Sunday, 10 April 2011

First therapy session

This was on Wednesday and was totally positive and altogether brilliant.  I like the therapist a lot, she is completely human, encouraging, empathetic and talks almost as much as I do!  It was practical which is the kind of therapy I find useful, rather than the talking-endlessly-and-raking-over-the-past therapy which leaves me wishing I had never started.

The therapist has a lot of experience with domestic violence, and knew her stuff about emotional abuse which was a real relief!

Anyway, she has written up and sent me the notes, so there is no need for me to repeat everything.

It was a pleasure to talk with you on the 6th and I am sure we can work effectively and speedily together to achieve your aims. 
I forgot to ask if you would mind completing an evaluation sheet and I am attaching it now, if you could manage to think back to how you were feeling the week before we spoke and then you can give me your scores next time.  
I would like to begin by commending you on your determination and courage in pursuing the Open University degree despite your husband’s disapproval.  And of course, it almost goes without saying, your strength and bravery in separating from A.   
It seems that he may be genuine about changing, although you are not really kept up-to-date by the support worker, and you do have some suspicions that he was angling to leave for several weeks prior to you asking him to, for some unknown reason. 
It is unfortunate to say the least that your childhood pattern of being abused and criticised was reinforced by A’s behaviour.  And you have done extremely well in keeping and nurturing a kernel of self-belief and self-worth, despite your childhood and the almost constant drip-drip of A’s criticism and disapproval. 
Of course, this old pattern will have bolstered your self-criticism and it was clear that you have been very hard on yourself.  Let’s take *eldest daughter*, who herself said you are a great Mum.  You absolutely did your best with the skills/knowledge that you had and under the circumstances (becoming and then being a victim of marital abuse) in which you inadvertently found yourself.  Not to mention that A proved to be quite a good father to her until his “own” children were born, when he seems to have gone slightly peculiar, to say the least!  There is absolutely no evidence that *eldest daughter* has been damaged, which goes to your own parenting, as well as the relationship she has with her Dad – for which you must also take some credit for nurturing.  So, this may be the time to start to put away that old myth. 
It is clear that you are highly motivated with all your children. 
I would like to remind you that “repeat victim syndrome” is an explanation of the past, not a foretelling of the future.  You have made significant changes and I see absolutely no reason to imagine that you have not broken already out of that syndrome. 
I am attaching a copy of Mind Your Language which will remind you of some of “the rules”, e.g. no tries, no should or should haves, as well as the Culture Web of which you may find it helpful to complete some of the sections.  (a Mind Mapping exercise)
I also asked you to draw a couple of sketches – how you feel now and how you will feel when we have dealt with the issues. 
In our next session, or possibly the subsequent one, depending on how we go, we will get rid of the flashbacks you have had to the childhood abuse, so that they don’t bother you anymore.
So, I have some homework to do before the second session this week.  

Since the last email exchange with dh, I have cut off communication beyond anything about the children.  He was almost successful in distracting me off the issue of his abuse by talking about the so-called abuse I inflicted on him during our relationship.  I am too easily led down these ridiculous paths, so I'm just putting a halt to that.

I have to say that I've spent almost a week now absolutely certain that we are not going to get back together - that I don't want to.  I can't think of him without thinking what an arsehole he has been, and by all accounts still is!  Long may it continue.

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I appreciate all your comments, advice and support.