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Therapy Fails?

Most chumps have tried therapy with fuckwits. No knock on the mental health profession, but therapists are not wizards. They aren’t going to hand out hearts, brains, and courage. You either bring that stuff to the shrink sofa, or you don’t.

So today’s Fun (?) Friday Challenge is to share your Therapy Fails. It can be Stupid Shit Cheaters Say in Therapy. (I submit for your consideration my ex’s “I LIKE being a narcissist!”)

Lame-ass apologies? No apologies? Or maybe no discussion at all… just a string of broken appointments.

Or it can be Stupid Shit Therapists Say. Perhaps yours saw a unicorn. The Reconciliation Industrial Complex is full of silliness. (Okay tragic silliness that costs $140/hr). But consider the dada-esque gem that is “affairs make marriages stronger!”

Mostly, I’m looking for the dumb. Or the cloyingly New Agey. “I would’ve told you about Sienna, but your negative energy triggers my toxic shame.”

I’m sure you guys have material. Lay it on CN, and TGIF!

(I have run this challenge before, but for all the newbies who think their stories are unique and those repellent experiences were borne in sorrow alone — nope! This shit is really common.)

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  • This is stupid shit therapists say: “You have postpartum depression” – said by marital counsellor when he and my husband bonded in sympathy after I told him my husband did not do any housework or help with the baby and that I was running on empty working at a full time job on top of it with no sleep. Of course, no suggestion was made that my husband should help.

    • Yes, I also experienced this, no help, whilst also paying all the household bills even though my ex had a job.

      Mega “baby blues”.

      I had a pretty cool doctor, he said I didn’t need anti-depressants, just more money and time but he could prescribe those, I had to figure that out myself

      Gosh things are so much easier now.

    • Exactly what I was told. Looking back, I didn’t have postpartum depression.
      I was reacting normally to dealing with a fuckwit!

    • So….I actually DID have severe PPD, but I had to see my own psychologist in order to get some competent, compassionate mental health care. The couples “counselor” we were seeing just went along with asshat’s description of me being a crazy bitch prone to crying/yelling outbursts. Well DUH, I was trying to keep myself and two small babies alive (I mean that in every sense; I was really suffering) while being gaslighted, abused, and emotionally tortured by a cruel sociopath who demanded I go to counseling to change the way I treated him. He never admitted to our counselor that he was having an affair – gee, you think that might have explained some of my mental anguish?? – but he later admitted to me that the only reason he wanted couples counseling in the first place was so he could say to a judge that he did everything he could and he should get custody. ????

      • That’s the only reason mine went to counseling, so he could make it look like he tried… Bull Shit

        • I asked my ex to go to couples counseling a few times during our relationship. He always said, “no”. Then on DDay, he said, “Do you want to go to counseling?” I looked at him and calmly said, “No. An affair is a deal breaker for me. We’re done.” He often told me his wife refused to go to counseling with him. I’m sure he’s saying the same thing about me to his Schmoopie…who’s now his fiancee.

          • Sisu,

            Every time I suggested therapy he turned me down. He finally decided to go but….without me. It literally felt like I had been erased; like I didn’t even exist or was part of ‘our’ relationship at all.

            I hadn’t found LACFAL and was deep into pick-me-dancing and the RIC messages so I was just patient and considerate and tolerant and understanding etc.

            I finally worked it out in my own little shocked mind that ‘it was what he needed and maybe it would wake him up so he would come to his senses and start behaving like himself again’.

            WRONG. He went to therapy for maybe 2 months and then considered himself
            ‘cured’. We are now divorced and I know there was never a real him – only a hole and a bunch of lies. 30+ years with a serial cheater AND, it is pertinent to mention that he is a therapist!!!!

        • Same here. Ex just wanted to check the box and perform image management. He barely spoke in marriage counseling, completed “homework” with the most infuriating and unrelated bull crap imaginable (“Sometimes I don’t like it when _____” and my passive aggressive spouse wrote “the sky is cloudy.”). And of course wholly denied that he was involved with or interested in anyone else. And of course had never cheated.

          The counselor never questioned his claim at fidelity–just fully accepted his claim at face value–we are too different, we are not in love anymore. She was a great therapist in other ways, but that part just boggled my mind.

          I think maybe she saw that he had checked out, for whatever reason, and made accepting the divorce (on my part) her goal, rather than helping us get back together. Ultimately that’s what happened anyway. I only knew to trust my “affair” radar after I had irrefutable photographic evidence fall into my lap.

          • Good thing you didn’t stay together. Lessing in disguise.Just imagine what that life would be like for you. See it as a gift that you no longer have to be with that fake ass man anymore xo sweet

          • Mine agreed to therapy after I booked one ( was absolutely at the end of my rope ) and told him that with or without him – I’m going.
            Condition – no mentioning his porn activities ( that was pre dday had no idea how deep in shit he is and how fucked up I was)

            After three months he didn’t see point of going anymore ( still before dday) because he was cured, I just needed to be more understanding and loving.

            RIC – big time pick me dancing and the feeling that something doesn’t work there…

            PTSD on my side, severe… therapist acknowledged that- and continued with a RIC bs.

            Dday- going back to therapy.
            No remorse, no guilt, just craziness of feeling so “ down”

            Crying mess on the sofa- and he was just sitting there.

            I knew .

          • My husband did the same. When the MC challenged him to see things from my perspective he was done for sure. But… the MC did say we get complacent (more pick me dancing) and it doesn’t work to put the kids first, nope not when AP puts him where he’s most happy…. front and center.

      • Oh yeah, that sounds familiar. My ex and I did about 4 sessions of “counseling” that was supposedly to figure out how to split in the best way for the children. Of those, he said “I went to the sessions because I was told I should” (meaning – he was told he should by the Personal Assistance Services counselor from his work, who told him at the beginning that he should end his affair and work on his marriage before just ending things). The ex didn’t care about the sessions or their outcomes, just his own impression management.

        And despite what the PAS counselor told him, he told me he refused to go to couples/marriage counseling because he “didn’t want to be told how he should think.”

        There was also one time he and I were leaving one of the few sessions we did go to, and he accused me in a flabbergasted/angry sort of way of looking at him like he was dog shit. Yeah, ya think? How else should I look at an adulterous liar? 😉

        • ‘Don’t want to be told how they should think’. – THIS should be the main indicator on how to spot a narcissist!! I’ve been in a few situations where I thought maybe something was off with a date or a friends – and if something is said along these lines of ‘nobody can tell me what to do’ – yep – big flag.

          • “You aren’t the boss of me.”
            “You can’t tell me what to do.”
            “Don’t tell me how to think.”
            Red flags.

            • Ex got a tattoo, “only God can judge me”. Took me a couple years after that. 7 to be exact.

            • Mine said at least twice, “you can put my dick in your purse”
              This was after the day, dumb shit. So disrespectful.
              So glad he’s in the rearview mirror

          • “I’ve always felt the REAL love affair was between Charles and Camilla”
            mused my counsellor as I sat in front of her, with aggressive breast cancer, bald headed, describing my husband abandoning me for OW 5 weeks into my chemo treatment just a few weeks previously.

    • Our MC said to my exh, “She’s not better than you.”.
      She didn’t want him to feel bad about himself. She said it just like that . Twice..

      • Yeah, our counsellor was all about him feeling comfortable and safe. You know, protection for those timid forest creatures & their poor fractured selves.

        • There are times when I realize that CL’s metaphors for cheaters and cheating (e.g., “timid forest creatures,” “kibbles,” and “cake” are perfect.

    • I was told I had post-partum anxiety, and was booked into parenting classes and a respite house for anxious and depressed mothers. Talk about being gaslighted (or is that lit?) Everything made so much sense after discovery. Ah no, I just had a partner that fought me on every single parenting decision I wanted to make, then reported back to OW who ripped me apart for being ‘priveledged as fuck’ who didn’t know how good she had it, and she would never take Mr Cheaterpants for granted like I did. I had stupidly assumed that your partner had your back in times of great vulnerability, but no…
      As for the counsellor, he tried to tell me that there were different levels of trust and asked me if I would trust him to do this and that, giving many mundane examples. Yes I would trust him to take out the trash, but any moron can do that, I wanted someone who could step up for some of life’s more challenging tasks.

      • Stig,

        As the years wore on about the only thing the x did around the house was to take the trash out and that, he must have felt, was his contribution to raising our family.

        I should mention that for many, many years it was me who took the trash out until he, one day, took that chore on.

        I will also mention that the trash he took out was not the household trash on a daily basis to the outside can, it was the ‘once a week’ job of rolling the trash can out to the curb so the trash collectors could pick it up.

        In my chumpiness, I was overly appreciative and went way over board in thanking him….So glad I don’t have to pamper a grown man’s immature ego anymore 🙂

        • Elderly Chump, I feel you. It gets to the point that they do so little that we are stunned and amazed when they come to the party and do something. I really hated how I had to basically treat him like a toddler and over-praise him to encourage him to do even basic adulting.

    • Funny enough, I’m the husband and betrayed spouse, and postpartum came up as well. Like you, it was used against me in the ever accumulating pity points my WS of a wife was hording. It was said that her months of cheating, intentional lying, and desire to continue doing so, was possibly related to postpartum.

      Then my wife insisted she just like banging other dudes.

      For some reason, in all this, I was the only one that respected her enough to believe her. LOL But no. It couldn’t just be that she was selfish. There had to be a medical reason to remove some blame that she herself wasn’t even interested in watering down. Very odd indeed!

      It sucks that the therapist essentially blamed you for ex-husband’s misgivings.

      • It still hurts, sometimes they just come out with stuff that they don’t even try to soften, and it takes your breath away, but although it’s super hurtful, in some ways it’s good to hear it from the horse’s mouth that no, it wasn’t mitigating circumstances, they are actually that much of a turd. I think a lot of the shock comes from trying to reconcile the image you had of the person (especially one you thought you knew through decades of living in close proximity) and their true selves. So sorry you had to go through the mind-fuck.

  • It’s actually more like *Insightful things therapists say that i chose to ignore for 7 years* but here goes….

    7 years before final D Day (i know right) and about two weeks after i first caught him cheating red handed (that affair lasted another 3 years ive recently found out, including through me getting pregnant and then marrying the fuckwit, it lasted another year after that) i saw a therapist.

    Before he joined us after session 3, she gave me the most galvanising description of codependents/codependence (think venn diagram, circles move apart, incomplete circles create and teeny tiny elipse left behind representing my identity). I still explain codependence like this to people. Why did it take me 7 years and a wedding to work out thats bad???? Will never know.

    But here’s the kicker. I remember her so clearly saying *he sounds very narcissistic*

    That was session 2, he came to 3 and 4 then i got pregnant and we bailed on therapy.

    This was 2011! We had google! Why did i not google that word until 7 years later and endless pick me dancing.

    Still kicking myself over that.

    • Similar experience: after my DDay I went to a counselor and they told me that I had been cheated on because I am codependent. As in, I let people walk all over me because I’m scared of losing them. Did I know he was cheating on me? No. However, yes, I’m part “it was my fault for not knowing”
      Dumped that therapist and the ex husband and moved on to a therapist who counsels out of a trauma model (example you’ve been wronged), not a codependency model (it’s partly your fault you’ve been wronged).

      • That’s the kind of therapist (trauma model) that I wish I’d found after my ex-boyfriend cheated on me. (First significant, long-term relationship I had after an 18-year marriage.)

        She immediately told me I was co-dependent, something no other therapist had said before. (She also claimed she knew couples whose relationships were ‘made stronger’ after infidelity.)

        A few days later, I ended up talking to the male friend who had referred me to her – and she had told him he was co-dependent too.

        Apparently that was her go-to diagnosis. Complete with printed-out literature.

      • Codependency is not a thing in betrayal! Gads! These therapist are insane! How can you be codependent over something you had no idea was going on??? There is no codependency in cheating! It’s a one sided one man band! Thank heaven my therapist knew this and verbalized it to me! Codependents are for drugs and alcohol. The End.

          • Not Crazy,

            When I was drowning in my pick-me-dancing and RIC months I somehow came upon one of his talks on youtube and the relief I felt was palatable.

            Up until that point I had knee-jerk reactions to anyone pointing a finger at me and suggesting that I had a part to play in the mess HE made of his life as a serial cheater, profound primary process liar and a covert narcissist. I knew they weren’t right but I couldn’t put my finger on it AND, in the role I did play, it always was my fault. Not in relation to his cheating because I didn’t know about it for 30+ years but in relation to everyday stuff – kids being too messy, noisy – house not clean enough yada, yada, yada…..

            It was one of many eye opening moments for me that allowed me to see what I hadn’t been able to see before and to see that I wasn’t to blame because our relationship was all a lie. His moods etc were all related to what he was up to and I thought he was just depressed and overworked…..little did I know 🙂

    • Almost 20 years ago I saw a counsellor who said “it sounds like some kind of a personality disorder”. I didn’t know what that was- so I said no, I think he just had a bad childhood. Duh. Later on he told me to “RUN.” Instead I spackled some more. I am a hard headed woman- saving the world one arsehole at a time. HA. But I am free now as of 5 years ago. And loving it! I know now, that he was a great counsellor. I was so determined not to ‘fail’ so my son could have an intact family, because it was my second marriage. Thank heavens for chump nation. Some loud and beautiful voices and a ton of cumulative experience.

    • NenaB, I’ve read all sorts of books about codependency and have done therapy with top-flight people for years. But I didn’t really get it all the way until AFTER D-Day and I started looking hard at my life choices and where they got me, on the advice of my astrologer friend.

      Don’t beat yourself up. You weren’t READY. You had to give up some life assumptions before you could hear what the therapist said and fully understand it. (This is why American education is so f*cked up. We think telling people is teaching people. It’s more like planting seeds.

      And that’s difficult when you’re in love and you want to save the relationship. One way we can help young people is to raise them to see that if the relationship needs “saving” before marriage, walk away. But as a culture, we are light years away from doing that. Humans bond. It’s hard for most of us normal people to walk away from those bonds, not so hard for narcissists and sociopaths.

  • I got lucky. I felt I needed some help getting through the separation and divorce. I also wanted someone my kids could talk too. The woman I found said there was nothing to work with (with my X) but she would help me. So that is what she and I did.

  • We had a marital counselor who told me I should just think about my ex-a##hole husband’s affair as an “aberration of the norm..
    A blip on the radar….an anomaly.. t

    Whole time my ex claimed he acted out because he was abused as a child. GTFOH!?? What did that. have to do with cheating on ME?! Of course therapist co signed on it. “His trauma caused him to cheat “! Yeah ….right

    • “His trauma caused him to cheat!” OMG!!!!
      I got the same thing. After one of the final DDays he was desperate to save our relationship. He finally agreed to go to therapy with me. We found a therapist that was recommended by someone I know. She was ok the first session but then deemed he needed testing for ADD/ADHD which I had suspected for quite sometime. Well, he did the testing and with all his FOO issues he now had a valid excuse for being a douche and serial cheater. It was out of his control because of he feeling he’s never good enough and biological need for a dopamine rush. So much for counselling. He said after his blessed excuse of a diagnosis it was too expensive to keep going that he will just take his meds and all will be fine. Well, he still cheated on the meds and I kicked him out. THEN, he decided we and he alone had to dive hard into counselling. I wouldn’t and he went twice on his own and I found CL!!! Best therapy I’ve ever had. I’m 8 months post DDAY and doing better everyday.

      • The abuse excuse is just that. Some of us, as well as others outside here, have had horrible childhoods but we decided we would not repeat the family patterns or hurt anyone else.

        When cheaters/abusers have to lie, hide, blame and deflect what they do, that tells us they KNOW what they are doing is WRONG – but lack the will to stop themselves. Easier to BS why they do it than to make the change .. The only thing to do with such persons is to get away, and stay away.

        All therapists should know this.

      • I still do therapy—I guess I still see myself growing and improving from that work. But what turned my life around was CL and learning about the way narcissistic people do relationships and how codependent/chumpy types are targets for them. Lots of puzzle pieces snapped into place. I owe such a debt of gratitude to CL and Chump Nation for a graduate-level education is dysfunctional relationships.

        • The therapeutic relief I obtained through CN and CL was orders of magnitude better than I received through “therapy”.

        • My wife “fell in love” with the mother of one of our daughter’s best friends. The affair is still going on, and divorce papers have been filed. My first “therapist” asked me whether I would consider a polyamorous relationship since the affair showed no signs of stopping. I said, “no, I want a one husband/one wife sort of relationship with a straight woman, sort of like the one I thought I was signing up for on my wedding day.”

          I never saw that theratwist again.

      • Even the books on adult ADD and ADHD say that people can have that AND be narcissistic, in which case there’s nothing to work with.

  • He spent 30 minutes listing my failings as a human being, spouse and parent while I listened, amused our very young child (non-verbal) and silently cried. She asked that I step out for a few minutes so she could speak with him privately. I foolishly did so (I should have grabbed the kid and driven the fuck away).

    The incompetent therapist asked me back in, pointed out that I was in tears and that he had hurt me deeply (I’m not a crier!) and that he needed to GIVE ME A HUG.

    No. He was abusing me, she should have called him on the carpet in front of me and told him that his behavior was unacceptable.

    At a later session she made some stupid excuse for his shitty behavior and I told her that she hadn’t a clue. To take him in for a week and get back to me. I refused to go to sessions after that.

    • I know this is late but I hope you see it.
      Good for you!
      Marriage therapist just never admitted she saw anything wrong with husband’s gaslighting, temper tantrums or devaluing. Just remained neutral. So neutral that it seemed, to me, that she was signing off on that behavior as normal. Made me wonder if I was crazy or overreacting…

  • I met with my ex’s psychiatrist (who took no insurance for the 3 times a week my ex was seeing him). My ex was there as well.

    I came prepared. I told the doctor that I thought my ex was depressed and listed all the things he had lost interest in: me, his kids, his family. I talked about no sex, how hard he was working and all the hours he wasn’t home…

    After I finished talking the fancy psychologist SCREAMS out “would the two of you just get a divorce already?!?!”

    Not “hey ex, is there something you want to tell your wife?” Or “ maybe this is a good time to have an honest discussion about what ex has been doing for the last few year?”

    I was so terrified by his screaming that I left the office. Maybe if I had stayed, I would have found out about the affair but there are no redos

  • So much bad advice from so many therapists, after the 3rd and final DDay, while I was half-way trying to reconcile, therapists told me to spend 15 minutes telling X-hole how I felt and he was supposed to listen and say “I’m sorry you feel that way.” What actually happened, X-hole used the 15 minutes to torture me as I had to relive the horrible pain, then decided he need his own 15 minutes to yell and tell me what a bad wife I was.

    Therapy with a abusive, manipulator is always a bad idea. They put on the charm, making the victim look like the bad guy. Then abuse the victim after the session for anything they might have said that made them look bad. It’s just another form of abuse.

    On a positive note, I did have one therapist who told me my X was an abuser and that I should take the kids and leave. He refused to see my X anymore and would only see me alone as I he knew I was the one needing the help. It took six more years to pull myself together, and the 3rd DDay, but I finally did. I owe that therapist more than I could pay.

    • ChumpedtotheMax,
      Even when we may not be ready to leave a cheater/abuser at the moment, it helps to hear the truth about our spouse from an outsider.

      While I was married, a member of the co-ed sports team we played with was sitting out a rotation with me on the bleachers. She said to me, “Your husband is a real assh**e. I don’t understand how a sweet person like you could be married to him.” OUCH! She was blunt but she said the truth. It was a validation that I remembered and needed when I divorced the guy several years later.

      I’m glad you got away from the cheater and hope your life gets more wonderful each day.

  • My EX was in therapy because he was drinking a lot. He went every week for a year. Never once told the therapist how he was screwing MANY different people, all the while playing the poor helpless victim of being married to mean old me.
    So basically he was using the therapist to build his case against me and further blame me for HIS sick choices. To this day EX serial cheater still takes no responsibility for what he did because the therapist was so “good” at helping him formulate his story.

    Joke’s on him though bc after shit hit the fan I want to that therapist, asked him how does a trained professional miss all that? I had a good validating laugh to myself when the therapist was like “well, there is a level of psychopathic behavior in someone who could do this…”

    • Good for you in going back to the therapist and confronting him with how fooled he was. It sounds like you were direct but measured given he accepted the facts and reached the right conclusion, belatedly. But regardless how he responded, he’ll probably never forget that in his future work. You’ve done everyone who comes to him after you a favor. So many therapists only “know” psychopathy from a book. So they really don’t know it at all. It becomes much different once you’ve experienced it.

    • “…he was using the therapist to build his case against me and further blame me for HIS sick choices.”


      That is exactly what my ex used therapy for, to justify his actions and to blame me for his unhappiness and any problems in our marriage, whether it was the therapist we saw together, or the one he saw by himself.

      When we went to therapy together, he would never say what he wanted out of therapy, what the point of it was; instead, he’d say, “We’ll have to see where it goes.” Nor would he ever discuss with me ahead of time what he wanted to talk about in therapy. Both of these actions kept me off balance all the time (which I know know was what he wanted). He would also ambush me, by revealing things to the therapist in a way that would cast me in the position of being the one at fault. I never knew whether the therapist understood he was doing this, but my ex would deny it was deliberate, attributing it to “we’ll see where it goes” and “it just came up in the moment.” He used therapy to attack me, and later, when we were divorcing, he actually said, “Our problem was communication, but I never felt as if I could talk to you,” making everything my fault.

      When he was seeing his own therapist, they talked about me, and from my ex’s reports of these therapy sessions, his therapist condescendingly attributed to me motives and feelings the therapist, who knew nothing about me and had never met me, could not possible know that I had.

      I’ve had two therapists in the course of my life for me alone–one in my 20s, and one when I was contemplating leaving my ex–who were tough but supportive, and I am extremely grateful to them.

      • Wh saw a therapist on his own during the affair but never told her about the affair because he was embarassed and wouldn’t get pity from her if she knew he was lying. He needed me to be the bad guy. I actually have no idea what he could have told her xsince it turns out he kept every single secret (the kind that are addressed in therapy) from her. I think it made him look really enlightened to his ow – as did our going to MC during the affair – I’m such a good husband I see a therapist with my wife a few hours before my mistress blows me.”

    • That’s a very elaborate discard scenario, using therapy to “build his case.” That’s awful.

  • We went to a marriage counselor recommended by HIS “bestest friend in the whole world” – and who spoke English – just so I wouldn’t have the advantage over him because my French is better than his (hint: take up your employer’s offer of free French lessons in work hours over the last 30 years and see where it gets you). But, I digress! We went twice and when she asked him to stop yelling he screamed at me on the way home that she was obviously on my side because she was a woman! But he chose her on the recommendation of his “bestest friend in the whole world”! We never made it to our third appointment as the drunken asshole had hit someone’s car on the way to her office and never showed up!

  • “Affairs don’t happen in a vacuum.” —one of the brilliant things my ex came home parroting from his therapy sessions, total blame-shifting with the aid of his clueless therapist. Ugh…

      • I didn’t get that, my husband, also a chump got something similar. The therapist said, “There must be something missing in the marriage to make her cheat.” All the money and strange in the world would not make that woman happy.

    • I don’t think they’ve stuck a cheater in space yet to confirm that assertion. But when they do, I won’t be surprised to learn that cheaters frequently disappeared into the air lock chamber for hours and returned with lipstick on their space suits. So no, affairs don’t happen in a vacuum, they happen in an atmosphere of entitlement and personality disorder.

      • I love that one —“affairs happen in an atmosphere of entitlement and personality disorder.”

    • “Affairs don’t happen in a vacuum,” and “It takes two to tango” were two of the ones I was fed. I wasn’t wise enough to reply that it takes two to build a good marriage, but only one asshole to blow it all to hell.

      No, affairs don’t happen in a vacuum. They don’t “just happen,” either. Affairs are choices. Mr. Sparkly Pants apparently still takes no responsibility because “it takes two,” and “affairs don’t happen in a vacuum.” Words the therapist said. Shitty therapist, but I digress.

  • Our couple’s therapist told us we were “magical” together.
    He was so impressed by the fact we had “date nights”, which was his best tip.
    After a year, I was the problem because I couldn’t “move on”. While I was still waiting for the full disclosure my partner was “future faking”!

    • Prescient. 6 months out waiting for my full disclosure. I’m sure CN already knows it is not coming.
      I’ve dumped 3 therapists and I’m inching my way closer to dumping cheater.
      So much wasted time and energy trying to untangle the skein, ruminating the affair, and learning about the family law system.
      Such a nightmare, but the storm can’t last forever.

  • My ex would not see a professional therapist after confessing to cheating with multiple male partners during our marriage choosing instead to rely on the wisdom of our church leadership for guidance and recovery. Basically they sided with him and were helping him to hide from the truth and I refused to play the game, got a real therapist and left the church despite it being my only support network and having an ill child. Fast forward three years and said ill child is in remission gets fed up with her fathers ongoing emotional abuse and ends visitation. Ex instantly tries to get DD into a form of couples therapy she was 13. He even tries to use me to convince her of its merit as I have gained my therapist credentials since separating. She refused. That Christmas he insisted she hand over all cash and gift cards given to her by his family and then tries to use it to leverage her into visiting with him. Didn’t work. A few months back she gets the opportunity to ask when she would be getting her Christmas money from two years ago. Ex responded “you will not be getting it because I needed it to pay for a therapist after all the pain you caused me’. I now wonder if she should ask for a receipt?

    • What a horrible person and father. He’s clueless and will never understand human nature. Hugs to your daughter – she’s learning a hard and valuable lesson in fuckwittery.

    • Oh for the love of puppies – what a rat bastard father. Your daughter is wise for spotting his parental inadequacies. And you my dear, are a might mom!

    • OMG. Narcissist will do everything but pay a bill to someone who doesn’t flatter them! If it was a trip to Rome with schmoopie, it would be paid. If there’s a way to short change a child or child support because they seen ‘critical’ of his hurtful behavior….he will leave them cold, high, and dry. Because HIS money is for HIS ego.

    • Funny but not funny, it doesn’t get better with age. I’m in my 30’s and my father (also a narcissist) tried to pull the same thing on me, at my brother’s wedding while I was holding my tired toddler in my arms. He listed all the ways in which I was a terrible daughter, and if I didn’t shape up, I wouldn’t “get anything”. This was after D-Day, and my discovery of CL, and I just refused to pick me dance at all for anyone anymore. So I just calmly replied “Ok.” From the look on his face, I was actually worried his head was going to explode ???? He tried a couple more times, but each time I let him rant for a few minutes until he got to his threats, and just said “Ok.” He hasn’t contacted me since ???? He sad sausages at my brother who then occasionally tries to get me to contact him (my brother does mean well, we’ve all got our chumpy issues growing up with that guy), but other than that, the silence has been bliss. I’d be surprised if my dad didn’t drink all his money before he died anyway, but if there’s anything left, my brother and his wife deserve it for putting up with his crap way longer than I was willing to.
      I don’t know your financial situation, but if she can manage it, I would recommend that your daughter tell him, calmly and respectfully, to shove it. The cost of some money is just too damn high.

    • With my father, a gift was never freely given. It was always contingent, and he would remind you of it or ask for it back whenever he felt slighted. I learned from a wise therapist to treat a gift as a gift, and to either refuse them from my father or to take them in the spirit of a real gift, and never let him blackmail me emotionally that way.

      I hope your daughter has made it clear to those who gave her those presents that her father confiscated them. What a selfish ass he is!

    • Wow, Thankful. You just can’t make this shit up. Father cheats, etc., etc., and DAUGHTER has to return all gifts because she is, rightfully, disappointed in her asshole father?! No more gifts because he needs the $ for his therapy?! I’m sorry, but I had to laugh at that one.

      Your ex’s excuse just gave me an idea: my mother has been blackmailing me, threatening to disinherit me, excluding me, etc., ever since she realized that I KNEW she had cheated on my father and that he was raising a daughter that was not his = decades of blackmail, threats, exclusion and shit in general (she’s even mean to my children, her own grandchildren).

      I’ll tell her to keep the presents and use the $ she saves for therapy.

  • I could go on and on. But one of the highlights of the bad therapist sessions was when I started a session by saying that we didn’t share the same values. She ignored the statement, turned away from me and looked at my ex and asked him how things are going. That was the beginning of the end. He’s right back in another relationship, which I can only figure is a good front for his fucked-up-ness.

  • Therapist said to me, “People who are happy in their marriages don’t have affairs.”

    What a loaded statement – and full of shit. Blame shifting by the therapist. Justifying X’s actions. Ignoring that he is an emotionally abusive, lying, sack of shit narcissist.

    At the time, this statement fell like a slap in the face. I didn’t realize it was categorically untrue and that it WASN’T my fault.

    All I knew was that my gut was telling me that there was something wrong, and I needed to get away from this “marriage therapist” .

    Same thing with the statement that we had BOTH “failed at the marriage”. Nope. Just one of us. And it ain’t me.

    • BNB – That statement from your therapist is a load of crap. People in happy marriages DO have affairs. I have done extensive research on the subject and studies have concluded that someone’s affair has NOTHING to do with their spouse and it has NOTHING to do with the whore/man whore. It has EVERYTHING to do with the cheater. We were the ones cheated on and that’s where the connection ends.
      We were not there. We are not responsible for someone’s faithfulness or maintaining someone else’s integrity or moral standards. That’s on THEM. They are sick individuals.

      • My ex started his own therapy sessions after our divorce. After he attended therapy on his own for several months, he texted me that he wants to talk to me very soon. I told him anything he has to say to me he can say it in front of his therapist. He and his therapist agreed to have me attend sessions while he continued sessions on his own. During our sessions he stated, “we had a good marriage”, “I was the best wife he could ask for”, “he ruined everything and will feel the guilt forever”. He also stated many times he is “going through things”. Our marriage was a happy marriage. His therapist stated he’s going through a crisis. See? Testament to the fact that people in happy marriages do have affairs. Don’t take blame for someone else’s actions or responsibility for internal struggles they are going through.

    • Sounds like he got it backwards. It may have been taught years ago “People who don’t have affairs are happy in their marriage.”

      • All marriages are susceptible to infidelity – the good ones, the bad and the ugly ones.

    • Remember a lot of therapists have their own “issues”. I have a neighbor, a renowned child psychologist from Montreal, that is a train wreck. He is an alcoholic, dog poisoning/killer, old disgusting letch. Retired many years thankfully but I can only imagine the damage he inflicted on those poor kids under his care. I’d be shocked if no molestation happened. He lives full time (illegally) next door to our vacation home. His longtime partner is/was a psychiatric nurse, also an alcoholic, nasty piece of work. One of his sons committed suicide. One is as nasty as he is and not sure what happened to the 3rd son but he is not in the picture. I now know why we got the place for a steal. Two friends of mine are in the same field, both came from dysfunctional families. One is great at her vocation the other while I really like her is too messed up to be counseling anyone quite frankly.

  • The couples therapist I saw with STBXH the week after D-Day was absolutely great. STBXH thought she was ‘thick’ and was ‘scared’ of him. He only went twice and then said she was useless and he ‘knew all the answers anyway’. I saw her on my own a few times – she was very kind and empowering. But my favourite thing was her comment that he was ‘one of the most arrogant people I have ever met as a relationship counsellor!’ I found that comment very validating! She pretty much told me that he was a shitty person and that I could do better. So it was a therapy fail for STBXH but not me!! 🙂

  • Therapist told me I couldn’t work on myself until I was willing to forgive. She said we would exclusively talk about my need to forgive until I could do it. I never went back.

  • Mine was just the basic “went once, realized the truth would be exposed and decided that he would get his mystery illness that always seemed to flare up riiiiight when he wanted to weasel out of something for the next appointment and then never returned”.
    Some of these folks are just so unoriginal. Lol

    • He sounds like a four year old kid????
      How can anyone function in this world, with a plan like that?

  • After I found out about the affair and my husband stopped the divorce. Our agreement was that I would pay off the credit card. We would go to counselling. He agreed to stop all contact with Skankella. And he promised to never contact, talk or have any inappropriate contact with any women. And if any women would contact him in any way he would inform me.
    I paid off the credit card.
    He continued to make excuses why he could not keep the counselling appointments. I had to cancel and of course the counselor dropped us. Every time I would bring up the affair and ask questions. He would say it is the weekend. I only have 2 days off and don’t want my weekend ruined. When I would try to talk about it during the week. He would say. Must you bring this up now? I have to work and I do not want to get upset and not focus on my job. I later found out that he did not stop contact with Skankella until 4 weeks after we agreed to work on our marriage. Fast forward one year. He left his computer on. I noticed his facebook account was open. I saw a friend request from his Ex girlfriend from high school. He messaged her and told her and and gave him his number. I did some digging on our cell records. And there were numerous texted to and from her(he always texted her first). When I confronted him with evidence in hand. His excuse was that he thought it was me trying to trick him. I called her and I told her everything about his affair with my cousin. She was disgusted and apologized for contacting him. And will never contact him again.

    I of course kept my promise. And he broke his promise from the start. I packed his clothes and told him to get out. He of course acted like the victim and said I was acting crazy. He was not the one who contacted her. She contacted him. But, the fuckwit seems to not understand is that he gave her is number. Kept it from me. And when I found out he lied and denied. What did I expect from a Man who would cheat with his wife’s cousin? Please forgive my long rant.

    • Also, all this who-did-what-first is a toddler’s argument. He’s scrambling to keep you off center. Good job seeing through that. It’s tough when you are in the middle to have that kind of vision.

      A broken agreement is a broken agreement. The circumstances rarely matter, and when they do matter, it is because the act is reasonable under the circumstances. Violating a monogamy agreement is never reasonable because no person needs to have secret sex with another person and lie about it. That’s never a need.

      You are mighty.

  • Priest: (to summarize) there are too many red flags. I can’t marry you in the church.
    Me: (marries him anyway, justice of the peace)
    Three years later:
    Me: I have so much anxiety, I can’t breathe
    Therapist: How’s your marriage?
    Me: What?? My marriage? It’s fine! Everything’s fine. What red flags? Those red flags? ????Oh I….love a parade….

    He’s finally out of my house and I filed for divorce. My life mission is to never ignore another red flag.

    • My priest saved my life by telling me to get away from the emotional/psychological/sexual abuse of an unrepentant cheater! Sometimes we have to learn the hard lesson.

      • God bless those clergy who yea verily smithest thee with the Holy Two-by-Four of Truthiness.

        • Yes indeed. I got nothing but support and concern for my welfare from all priests from whom I sought counsel when I finally left my abusive husband almost 3 years ago. They gave me wise advice and made sure I was also seeing a professional counsellor and had other practical support. They all said its not you its him and you need to leave for you and your children. It was my MUM who sent me back into it when I told her 16 years ago what was going on, telling me I just had to cope. I am only now coming to terms with that little nugget.

  • Following the first or second marriage counseling session, the counselor forwarded both of us Esther Perel’s TED Talk video. STBXW’s favorite line from that video — “I was a victim of the affair but she was a victim of the marriage”. In a later session, I was told by the counselor that while I didn’t cause the affair, I influenced it.

    Now if I can only influence her to stop dragging her feet during the divorce…

    Perhaps we can do a “Stupid Shit That In-laws Say”. I have several doozies there.

    • Ah man, sorry.
      My marriage counselor did the same. So I started to untangle the skein using Ester Perel as my guide. Thank God I found CL soon after.

      Dropped her rt-quick. I wonder about going back to that therapist and informing her that was a stupid suggestion. But I suspect she allows EP to guide her personally, cause why else?

      Good luck with the lame in-laws and feet-dragger. You got this!

  • My therapist told us “he clearly feels bad and he clearly loves you and isn’t going to do it again. What more do you need?” A couple of years passed and trust was rebuilt. I married him. Ten months later he left me. That lady was a quack.

  • We went to one counseling appointment. I was ready to work on the marriage (I was still on hopium). He said, “I’m not sure I want to waste another 10 years with her.” I didn’t grasp what he was saying at first. Thankfully the counselor said he saw no reason for us to come back. That woke me up and I saw a divorce lawyer two days later.

    • Our marriage counselor basically got him to ask for a divorce. Thank God he did because that fucker wanted a separation. I said What! That could we two years of him manipulating me!! I didn’t say that at the time because I was pick me dancing. Stbx loved cake. What a great marriage counselor. Totally saw through that fuckers bullshit after one and Hal sessions with us. That counselor saved my sanity and helped me on my journey to gaining a life. Never said anything derogatory to us but manipulated the narc into asking for a divorce. Awesome.

  • About 6 weeks after wife told me one Sunday night, at 11: 45 pm, ” I want yi have sex with other people”, we were in couples therapy. I brought that up, therapist lead and said ” wasn’t that you just trying get noticed?”. Wife said ” yeah, I wanted him to notice me”. That she wasn’t serious about wanting to bang other people. Well, recently, she admitted to banging thus dude she brings around my boys. Unreal.

  • My ex had been seeing a psychiatrist for his alcohol problem. After I found out about the OW, he went to see him. (The guy managed to not have double-booked or fallen asleep in his office as he was prone to do) he told my ex that if he ended the affair “he could go into a tailspin.”

  • I set up our marriage counseling sessions after DDay number who the fuck knows!! I’m such a chump. But anyways our counselor was great. She knew right away that my STBXW was having an affair. We made it through 3 sessions together and after that she stormed out and was crying that we ganged up on her. The 4th session she was a no show, no call. I set up an individual session with our first counselors boss. Her first question was “What are you scared of?” I’m like what do you mean? She said “well she’s having an affair and you don’t deserve that, there’s nothing wrong with getting a divorce. You need to divorce her. You won’t have any problems finding someone new if that’s what you’re afraid of.” I owe those 2 awesome ladies for helping me get the courage to finally leave her whore ass.

    • Sounds like you were lucky with some good therapy!

      Like many I too wasted much money on marriage counselling, which was doubly annoying when I discovered a year or so later than STBXW was not only still in contact with her OM but had already started sending him money, then sitting in the sessions pretending we could ‘talk’

      Even though I didn’t see it at the time (far too high on hopium), our counsellor quickly moved to individual sessions with us and pretty much told me the same thing. What am I scared of? Why do I want to stay and reconcile? Etc. She had a great saying from her native Spain that an ice-cream melting in a doorway lasts longer than a newly divorced man! In other words I needed to move on and my life will be just fine.

  • My ex has seen SO many therapists, but he fires them as soon as they make suggestions he doesn’t like. So the only person he has stuck with for these past 15 years is someone who excuses his cheating, lying, and general horribleness. He loves her because she challenges him on nothing. Her name is Shelly so I refer to her as “the Shenabler”‘

    • Shenabler is just collecting $$$. Unfortunately that is also prevalent in this field. The therapists know that as long as they go along and agree with the cheater, abuser, etc. they are long term clients. They know if they call them out the clients drop them and they lose $$$. Some may figure what the hell as you really can’t help a narcissist.

  • Marriage Counselor: The two of you are here because of your husband’s infidelity, but we aren’t going to discuss that. Ever. We are going to discuss what led to his ‘poor choices’. After all, he wouldn’t have cheated for no reason, so your marriage was already in trouble”when he did? What is your part in his cheating?

    Me:WTF? (Of course, this was before I learned that so-called therapist and OW were related by, of all things, marriage.)

    I am so glad I saw through that BS and stopped joint counseling immediately. I think X continued to see said therapist. After all, she (yes, it was a woman) was telling him everything he wanted to hear. I knew better than to pay a stranger to tell me that X’s cheating was a “cry for help”. The Ester Perlman BS is heavily entrenched if the therapeutic community, at least it was where I lived.

  • My counsellor was good and focused on me not saving the marriage (my original intent). My STBX wouldn’t go “there is nothing wrong with me”. I laugh my ass off at that – inner demons are what make someone cheat – end of story.

  • Crap my ex told me: I’m not looking to go anywhere, which translated means he was not at that exact moment looking online for another place to live. Also, “I don’t consider lying to be dishonest, that’s more like stealing.” What the hell? Lying is the very definition of dishonesty. Also he told me that we should get a boat because I had always wanted one. Really? I never knew that about myself. Good thing he enlightened me.

    Can’t say our therapist said anything stupid, she really just sat there and listened to us bitch and moan. Finally figured out I could do that to my friends for free.

  • Thankfully, my/our counselor pegged him as a narc, Day 1.

    Stupid shit my ex said? As we’re in a family counseling session. My kids are bawling. Telling him, their feelings. My ex expresses nothing. Suddenly, he throws himself over the arm of the couch and starts crying…”I don’t know if my dad ever loved me.” What???!!!

    My kids are upset over him leaving their mom/family for his affair partner but his daddy didn’t love him is the only thing he’s thinking of????! Poor victim narc.

  • Therapist spent several weeks telling me his cheating wasn’t the point and that Mr. Fantastic was the most closed-off person he’d ever seen. When the OW’s baby daddy outed Mr. F as pursuing her still, I fired Mr. Fantastic from therapy and told the therapist about it. Who threw a huge, curse-laden tantrum about how XH had LIED to him… and then made a pass at me.

  • On the fuckwit’s behavior in therapy: After OW#1 we did 3 sessions of MC. It ended when we got to his issues and he simply refused to go any more. When filling out the questionnaire at the beginning, one question for the spouse having the affair was, “Do you feel guilt?” X Asshat looked up and sneered at me with his sing-songy hateful voice, “Guilt, huh. You would loovve that, woouuldnn’t yoooou!!?” I should have left him on that basis alone, it told me everything I needed to know. Instead I pick me danced and was with that asshole for the next 9 years before he poofed on me completely for OW#2.

    On terrible therapists: After the final shocking abandonment with him moving out while I was on a business trip, receiving an e-mail as my notice from him, the crisis counselor I saw didn’t believe that he really did that. She yawned her way through our 3 sessions and said, “Well…if what you say is true….” Sheesh. I was still in shock and barely believed it myself. Trying to avoid eating a bullet, I had to sit with a complete dumbass who somehow thought I was making up this shit. Whattabitch.

    I finally saw someone 4 months later that helped me find a little peace IRL, but mostly I had to do the work myself. Chump Lady has been the best therapy I could ever have.

    • “Chump Lady has been the best therapy I could ever have.” ????????????????

      For the record, I have an incredibly awesome psychologist. But this blog is what first taught me to think critically. When my psychologist started looking into Esther Perel I knew enough to shut that down. I forwarded her the CL articles critiquing EP and she agreed that EP is a cheater apologist, not evidence-based, and not in line with her own values as a feminist psychologist. Now I regularly bring up CL articles during session and she helps me work through how to align my choices to my values (“is this acceptable to you?”)

      I made the mistake of trying to reason with cheater for a time, and bringing up CL points to do so. He kept telling me not to read CL because it would ruin any chance at wreckconciliation and make me bitter. But my psychologist disagreed (both with my trying to reason with him and with his assessment of CL), acknowledging the “therapeutic value” of this blog, and telling me how beneficial it is.

      Thank you, CL.

  • The first psychiatrist I saw over 30 years ago told me STBX “is unable to give or receive love.” I still remember that. The next therapist couldn’t counsel STBX because he “triggered her anger.” Then there was the one who said he scared her. And the final one told me I needed to get away from him or the rest of my life would be ruined. I didn’t listen to any of them. Why? I don’t know. Codependency, fear, hopium… maybe just because I’m a chump. I finally woke up to reality and I’m working on living my best life cheater free. All of the professionals I saw urged me to get away. He is a mess of a human who leaves a path of destruction in his wake. I’m not going to be a part of that anymore.

  • Another one saying my therapists were great, and I was the one who wouldn’t listen! Not like they were “telling” me what to do- a good therapist knows that usually doesn’t work- but they were trying to tell me in other ways! Denial is a powerful force!

  • Oh, therapists. I have so many things to say…..

    In the first couple of sessions of marriage therapy, the ex and I were telling such different stories that the therapist asked to see our five children to find out what the truth was. The kids basically told him that Dad is an ass and treats Mom like dirt. So therapist wanted sessions alone with the ex. Which led to a string of missed and broken appointments. Sigh.

    I saw the therapist alone for a long time. On the one hand it helped me to have someone to talk to. But since he was theoretically our “marriage therapist” he never once told me that I was being gaslighted and emotionally abused. His goal was STILL to save the marriage instead of to help the client in front of him. I saw that damn therapist on and off for two or three years.

    Around the time that I made the decision to file for divorce I went to see the therapist one last time. I told him that I was very upset/angry that he had not suggested to me that I was being abused. The goofy asshole FINALLY told me that he thought the ex has a personality disorder. And then he got this sheepish little grin and said, “but I just can’t help liking him.” GRRRR.

    • Re: helping the marriage instead of the client – that’s the fundamental flaw right there with marriage counselors. For them, the marriage IS the client. Maybe that’s a fine goal for those who are solely working on communication issues, or simply trying to hammer out which in-laws to see during the holidays. But for those of us being abused (emotionally, physically, sexually, spiritually – i.e. everything cheating encompasses), this is straight-up UNETHICAL.

      • Totally agree with you, Hopeful. Making a battered victim stay with an abuser as goal for counseling is dangerously misguided.

        I had a friend who went to couple’s counseling because her husband was a violent alcoholic who beat his wife and children AND was also having affairs. So what did the therapist tell HER to do? Dress more sexy and dance to please HIM.

        The counseling advice prolonged the abuse in the family (the fall-out for the kids later on was tremendous). It wasn’t until the end, when my friend saw the counselor on her own, that the counselor APOLOGIZED for not seeing through the husband’s lies and charm, and finally recommended she divorce him.

        Needless to say, my friend is very bitter towards therapists and won’t go see them for her own personal issues. I know she still has PTSD from being a battered wife.. even though it was decades ago.

      • It was similar…. my therapist told me ( separate session) that since we started it as a couple counseling and our contract is based on helping
        “ us”- she is bonded to helping both of us;
        She suggested other person- to deal with my PTSD
        We didn’t last long… but during my last call with her, she mentioned that my concerns ( narc) May be real( at this point I was mentioning psychopathy)
        Never mentioned abuse
        Never told me to get the hell out

        Tested him for PTSD and other stuff- everything clear.

        Now I know that PTSD requires guilt, values and character…. if you are perfectly ok with what you do- you feel good.
        My h felt good and was annoyed by my constant
        “ attacks” on his character

  • After D-Day, an anonymous letter sent to my work, she set up an appointment to see a therapist. Thousands of texts that were erased, secret meetings, and many lies about whereabouts etc. She denied an “affair”. I needed the shrink, ANY person really, to tell me what I was feeling was betrayal and subsequent depression and that what she did was very wrong. I was confused AF and tried reconciling in the face of all that. The shrink never said shit. In hindsight, those two years in therapy probably F’ed me up more than the actual betrayal( which apparently isn’t betrayal because they were just friends). Still recovering, but in my own with an amazing therapist.

    • I was also told to have a psych eval because I was divining these awful stories about my husband. I’m so embarrassed to say that I actually had it done. I came home and said to wh “the diagnosis (after 3.5 hours) was that I do not have a psych problem, I have a marriage problem.” He just shrugged. I could cry thinking about what abuse I experienced during that time. Later that night I was walking the dog and a neighbor said “I wish my h was more like yours” and I sobbed in her arms. God that was a bad time.

      • I felt my heart break as I read this. You took me to that walk in your neighborhood and your encounter with that woman. From the depths of me, I hope that you are well and happy and living a sweet life.

      • hollow bunny,

        Good for the person who did the eval. and saw that you weren’t the problem. That speaks volumes.

        When I was going through the pick-me- dancing/RIC stage I underwent tons of emotional abuse BUT I didn’t even realize it at the time because I was being ‘understanding’ thinking he was going through a nervous breakdown.

        I simply didn’t take what he was saying or doing personally. A very good friend of mine was shocked and said, “That isn’t the way a husband talks to a wife.” I was clueless as to what she meant by that statement because I had been taking it for so long it had become ‘normal’ to me.

        I have come a long way and now realize the power of our minds and how they actually shove stuff down into our subconscious minds in order to protect us. If I had known and understood all of what I know and understand now I wouldn’t have survived.

        It has been a slow revelation and for that I am grateful although I would like to get through these memories popping up all the time. He has the life he wants now and I want my life too!

        Patience and Trust.

  • Stupid shit my STBX said at the first marriage therapy appointment:
    Therapist: “Why are you here today?”
    Ex: “Well-I was having coffee with a woman-and we started to have a lot of coffee together.”

    It was at that point I knew 2 things: 1) We weren’t going to get anywhere with counseling because he was in denial and 2) People who go to Starbucks often must be nymphomaniacs. ????????????????????

  • My ex was seeing a therapist when he started his affair. He later told me that his therapist said it sounded like he was going into the affair with his “eyes wide open”. The therapist was cool with it, why wasn’t I? ????????

  • My sister’s marriage counselor met with him first, and then had my sister come in separately after. She immediately told my sister that there was nothing to work with and she needs to considered separating herself from him!!! Later, after she ignored that and he said he would no longer cheat :(, they had a wedding vow renewal ceremony. Looking back she realized the Priest had attempted to warn her that something was off with him—– She ignored it.

    She woke up full on though after she caught him cheating within a couple of days of that ceremony. I am happy to say she finally divorced him, and now 20 years later is very happy and content with the new partner she met a couple of years after that divorce. The ex is still with Shmoopie.
    She is pretty much a psycho and is paranoid and controls his every move. My sister finds it mildly amusing but really doesn’t care, just feels bad for their children who witness the freak-show.

  • My MC pulled me aside in private and gave me a copy of “Women Who Love Psychopaths”. He also told me to prepare for divorce and even found me a place to stay for free in an elderly person’s house in exchange for house work, etc…

  • cheater XW would lie during marriage counseling then when we went home we would have these weird debriefing sessions where she would tell me the truth about all the things she lied about during the session. Then in the next session I would have to update the therapist on what was revealed. This went on for two months before I finally pulled the plug. XW didn’t want to tell the female therapist anything herself.

  • Haha! My ex was seeing his own therapist about his voyeurism, flirting, emotional affairs, and porn “addiction.” Id suffered through 26 years of that crap and was finally putting my foot down (ah, hopium makes us do strange things).

    The therapist wanted to speak with me privately in a special session. He asked me if i had any “secrets.” I was blown away. Secrets?! He said that my husband was such a “nice guy” that surely I was “forcing” him to seek therapy because i actually had an affair going on and wanted a way out. I was flabbergasted.

    I continue to rage about that – not only that the therapist was blaming me in his own mind but that my husband had totally “narc-ed” the therapist to garner sympathy as if HE was the victim. Ugly.

    • Their ability to get sympathy from others is mind boggling. I was (and am still) amazed by it. I now see the reality of how much of a mental psycho you have to be to con people like that. I feel fortunate to have escaped. I still deal with XW doing this though as she is now doing it on our daughter.

      • It is mind boggling, and very scary to me. How to trust anyone?

        Thanks for replying. The more I read comments, the less alone I feel.

  • I tried several therapist clowns who disqualified themselves in the first session. One spewed verbal diarrhea all over me about his own problems. Eventually, after my own crisis subsided, I reported him to his licensing board and 2 years later the board revoked his license. The revocation cited 2 complaints.

    I wish I had been well enough to report him sooner. And after experiencing competent therapists, who were nothing like this clown, I regret not reporting the other clowns. Licensing boards are the profession’s quality control system but the system cannot work without reports. Timely reports are invaluable.

    If others before us had reported these clowns, they would have received remedial training or stopped practicing and would not have been available to damage us!

  • I’ve said this before, I believe. Our MC said I had to change the way I think and speak or he might “bolt”. Fuck that! Let him!

  • One more thing. I am extremely grateful that my ex thought that therapists were full of shit and more messed up than the normal population. He was very opinionated on that and refused to see a marriage counselor when I begged him to after discovery. That of course was coming from him being slightly narcissitic in thinking he is smarter than EVERYONE, and how could a therapist be smarter than him? Anyway, I am grateful now from the sounds of what I am reading here!!

    During Wreckonciliation and after, I saw a few different individual and group counselors (first time in my life). They were all wonderful, except one having the opinion to keep the cheating a secret from my son, which I knew better by then anyway.

  • Oh, you guys…I dragged my fuckwit to Boston to see famed King of the RIC Terry Real. You know, the “if you’re on the brink of divorce, come see me!” guy. Five hours and several thousand dollars later, he asked me what I was looking for from my husband. I said “Reassurance that if we reconcile, he will never do this to me again.” Terry’s reply? “Well, there’s no such thing as a ‘safe marriage.’ All relationships are inherently risky.” My reply to that? “Absolutely. Life is full of risks. BUT…there are people who take their marriage vows, and the commitment they made to another person, very seriously. And these people have a moral compass, a sense of integrity – in other words, they know right from wrong. Know how I know that this is true? I’m one of those people.”

    That was followed by a change in subject to how I need to establish boundaries for myself, yada yada yada…gah, just thinking about that appointment makes me want to vomit.

    • I appreciated Real’s book about male depression but when I heard he paired up with Fester Purell, I changed my mind about him.

  • First therapist (my personal therapist, who was objectively bonkers) suggested bringing him in. He came to two sessions at which they commiserated over my awfulness and therapist gave (pregnant) me excellent advice like “You have to ASK him to treat you like a human being. He can’t read minds.” My best friends made me fire her.

    My next therapist read the emails he had sent to me detailing my MANY failings and said, “So. Have you ever heard of Narcissistic Personality Disorder?” And that was that. He was diagnosed in a subsequent court-ordered psych eval.

    Now I’M a therapist and I do not see *couples* if there is any indication of PD, infidelity, or other abuse. It is unethical and irresponsible to do so.

    • One of those RIC doctors claims it is unethical for a counselor who has never seen the person to diagnose them as a narcissist. I say if it walks and talks like a duck, it is most likely a duck. So, call it, so the spouse can flee and recover from the abuse.

  • Oh ex had a therapist who when just after d-day with a 2 month old, my ex lame ted that I was just “so upset” and his therapist told him “she is upset but like pinball her quarter will soon run out.” WTAF. Like my feelings were just a mechanical reaction and had nothing to do with him at all? He also asked if I can give him room to do whatever sadsack thing he wanted to do and when I just said I’d try, he quoted Yoda at me “there is no try, only do.” Oh AND after knowing only what my conniving, liar of an ex told him about our relationship, he said that it was “played out.” He said we shouldn’t do couples therapy and also managed to lay all of the blame for my ex’s behavior squarely on me. That guy still makes me mad when I think about what a terrible therapist he isl.

  • Our therapist asked the asshat if he was mourning his affair partner. She then showed surprise when I got angry. She told me another time that I should not show mt anger because it would drive him away. I thought I was losing my mind. The therapist did so much damage to me. I wish them both hell.

    We went to this therapist after out of the blue he said he met someone and wanted a divorce.

    On my last visit by myself I told her how he told me he was divorcing me. He told me as we were getting into bed for the night. He then rolled over and went to sleep. I had no idea this was happening. When I started crying he told me I was overreacting and he was going to leave because he didn’t want to listen. The therapist got a funny look on her face and whispered “narcissist” .

  • There was the marital therapist we saw three times who spent his nights playing in a jazz band. The third time we saw him, he showed up for therapy wearing leather pants. As I broke down in tears describing my then-husband’s bouts of rage and his disengagement with our children and home life, I looked over and discovered Leather Pants had fallen asleep. The ex interrupted me to explain how I was wrong and the solution to our problems was to hire more household help since I was clearly incapable of handling life as a mom. Leather Pants woke up long enough to agree with him.

    That was the last time we saw that therapist, but not the last asshat therapist we saw.

  • During the ea, the mc we saw basically watched me sob uncontrollably while cheater sat there with dead eyes. He would talk/text the mow in the lobby while we waited and she was the first call when we left – because “work”. I was humiliated and confused but didn’t’t know why, obviously. He was mr richy rich to the ow, and he bounced several checks to the therapist, while trying to maintain this bizarre image of himself. It was horrific – he actually gave me a check for all the money spent at that mc (and every hotel etc) since it was so awful and he knowingly wasted the time and money to keep the lie up, which was a really bad decision considering the ow was a trashy dumpster fire. I think his navel gazing was not flattering once the dust settled.

    Our first one post day was a 60+ covert man-worshipper. She fawned over the loser. She chastised me, in a very patronizing way, about how if he tells you over and over it was only an ea, then you have to believe him. The problem in our marriage was that I didn’t believe him, according to her. I stormed out sobbing in the street and walked home, like a train wreck for all the neighbors to see. It was not an ea, duh. (My neighbor later told me she had seen the same marital therapist and the mc went on and on about neighbors husbands beautiful clothing and neighbor ripped her a new one in the session, stormed out and never went back). She was a dipshit. Since we own a business that employs social workers, all female, he knew exactly how to speak to female social workers, and the stupid ones swooned. I will only see PhDs as a result of the pile of certificate I met with. (and yes I know there are phd cheaters too, Ive just had it with the social workers who sucked and the one who did the same sexually to cheater).

    My experience with a lot of therapists is some have an unbelievable fear of looking at their own shit and think they are “elevated” because they solve other peoples shit. They surround themselves with fucked up people to feel like the most “together” one in the room. It also sucks up all the time one might use to look in a fucking mirror.

  • My marriage counsellor told me I should quit my job to be a proper wife..
    I was paying the whole damn mortgage on the house ????????‍♀️

  • Prior to D-Day, when I thought marriage counseling would help our “communication and intimacy issues”, I was told repeatedly that my anger was the problem in our marriage. He even mentioned how I criticized the way he mowed the lawn 10 years earlier.
    What he never mentioned in counseling: his years long hooker habit -before, during, and after my last pregnancy, and the marital funds stolen to support his hooker habit.

    So thankful that my children and I are STI free. Finally divorced from that asshole.

  • We actually had a really good marriage counselor who saw right through my exH’s bullshit and wasn’t afraid to hold his feet to the fire. The problem was that no matter what the therapist said, it was filtered through exH’s narcissism. For example, therapist says “you treat her like your mom instead of your wife and it’s why you to act like a rebellious, bratty child who refuses to grow up.” ExH hears: “You think you’re my mom and you never treat me like a grown up! You’re the reason why I’m unsuccessful and incapable of adulting!” *toddler foot stomp* It was essentially session after session of DARVO.

    After exH stopped going, I met with the therapist a few more times on my own and he was like “Geeze, there is nothing to salvage with this guy. Get the hell out. NOW.”

    ExH also had an individual counselor who, according to him (again, see previously applied narc filter), encouraged him to continue cheating and lying to “explore his options.”

  • Right after D day, this is a pretty accurate transcript: In therapist’s office. He “promised” everything would be OK if only I would agree to his“solution” which involved something about “going away for a while to see if the “soulmate” love for his coworker was real or “just an infatuation” and I was supposed to agree with that because apparently he could “separate his love for me from his love for her”. He talked nonstop for 90 minutes (double session). Finally, the therapist stopped him and asked me to respond. I quietly told him ” I love you very very much but you’re delusional if you think I could ever agree to your solution of an open marriage or polyamory and I think you need psychiatric help.”. The therapist asked him if he was willing to throw everything away, to lose his job, wife of 25 years, family, basically his entire life. He said yes. That’s when she asked if he was on drugs because she said he sounded like an addict. He was so angry and he got up in a rage and ran out of the room. When he was gone, she told me she thought he needed to be hospitalized but also to get an attorney asap. She was very concerned. A great therapist.

  • I’ve given up on therapists for now. They are often lazy in their analysis of situation.
    I often felt like they went along with social norms versus having any real understanding of human psyche. I also find this to be thg cases with judges.
    The collective buy in that everyone is redeemable and that mistakes were made and not conscious deliberate decisions.

  • XH and I went to marriage counseling after DDay #2 (same OW – the one he swore he would never speak to again when I was undergoing treatment for invasive melanoma). We lasted probably 6 or 7 sessions.

    In the last session, Professor Fuckwit bluntly said “I’m in love with another woman and I want a divorce.” The MC said “do you understand exactly what you are saying?” Fuckwit replied “yes.” MC looked straight at me and said in a very matter-of-fact way, “you can do better.” I about fell out of my seat. I guess she felt her job as MC was done and told me what she really thought!

    I few months later I mentioned that conversation to the XH again and he said “don’t manipulate what she said.” HA! It was four simple words. YOU CAN DO BETTER. Those words really stuck with me through the dark times.

    I recently married an absolutely wonderful man and fellow chump (he was the one who introduced me to CL), so I DID do better!

  • If I wanted “date nights” I had to plan them. I worked as an insurance producer, homeschooled, did all the housework, and all the child rearing (3 kids). But, if I wanted “date nights”, I should plan them. Because, wait for it: HE had a lot on his mind with work, and was “too busy” to make plans. Of course this marriage counselor was divorced and male. Go figure.

  • After discovery of emotional affair, about a month before the discovery that it was also sexual. I said let see a marriage counselor my ex’s response was “I can’t do that they would tell me I am wrong!”
    My ex liked to say “we can’t communicate”- Real Problem he can’t communicate with anyone that disagrees with him. I filed for divorce about month after that line.

  • Therapist 1: you’re just angry at (the christian) god. Also, this letter you wrote to try to express your feelings is too hard for me to read.

    Therapist 2: [to me]: You need to lock your emotions in a box and never let them out. I can help you change [being incandescently angry upon finding I had been lied to for over 10 years]. You have borderline personality disorder and I can’t help you.

    [to liar ex-sibling]: None of this [Chumped by Family’s leaving you] is your fault.

    Therapist 3: Imagine your feelings as a load. Me (weeping, feeling physically crushed): they’re too heavy… Therapist: shrug.

    I found therapy to be a load of bullshit by cruel people who have not thought deeply, researched extensively, or bothered to listen to me, they just want to cover their own posteriors.

  • If one more therapist or ignorant advice-giving friend says that men cheat because they are able to compartmentalize, I might start slapping. I hate this lame, fucking excuse that says men can separate their feelings for their family and their feelings for their mistress(es). ????

    • Agreed. Although perhaps it’s that they think we shouldn’t object to be compartmentalized…my liar certainly thought I shouldn’t object to only being interesting to her when she didn’t have a man available.

  • I went to an individual therapist and explained that while I was dealing with the sudden death of someone close to me, my husband asked if we could open our relationship so he could see this woman he had a crush on. I agreed as long as I knew about any relationships (he broke this rule later).

    While working on my feelings about their relationships, she told me that what I needed to do to fix my marriage was start a side business restoring old furniture. I could get pieces from this flea market and could sell it in this particular boutique in a nearby town and the experience would really bring the two of us together and heal our marriage.

    We were both work on computers and make 6 figures. We had zero experience refinishing furniture. None of this plan made any sense, but it was very weirdly detailed (about a half hour to explain). I never went back.

    About a year later he told me that he started therapy and I was glad. He liked his therapist (something he had never said before). After a few months, gmail helpfully added details to his calendar (we shared calendars) that included the name of the therapist. It was the same woman.

    • LOL add ‘restore old furniture from flea markets and run a complex consignment operation in a quaint small town storefront’ to the list of ways you can save your marriage. That is crazy talk! Or maybe just a hallmark made for TV movie.

  • Couples therapy was a bust, cause he never admitted he was cheating, just a list of all the things I was doing wrong…. therapist suggested sexy lingerie….fast forward 12 years. A few months after he texts from a business trip that he won’t be coming home that evening to celebrate his 19 year old daughter’s birthday, or ever. ….I’ve gotten a lawyer and filed(how dare I not do what’s best for my family and listen to him about mediation!). According to kids, his lawyer suggests therapy to help( yeaaaahhhhh, right). We’ve already found his boxes of souveniers in the garage from multiple women going back years. Don’t know exactly what went on at the sessions,but I do know the dick was hell bent on the narrative of the long suffering husband who did the best he could with a bitch for a wife. Dug in for hours denying he ever cheated, then finally, said…so what if I did. The dick lost way more than he gained in those sessions. My oldest said”I now know what his lying face looks like”.

  • We never made it to couple’s counseling as my ex said about himself: “What would be the point? I’d just lie anyways.”

  • This is an after-the-fact therapy story.

    About a year ago my X called about some kid related thing, and we got to chatting a bit about my Pastor, who used to be OUR Pastor, and for a solid year was our marriage counselor as well after Dday #1.
    I chat with him (the X) very occasionally as I have long ago reached meh and as a fuckwit goes he can be pretty amusing.
    Anyway, he tells me he recently spoke with my Pastor, and he starts ranting about how offended he was, because Pastor told him flat out that the X had wasted his time when it came to counseling. He was deeply offended and thought it was very unchristian of Pastor to say such a thing.

    See? This is why he’s amusing.

    I then explained simply that if someone puts aside an hour a week, every week, month after month, FOR FREE mind you, and all the time one of the people in therapy are lying and carrying on with another woman (affair #2 and last) during the whole thing, he is in fact wasting everyone’s time. Pastor has every right to feel that way, as did I.

    X is FLABBERGASTED, and states this never occurred to him, and that, wow. I’m right.

    Wow. Such logic.

    I love being single.

  • I sought a new therapist for myself, not for us. First red flag:

    Me: [Describing D-day during first meeting]

    Therapist: “And how did you find me?”

    Me: “The website said that your specialties included infidelity. You do cover infidelity, right?”

    Therapist: “uhhhh….yes…..oh yes….yes, yes” (ka ching!)

  • “Infidelity is no big deal. I could fill this room with people who’ve cheated on their spouses. What is your problem?”

  • First marriage therapist when she asked what was going on…ex stated everything wrong I was doing-minor things, like I had gained some weight,etc. she turned to me to ask what I thought and I responded that he’s an alcoholic and had an affair. I knew then he wasn’t up for counseling. But he fired her and we tried one more-and I received some of the best advice from that therapist. Ex didn’t show up for the second session and I talked to him by myself for an hour and he ended the session telling me that I should get a lawyer and get out of the marriage. Which I did. And now at meh!

  • Our marriage therapist actually saw right through my ex. My husband announced one day after 22 years of marriage and 4 children that he wasn’t happy as I had killed our love a decade ago and he wanted a divorce. I, being blindsided, insisted on counseling to fix whatever he thought was wrong as I wanted to keep my children’s intact family and I still loved him. After a few months of couples counseling that I thought was going well (lots of sex), my husband announced five minutes before the end of a session, that he had been unfaithful for over a decade and that there was someone currently he thought he was in love with. I felt like a bowling ball had fallen out of the ceiling onto my gut. Our therapist saw my face and saw my husband’s lack of remorse, but what could she say in five minutes? She asked my husband if she could have a private session with me as I obviously needed some support. He didn’t care so I came back to see her the next day. In our individual session she listened to me trying to wrap my head around his infidelity, going through the stages of grief. As I was to leave she gave me two things, the book The Sociopath Next Door and the card of the best divorce lawyer in town. I wish I could say that I kicked him out after that but I was still high on hopium. We did separate for a time, but I pick me danced for over 2 more years.

    After the divorce I went back to that therapist and asked her what she saw when we were across from her. She said that at first she thought he might be on the autism spectrum as his affect was flat. But she revised her opinion when he enjoyed my pain, smirking while I sobbed. I wish I had taken her advise when she first gave me the sociopath book and attorney’s card, but eventually I got there!

  • You cannot so therapy with anyone who doesn’t want to grow. This is therapists refuse to work with anyone on active addition. Well ethical therapists. It’s also why therapy with cheaters never works.

    My ex simply learned a new language to manipulate and abuse me. Luckily I had an awesome therapist. After a few couples sessions she suggested seeing me alone. My fuckwit ex was all for that as it proved I was the issue. She worked with me to see that he was an abusive fuck who would never change. She saved my life.

    Find a good therapist, work on your own shit. It was worth every single penny. There are great therapists out there, just like there are great men out there. Sadly we are too desperate to save what shouldn’t be saved so we end up with therapists as bad as our fuckwit husbands.

  • I went to therapy *before* I knew about the cheating when my ex was still having a fairly inappropriate connection to his ex, buying her flowers on her birthday etc. He came in for a couples session, and the next time I had a solo therapy session, the therapist told me it was obvious that he was really sincere about wanting our relationship to work out, that he wasn’t going to cheat, and that it never would if I didn’t get past my trust issues.

    A few months later I found out he had cheated, so I felt like that sort of negated most of the advice she gave me.

  • When I told XH the substance abuser that I wanted a divorce, he offered to go to marriage counseling. But not to stop being drunk every living minute I was at home. Saved myself some $$$ and said “no thanks.”

  • Thanks to CN for including some accounts of what GOOD therapists say and do during marriage counseling sessions (individual is a better option, imho). Finding a good counselor is like looking for a good doctor and auto mechanic – have to sift through all the bad & mediocre, but a good one is life & car-saving!

    It takes perseverance. I hope the newbies on this board will not give up on themselves in finding what helps them. If not for the two therapists I found two decades ago, I seriously doubt I’d still be alive and functional today.

    Maybe this NY Times article will be helpful: Love yourself and don’t put up with people who drag you down, bad therapists included.

  • I know the assignment was bad experiences, but mine were actually good.
    At first MC appointment, therapist/counselor listened to the whole story, then bluntly told my ex that she thought she was lying. Turned out she was right. The ex was actually a serial cheater.
    Shortly thereafter, when ex left, she told me that the ex would try to come back, and that I shouldn’t let her.
    When ex DID try to return, MC told me that I should not be any stretch take her back.

  • I made him go to MC after DD#1 when I found out about an affair that had been over for 1.5 years. He said what he thought needed to be said. The therapist told me it was my decision — he clearly wanted to make the marriage work. Even though he refused to go to his own therapist after an initial visit.

    We split after DD#2 but I learned there were many affairs I never knew about and he pursued/harassed one of my best friends until he drove her out of my life. (Learning about that was a turning point for me. I will never ever see him as anything but a narcissistic predator.)

    When I confronted him about lying in MC, he said, without blinking, “of course I lied. You were there.”

    Mic drop.

    My grief has been about my loss of my adult life to someone who isn’t and never was real. It’s still shocking to me and pains me to the depths of my soul.

    • I still remember looking at the Dickhead while he was in the garage after D-Day and after he filed. I looked at him and said, what about when you said that we were in the 2nd half of our marriage where his kids were now adults and we could start our 2nd lives? He just looked at me with a blank stare. I believed in him and I believed in his words. To this day, that betrayal and pain hits me in the gut if I dwell on it.

      I’m sure we will get to a point that that we can quickly move through those memories and let them behind us. Those moment will hopefully become little hills that we walk over rather than canyons that look daunting and impossible.

    • “My grief has been about my loss of my adult life to someone who isn’t and never was real. It’s still shocking to me and pains me to the depths of my soul.”

      This. And that he could move on so swiftly and that I literally mean NOTHING to him.

      It is so sad.

      About the lying, I said to him one day towards the end “your capacity to lie is truly terrifying”. He did not even look up from his iPad as he replied “I know”.

  • Well – Little Girl.
    The first words out of the bought and paid for MC mouth- who ex had been grooming for months in IC-

    I’m pretty sure it can’t get creepier than that.

    Well… it did get Really creepy after that.

    Don’t go to MC or IC with a cheating, lying sack of shit.

    In fact- just divorce the sack and be done.

    Get out.

  • I got lucky. When I suggested marital counseling she refused. Later she sent me a text saying she might do it to figure out what was wrong with ME as she was discarding me for another man. So glad now that it didn’t happen.

  • Giddy Eagle-

    This is a pain that we will take to our grave.
    Some days are hell. Some days we can get distracted and it is not so hellish.

    But it is hell.
    I wake up every morning with my stomach trying to crawl out my bellybutton.
    Every damn morning.

    • Splinter,

      I like how you describe your mornings. I have been experiencing the same thing but my description has been different based on what I am feeling.

      The words that have thus far come close to describing it are:

      I wake up nearly every morning trying to run away from myself/my brain.

      Technically I feel screwed before I even get out of bed….

      Only cure is for me to get out of bed and on with my day. About the time I am ready for bed I am feeling ‘normal’ so I hate going to bed because I know the whole routine is only going to repeat itself in the morning.

      • Yes – I wake up and remind myself “he stopped loving me along time ago”. I still accepted a current appointment he scheduled for couples counseling (probably to make himself feel better). And I’m continuing to pack up my stuff from marital home. This has been a nightmare.

  • You have an anger problem I was told. So I promptly went about learning to deal with my anger problem. No one looked at what might the underlying at which turned out to be a sex-addicted intimacy avoidant asshat

  • Grumpy-

    You are really, really glad.

    You have no idea how glad you are that you did not pay someone to torment you.

  • The STBXW had told me she still had love for me. So I scheduled a joint session with a marriage counselor. We were not two minutes into the session before I realized how biased this counselor was towards my STBXW. I was hoping for reconciliation, and they first thing the counselor said to STBXW was, “Oh, you were done with the marriage. Weren’t you?”. Then my STBXW accused me of taking notes to bring to my lawyer, and the counselor went right along with it! I should have left at that point, but I noted all three of us were taking notes, and I questioned the counselor as to why she was singling me out. On the counselor’s intake form there was a section marked “Out of bounds to be discussed in the counseling session:” for which I said that no aspects of the pending divorce were to be discussed in front of the STBXW. The counselor violated this at least four times in one session. I would not answer the counselor’s questions. So it made me look defensive and uncooperative. But I was not going to tolerate any form of abuse from the STBXW or the counselor at this point. The only time the counselor looked at me with any favor was when I told my STBXW she was not the woman I married and that I would not seek reconciliation with this stranger sitting next to me.
    Later, I found out a friend of mine had also gone to this counselor a few year before, and he had a very similar experience. He said the counselor did nothing to help save their marriage. The only time she acted favorably towards him is when he said he no longer had any desire to reconcile with his STBXW.

  • F&L…

    We can do this . We have to. But – I just want one morning that I feel peace.
    Just one.

  • My therapist saw us as a couple as well as individually. In a one-on-one session with me she brought up Narcissism. She read out loud from the DSM manual and went through the criteria one-by-one. She clearly saw that I was in pretty strong denial and did a beautiful job of gently leading me through the process of realizing how bad he really was. It was the perfect approach as I had spent SO many years covering for him and spackling. I am 6 months post legal separation and I still go to her weekly as I work my way through this. I am grateful for her every day.

    • My therapist lost his temper with me after 2 years of denial and shouted “HE IS A NARCISSIST! HE IS NEVER GOING TO CHANGE!”

      My reply? “What’s a narcissist?”

      The start of a horrible journey, finding out.

      • A year after divorce I told my IC of fifteen years that I was beginning to suspect my ex husband is a covert narcissist. Therapist snorts and says “where do you get the ‘covert’ from?”
        Wow. I had been seeing this therapist every week for the entire duration of my 11 year marriage and she never once suggested my husband might have a personality disorder.
        She had even recommended our marriage counselor, who also failed to acknowledge the gaslighting and other emotional abuse my ex was subjecting me too.
        I used to refer to MC as chemotherapy because of how toxic the sessions were. Neither the IC or MC seemed to think there was anything wrong with taking my money (no insurance accepted) just to cope with staying married to an abusive SOB.

        • When the marriage ended after Dday 3, I asked the MC what she thought about what had happened, in other words, her analysis of what she had observed over the last several years. She pretty much shrugged her shoulders and said “you win some, you lose some” and “it’s hard to tell how these things will work out.” Seriously? $180, times about 36 sessions, and that’s all the MC could say about the death of my marriage?
          My IC at least admitted that she had been fooled by hopium herself, having been invested in the marriage too, wanting it to work out. I asked her if she had ever seen marriages recover long term from infidelity and she claimed she had.
          My guess is that is more bullshit wishful thinking that she needs to let go of if she truly wants to help her clients.
          Chumplady resources are a much better tool for recovering from infidelity than navel gazing with or about your cheater with a professional enabler to give it an air of credibility.

      • Patsy,

        I had a friend yell at me too. I just couldn’t see it then and now – thanks to LACFAL, CL and CN I am finally seeing the light and am hopefully on the road to meh.

  • My counsellor who I saw alone was terrific, an ex agony aunt for national papers with a very matter of fact , larger than life personality . She basically said I could either stay or leave but don’t rush and make sure whatever you do it’s at a time to suit you. She’s also said I had become far too co dependent , he had become utterly complacent and I was to get out there and join stuff and make friends because after 21 years I had made him my ‘all of life’ and he should be a ‘part of life’, if at all. She also said that whatever I chose now or in the future I was very astute, witty, resilient and attractive and I would be ok , probably more than ok . At 55 at the time it meant a lot to me .

  • Here is the problem with” not rushing “when you KNOW.

    I can fix this!
    I can dance!
    I can win this battle for my FAMILY.

    No- YOU can not win a game with no rules.
    And this is a sick game with NO RULES- and forget about Family Law and your day in Court.

    This is not gender specific . You better believe evil was sleeping next to YOU every night.

    • Splinter—-just WOW. You just nailed it for me. Thanks! I’m copying and pasting this one for my journal!!!!!!

      I was always fixing everything. Now I know that all I was really doing was just protecting my children from his BS. I was even saving him during the divorce when I finally figured it out. He wanted to rent a one bedroom apartment (obviously the cheapest option, as he was really living with her) and I told him not to reject the children by not having a bedroom for them–silly me! My therapist told me I can no longer protect the kids from their father. Hard for me as a mother, but I know the best thing I can do is be there for them.

      This Old Dog can learn new tricks!!!!!! Thanks sister.

    • Thanks for the link. I have never heard of her before but I like what I read just now and requested her book at my library.

  • No couples therapy here…on dday, asshat stated he wouldn’t go because it would give me hope that wasn’t there. Looking back, only thing he spewed on that day that was an actual truth.

  • My/ our therapist was recommended by our priest. I went twice alone before he could bother to come there at all. She told me after the first meeting to run, there was nothing to work with there. The lights came through the cracks when she quietly asked me “what do you find acceptable about being treated this way?” She told him there was no reason for him to come back, she couldn’t work with him. I swear that woman saved my life.

  • The first time ex left we reconciled(I didn’t know about OW) We went to one counselling session and the reason he gave was that my adult daughter still lived at home.(she wasn’t any trouble) Then I tried to get us to follow the exercises in a book I had on improving relationships. He wasn’t keen. He left again 4 years later having been with ow the whole time I later discovered. F@#*ing coward!

  • My ex-husband aggressively pursued my sister during a family vacation (among other disgusting behaviors over the years), according to his ‘sex addiction’ therapist, because his parents never made him feel special and because I emasculated him.

    • My ex came on to my sister in the garage, something I never learned until theee years after the divorce. F…er
      He always had inappropriate things to say about and to my girl friends. Called my neighbor his” girlfriend”
      Give me a break jerk.
      Stay away.

  • I was faithfully married with children for 20 plus years to my high school sweetheart. My husband decided to have an affair with his married with children co-worker 20 plus years into our marriage. When he dropped the bomb, I disclosed I cheated when we were teenagers (17 yrs old) about 4 years before we married. At that moment his affair in our marriage was totally forgotten and all the focus was on me from my mistake at 17. I was taken to his therapist/minister who looked at me from across the table after speaking to me for a while and said to my husband, “I don’t see the spirit of a whore”. Absolutely nothing was said to him for having an affair in our marriage with a married woman. That minster married he and ow the minute both of their divorce papers were signed. Guess it was karma.

  • My covert narcissist of an ex pretty much abandoned me all while telling me how awful I was after 17 years of marriage. So began my humiliating 9 months of the pick me dance where I ignored the “I’m cheating on you” red flags. I managed to convince him to go to marital therapy with me a few times and he even went a few times by himself, which at the time made me so hopeful.
    Fast forward 2 painful years, and I am in the middle of the most contentious divorce where he actually lies under oath during his deposition despite being shown evidence of his age inappropriate affair. He also claims that our marital therapy was not to save our marriage, but rather sessions with a counselor to prepare me for the impending divorce.
    To make matters worse, he added our therapist to his list of witnesses to testify against me in court!! I didn’t even know that was legally possible!
    I now know that my ex set this ruse up from almost the beginning to try and argue a much earlier date of separation and get more of our company away from me in the divorce. Needless to say, I’m a mess, but will be seeking my future help from my supportive friends and Chump Lady and not a therapist!

    • I don’t think it’s legal to have a therapist testifying. You should also take advantage of his perjury which is punishable by prison. Do you have a good lawyer? Hugs.

    • Chump No More–

      Hang in there. I’m barely on the other side of a very contentious divorce with a severely toxic Ex and his now toddler wife (she’s actually 52, but never married and a complete immature baby) former co-worker. I was married for 25 years and my horribly degrading pick-me dance lasted at least 10 months, but I no longer care. I’m moving forward, but he’s already dragged me back to court and I’m going to drag him back one more time. It seems endless, but it does get better.

      Your attorney will be able to continually impeach your husband as a liar and a cheater, especially if he lied under oath during the depositions. So I just don’t think the judge is going to buy his version of why you went to therapy. Just keep giving him rope and he’ll hang himself.

      You need to focus on your financial settlement and put your energy there, not on your toxic Ex–that’s what he wants you to do. Look to your attorney–do you have faith in them? Trust that your Ex sucks and you no longer have to play his game. The more egregious he is, the more concerned he is about the settlement.

      Certain conversations are privileged and your attorney will know when to raise an objection IF your therapist takes the stand. But you may want to waive that privilege if she contradicts yet another one of his lies. Turn his games against him and use your therapist to your advantage–take away his power. Judges hate divorce trials and want parties to settle. Your Ex is just doing this to mess with you because he’s TOXIC. Put him and his games out of your mind as much as possible. Focus on YOU and your settlement. Make sure you feel confident in your attorney to get you your fair share. Do the math over and over and now your bottom line before the possible trial and don’t waiver–even bring someone in with you that can support you so you won’t feel pressured to settle for less. Heck, even bring the girlfriend gallery to the trial for support.

      Focus on the money for now, ignore your Ex (I know that’s difficult, they know how to push our buttons), and walk away with the best settlement you can get, holding your head high because he’s the one in the wrong.

      Big hugs!

  • Mine used what the therapist said to try and create unconditional positive regard, as a stick to beat me with when I wouldn’t shut up and act like nothing had happened.

    In therapists’ defence, they often know full well they are dealing with a narcissist and are trying to find the balance between gently addressing the issues whilst keeping them in therapy. If shame is triggered in cluster B’s they quit.

    • I recently learned that this idea of having “unconditional positive regard” for all therapy clients (narcs included) dates from 1955 ! Time for an update. Pretty hard to have u.p.r. for a person who abuses another and is rather unlikable.

  • There were enough red flags in MC, that the therapist(?) should have seen some personality issue with him – never apologizes, zero empathy. But no therapist was happy to tell me what to do to “save” marriage. All on me. Granted he said it would be all on me, he used Gottman as his model for therapy. But there was NO REMORSE – which according to Gottman is key. So there is that.

    Found a REAL therapist who was just shocked that my needs and feelings had been bulldozed in the name of “saving the marriage” by first therapist

    On such a better place now – thanks to CN and second therapist. Three years later – it gets better!
    What I saw about Ex FT – no tag backs! He is ALL yours ho wife.

  • “I AM NOT GOING TO CHANGE. I DON’T SEE THE NEED TO CHANGE.” said in a rage at the therapist’s suggestion he could make some behavioral changes. That statement could be the battle cry of narcissists everywhere.

    It hit me like a physical blow. He truly could not see that his actions harmed me and our family. He did not care. He was enraged that the therapist would suggest he change his behavior.

    I join the other chumps warning you of seeking marital counseling with a disordered adulterous liar. My STBX lied to the counselor too. I didn’t begin to heal until I discovered Chump Lady. Then I searched until I found my young, kick ass earth bound angel of a therapist who liberated me with the statement, “Adultery is abuse.”

    He wouldn’t change so I did.

  • I was already on CN when mine said… I think we need therapy so we can figure out why I did what I did.

    I said…no, I am in therapy.

  • After the ILYBINILWY speech and the bizarre behavior that went with it (all red flags to cheating btw) we attended counseling. We met jointly with counselor a few sessions then met separately. He was still lying about there not being anyone else. In my private sessions I would discuss the bizarre changes in him and my suspicions of affair with his married employee. The therapist at one point said “boy you just can’t let that go can you.” She also said I spoke as if I believed I was morally superior to my now ex. I kept having to defend the fact that the issues he claimed existed in the marriage weren’t issues until he started an affair, we’re talking bagged salad excuses. I also had to stand up for myself and say that if not having an affair and not lying made me sound morally superior, then so be it.

    Fast forward a few weeks. He finally confesses to me, says he just told the therapist in his last session, and said he wanted to provide full transparency to me. I told him I didn’t want or need details. My next solo appointment I told the therapist I filed, he was about to be served, and that I would not be back to see her. I told her I hoped he would continue to see her individually because he was the one that needed the work. The last thing she said to me as I walked out the door that day? “CalGal1, he hasn’t had your back in three years.”

    I’m glad no more than a couple of months were wasted with that farce.

  • I’ve posted about this before. My therapist and I spend 2-3 months during the discard talking about given Jackass space and time (his parent dying seemed to be the “cause” of the distance, and he was still future-faking at that point. But when I told my therapist about catching Jackass with his 1-person FB page, her first words were, “You can never go back.” Pretty much ended any hopium I might have smoked. I will never forget those words. It was all unpacking what happened and moving forward from there, even though I was a mess for a good while.

  • I sent one email to the spouse of the OW, informing him that our spouses were having an affair. Our counselor told us that in all his years of counseling, he had never seen anything so destructive. Evidently the affair wasn’t destructive, informing the other spouse was destructive. Boy, did my ex like that.

    • BleekerStreet, I had a therapist tell me not to inform the wife of a creepy guy who was pursuing me, on grounds that I might “hurt” her. I later found out the therapist was an affair partner.

      • Unreal. Layers and layers of harm. First we are betrayed by the spouse we trusted, then betrayed by the therapist we trusted. Your name is a reminder to us all that we can find our way back to the light. I_survived. Great name.

  • I’ve had a plethora of lousy therapists. There was one who asked me what I had done to “make him” hit me, the one who told us that if “he hasn’t put you in the hospital, you don’t have a domestic violence problem,” and the one who told me I needed to work harder at “letting him be the man of the house.” WTF? I paid all the damned bills because I made twice as much as he did. I have no idea what he did with his money. After he strangled me and I left, I found out about the “Jesus cheating” with men he knew from his days as a monk. (Really — an actual monk!) I went to a counselor recommended by the Domestic Violence organization in my area. When she asked me what brought me to therapy, I told her about his affairs with other men — and the counselor spent the rest of my session telling me about how she caught her husband cheating on her.

    That last counselor worked out OK, though. She lived a couple of blocks away from where Jesus Cheater and I had lived on a military base, a Base I couldn’t access without my ID, which I couldn’t replace without him vouching for me. She drove me onto the base and claimed that my best friend and her husband were her friends, coming to visit her. We managed to get most of my stuff out of the house while Jesus Cheater was at work. She wasn’t much of a therapist, but I got my purse, important papers, clothes, furniture, kitchen stuff, etc. AND dog, cat and my car. So thank you, Carol!

  • Therapist said “cheater seems to be a positive person, while you are a negative person.”

    No duh

    I didn’t start out that way.

    • Funny enough, I’ve had people say things like this to me. Even my lawyer. Of course the cheater is positive and upbeat. They’ve left the marriage and hopped onto a life boat with their AP. We get left on the sinking ship. And we’re supposed to be happy about that?

  • One therapist: “Well you know, her time is hers to do with what she pleases and you have no right to put restrictions on her behavior. So long as she comes back to you, you need to let her do whatever she wants.”

    That was the last time I saw that therapist.

      • Right?!! To be fair, we were not married. But we had been in an 8 year long “monogamous” (or so I thought) relationship and we were engaged to be married. SO glad I left both the therapist AND the serial cheater. SO glad I never married that trainwreck.

        But yeah, it was clear to me that therapist was also a serial cheater and narcissist.

        After I stopped going to her but before I broke up with serial cheater, therapist friended serial cheater on facebook. Figures. Serial cheater social media club.

        • Even worse, this therapist doesn’t understand social norms. An 8 year committed relationship by anyone’s definition would include an assumption of monogamy. Even if it was an informed open relationship, cheating can still happen, and the associated trauma that comes with it.

          This is why I have a low opinion of therapy. You can’t guarantee the therapist is mentally healthy, and nothing scientific can really be helpful unless there is a baseline and you can measure the deviation from it. If your therapist can’t even agree that cheating is a deviation from the baseline of a healthy relationship, then that therapist can’t and won’t help.

          I’m so happy you dumped them both!

          • Right? I can’t tell which therapist was worse. This narc therapist or the male therapist who started to tell me his thoughts about sex when I was seeing him for PTSD from sexual trauma. No dude, don’t tell me your own personal relationship with sex. I never saw him again.

            But SO true your point about baseline and deviation from a healthy relationship. I feel like some quack therapists are only maybe drawn to the field so they can groom their own victims?

        • Narc therapist friended cheater on Fakebook ? Weird. Boundary violation. Inappropriate.

          Funny, my dentist and doctor have never sent me a friend request via social media. I started to have my doubts about a therapist when she sent me a LinkedIn request.

          • To be fair, it was after the therapy had concluded (because I ran for the hills and said no more). But yeah, I think she wanted to team up with my ex and share pointers.

  • Funny enough, I’ve had people say things like this to me. Even my lawyer. Of course the cheater is positive and upbeat. They’ve left the marriage and hopped onto a life boat with their AP. We get left on the sinking ship. And we’re supposed to be happy about that?

  • After dday we went to his therapist, and I thought I would get some clarity why, after 38 years, all this was happening. I was blindsided again by the therapist. Her voice was strident and loud, blaming me for what had happened. I even agreed, in that session, to other sessions. He had to pay cash, I had insurance. He would then get his therapy on my dime with this witch. After the session I confronted him with what she’d said and done. He said he had no idea why she would do that. Hah! That was the beginning of clarity for me. I called and cancelled our next appointment stating I was no longer interested in her advice or paying for the fuckwit’s therapy.

  • After one joint session and two individual sessions….therapist pulls me aside and says “Stop trying to save your marriage and RUN… can’t fix people like -cheater-“! Says cheater is not only narcissistic but also has an antisocial personality disorder with sociopathic traits. And now this is the person I parallel parent two young, beautiful, IMPRESSIONABLE boys. So very glad that at least they have my genes instead of her’s……

  • When I still gave a flying f*** I ambushed his therapy session. He had a deer in the headlighta look that I wish I could have framed. After signing the appropriate paperwork to include me in that session, I very calmly explained to this well meaning but clueless young man our, and his history of being fired by therapists because he refused to tell the truth. I provided him a copy of his written disclosure, evaluation by Minwalla, etc. none of which this therapist had a clue about, after six months of sessions. After I laid it all out there, I asked him, point-blank, “knowing all of this now, how can you with good faith assure me that you’re capable of treating him?”

    His response?

    “Well, I have to believe that when that door closes, and it’s just T and me, he will be honest with ME.”

    Like he’s some sort of jackass whisperer?

    I told home he’d get over that particular belief fairly quickly and left. T never went back.

      • YASSSS!! Before our therapist got a clue…..she believed cheater pants. Cheater leaves individual session and I enter therapist office directly after. The first thing she calmly says is “-Chump-, Cheater-Cheater-Anything-Eater IS NOT cheating on you. You have to move forward from the past infidelity and place trust in your spouse or you will ruin the reconciliation you are working towards. Please stop accusing -Cheater- of cheating”! I sat and listened and then said “are you done? Because I have an audio recording of -Cheater- effin a woman on our couch with our kids in the home THIS VERY morning. Would you like to hear it”? Talk about deer in the headlights look. Therapists are not immune to the fuckery of a Cheater and that was a lesson my now personal therapist (kicked cheater to the curb) learned that day.

  • If I missed someone bringing this up already then sorry for the repetition. But it bears pointing out that:

    1. Being among the soft social sciences, therapy is wrapped up in what is being called the “problem of replicability” – turns out most of the studies done in social science are not repeatable. Or if they are repeated, they come up with different results.

    This is a profound crisis that cannot be overstated. Psychology is the one of the most severely impacted fields. According to a 2016 poll, 1,500 scientists reported that 70% of them had failed to reproduce at least one other scientist’s experiment (50% had failed to reproduce one of their own experiments).

    2. Many (perhaps most) of the theories of mind and human relations that therapy is based on are not backed up by any empirical evidence, or very scant evidence. This is especially true of Freudian psychoanalysis which has been steadily been repudiated as a magical pseudo science by “hard” scientists over the past few decades. Turns out Freud’s writings have no more basis in fact and no more therapeutic value than reading “Lord of the Rings.” But it’s also true of a cornucopia of other theories like the “drama triangle” and “co-dependency” (which subtly blameshifts and pathologizes a legitimate victim).

    Just try asking a therapist for empirical evidence or replicated scientific research to back up what they are saying. Tell them you will wait. Crickets. I guarantee it.

    The conclusion here is that most therapists are operating from “rumors from the heights” of an academy that was long ago corrupted, and are practitioners of dubious theoretical approaches to human behavior that have no more legitimacy than older (and perhaps much wiser) ways of dealing with and treating human disorder (such as religion).

    Someone above mentioned a priest having more common sense in at least one case. This makes sense if you think about the fact that priests filter their experience through a worldview that sees humans as fundamentally broken (fallen). They don’t futz around with drama triangles or anything else. They talk about sin, getting straight with God. They talk about what real repentance means (which in the Koine Greek of the Apostles’ day meant “turning of the mind”).

    It seems on the face of it now that, with respect to therapy, it’s not just a matter of exposing the wizard behind the curtain, there’s literally no wizard there at all. Pull the curtain back, and the room is empty! This is why Chump Lady was onto something by coming up with the RIC moniker.

    Countless lives have been damaged by pseudo science that has little more basis in the real world than bleeding out patients did in end medieval era.

    Why has adultery been seen as anathema and among the gravest of sins for millennia by almost every human society across the planet, but only recently has become more acceptable (and considered with softer language like “wayward” “cheating” and so on)?

    Indeed it seems that almost every human society before our supposedly more enlightened one viewed adultery as a kind of toxic virus that would destroy the fabric of societies if allowed to take hold. Which is exactly what is happening if you’re paying attention.

    Might this shift have something to do with the fact that for more than 200 years our Western culture has steadily degraded itself, steadily turned away from ancient ways of knowing, and steadily embraced ever more magical woo-woo ways of dealing with the world cloaked in Orwellian and Huxleyan technocratic language?

    We’re living in the wreckage of all of that. And therapists now seem more like pagan cultists in the decaying Greco-Roman world futilely trying to convince people to continue to believe in capricious gods and to stop paying attention to those weird Christians — who were being martyred in the circuses, or were restoring victims of the systematized ritual sex trafficking that was rampant, or were the only ones risking life to care for plague victims in the cities of the Roman Empire. The people watched, they heard the desperate and hollow pleas of the pagans, and they turned away from the lies and to something else.

    Consider it.

    • There is so much truth in what you say. I’ve done therapy and I also journal. I’ve gotten more insight out of journaling than months of therapy. I am SO glad you posted this. Well said.

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