Things are going well. Really well actually until today when my husband said something stupid and careless and my mood took a nose dive. Thankfully it was short lived, but totally unnecessary. His thoughtless blunders continue to remind me of the excruciatingly slow progress of his recovery and my constant fear that what I really want him to do is change something about himself that he will never be able to change. That he will never be the sensitive, caring individual I want by my side. The guy who actually does think about what he says and how it will affect me instead of just blurting out something that makes me feel unimportant.
We are finishing up our road trip and heading for home tomorrow. A couple days in the car might be challenging, but at least neither of us got sick on this road trip. We are currently in Ojai, California and it is beautiful. It was 90 degrees today and we scheduled ourselves a wonderful new spa experience. Here is the spa menu description:
The only treatment of its kind in the world, Kuyam, a Chumash Native American Indian word that means “a place to rest together,” combines the therapeutic effects of self-applied cleansing desert clays infused with essential oils, intense dry heat and inhalation therapy, and is accompanied by a traditional Chumash narrative. Diffused low lighting, rich colors and Moroccan-styled tile chaises enhance this unique offering.
This is not us, obviously (ha!)
We chose the private couple’s session. The clays were soothing and smelled wonderful. After applying the unique clays, we spent 30 minutes in the darkened dry sauna room listening to a meditation recitation. It was very very hot in there. Possibly my favorite part was walking through the cold shower after the hot sauna. We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly and completed the therapy by showering and enjoying a cup of herbal tea on our private patio. We highly recommend the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa. It is simply amazing.
My painting workshop was also wonderful. I will post pictures when I finally complete at least one of the paintings. Each day, by the time I acclimated to my surroundings, figured out what I would paint, sketched what I would paint, set up all my painting supplies and put my paints out, did a quick study of what I would paint, I had maybe a couple hours to actually paint. Each day I started a new painting. Each day I brought back to the hotel with me an unfinished painting. Some of the painters finished up to three paintings A DAY! Some people paint REALLY fast. The bell guys at the hotel were cute and each day they said how much they liked my brightly colored unfinished paintings. Using acrylics turned out to be just as challenging as I had imagined, but indeed the paint was completely dry by the time I packed them away in the car. That never could have happened with oils. Not saying I won’t go back to my oils, but I will give the acrylics a little more time. The quick dry time is great for travel. Again, more to come regarding my workshop as it did prove to be a big positive step on my healing journey.
For now, this journal entry has been sitting in my pending posts for over a week. I contemplated not posting it at all, but I decided to go ahead and share as I think our couple’s therapy, for good, bad or otherwise, needs to be addressed and evaluated on a regular basis. I tend to go to the sessions and then want to forget them as soon as we leave the therapy office. Instead, I need to face whether they are actually doing me any good, or not.
Per usual, at our last couple’s counseling session, Blue Eyes orchestrated yet another pity party. Ms. Second Chance always starts the session with us sharing about the past week and she always goes to Blue Eyes first. This is all fine and good with me as I rarely go into the meetings with any kind of agenda. Sometimes I feel completely disconnected from the couple’s therapy altogether. This past week she was especially interested in hearing about Blue Eyes’ doctor visit/hospitalization. Predictably Blue Eyes talked about how frustrated he gets with the limitations of his own body (get a grip already, we all have shit, honestly!) and how much he hates putting me out and causing me stress and how his illness puts further strain on our marriage. They went on and on for about 20 minutes talking about his anger and frustration. Then, instead of asking for my share or asking if I had any comments on what they had been talking about for so long as if I wasn’t in the room, she wanted to move forward from our last appointment and talk about why I had been upset with Blue Eyes. My being upset two weeks prior, had been brought up by Blue Eyes at the end of our last session, as I had already forgotten about it even at that time. I said I wanted to go back and discuss my opinions regarding what Blue Eyes had just shared regarding his illness/hospitalization, etc… She seemed a little shocked that I had anything to say on the matter (which kind of blew my mind) but she told me to go ahead. I explained to her that dealing with Blue Eyes’ illness had been part of my life now for 31 years. That I was not angry that Blue Eyes got sick periodically and because his system is compromised, he often requires hospitalization. I explained to her that my continued stress and trauma revolved around Blue Eyes wanting to revert to being a child when he is sick. She said 90% of adults do this. Revert to childlike behavior when sick. Even though sometimes we all need the healthy people around us to help us out when we’re sick, we don’t all revert to small helpless children, in my opinion. What about people who live alone? When I was sick last week (I often get sick after Blue Eyes has been ill, taking care of him and running around town to hospitals, etc… takes its toll), he was not around to take care of me. He went to work as usual and had back to back to back meetings. I obviously took care of myself. She seemed to imply that I was the abnormal one. She also said that she felt like I was actually hostile towards Blue Eyes and his illnesses and that maybe we should figure out someone else to help out Blue Eyes when he is going through these episodes. Someone else to shuttle him to and from the hospital, etc… My first thought was who? I am his wife and I actually don’t resent it, I do resent the double standard and I do get upset because he tends to want to stay at the hospital where he knows people will take care of him versus him acting like an adult and taking care of himself. He was hospitalized numerous times as a child and it is very comfortable for him. As part of his “new” life of recovery, I think he needs to stop relying on “the system” to coddle him and instead, he needs to learn to stand up and be a man. I am not saying he should not go to the doctor when he is dehydrated, or that he should not be hospitalized in severe situations, however, hospitals are money making machines. If a patient wants to stay and be treated like a helpless child at $15,000 a day, they will oblige. The system sucks. I told her that I was not surprised that she was taking his side or validating his feelings and his behavior. That I knew all along that she is a sex addiction specialist and therefore she would be sympathetic to his needs and his recovery. That is an important part of the process, but it is not the only part of the process. She asked if I often felt unheard or misunderstood and I said, yes, every single session I feel like she takes sides, I am the bad guy, and Blue Eyes is somehow let off the hook because… you know… recovery takes 2-5 years or whatever. I felt like I was the bad guy when she insinuated I was “tempting” him during his celibacy. I was the bad guy who didn’t want to take her sick husband to the hospital. I am the bad guy who is too impatient to give her husband time to “recover.” She seemed genuinely shocked by my response. I was genuinely shocked that she was shocked. As I have said numerous times, most parts of our COUPLE’S session feels like a one on one with Blue Eyes and a sex addiction specialist. I timed it this session. I was not allowed to politely say a word for over 20 minutes. A couple times I even half raised my hand to see if I could at least interject a comment so I wouldn’t forget what I wanted to say, but there was no acknowledgement from her or Blue Eyes. Hell yes I feel left out completely. I was most definitely combative with her this time, and she was actually defensive. She told me it was not her intent at all to make me feel like an outsider in my own couple’s therapy session. I told her I get it. Blue Eyes’ story is compelling. He is charismatic and garners the sympathy of everyone who hears his story. I am frankly sick to death of it. He is the consummate manipulator and salesman and apparently I am the only one not buying. She said, “yes, you have said that before.” She also asked if I thought she was being manipulated by Blue Eyes, whether I thought she was being sucked in, and I said yes. She didn’t deny it, but she did say she had been wanting to take a different tactic with us. A method she often uses in couple’s therapy which takes her out of the conversation completely. Blue Eyes and I will talk directly to each other and she will just be there to facilitate the flow of conversation. Okay, fine. If she had been wanting to do this, why hadn’t she? I can tell you why. She has been so taken in by Blue Eyes and his story, that she has only been focused on him. I see it every single week. She said next session she would employ this new tactic and see if I felt more comfortable that way. I said, sure. Why not.
At that point there was maybe five minutes left of the regular 50 minute session time. I said I still wanted to speak briefly about why I had been so upset with Blue Eyes a couple weeks prior. I explained to her about my post regarding shutting down my relationship with Colleen. I explained to her the phone call between Blue Eyes and his college friend. How Blue Eyes had disregarded the agreement that we would sit down face to face with people, together. At the mention of my friend, Colleen, I was pretty much crying uncontrollably. This is a big deal to me… that Blue Eyes destroyed a relationship between me and one of my oldest dearest friends and yet he just marches on with his relationships being so “shocked” that people now accept him for who he is. What I am is a good, honest, loyal, loving person…. and I am the one getting fucked over here. Ms. Second Chance asked me if Blue Eyes often did things that we had agreed were not healthy to his new life and/or that violated his boundaries. I said, yeah, all the time. And then she actually said, “so this Blue Eyes that I am seeing here, the one that is holding your hand and being attentive and sympathetic, this is not the Blue Eyes you see every day, most days, or most of the day?” I said, “what, are you kidding me?” “This is the Blue Eyes everyone sees in public. In public, you would think he is the most attentive least selfish person in the world.” It is a facade. Blue Eyes is completely self centered. Blue Eyes does what is best for Blue Eyes first, almost always.” She took some notes on her pad, and then our time was up. Ms. Second Chance apologized that we were out of time. She said she didn’t want to have to leave the session the way we were leaving it. I told her I was fine with it.
I was fine with finally being able to get out something that I needed to say that was actually about the coupleship and how difficult it is for me. I was fine that we were leaving the session on an honest note, with my true feelings out on the table.
I am tired of being manipulated by an addict. I am tired of being disregarded by therapists. I am tired of doing the lion’s share of keeping our marriage in tact while Blue Eyes continues to manipulate people. He has gone from manipulating women for sex, to manipulating therapists in the name of recovery… he has changed some of the players, but the game is the same.