Back on the Couch(es)
How convenient. Return from a vacation and 10 straight days of all-the-time quality-time with Cindy and I have therapist visits scheduled on back to back days.
It’s interesting noting the different techniques & styles each of the therapists’ uses. Annette, my first 1 on 1 therapist and our former couples’ therapist, uses a more direct, confrontational approach. No BS, no pussyfooting around. I think that’s what made Cindy reluctant to work with her. She wouldn’t put up with any of Cindy’s manipulations.
Janine (our current couples’ therapist who also sees each of us 1 on 1) on the other hand, tried the direct approach with Cindy. After watching her (Cindy) retreat and close off in reaction to the direct approach, has adopted a ‘side door’ approach. I believe she’s been swayed by Cindy to start to believe that there IS no drinking problem per se – it’s the drinking that is a side effect of other unresolved issues.
All that makes me want to call bullshit. Getting booted off the AAU swim team at the age of 16 has nothing to do with any unresolved issues between us. Those drinking habits she nurtured in college? I was in the service in Washington, 2700 miles away. The whole early part of our marriage there weren’t any glaring issues between us, but I was right there drinking alongside her much of the time. I’ve come to me senses mostly. Cindy? She learned to use drink as an escape long before there were any unresolved issues or a desire for a deeper, more emotionally involved relationship between us.
Granted, we could improve thing between us (ya think?), but fixing them won’t solve the whole problem. Janine wants to address these other issues and see if the drinking problem abates. Personally, I think Janine is being played. I respect her opinion that if she pushes the issue too hard Cindy will up & quit, but I also am supremely frustrated with the current level of progress. I have made changes, I have made concessions, I am trying to provide the things Cindy claims to want & need. I don’t feel those efforts are being reciprocated.
Janine wants to take the side door approach. Annette is telling me I need to be prepared for a fight. Maybe the approach is for me to play the role of bad cop and let Janine play good cop. I’ll be the dick and dole out the tough love and let Janine be the sounding board & confidante and help guide Cindy through the process. Problem is I need to get better about that tough love stuff.
That begins with some boundary setting – or re-declaring. I’ve been mulling this over since Tuesday night and had that thought reinforced by Annette yesterday. That’s where the “get ready to fight” warning came from too. I dislike fights. They make me squirm. I am averse to having people angry with me. Makes it readily apparent why I hesitate to dive into these situations. On top of that? Sunday is our (ssshhhhhh!!!) 29th Anniversary. Who the heck wants to pick a fight 3 days before their anniversary?
So, yeah. Color me squirmy. This could be just what we need, or it could go bad in so many different ways . . .