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Counselling Advice

I grew up in a very stressful household. My parents divorced when I was one, and my mother remarried when I was 3years old. For a better part of my childhood and teenage years my mother and stepfather argued with each other. Full out screaming matches sometimes. He was incredibly verbally abusive to all of us. My mother would constantly threaten to leave him and all of that. For about 4 years she used to tell us every day that she would leave him. Which I don't think is a really healthy thing to put on your child. Anyways, needless to say I did not grow up with very great role models on relationships. 

Being in a 6 year relationship with my hubby, we have a baby. I find it hard to communicate with him without getting defensive. I think it has a lot to do with all of the negative criticism I received from my stepfather growing up. I don't want to make excuses, but I truly never learned how to have a healthy conversation without getting upset. I want to go into relationship counselling to help learn better ways to communicate with him. And also to help me work through the issues from my childhood.

My husband however has the mentality that if we can't fix it ourselves, there is no point in fixing anything. I feel like having a neutral party would benefit us and give us pointers on how he can better talk to me so I don't feel cornered and how I can handle my defensive attitude. [I have explained all of the above to him in my reasons for going to a counselor]

Does anyone have any helpful advice on how I can make him understand this could be beneficial for our relationship? I would really appreciate it.  


Re: Counselling Advice

  • It would definitely benefit you to get counseling for yourself, just to fix the communication issue that you're having.

    Sit down and tell him what you told us --- discuss this with him maybe over the weekend when you and he have down time and you can speak at length. If you put a positive spin on it, he should be ready and willing to go to a counselor with you to start to work on communicating better. GL.:)
  • srgwsrgw member
    1000 Comments Third Anniversary 5 Love Its Combo Breaker

    My husband however has the mentality that if we can't fix it ourselves, there is no point in fixing anything.

    So your H is against counseling? Go on your own if he won't go with you. It's sad that he won't even give it a try for you because you want it.


  • His opinion is stupid.
  • image ReturnOfKuus:
    His opinion is stupid.

     Hahaha this made me burst out laughing in my office!

  • I would say go without him to start with and try to work on your issues first.  You said yourself that you know you have problems so maybe getting help for yours will help resolve it all together. 
    BabyFruit Ticker
  • "My husband however has the mentality that if we can't fix it ourselves, there is no point in fixing anything."

     If you can't fix it yourselves, shouldn't that be an indicator that it's important and really needs to be fixed? Ask him if he would apply this concept to the plumbing or electricity or roofing on your house.

    I'm guessing if it's hard for you to communicate without getting defensive, it's hard for you to communicate why you want to see a counselor, as well. I find it helpful to write letters to people to communicate big important things I might get worked up about. That way I can keep my cool for the whole letter because I don't have to deal with their feedback upsetting me. Then you can calmly say everything you need to without it turning into an argument during the process of explaining. You will also make sure you get the chance to say everything without being interrupted. 

    If he still doesn't want to get counseling, I think the other's are right, that you should seek it by yourself. I have had counselling by myself and it has helped me to be more open with my bf and my parents and friends even though they are not there. 

  • I understand where you are coming from, as I believe that we all have what ppl like to call 'unresolved issues' from our childhood, family life, all kinds of relationship encounters, etc. It is absolutely normal to carry negative emotions that need to be healed, as they do not go away on their own. There is an interesting book called "Emotions buried alive never die". If you experienced stress, arguing, sadness, etc. (again, who hasn't?), it does affect who you are today. The way you view yourself and the world around you is built on many emotional bricks that we are not always fully aware of. I have been working on myself for years, and I think it's the most fantastic thing you can do - for yourself and others in your life! For me, it is natural human instinct to better oneself, and work internally on one's emotional makeup, and externally on all important relationships. 

    However, I do not think you need to pursue this with your husband, at least not initially. This comes from my mom's mouth, from years of experience being married, divorced and working with other women (she's a therapist): you cannot change anyone else, only yourself. But once you begin this journey, everything around you changes! I have seen that in my relationships and marriage as well. Do not 'force' him into something you need to do for yourself! No matter your connection, you are the only one experiencing your emotions, as he is his. You want things to be better, start from yourself. Really, it is less frustrating. As you can see, relying on him initially only made you dissapointed in his reaction.

    If you find the method or a couselor that really works for you, and you begin 'resolving' your life, everything will flow naturally. And you will know how to incorporate your husband and your relationship in this growing and bettering process. Once you begin 'therapy' (whatever your technique), once you go to seminars or worships and talk to other women, you will hear innumerable ways of improving your relationship without "having long talks" with your DH. Verbal communication fails in many instances - if you are not speaking the same language, are emotionally too involved to hear the other person, etc. etc. You cannot resolve emotions with intelligence, they are two separate entities. Emotions heal on emotional plane, and there, words are not enough. 

    I for one am not at all surprised by his reaction. Men are way more confident (whether realistically or not) in themselves, and it is the most demasculating thing from them to 'ask help'! They also are not as emotional, even mental, as women are, not as introverted and in touch with themselves, to think about counseling, life paths, anything in that area, as much as we do (not a 100%rule, but majority from my experience). It's also simply an ego thing. And again, he is not experiencing the same thing as you are. If he really believes HE doesn't need counseling, he has the right to. (that doesn't mean he won't change once you do, I promise!)

    So good luck, work on yourself and be happy, positive, filled with love and forgiveness. Rest will fold in place. 

  • Kay, I think it is a wonderful thing that you are fully aware of the situation and you would like to speak to someone about it. I agree with Matea; seek counseling on your own first. You have your own issues from so many years ago to work through first.

    Last year I started seeking the help of a counselor. I was abused 20 years ago when I was a child. My parents were divorced and my abuser knew my vulnerability. This developed a lot of emotional baggage and really hindered my ability to form happy and healthy relationships. In fact, it was playing a toll on my marriage. I began seeing my counselor and telling my husband about the developments I would have through my sessions. It didn't take long before I convinced my husband to go along, so he could share his view point. Progressing along, we touched on his problems from childhood and are now working on our communication as a couple. Having the councelor watch our body language and hear what we have to say has helped us to see what we are communicating to others without even knowing it. I admit, I tend to get defensive very quickly and start to make my case before he finishes what he has to say. I never noticed that before and now he can call me out on it when I do it without feeling like he is wanting to extend it into a fight.

    Check with your employee benefits. I found out my company offers free counseling through a counselor of my choice. It is not throgh our insurance and most of the employees don't know it is offered.

     Best wishes!


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