When the Marriage Counselor Blames You

This is really common in marriage counseling. And let me tell you why, for a couple of reasons. I was a marriage counselor and I was guilty of all these things, so I totally understand. So I’m empathizing with the counselors for this. You aren’t perfect. You aren’t perfect. And so you probably are doing some things that your counselor sees that are not helpful, like maybe accusing or attacking or not saying things very constructively because you’ve just had it. And he’s sitting there passively or he’s charming and he’s looking like the great guy. So… you do look more like the problem at the first glance. And the counselor is having a lot of empathy for the husband because he’s charming and he’s not being attacking right there, maybe not. And so they’re going to look at you and say, “Hey, if this is how you’re going to treat him, look what’s going to happen. This is the result you’re going to get.” They’re going to look at you and begin to target you about your attitude. And I think it’s worth looking at. That’s why one of the reasons I say to women who are victims in domestic violence and in destructive marriages, “You may be a victim for sure, but you still have your own work to do. When I was a victim of my mother’s abuse, I had a ton of bitterness. I had a ton of unforgiveness. Once I got my courage up, I started lobbing some abuse back on my own. I had my own work to do and that’s why I work so much with women in Conquer, in our support group, to give you that support you need, because you don’t often get it out there. But when you go to a counselor, first of all, abuse is not a marriage issue. I don’t know if you’re doing marriage counseling for other reasons, but abuse, addictions, and adultery are not marriage problems. They cause marriage problems, but they’re not fixed by marriage counseling. They’re fixed by individual counseling, and then you repair the marriage together. But if you don’t deal with the individual issues, you can’t repair the marriage. So marriage counseling is important, but it’s not the first triage of treatment, right? For those kinds of problems. But I do think it’s important for you to look at what you need to work on. The problem when you do that in marriage counseling, so I’m going to encourage you not to do that, because when you start looking and saying, “Well, maybe the counselor is right, maybe I am speaking it too harshly. Maybe I am accusing and attacking. Maybe I am overreacting to certain things because I’ve just had it.” How you overreact after you’ve had enough, you’ve had ENOUGH and the slightest little ding is like, “Aaaagh,” like that. So… But do your work by yourself. Because if you do your work in front of your husband, it just reinforces his mindset that the marriage is a mess because of you and it’s because of you that he acts that way. And that’s not true at all. He has responsibility for him just like you have responsibility for you. And this I want to make sure you really, really understand. It’s so easy for us to buy what I say when saying, “Your husband, if he’s abusive, that’s not your fault.” If he’s committed adultery, that’s not your fault. He’s responsible for the choices he makes with his own pain, whether he’s in pain because you won’t have sex with him or whether he’s in pain because you won’t adore him like he wants you to adore him or you won’t revolve your life around meeting every one of his needs, whatever he’s in pain about and he chooses to abuse or he chooses to cheat or he chooses to watch porn. That is 100% his responsibility. He’ll blame you for it. “Well, if you just did what I wanted, I wouldn’t have acted this way.” He’ll blame you for it, but we do the same thing. So then we react in an ugly when we say, “Well, if you’d love me better, if you wouldn’t ignore me so much, or, if you wouldn’t treat me like this, I wouldn’t act like this.” That’s not what God says. Each of us are responsible for our own choices and the way that we handle our pain. And if I handle my pain by hitting someone across the face, they didn’t make me hit them. They didn’t make me say that. They didn’t make me cheat on them. I did that. I was in pain. I wasn’t owning my feelings and dealing with them appropriately. And that’s what the individual work is to do so that you’re not blaming each other in the marriage and the counselor is seeing the mess and he’s trying to say, “Well, stop doing that and he won’t act that way,” which is reinforcing that mindset.

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