therapy is a wonderful thing, unless it’s with your abuser.

therapy with a qualified domestic abuse therapist is amazing.

just having someone there to listen to you without judgement, anger, dismissal, fear, condescension, sarcasm…it’s a wonderful thing.

but…the thought of my abusive husband going to see a therapist on his own terrifies me.  what lies will he tell?  what kind of unconscious validation will he get from a therapist that only sees his side of things?

the urge to go with him is powerful.  but not recommended with an abusive relationship.

according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline website,

“Therapy can be very effective for some couples who are working through difficult relationship issues. However, if abuse is present in the relationship, we do not recommend that couples seek counseling together.

……

The primary reason we don’t recommend couples counseling is that abuse is not a “relationship” problem. Couples counseling may imply that both partners contribute to the abusive behavior, when the choice to be abusive lies solely with the abusive partner. Focusing on communication or other relationship issues distracts from the abusive behavior, and may actually reinforce it in some cases. Additionally, a therapist may not be aware that abuse is present and inadvertently encourage the abuse to continue or escalate.

…..

A better option for abusive partners who want to change is a program designed specifically to address their abusive behaviors. These programs are often referred to as Battering Intervention and Prevention Programs (BIPPs), although what they are called can vary from state to state. BIPPs focus on teaching accountability and non-violent responses. These programs can be effective, but only if an abusive partner is truly committed, as real change is a difficult process that can take months or years.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, or if you are an abusive partner who wants to change, please give us a call at 1-800-799-7233 or chat online everyday from 7am-2am CST. Our advocates are here to support you and talk through your options.”

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4 thoughts on “therapy is a wonderful thing, unless it’s with your abuser.

  1. So much of what you say resonates strongly with what I am going through! As I read your posts it confirms to me that I am not the crazy one. That my husband has issues he needs to deal with as his personality seems to fit the mould that you and many others describe The lack of accountability, the walking on eggshells feeling I have when he is around, the angry outbursts etc etc. I have been going for counselling for eight months now and am far from solving my problems. However, my husband went to a counsellor for a handful of sessions and claims that he has sorted out all his problems and realised that he is not such a ‘bad man’ as I make him out to be. I can only imagine what he said to his female counsellor but I believe strongly that you have to go for counselling with the right intentions. His intention was to prove that he is not a bad man and he is not interested in any self-improvement because he doesnt believe he has a problem. I deserve better and my son doesn’t deserve to live in an unsafe environment and so I am divorcing him. 13 years of marriage has been enough to ‘know’ who he is! I want to live too!

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    • It’s such a difficult decision to go from spending all your time worrying about the other person to working on yourself. Therapy has been a lifesaver for me, but I still have doubts about whether it’s right to leave my husband or not. So far, every time I have asked him for counseling, he has told me the same thing…he is fine, no problem, if I have a problem I can go by myself. Well, he finally went on his own, and seems to have had an epiphany. Will he change for the better? I don’t know. But after one session, he seems ready to change his abusing ways. Time will tell. In your case, it was probably pretty easy to tell when he came back from his appointments saying he’s already a changed man, without making any concessions to you about his abuse, that he isn’t ready to do anything but keep on keepin’ on. You and your son DO deserve better! God bless you on your journey!

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      • I wish it were that easy! But it wasn’t that easy and I was taken in by the good behaviour when I returned from my trip. How can someone who looks so sincere be faking it? Thank you for your support and I pray that things become clearer.

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