Which means I have to return for another week. Urgh.
Or maybe not urgh.
Could couples therapy actually help?
Our history as a couple says yes, if the therapist shuts up and let’s us talk to each other, only intervening when communication turns into miscommunication, which turns into, “I did not say that! I didn’t even mean that!”
At that point, a long-ago couples therapist was helpful. In facilitating understanding.
But can couples therapy actually change you? Do you grow? Get a better sex life (who isn’t up for that?)? Learn how to be intimate in new ways? Well, David Schnarch claims that after he TOUGH LOVES his clients by calling them on how badly they really treat each other in all these subtle ways, they make major gains.
Once, my partner and I went to a couples therapist who did that to us. Both. I got called on threatening to leave the relationship whenever I got frustrated. The word abandonment was used. My partner…well, I am only allowed to blog about what I got called on, but I will say that she got called on something.
We didn’t go back to that therapist, because we are really couples-therapy-wimps, but we were awfully nice to each other for the next two years.
Really, that was a very financially effective couples therapy. One session carried us for two years. Not bad.
I don’t know if my partner and I can stand the heat of being called out on how we hurt each other without meaning to, and how we’re unconsciously selfish, and how we want the other person to cure our broken places and won’t admit it. I don’t know if a David Schnarch, for example, saying, “What you’re doing is cruel! You’re putting your partner in a double bind! There is no intimacy when you x, y & z!” would be the thing. Is it possible to take the confrontation, to hold it, to see it as “normal marital sadism?” (His term. Mine would be “Being a f-ing a*(&%(.”
Am I about to find out?
I’m so weird, I think it would be really interesting to find out. I don’t know if this is the couples therapist to call us out on our stuff–she seems kind of sympathetic for that. But it would be wild to be called out on stuff and have the therapist get it right. It might be liberating. And if it wasn’t, you could just go home and meditate about it until it left you, and that would be liberating.
I seem to be in an optimistic mood.
But, you might be interested to know that I did sit in a chair at the door and plan to do so again. However, I made only one slightly inappropriate joke and overall behaved like an adult woman. I don’t know if this is progress. I mean, me? Socially acceptable? In couples therapy?
I am, however, quite certain the couples therapist would have appreciated my behavior even more than she did if she had any idea how many jokes I kept to myself.
I will now go write about rage. Because I am on day 4 of 90% of pain gone. I don’t always enjoy the writing about rage, but today I can write about how sick I am of keeping inappropriate jokes to myself, and that might even be fun.
Metta for all of us who hold it in, trying to protect other sentient beings. May we find another, easier way. To be our own unadulterated selves. And do no harm.