Marriage counseling

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Marriage counseling

Postby momjeans » Thu Dec 06, 2018 4:58 pm

DH and I are starting marriage counseling. But, before our first couples appointment, we will each have a solo appointment. Mine was yesterday; DH’s appointment is today.

Obviously, one of my main grievances in our marriage is his parents. They are the root of our marital strife, because of their enmeshment.

DH knows my gloves are off, because I’m basically fighting for our marriage at this point. During my solo appointment yesterday, I laid it all out there. Every damn thing. I meticulously keep detailed notes regarding both MIL and FIL’s mindf*ckery, because there is just SO much.

By the end of my appointment, the therapist basically reiterated what I knew all along. It was so nice to hear it mirrored back to me out loud.

Verbatim she stated that:

- Inlaws are covert narcissists - controlling, manipulative.

- They’re codependent enablers - especially with DH’s brother, drunk BIL who has had two open heart valve replacement surgeries.

- Inlaws have an emotionally incestuous relationship with their grown sons. Meaning that they look to them and use them for an unhealthy means of emotional support. That they’ve infantilized them to the point that they have little to no backbone to stand-up to their parents in order to put their spouse/marriage/family first.

- Inlaws engage in gatekeeping behavior with my husband’s oldest child from his first marriage, because she’s still young enough that she can be controlled and manipulated and she won’t stand up to them (yet), therefore, they don’t have to be held accountable. That she’s also a source of affection, which fuels their narcissism and keeps the “We are a perfect and loving family” gig going for them to put on display for the rest of the world, social media, etcetera.

- Since inlaws are adamantly against family therapy, it proves that they don’t see any problem with their own behavior. They have zero qualms trying to break-up our marriage, and that they are indeed narcissists and will most likely never permanently change for the better.

- We need to move far away from my husband’s parents. Like, literally put miles and miles and miles between us and them.

- My husband is seriously in the FOG with his parents. That she will do her best to help us save our marriage, but that I should inevitably think of a future exit strategy out of my marriage. This was a difficult thing to hear, but she’s not wrong, because my MIL and FIL are really that vile and dysfunctional, and that my husband basically has to be deprogrammed from their brainwashing.

She was extremely happy to hear that my young children and I are No Contact with my inlaws and that it’s probably best to stay that way, despite how much my husband pressures me to engage.

With all that said, I’m playing my cards close, to see how things go down in our couples appointment, because my husband has the tendency to get super reactive and defensive when reality is laid out in front of him regarding his parents. I’m especially looking forward to his reaction to seeing the therapist today, because sadly, it’s not going to go in his favor like I think he thinks it is, and the therapist stated she’s not going to sugarcoat any of this.
Boundaries ensure that the consequences of people’s actions land squarely on them.
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Re: Marriage counseling

Postby Melody » Thu Dec 06, 2018 5:19 pm

I hope it goes well for you. DH and I went for a while a few years ago and it ended up being great. DH chose the counselor -A woman in her 70's who was a trauma specialist. I wouldn't have thought that this was the right specialty but DH's friend who is therapist guided him well.

Basically having a crapish childhood lacking family support is considered trauma.

We actually ended up spending shockingly little time discussing the inlaws. In short (and I was a little horrified) but she advised that I couldn't ask DH to C/O his stepmonster. The counselor explained, "You can't ask him to cut off his mother figure." and I quote, "Even if she's a piece of sh*t". This was said in front of DH but I think he tuned it out. She also told him that it was HIS job to protect his family from her.

HOWEVER, after that appointment we went LOW contact (Yippeee!!!!)


This counselor was lovely and had us read a book together "Wired for Love". https://clintonpower.com.au/2012/07/wired-for-love/

I'm an Island, DH is a wave - knowing our types help us fight less and resolve issues.

Please keep updating and I hope you have as good an experience (or even better) as we did. Know that this is worthwhile.
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Re: Marriage counseling

Postby jigglypuff » Thu Dec 06, 2018 5:35 pm

By the end of my appointment, the therapist basically reiterated what I knew all along. It was so nice to hear it mirrored back to me out loud.


Omg, I can't even imagine how good it must have felt hearing this from the therapist. She sounds amazing so far.

- Inlaws have an emotionally incestuous relationship with their grown sons. Meaning that they look to them and use them for an unhealthy means of emotional support. That they’ve infantilized them to the point that they have little to no backbone to stand-up to their parents in order to put their spouse/marriage/family first.


This is exactly what my MIL has done to her children. In her mind, her children live to please her and fulfill her needs. I've told DH that this is why his siblings can't hold down a marriage or any relationship for that matter. How could they if mommy always comes first?

DH also lacks a backbone, especially when it comes to his family. He admitted that he feels like he owes his mother something but doesn't understand why.

I really hope the therapist can get through your DH and he makes some changes and saves his marriage and family. I think you guys are going in the right direction. Wishing you guys nothing but the best. Keep us updated.
'As the days go by, I think of how lucky I am... That you're not here to ruin it for me'
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Re: Marriage counseling

Postby KeeperOfPrecious » Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:00 pm

Before I could finish reading your post, two things came to my mind. The first is I think it’s outstanding that you are getting the counseling, I am so happy for you. The second was how it will go for your DH. You a answered that in your closing. I hope he has an opened mind and can see that this is for the good of everyone, especially the two of you. You have done what I cannot. My DH refuses to go to therapy or counseling too. He thinks it’s too biased and one sided. This is a big huge step. I’m cheering you on.

The devil himself is impressed with her handiwork.
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Re: Marriage counseling

Postby momjeans » Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:39 pm

Melody wrote:Basically having a crapish childhood lacking family support is considered trauma.

I'm an Island, DH is a wave - knowing our types help us fight less and resolve issues.

Please keep updating and I hope you have as good an experience (or even better) as we did. Know that this is worthwhile.


Thank you, Melody. I hope it goes well too.

And, yes! Trauma. That’s what the therapist said, just 20 minutes into me talking in detail about my inlaws and DH. That he has a lot of childhood trauma. Enough that his normal meter is off and needs to be recalibrated.

I love that metaphor. I feel I’ve always been an island, out of self preservation. DH has not been a wave.

Thanks for the reading recommendation. I’ll definitely keep everyone posted.
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Re: Marriage counseling

Postby momjeans » Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:48 pm

jigglypuff wrote:Omg, I can't even imagine how good it must have felt hearing this from the therapist. She sounds amazing so far.


It felt incredibly validating to have someone confirm what you’ve been going through is in fact REAL.

I mean, I have friends IRL that have listened to my inlaw woes, but it has been a long time coming to have a schooled professional basically say “Yep! No bueno!”

I hope this has a positive impact on DH too. In all honesty, he could just decide it’s not worth the emotional work, or his time, at any moment, so I’m hoping to squeeze in enough to at least have the ball in my court regarding his parent’s behavioral issues.
Boundaries ensure that the consequences of people’s actions land squarely on them.
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Re: Marriage counseling

Postby momjeans » Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:55 pm

KeeperOfPrecious wrote:Before I could finish reading your post, two things came to my mind. The first is I think it’s outstanding that you are getting the counseling, I am so happy for you. The second was how it will go for your DH. You a answered that in your closing. I hope he has an opened mind and can see that this is for the good of everyone, especially the two of you. You have done what I cannot. My DH refuses to go to therapy or counseling too. He thinks it’s too biased and one sided. This is a big huge step. I’m cheering you on.


Thank you, thank you! I will take all the cheers from the sideline that I can get.

I think there’s a little itty bitty part of DH that does not want to do this. He has definitely inherited, through parental conditioning, that accountability and consequences are bad. The other little part is that I feel DH could be willingly going along for the ride, in hopes that he would benefit from it in way of being able to hand me and the kids over to his parents on a big shiny platter, for a healthy dose of holiday engagement come Christmas. Because it wouldn’t be Christmas if my MIL wasn’t allowed to proverbially crap all over me, in my own home, for her narcissistic jollies.
Boundaries ensure that the consequences of people’s actions land squarely on them.
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Re: Marriage counseling

Postby WatchingMyBack » Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:04 pm

I'm glad you did this for yourself.

Please do post an update to your DH's session. My DH refused to go for anymore sessions after the first because things didn't go his way.
“Make no judgments where you have no compassion.”
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Re: Marriage counseling

Postby WhyOhWhy » Sat Dec 08, 2018 4:06 pm

momjeans wrote:By the end of my appointment, the therapist basically reiterated what I knew all along. It was so nice to hear it mirrored back to me out loud.
Verbatim she stated that:
- Inlaws are covert narcissists - controlling, manipulative.

- We need to move far away from my husband’s parents. Like, literally put miles and miles and miles between us and them.

- I should inevitably think of a future exit strategy out of my marriage.

- my husband has the tendency to get super reactive and defensive when reality is laid out in front of him regarding his parents. I’m especially looking forward to his reaction to seeing the therapist today, because sadly, it’s not going to go in his favor like I think he thinks it is, and the therapist stated she’s not going to sugarcoat any of this.


I'm really glad you're getting therapy for both of you and so great your therapist is up to date enough to recognize and acknowledge narcissistic behavior (some old school therapists simply don't). I've seen it on here time and again that putting some miles between you and the in-laws is really crucial especially if they do not respect boundaries and if they maliciously work so hard to try to undermine your lives at every turn. Of course you have hope that your husband will finally see the light thanks to a 3rd party but she's right for you to prepare just in case that doesn't happen. I think your husband's reaction to the session is going to give you a big clue as to how this all is likely to go. Please keep us updated so we can continue to help support you through this.
I will not let them drag me down to their level again
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Re: Marriage counseling

Postby VegasVal » Mon Dec 10, 2018 2:17 pm

I am so proud of you and your DH. This is a wonderful step in the right direction.

I hope it goes well and you're able to get peace.

Remember to always looks for the light of the situation. Though the first session looked plenty bright, look for the light through out the journey cause it may get dark at times.

My best to you and your DH!
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