Thank god for Therapists

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The Wifey has finally decided to go to therapy. I sincerely hope it helps, though part of me is afraid she will present a skewed view of things. Her boyfriend suggested it, which is great, because Papa Bear knew if he suggested it she’d bite his head off while digging in her heels. I believe she starts next week, and Papa Bear meets his therapist for the first time tomorrow.

Their relationship at the moment is…undefined? She told him awhile ago that she couldn’t have a romantic relationship with him right now because she can’t keep waiting for him to prioritize her, and then getting disappointed when he doesn’t. He is understandably frustrated by this, not because of her desire to take a break and live as domestic partners only, but because he knows he has prioritized her, over and over, but she only seems to see the times he doesn’t. It’s painful to hear about, because I have personally been hurt by her demanding to get her way, so many times, and Papa Bear has been hurt immeasurably as well, but her perspective doesn’t seem to register those times at all.

Anyway. I am just trying to tell myself that it is not my problem. I cannot control either of them. 6 months ago this situation would have had me sobbing on the floor, banging my fists, but now I just kind of nod sadly. Waiting to see what will happen. Waiting to see if professional intervention will help. Waiting to see if this situation has any future at all.

I think we are all scared, but I know I can’t imagine how scared either of them must be. Losing a relationship with someone you love is devastating, but its not the same as losing your home and your family and your shared history and any idea of what the future might look like.

I have seriously considered breaking it off–just removing myself from the situation entirely–but Papa Bear assures me that isn’t going to fix them. I have to say I agree with him. These problems–the issues of control and poor communication and not knowing where one person ends and another begins–they have been there all along. And that, I am certain, is one of the reasons The Wifey is not coping at all. Papa Bear told her last year that he had always just gone along with what she wanted, and she had said that wasn’t good and he should speak up. But I don’t think she was prepared for how she’d feel when he did, because whenever he makes a case for what he wants, she becomes angry and defensive and refuses to see his point. She just says, over and over, that he doesn’t care about her, or that her feelings are just as valid as his. And the logical conclusion, from her point of view, is that if her feelings are equally valid then they must be the only feelings that are honored.

He recently told her, after the whole Movie Night Fiasco of 2015, just how subjugated and controlled he always felt. That his opinion was completely invalidated, at all times, throughout their entire marriage. That “they” made major decisions that he did not want to make, because she refused to see his point of view, or to compromise with him. And this conversation didn’t go over well. She said it was his fault, and she hoped he could change. And I agree to a certain extent that it is not good to cave to someone over and over and over, until suddenly you are standing in the middle of a life in a house you didn’t want, with a cat you didn’t want, driving a car you can’t afford, living in a city you didn’t want to live in. But her main takeaway, is that their entire relationship, and whole life, has been a lie.

Has it?

He assures her he never lied about loving her, or how he felt about their family, or wanting to be with her. But I can see how she would feel like their foundation is cracking when she realizes that she has no idea if the major pieces of their life are things that he ever wanted in the first place.

Yet. It’s not like he never voiced his opinion. He did, and he does. It’s just that when she argues back with all of the reasons why he is wrong an his opinion is illogical or not valid, he becomes exhausted, and it’s just easier to agree with her. How could any self-aware, empathetic person not realize what was happening? How could you not understand that badgering someone into submission didn’t necessarily mean they agreed with you?

The Husband is the same way. He has always put other peoples’ needs and wants first. And it was a major struggle to get him to voice his true opinion about things, because he believes he does not matter. I have spent years coaxing him into just telling me what he wants, what he really thinks, how he really feels. I do not shout and him and tell him he’s not communicating, and then tell him his ideas are “dumb” or that he’s “an idiot”, when he is honest with me. I tell him I really need to know his opinion, and then when he gives it to me, I consider it. I do not become angry precisely because his feelings are just as valid as mine.

Papa Bear has thanked me over and over again for being kind to him. For being so patient. For being willing to put up with this. The fact is, I do it because he is patient and kind with me. It makes me so sad that he views kindness as a special favor–something he does not deserve. He tells me that he knows on a logical level that he matters, but because of the way he is treated in his marriage, he doesn’t really believe that he does.

I don’t know what is going to happen. Sometimes there is a reasonable hope that things will get better. Other times I am 99% sure they will close their marriage and leave me out in the cold. Other times I’m really not sure they will last–or if they even want to. I do know for sure that if something important doesn’t change in the next few months, I won’t be able to manage.

Lately we have just been arranging it so that I’m not around when she’s home. It has actually been really peaceful for me. Sometimes when I make plans to be at Papa Bear’s house and she is going to be there, she will go sleep over with her boyfriend instead. Sometimes when we know she is going to be home we just plan dinner and a movie, with blankets in the back of the car in case we need to screw!

The Wifey told him that obviously, the way they have conducted their marriage in the past isn’t working, so if they want to stay together, they need to approach it from a different place. Papa Bear agrees, and so do I.

I think that assertion–that they need to tear it apart, so they can rebuild, is the one thing that makes me believe that everything could work out.

Here’s hoping, and thank god for therapists.

 


3 Comments on “Thank god for Therapists”

  1. lizeden says:

    It is so wonderful to hear that everybody is getting therapy. I hope I don’t sound like a downer, but sometimes what therapy teaches people is that the “fix” is to end it.

    Not you and Papa Bear, but (more likely, I think, from what you’ve written) Papa Bear and The Wifey. The Wifey sounds a lot like Lora, and I think you’ve mentioned before that she seems like she might be NPD. If she *is* NPD, well…I hate to say it, but they are the least likely to get any benefit from therapy. They genuinely cannot concieve of a world where other people have needs and wants that are as important as theirs. And they often genuinely can’t believe that a partner (or a child) would ever want things that they don’t want, or not want things that they do want.

    I found the website (and forum) at http://outofthefog.website/ really helpful. I can’t remember if I ever mentioned it before. If nothing else, reading on the forum may help you (and Papa Bear) to have a lot of aha! moments when other people write about things that their version of The Wifey has said/done. And there are some really good tips and tools there for handling people with PDs.

    I really, really hope that therapy helps all of you. Really, really do. But I also wanted to caution you, it may be that The Wifey says that her therapist is terrible, or trying to make her look like a bad person. Or she may well paint such a radically different picture from reality that it may take months for the therapist to get to the reality of things. In my experience (10+ years of therapy), many therapists *are* really good at seeing through the bullshit, but doing so in a way that doesn’t alienate their patients can take months. And sometimes, even for all their careful work, the patients *still” will get angry and hateful when they realize that the therapist isn’t “on their side” (in other words, agreeing completely with their version of reality and how awful the people around them are).

    All that said, I hope this post helps more than it hurts, and that you’ve finding success in your own therapy. It sounds like your therapist has been really wonderful so far, and at the least, it sounds like you’re better able to have some distance from Papa Bear and The Wifey’s problems and not letting them drag you down into a bad place.

    I hope it keeps helping and things slowly start to get better.

    • Thanks for the comment. The things you’ve said have been my fear as well–that she will say her therapist sucks and refuse to see another one, or that she won’t be honest with her therapist. I would say she’s definitely on the narcissism spectrum, and Papa Bear absolutely agrees.

      As for your thoughts on a therapist recommending to end the relationship, I’m almost sure that they would end my relationship with him before they would end theirs. Maybe it’s living in a mono normative society and having so many people tell me that I should just break it off because he’s HER husband, but I just can’t see any scenario in which he ends things with her instead of me. Unless maybe he and I broke up and then he STILL couldn’t work it out with her, and came back. I don’t know.

      I honestly would almost prefer that. As much as I know their problems aren’t my fault, could I live with feeling like I was the reason they didn’t work?

      Then I think…she is the one who told him he is not allowed to practice d/s with her, only her BF is. She is the one who suggested separate bedrooms and now will not even let him spend the night with her at all, even when they were still having a romantic relationship. She is responsible for so many of the changes in their relationship that hurt him, but she only sees her hurt. This is getting long. I feel another post coming on!

      • lizeden says:

        I know that my situation is different, because Jon and Lora weren’t married and didn’t have children (and I wasn’t married to someone with children of my own) , but as much as is possible, I can empathize with what you’re writing about being worried I’m “the reason” for two other people to break up.

        It’s funny, but it was such an excruciating fear I had…right until the moment that Jon broke up with Lora. For me, part of what put that fear to rest was that the day he broke up with her, when I came home, all of his tears were for all of the awful things that she did to him, and how he just couldn’t take them anymore. He cried about how much he loved her, but couldn’t handle the attempts at control, the fights that could start over virtually anything he said and did (or didn’t say and didn’t do). It slowly became clear to me that the only thing I may have contributed to the break up was to make it come about a bit faster than it would have otherwise. It really was all about them and the dysfunction within their relationship.

        I know you’re in a different situation, and the marriages being there, and given the monogamous normativity of society, it is possible that therapists would suggest a break to Papa Bear with you while he gets things figured out with his wife. If that’s the case though, they better damn well be saying that Wifey needs to break it off with her BF too.

        But when I talk about them ending things, I do truly mean…I hope this doesn’t come out wrong…it doesn’t have anything to do with you, or be about you at all. From what you’ve written, Wifey is a really shitty person, and has treated Papa Bear not only in a shitty way for years, but also have some massive double standards going on, in terms of what is OK for her and her other partner vs what is OK for Papa Bear and you. Totally taking you out of the equation (and given that they’re each doing solo counsciling and not marriage cousouling, which (imo) would be a terrible idea right now), it’s possible that Papa Bears therapy is going to raise even more anger and dissatisfaction and frustration at The Wifey and their relationship. Given all the things that Papa Bear has swallowed down for so many years…sometimes, when you start to aknolwedge things like that, and you get to a place where you can’t go back (if he can’t go back to swallowing it all down and suffering through), the only thing left is to walk away, because coming to terms with the harm that was done means realizing that a boundary was crossed that can’t be uncrossed.

        Does that make sense? I’m totally speculating, and I know I’m particularly biased against women who treat their partners like shit right now. Anyways, the main thing I hope is that everybody somehow finds some level of happiness with whatever they decide. Well, mainly you and Papa Bear. I don’t wish unhappiness on The Wifey; I’m just not sure if it’s possible for her to be happy with what she has, unless she’s completely controlling/forcing someone to subjugate their own needs to meet hers.


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