The Counseling Dilemma

I went to counseling because I needed to talk to somebody about my situation--but that situation didn't initially involve physical violence. I needed someone to listen to me and to validate my feelings.

It felt odd because while she was trying to assess me, I was trying to assess her. I needed to determine if the environment was safe and nonjudgemental. I sat there wondering,
Is she married? Does she like her job? What does she think of me? Does she believe me?
All of these questions were significant because it would determine if I would really tell her the truth, or only answer as I thought she wanted to hear.

I surveyed everything in her office. I studied the paintings on the wall to see what type of environment she intended to create. I read all of the titles on the books on her shelf to see what type of background knowledge she possessed. I looked at the screensaver on her monitor to determine what she thought was aesthetic.

It took a few sessions before I felt halfway comfortable. The main reason I relaxed is that she told me she had married young, and had been divorced--now re-married. This was reassurance that she was not "ordinary," or removed from the trials of real life. She was a human being to whom I could relate, and possibly vice versa. It established a baseline from which I could test her by uncovering more and more of my personal details.

I hated my life. I hated my then husband. But, I hated myself the most for "allowing" my life to turn out that way. I was in a remote location outside of a small city. The military base was all I had and I found no solace in it. The military, in a sense, was against me for failing to deal with "my problems" according to their standards.

He was against me, too, for failing to dealing with "my problems" within his timeframe. Every time I went to counseling, he ridiculed me. One time, he got very close to my face and said, in the most elementary school of all voices, something like,
Randi has to go to counseling, because Randi has problems.
I even asked if he wanted to go together--I heard that couples did that when they had marital issues. He answered in the negative, asserting that he didn't have a problem, I had a problem.

And I did. So, I stopped going to counseling after a couple of months.

“When we turn to one another for counsel we reduce the number of our enemies.”~Kahlil Gibran

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