with. I like Anonymous' advice too! Its all for you.

    best ~ Lexie

  3. I think from the things your couple's therapist has said in the past, she knows. She knows the extent of it, but maybe in suggesting that y'all break up and be allies she is trying to save you a job and put Roi in the mind frame that he doesn't have to destroy you. Maybe she is being cunning for you?

    Either way, whatever you know to be the truth...that you cannot be friends with your captor once you find freedom, or whatever...that is what is true for you. I think you will find a lot more therapeutic talk in your one on one sessions than with the big bad wolf sitting right beside you. I wouldn't be able to open up very much, not at such an important stage in the game, at least.