<Re-Posting As Standalone Thread>
A few days ago, I posted an update about the value of good therapy under my thread, "Facebook is Tough."
I saw some merit in starting a separate discussion about the power of getting through tough times (like recovery from an A) with the help of a good therapist. Here is my original post, along with a P.S. At the bottom:
There was a time when I would have considered the act of going to therapy to be a weakness. When I left and divorced my first husband - on top of moving 450 miles away to a new city where I knew just one person, and starting a new job - I toughed it out alone. It was a very difficult time; a time that was needlessly prolonged by not getting the good (counseling) help I needed. Little wonder that I had trouble meeting new people (let alone men) - I'm sure I came across as being extremely depressed, vulnerable and needy! I was just not myself at all.
This time around, pursuing good therapy with a qualified counselor is 1000% the best gift I can give to myself.
I hope this post is helpful to some of my other sisters and brothers who are suffering alone. Please, if anyone reading this is struggling with their recovery, I urge you to ask close friends and/or people you trust for recommendations on a good therapist. Don't stick with just one - interview several and go with the one you like the most. It's an incredibly healthy step in getting through this very difficult and challenging time.
I am still feeling so much better and stronger after my initial session yesterday with a new - and better - therapist. If you are dealing with your misery alone, considering interviewing 2-3 recommended therapists in your area - and pick one who you feel will help you the most.
Meeting with a highly-qualified/recommended therapist is not only like confiding in a close friend, but with a friend who will take you on a journey of self-examination to get the most out of life for YOU.
My therapist observed (through taking me back to my childhood/growing up in a large family as one of the middle children) some things about me that I was not even previously aware of, like not being able to verbalize not only what I want from my marriage, but out of my life.
How many of us spend our days just going through our checklist of things to do and letting the clock run out to bedtime - instead of looking at the big picture of life, and really getting what we want and need from it? I do indeed - "go through the motions" day-in and day-out, and only dream about travel, meeting new and interesting people, etc.... My life as it is right now is clearly not what I want.
The irony is, I'm making some of the same mistakes that I made in my first marriage! Back then, I yearned for so much more. Yes, to some extent, I got a few things after I left. Returning to live in the US was one of them. Moving to an interesting new area, with more going on, was another. However, I did not marry the 2nd time around for complete and unconditional love - I married because the clock was ticking and back then, I felt he was "good enough." After all, he was handsome and was a kind of "Renaissance Man" - a private pilot, a scuba diver, a motorcycle rider, a sky-diver, a guitar player, etc... What woman wouldn't jump at the change to be with a guy like that?
But there was a darker side of his story waiting to be told; a side that only became clear after we married.
My H is the middle child of a bi-racial couple. He grew up in an era when such marriages, while legal by then, were nonetheless exposed to terrible discrimination.
After we married, I learned he had trouble getting dates with girls while in high school, mostly because he was a bit too dark. The one girl with whom he had a fairly long relationship, was pressured by her parents to eventually break up with him. It was painful for him, and to this day, he still talks about it with anger.
His hatred toward certain women is QUITE pronounced (people he doesn't even know; strangers like female national newscasters or talk show hosts -- calls them the "C" word all the time and is practically screaming).
I think his "Renaissance Man" persona was/is his way of masking his feelings of worthlessness that originated from his troubled childhood.
My therapist thinks he likely suffers more from anxiety/acceptance issues and also poor self-esteem/insecurity. This is why he totally overshadows me and is out to impress others/call all the attention to himself whenever we find ourselves in social occasions with other people. Other men best not dare go near me to have an innocent conversation - they are "a**holes" and *losers* (leaving me to feel like that's the best of male society that I can attract). This, I feel, is the root cause of my own A - to enjoy the desire/attention/touch of another man who appreciates me.
I don't know if we can get to a place where I feel good about our marriage again, but am willing to try with the help of our therapist. I do hope my H will agree to join me, although I am terrified to ask.
Regardless of whether he does me or not, I'd like to/need to examine my own life in more detail, and establish better goals for what I really and truly want out of it.
I hope this post is of some help to those of you reading it.