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I'm concerned about something. I had gone to talk to a minister about my issues. So last Sunday I went back to church for the first time in about 2 years, more or less. I saw this same minister. She ask me how I had been dealing with putting stuff in place that we talked about. So anyway, she mentioned something about my SO being so much like my XH. I said, oh no, they are nothing alike really. She looked at me kind of strange and asked me to give her a call the next day.

I called and we talked for a few minutes. I brought her up to speed on what had happened with SO since we talked. Then she brought up again about XH and SO being so much alike and I said no, they are nothing alike. So she asked if I wanted to come in again for a session, I said yes and was shocked she gave me Wednesday because it usually seems like it takes longer than that to schedule.

Again when we met she brought up about XH and SO being so much alike, I say no, why do you keep saying that. She then asked if I have been being truthful to her. I say yes, I have been acting badly lately but one thing is I have been truthful. She says, yes that was my impression also but how do you explain this:

then she plays back a recording of our session. (I knew it was recorded). this was a part of the session where i had started crying while I was talking. She asked me why I was crying, I didn't know. It was not sobbing, just crying, I didn't get choke up or anything. but then she had started asking me about what my marriage was like, what my relationship with SO was like, and I heard myself almost talking about them like they were they same person! For instance I would say something that XH would do that I loved and then say the same thing about SO, when SO really was not like that at all. It was like I had somehow combined them as a person; their positive and negative traits. I was visibly upset when I heard this recording. It's like I remember the conversation, but I didn't remember being so inaccurate about them. I mean I was truly talking about them like they were one person!

I told her this and she seem genuinely concerned, and I was genuinely scared. She said she will have to think about this "development" and I asked her what are her intial thoughts. She thinks I might need to see a psychiatrist but she wants to confer with somebody or the other first! I am so scared about this. I think about all my mental functioning and except for the episodes of the past year or so I am normal in every way. Even with past behaviors, I knew what I was doing. I never felt in any way like "Oh, I'm doing this, I don't want to, but I can't stop". I NEVER felt this way. I felt terrible about it, tried to block myself from thinking about it, but I never felt like something else was in control. I never even felt like it was some strange pleasure in it. As for what happened with XH I felt desperate to feel like he still loved me in spite of how he had treated me. With the exception of our conversation the first time we met again, there was nothing that crass in the way he talked to me (although yes, the behavior was crass). He said a lot of stuff to make me think he just still loved me and wanted to be with me. I knew deep down, though that he didn't.

I said all of that to say I don't feel in any way that I'm out of touch with reality. Isn't that what needing a psychiatrist is all about. I feel so scared, mainly because I feel like I could lose my baby.

Has anyone heard ever of someone doing what I did with the minister. I mean it was really bizarre to hear it. I told the minister I would do whatever she recommends.

By the way, SO is still living with me for the most part. There are some logistical things that I didn't even think about (I have no car, weaning the baby). The minister knows it and thinks it just can't be helped right now but we do have things in place to be done in two weeks. We are not sleeping in the same room and he really has backed off of everything (okay, I'm leaving a lot out here for sake of not making this a novel, but we will be done in two weeks so he can move out for good).


I'm suppose to see her again next week regardless. I'm also suppose to call her every other day to give an account of my behavior with SO to make sure it doesn't stray from what is in place.

I'm just so scared. I did not tell SO about our session. Since last night I have been researching all over the internet but cannot find anything like this. It's really bothering me.
 

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Believe it or not, what you've described is actually quite common!

An exercise I used to use with patients sometimes to get them to understand that they recreate their undesirable situations again and again was to ask them to list ten qualities about each one of their past partners. Usually there were 4-5 items that were on every list: "Sense of humor," "intelligence," and "attractive" might be examples of one person's list. Then I would ask them how those same traits were affecting the relationship NOW and I'd hear things like "His jokes are hurtful," "he treats me like I'm stupid" or "it seems like other women are always paying attention to him."

By recognizing these things, a person can start to recognize red flags earlier and also discover how they attract what they DON'T want in their lives.

I would encourage you to try the same exercise with your minister or counselor. Like you, many people who completed this exercise felt surprised and shocked to discover the similarities that were consistent in their past relationships. They literally didn't recognize them before and thought that their ex partners were all uniquely different from each other.

It should also be said that my clients also often didn't realize that their own personality influenced the way their partner's traits were used in the relationship.
 
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