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Feeling hopeful after counselling, beginning my husband's psychotherapy journey

Community Member

We went to joint counselling yesterday with an excellent psychologist. She really laid it on the line and it was a hallelujah moment for me! Being heard and understood was so freeing for me after five years of trying to get through to my poor husband.
She told my husband that he needs to "go deep" and commit to a course of psychotherapy over a long period, up to two years. She told him that he was a victim of childhood abuse and neglect and that the trauma of those early experiences has affected his personality. She told him (and he HEARD her) that our marriage is not going to survive if things don't change.
I had kind of bundled up his issues as "anxiety" or maybe "anxiety and depression" but she was able to see through the anxiety symptoms and realise that actually he has a personality disorder brought about by his incredibly controlling father and a childhood of being bullied, repressed and emotionally manipulated.

She also said that while he is not abusive towards me, the pattern of behaviour he observed between his parents is highly abusive and that he is subconsciously re-creating those patterns in our family. I don't respond in the way he expects (the way that his mother responded to his father) and that creates lots of frustration and anger in him. I'm so glad my boundaries are still firm after five years and that there is some hope he can learn to recognise and change his patterns of behaviour.
I'm under no illusions that this will be an easy process for either of us but I'm feeling hopeful as we take the first step together. Considering that this time last week I was making appointments with divorce lawyers, it really feels like a break through!
I'd be really keen to hear from others who may have been through this too! I have posted to other forums and been really buoyed up by the support from complete strangers 🙂


2 Replies 2

Community Member

Hello Raspberry Rhubarb, and welcome to the BB community. I apologise that you have not had a reply until now, occasionally they get missed.

It sounds as though you are finally feeling positive about something that you and your husband have been struggling with for a long time. I'm so pleased that you have found a good psychologist. Too many people are dissatisfied with their psychologist and often just give up hope and think its not worth the effort, or they dont work. It looks like you've found one who understands and sounds very committed to helping over the long term. It makes such a big difference to feel comfortable talking to them and have confidence in their ability and to feel that they are committed to getting your husband well again.

Knowing that your husbands condition can be treated, even if it takes 2 years, must be such a relief to both of you. You're right of course, in that it will not be an easy road. But at least you know and accept that, and thats half the battle won.

In the meantime, its really important RR to look after yourself over what will be a difficult time. Do you work, have hobbies, do regular exercise, have good friends you can spend time with? Attending to your own needs is equally important as those of your husband's, so please do not neglect yourself throughout this process.

I'd recommend you have a look at the resources below in the blue section of the BB website. Particularly the "Supporting Someone" section, where you will find lots of information and helpful advice. If you are interested in meeting other members here, I'd sugggest you drop into the BB Cafe where some of us congregate from time to time, often just to chill out. You will find it under the BB Social Zone section of the forums. There are also lots of other light hearted and fun threads there which you may enjoy. Feel free to join in anytime.

Also have a browse through other threads contained in the "Supporting family and friends with a mental health condition" Forums. You may see some which have a similar theme to your own, so please do not be shy about replying to any existing thread if you feel you have something to contribute, or have questions.

Its our pleasure to have you here with us RR. I'm sure you will find these Forums to also be very supportive and caring, and I hope you will pop back in again when you find the time. I will look out for you in the BB Social Zone, and here on your thread of course.



Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi and welcome to beyond blue.

While I have not been through what you and your partner are undergoing together, it is refreshing to see that you are both working on the problem together.

And while I have sessions with my psychologist (or psychiatrist) by myself, and I generally tell my wife what we covered etc. My view is that marriage (or relationship) should be able to survive depression and/or anxiety issues when there is support (care and/or concern) from the other person.

As for the length of time... I have read in some books of people see a psychiatrist for 5 years. I have only been seeing a psychologist for 7 months and still think I have a long way to go. But knowing or being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel is a start.

Wishing you both well on this journey,