Line in the Sand

A72E248C-B0F6-4503-9306-84BA5BF15076While each of us are unique and different, which is a good thing or life would be boring, so are counselors in their sessions. With that being said, that also would be boring and definitely useless, if not.

Just recently while seeing my counselors, I have been observing more, such as their counseling techniques, office system/files with notes about me and their surroundings.  Somewhat, okay comparing my last one of four years to present ones.  While a lot deals with the OCD in my life and my organizational skills, one drives me insane. Do I say something or let it continue to make me question them. I believe I need to speak up or there will be a wall of distrust and chaos within. We have that right to do so, as clients, as there must be trust.

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I have had and a total of five counselors in my life. Each one was good in their field and just what I needed at the time and still. As a client, I also have a right to end counseling, which I did with my first one back many, many years ago.

At that time, I enrolled in a New Life Live, a Christian workshop for women. This weekend workshop was to help women understand and gain strength and healing due to issues in their marriage due to porn usage with their husbands and the betrayal felt. Maybe a one last-ditch effort to save their marriage and self-esteem which was slowly dying within myself.

As nine of of us women from all over the United States gathered in this small office area, it became evident we were all in a battle. I was amazed how many traveled the distance in order to survive.  Desperate housewives.

09321795-BA50-40AE-940A-E4196E4476B7Afterward, I was probably the closest in mileage, only forty-five miles away, I decided to start counseling sessions with the leader/counselor. I did, on a monthly basis, if not twice a month. Unsure if I really gained information to grow but at least I could talk freely and feel safe to talk. I had always kept my marriage problems silent to the point I was suffering. Shame. This workshop and counseling was my effort to take care of me, unknowingly because I thought it was more my marriage, that I now know.

After about a year, my husband was invited to join and reluctantly, he did. The first session, within minutes, sitting on her couch together but not touching, she asked him if he felt he needed anti-depressants. BAM, right out of the shoot. No doubt, I was shaking my head yes but if not, my mind was screaming, YES. This counselor has his number, so I thought.

Months went on with couples counseling, individual, etc. It was one session when she, the counselor said to me with him in the room, that any woman would love to have him. In my mind, it came a screeching halt and shock on my face, as in a movie scene. What? I knew at that point, I had lost the battle. He has won her over with his calm demeanor, his porn usage and lies. My self-esteem, confidence and desire to even exist became less than before. It’s all my fault, I am the bad wife, I caused his porn usage and continued heaping the negative thoughts.

As we went yet again and again, it was this one night that I had had enough. While I did not say anything, my shock and boundary came into play, it had to.  While discussing issues at hand and making himself look good with her, now I see he won her over more so and now she feels all motherly with him.  He speaks, saying, ‘I don’t love her and I don’t think I ever did.’  I just turned toward him and said, WOW! FA895C6C-FB8A-40F4-91D3-DC25E21DACBE

It was a long, quiet drive home filled with anger in the air.  Rightfully so. With that though, I found my voice, not in a screaming manner but authoritative. I am done. I will not make your appointments, do your laundry, cook for you (another story in itself), and whatever else. My focus was on our children from that point forward. He just could not figure out why I was so angered over that and threw it up in my face that I took it out of context. 800BDEF7-0FA3-48BC-AE93-2587C1A502E9Seriously?!? Just stab me in the back, I’d heal quicker. Those words should never be said to a wife.  Ever!

8CEF791D-3B26-491A-BAC7-7465D3F0A30FThe counselor on the other hand wanted to meet with me more, which I declined. Soon after, he left going to her, too. No push from me so he won’t; plus, he won.

He won alright, no real marriage. He can continue on with his selfish ways with porn, believing he is all that because the counselor said what she did to enforce his behavior.  I’m the bad one in this whole scenario and Satan played his games mentally with me.88e6b2cf-66aa-4544-8dee-66d3712a8abe.jpeg

Those were dark days and sadly years for me but… had it not been, I would not be where I am today. I learned that I was caring for me, even if I felt numb to life and was physically putting one foot in front of the other. I was setting boundaries, as I deserved more even while I battled negative thoughts that it was all my fault. Plus, courage to keep my head up and move forward when I would had rather died and be done with life. Through the mental torment, I had to trust the Lord but even then, I felt He did not love me either.  Unlovable.

Don’t give up, keep your focus and trust the Lord to carry you through the craziness of life. He knows your name and He knows where you are.  I had to fight, not physically but spiritually, mentally and emotionally.  9F612C2F-1B60-4EDB-9F23-3D203477A1A0

While my faith in a counselor wavered for some years due to that situation, I did not give up.  I picked up my big girl panties and found another, just for me.  I am better today and stronger emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually than ever due to help from great counselors and trusting the Lord.  My faith increased, as He was all I had to cling to in the midst of the battle.

The Lord will meet you where you are.  Trust Him. 💕7AEF5CAE-4893-4666-8CA6-716FB3CE222B

870 Days

652B2586-29F0-48E6-A4E4-AB1FB25A3117I can honestly tell you, I dislike a part of the code of ethics between a counselor and client relationship.  I totally understand that the counselor’s personal life is private while the client shares their life and deepest, darkest secrets.  That’s fine because that is why you are there in counseling.  

While I do understand the boundaries during the process of counseling, I also understand it after counseling has ended between both but I just don’t like it.  The connection is no more, as if it never existed.

As I started counseling over four years ago, it recently ended due to health issues of my counselor.  Jokingly, although some seriousness in me, I have wondered maybe I caused her to have burnout. Possibly!?

With our time together, I found her to be one I could confide in and be honest with and that is exactly what you want in a counselor, a connection. While she maintained boundaries in her profession, I still considered her closer than my own sisters. I could talk to C16F158F-ACF3-4CF3-B616-32E1C8C0E1E6her in complete confidence, truly feeling she cared for me not only as a client but as a person. To be listened to, heard and understood, brings healing.  I have to say, she was one of the best.  I feel blessed to have had her in my life, when I needed her the most.

The word, had.  I had her in my life. Now I don’t. It’s that code of ethics that comes into play. Again, I really do understand but I really don’t like it. Okay, I am having a temper tantrum, and I’ve had a few.44590330-BB3A-43DD-86EE-727802A14440

At one time, a brief comment was made between us that no friendship relationship while counselor/client. Okay, fine. It was when she made her decision to close her office, it all became real and quite upsetting. Hoping now, at least we can become friends on Facebook to stay connected, was my hope. Nope!

Okay, now with that, a real temper tantrum because not only can we not be friends on Facebook, but no contact for three years. Three years!  As of today, that will be 870 days, but who is counting? Ha 6062824E-20AB-4CA3-93C2-A01347B364F0

Again, I do understand and I respect her in this matter. I just don’t like it. It’s like the song, ‘It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.’ Well, this is my blog and I’ll complain if I want to, while working through it all and having fun, too.  Getting through the grief.  It would not surprise her to know I have a countdown timer on my iPhone.  I also have one of my retirement date, which is definitely more days than I want to be reminded.  It works for me.

In three years, I guess the reasoning is that the facts spoken within her four office walls will be forgotten, she will forget me and I will forget her and life goes on as if we never knew one another.  Can that really be true?

For me, not possible. On my end, she will always be a part of my testimony. While I am adjusting to the abandonment part of this situation, I still have my moments of grief and missing our talks.

So, perhaps this will help somebody know of what to expect when considering counseling.

Even though we both go our separate ways, I feel the Lord led me to her at the right time. He prepared her in this area for me, others clients also, but He knew I would need her many years before I even entered her door.  That’s God!

8E1FED02-9CEB-4A34-A7AE-D82DB646EA89The Lord knows and will put the right people in your path.

I really miss her.  Sometimes I hope she reads my writings, perhaps to know I care and appreciatative but be encouraged, too, because she helped me be who I am today.

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Thrown Out to the Wolves

2C082FB0-2E80-42E6-BB9B-CD20F2D371D6Due to many weeks of building construction and using a side door to get to my counseling session, now many months ago, it was exciting to watch the progress and new facelift of the building be revealed.   I enjoy renovations.

It was during this construction and after my counseling sessions, my counselor would walk me to the side door, which was nice of her to do although uncomfortable. Knowing that she had to unlock the door to let me out and re-lock once out, I got that.  Plus, I liked that she was secure in a now empty building.

For whatever reason though, each time we walked through the hallway to the exit and usually I am tagging behind her a couple of steps, I felt a sense of dread.

Our session was over, so just random everyday talk while walking was awkward.  I could talk to her about my life, what my weekend plans were, etc., but hers could muddy the water as her personal life is off limits unless she opened up, which was rare and I understand that, too.  Once when on the walk to the door, passing the main office, she said the office secretary was a friend.  I get that, I do, but just another part of me not accepted to be in her life as a friend, because I am a client, rejection hit my heart.

I would love to be friends with her but I need her expertise in counseling.  Still the walk to the exit of dread, knowing she is her friend, I am not, my emotions of sadness and even jealousy smacked me around for a bit.

Oh the dreaded walk.  After the second time, I knew I could not do that again.  To have a few extra minutes with her was nice but not either.  It is like a kick of her foot on my backside of saying get out when at the door.  Odds are a childhood feeling and my adult life of not being wanted and triggered.  Imagine that!

The one good thing was the last words I heard her say to 6B450AC9-995C-471D-AD57-2804572B05B5me at our last session.  As we were ending our session, at the door to once again do the walk, I stopped and asked her to not walk me out.  Give me a couple of minutes and then lock the door.  My explanation to her was that I felt like she was throwing me out to the wolves.  That is how I felt and I could not take that again.  Her reply was, hesitating but then with a smile and feeling pleased I feel was, ‘you are taking care of you.’  We parted ways never to see each other again.

As much as I miss her and our sessions, that was a good parting of ways.  I am glad that the moment was etched in my brain of this ending.  I am taking care of me and will continue.  I feel the Lord is healing broken places within me, and I want. 534CC35E-E7FB-4D02-9504-0C4DE6425A32

Even though situations in life can throw us through some memories to trigger the feelings within us and make us feel unwanted, rejected, bring sadness, and whatever else, it is then that we must know that the Lord will never throw us out to the wolves.  He loves us.

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Another Dead Box?

7A0A61F6-70A2-4336-B5CD-7C83579C9A26While I am not a hoarder, I do keep things; each matter in their own box, somewhat organized and stored in the eaves of my attic.

Through the years of dealing with the estates of my parents and brother, they each have their own box of what I wanted and needed to keep after their passing.  Sadly, this is all that is left of their life, a dead box of memories, keepsakes and possessions.  There is guilt that comes of that but you cannot keep everything, you have to let go.  I had to.

I tend to keep my notes, journals, calendars, etc., and have since a child, never knowing why I held onto them. They have proved to come in handy and really do not take up much room, just a few storage boxes, of my own life.

With mine, I had to dig deep within them this last bout with my counselor, back to my childhood.  With that, I learned a lot of what I had lacked as a child and how it has and is affecting me today.  Sometimes, I thought it would be easier to keep my head in the sand just knowing something was not right than poking at it, which we did, but deep down I wanted to understand me.

Putting names with areas of emotional distress (attachment, abandonment, trauma, shame, childhood emotional neglect, just to name a few) opens up areas I never knew before.  They are all real and felt.

As my counseling ended recently, there is an overwhelming feeling of many of those emotions being triggered.  To the point of wanting to run and put my head in the sand.  Perhaps like a test.

B2A81AF4-884E-42BC-AC09-C84360FA0F85Realizing before, I felt this way or that way but to now understand, have a name for what I am experiencing or feeling, I am thinking it has been harder.  I am aware and the intensity of the pain has been quite disturbing at times.  As I was exhibiting this or that and to my dismay, I recognized what was happening.  It’s a new way for me, to recognize, express, name and grasp to hopefully heal in these areas.

So through the pain, just the feeling of the abandonment being more intense, I could grasp that is what it was.  It was safe for me to cry and to give myself time to grieve and I will for awhile.  I can say, too, that I am angry with the way it ended, as I feel it could have been handled differently, basically more respectful, especially her knowing me.  That’s rough to say but truth.  Now leaving me with several questions that may never have answers.  Feeling all of these emotions, naming them is good but not easy.  It’s normal to grieve a relationship lost.

As much as this situation hurt, I feel I am coming through it easier just knowing and realizing what is happening, how it is affecting me and what I am doing.  Being mindful.  Tears come and they are also normal.

536CF7B6-D31E-4899-8895-5AAB8B9390F1While I have a storage box full from our years of counseling of notes, etc., it sits untouched right now but still in my sight, not stored.  There was too much invested in my life through her.  Some but not all healing in me is complete to put this box aside and ignore.  I know in time, I will and can still go through the many notes, copies of research done, open up and remember our sessions and still grasp many golden nuggets to continue for growth and healing.

F5B28577-7295-4887-B8A9-1575BBD83E09Maybe I need to name this box a Treasure Chest instead of another dead box because of the time spent in the many hours of counseling over four years. Even through the pain now, I’m thankful and feel blessed to have had her in my life. Everything within that box has brought me to where I am today and I believe it was orchestrated by God.

Change on a Dime

Funny how things can change on a dime, as they say.  This day was going so well.  The sun was shining, my list of things to do being crossed off and everything was lining up and running like clockwork.  I was happy and ready to have some fun with a few days off work.

In a few short hours, it was the day I dreaded.  Driving over the back roads with my sister to go to dinner and a movie, I pass my counselor’s office who has been on medical leave.  Her signage has been removed and my heart just drops.

63B8434B-7309-49F6-913D-9DEEB59C1111I knew one day that this was a possibility but never hoping it would.  I had to pick up a prescription on our way and in just that short distance, the emotions within me could not be contained. Basically, a death has occurred in my life.  Flip flop from sadness to anger and back again.

Grief is such a pain, whether for the dead or the living, it sucks.  No movie, no dinner, no interest anymore. Done.

So many questions, so many loose ends but…177F9360-1487-40FC-A06B-EC6F46CC93A8

Are You a Lifeline?

 

A690CD34-394F-46E1-98C2-9B10834C049FIf you are reading this and in a position of helping others, THANK YOU.4BB561D0-8720-4E56-BE64-44501EBB811F

I cannot imagine the whole education timetable and training involved that goes behind your degrees but what I have researched, out of curiosity, I am totally amazed.

Knowing from my own personal experience with my counselor the past four years, I am and have been so thankful with what light she has shed upon my life and to help me understand the confusion, pain and chaos within that I did not understand.   Adult problems are childhood issues, a quote I have heard many times.  True.

I cannot imagine where I would be if it had not been for her.  I will never be able to thank her enough, or God for leading me to her at a time when I had no hope.

Being under her care, I have been taught, I have learned, I have done my own research and healing has taken place in my life. I am not the same person as I was when I walked through her door the very first time, thankfully.  While I still have much to learn, grow and heal, I know it is a process.  I give myself grace.

So, perhaps you feel overwhelmed and exhausted at times from listening to your clients, session after session of their visible and hidden pain, calming their fears, giving them ways to work through areas at hand and the list can go on and on and understandably so, but your own self-care is warranted and not to be overlooked.  Through each session with each client, know that you just might be their only lifeline.

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Once Was

Happy Anniversary LetteringThe day after!

I woke up earlier than need be after a restless night of sleep.  This time with the thought of my wedding anniversary, my 29th one that bypassed without a word the day before.  I’m okay with that although I found the day held a gloom over it. Sadness in my body of knowing what was, that has not been, that is not now or will ever be.

He is always good at giving me a card that is usually set out by my coffee pot, knowing I will see it there and sure enough there it was.  He’s very routine. The card acknowledged by me but dismissed.   I doesn’t matter anymore, it just brings sadness. I looked at the card, read it and placed gently back in the envelope and placed on my wire rack where an place cards received and mementos to show off, for just a period of time.  

Thankfully, as I read, he is broke from writing ‘I Love You‘ after all these years.  Those words written and read produced anger within me for years wondering how he just does not get it.   It was fourteen years ago that his words spoken to me in our counselor’s office, not my Counselor of present, and neither one of them thought anything or replied of my WOW comeback of shock, which was, “I don’t love her and I don’t think I ever did.” I was done, with both of them.

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How in the world was I to take those words and go on with being a wife, have sex and act as though we were happy.   My heart was crushed.  Plus ignored that night in counseling by both him and the counselor and then blamed that those words were taken out of context by him.  An apology never received but that I misconstrued his words.

Numb.  I was so numb which later turned to anger and hatred as the days, months and years numbered.  These words just added to the chaos I felt.  All these years with him and finding porn much earlier, which prompted the marriage counseling after much prodding on my part to bring him. How could all of this happen? To discuss issues was out of the question because he would turn away and avoid any confrontation so I was left to reel in this life of unhappiness of existence alone. The elephant in the room Syndrome and sweep it all under the rug.   

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Years passed after leaving this marriage counselor and just an existence of an empty shell remained of me. Trying with everything inside of me to raise two boys and maintain sanity. Not easy but I did that for them. I became a real good actress to those around me and in church. I was dying inside.

Yes, many will say the boys would have been better off if we had divorced, but I knew that each of them had my care and watch upon them. I truly do not think he would do that and he would let them run astray. I feel proud today knowing I stuck it out and they are both successful young men.

While I am not ignorant of the fact that they have had some emotional turmoil and issues growing up and will have to face some as an adult because of this, but I will pat myself on the back for sticking it out through some hell but also kicking myself of some of the hell that they experienced. I had to trust the Lord then and I do now.

This past year though along with the years of counseling with my personal counselor that I write about, I began to get a grip of myself, my life and of this so-called business partnership, marriage that I am a part of and that is of boundaries. What a difference.   

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While we are still legally married and under the same roof, it is not a marriage and no intention of it being any different, til death do us part (or divorce do we part). Today, I can be in the same room and carry on a conversation with him but it is all a general, life discussion. Typical with Aspergers, which makes sense why I felt like I was going crazy with this man. Years ago, I walked into my counselor’s office feeling almost dead in all areas of my life. 

Holding onto a thread of hope, which she gave me and I truly feel the Lord led me to her. Otherwise, I do not know where I would be right now. Somebody heard me, understood me and I did not feel so alone in life. Research, reading and getting grounded in knowledge of what I was going through opened my eyes and my life restored to a point of existence and wanting to exist.  The counselor does their part but it takes the client to do their part, too.

Thankfully today, the tension and much hatred is gone and that has been nice.  I am hoping and going on that the Lord has changed and healed me in many areas.  I am not responsible for him.  Forgiveness goes without saying, a must.  This did not come overnight, but today I am happier, allowing myself boundaries in this so-called business-marriage relationship.  For now, it works.

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