For the last few months I have been seeing a counselor in an attempt to get my own problems under control. I am not sure yet whether the sessions with him are really helping me but I am sure that I am always introspective after a session. Tonight is one of those nights.
One thing that I have become accutely aware of as a result of my counseling is that I am extremely defensive of Andrew and my relationship with him. It makes somewhat guarded when talking to anyone face to face about my own emotional wellbeing. I have been to see 3 other counselors in the last 15 years and each has fed my need to hold back in his or her own way.
The first therapist that I saw was a woman at a local mental health unit. I honestly did like her a lot. She looked like an aging hippie and I am sort of an aging hippie. I thought it would work out. It didn’t. After a few sessions she decided I wasn’t going to improve until I left Andrew. When I wouldn’t, she declared me unwilling to help myself and told me she had nothing left to offer me.
The second counselor I saw was full-blown psychiatrist. Again, I really liked him except for the fact that he was seriously into pushing medication and he, too, tried to convince me that I should leave Andrew and build a life of my own. My sessions with him came to an abrupt halt when I mistook therapy as a confidential, say anything you need to say kind of thing. I told him how we kept our 16 year old daughter, who was having a problem with alcohol and drugs at the time, from going out drinking one night (yes, our state allowed 16 year olds to have the right to leave home and allowed the parents no means of stopping the child) by allowing her to have a beer and play a game of Scrabble with us instead. It was infinitely better than another call from the state police in the middle of the night to come pick up our drunk child at the station or from just sitting here wondering if she was dead in a ditch somewhere. I guess sessions with counselors are not confidential enough that the psychiatrist wouldn’t betray me by calling child protective services. He did, right in front of me, which of course put me in a much worse off psychological state than I was in when I arrived at his office. An investigation ensued and the charges against us were dropped. My trust in therapists was pretty nearly destroyed for a long time.
Last year, I tried going to Andrew’s psychologist. I really like him too, but after one private session, I realized that I was guarded with him too. After all, he was Andrew’s therapist first. It had to be a conflict of interest for him to even be seeing me.
So, realizing that I really do need some help getting some control of my life with Andrew, I decided to attempt counseling again, this time with a counselor at the Vet Center. I started going a few months ago. I really like the guy, but, I find myself to be almost illogical when I talk to him. The reason is that I will be talking and realize that what I am about to say could be misconstrued. I stop myself, sometimes even backpedal, in defense of my relationship with Andrew. When I leave, one of my first thoughts is always “Did I say anything that will be held against me?’
You know, I don’t really know why I write this blog. I always thought it would be a good way to help others that are living with a PTSD Vet, but now I am wondering if it’s not just a feeble attempt on my part to make someone hear me and say “Ani, it’s okay. What you feel is a normal reaction. It’s alright to stay with someone that sometimes makes you feel bad”. Okay, so I know that no one that reads this is really going to say that to me, but damn it, I am so tired of having to defend my marriage. I love him. In the 60s love was all you needed.
I don’t know if counseling will ever do me any good. I mean, if I can’t feel free to say what’s on my mind there, am I just wasting my time and the therapist’s time? Is it possible for me to take anything positive away from our sessions even if I don’t feel like I am being fully honest? Am I beating myself up more because I don’t trust myself not say something stupid?
I think having a hard time sleeping tonight will have absolutely nothing to do with Andrew’s nightmares. I am not even in bed yet and I am already creating my own. Damn it!