I found the therapist, made the first appointment three days after my first wife disclosed that I really should go to the doctor because she had been diagnosed with an STD.
We were avid bike riders (bicycle). It was not unusual for me to get up and ride thirty, forty or so miles a day. We had two daughters and could not participate together in all of the different activities that we wanted to...so, more often than not, I would stay home with the girls as my wife went on the weekend bike trips with the bike club. She had a high pressure job and we decided it was an excellent way of getting rid of some of that stress.
As her disclosure unfolded it turned out that there were multiple relationships. As a result of this particular one...I took my tube cutter and very neatly cut her bicycle into several very neat lengths of about eight to ten inches each...put them in a box and sent them by carrier to the guy she was involved with. She had been looking at another bicycle anyway...we went out and got it that week.
Don't ya know...just about the first words out of the therapist's mouth were, "You cut up her bike!" She was actually outraged, "What gave you the right to cut up her bicycle?" Right about there is where I should have known I was screwed...but, okay.
I became the scapegoat for everything wrong in the relationship. My undisclosed experiences somehow drove my wife to choose to have multiple relationships outside of our marriage. I was given literature on how, when one partner "acts out" by seeking out a relationship outside the marriage it is most often a result of the non-offending partner and unresolved issues.
Had I been more therapy-wise at that point I woulda dropped that bitch by the second appointment...but unfortunately I wasn't.
I was the "identified patient" because I made the choice to disclose. But in looking back at the experience it is an interesting sort of indictement about therapy in general...and those who call themselves therapists.
Relationships are hard. No way around that. They are...and while I have absolute respect for, even admiration for the determination any partner of a survivor has...it seems important too, at some point, to point out that there is a reason that they are together. Often times what brings two people together...if left unchecked will most often tear them apart.
As a survivor myself...let's acknowledge that my experiences and the resulting behaviors can most certainly be identified by grabbing any of the many books on male survivors these days. There are many out there now. Let's say that because of these experiences I speak a certain language. That certainly seems accurate to suggest. While our experiences may differ they seem to manifest certain predictable patterns of behavior.
So...I speak, "survivor." I am looking for a partner...someone to live with, share my goals and dreams. Who am I looking for? As a potential partner? Chances are I am not looking for someone with more self worth or self esteem...we would not be comfortable together. Why would I choose someone I am not comfortable with? I want someone who speaks my language, right? One of the most difficult processes in recovery is the struggle survivors and their partners go through as they navigate through these issues.
Change is inevitable...growth is optional.
As either the survivor or the partner is empowered through the process of this work, there is the inevitable push and pull as each attempts to gain self worth and self esteem. As much as we want change...and as much as we say that is the goal...change is uncomfortable...it is hard work. Recovery is a lot like walking up a flight of stairs...one partner or the other may be pushing or pulling the other either up or down those stairs because this process is not linear...it is a spiralling sort of process whereby we have to revisit abstract concepts that we learn along the way or injunctions that we are challenging...in order to incorporate them into our lives.
So...on to my second therapist. As I recounted the story of cutting up the bike reluctantly...he nearly stood up and cheered. I was no longer the identified patient...the relationship was. What we each brought into the relationship became the focus...and the playing field was leveled. Because as much as my first wife now seemed to enjoy stating that I was cold and or unfeeling...this guy stopped that short by simply asking, "And what was it about that that attracted you to Dave in the first place?"
Needless to say...she stopped doing the therapy. We divorced and she went on to get married to someone even less expressive and who was, by my daughter's estimations, even more cold. My daughters by the way...never saw me as cold or unfeeling.
It takes two to have a relationship...which is often times used to describe the struggle a partner feels and or experiences as they describe their effort to motivate and or move their partners in any direction...but really...what was it that attracted you to the survivor initially...
checkin out for a few weeks...