I was nervous as I waited for the counselor to open her door and call my name. Abby and I had essentially picked her off of the internet and I was about to trust her with things that I hadn’t told anyone. I clasped my hands to try and hide the fact that they were shaking. I fought the urge to get up and flee. What am I doing here? I was nervous to share the parts of my life that I had kept hidden for so long. A big part of me still felt as if I was overreacting and being a “drama queen”. Am I making nothing into something? I felt as if I was creating trouble. Just being able to leave the house to come to the appointment seemed to stir the pot.
Before I left the house to meet with Jane, I had to tell John where I was going so that he would agree to watch the kids. Confusion and annoyance flashed across his face. He likely thought I would never be strong enough to look for someone to speak to and I’m sure he was frightened about what truths I would share. He said, “I thought we were going to go to counseling together.”
I reminded him that I had asked him to find a counselor that he felt comfortable with, after he had told me multiple times that he would not go to counseling but then finally agreed, and yet he never looked for a counselor. “It’s on my list of things to do” he replied. As if our marriage and saving it was the equivalent to mowing the lawn or picking up a gallon of milk at the grocery store… something that he would get to when it somehow made it to the top of his long “to do” list.
He wanted to come with me. I think he wanted to control what I shared with the counselor…. to manipulate and shape the story so the things he did to me didn’t sound as bad as they were. I stayed strong and told him that I found a counselor for myself and encouraged him to find one for himself.
Jane poked her head out of the door and asked me to come in. Her office was cute and homey with a large window and exposed beams. She was friendly and welcoming. I remained nervous, but slowly the shaking subsided and I was able to share bits and pieces of my story with her.
At each visit, Jane would give me different strategies to try with John. Over the months I would share more pieces of my marriage to John…. I would attempt the strategies that we spoke about… and I shared his reactions to my attempts, which were almost always angry or resentful. During this time I even asked John to return to the bedroom to sleep, but he responded by saying he didn’t want to because it would be awkward.
Eventually, after Jane had been able to experience the cycle of dysfunction for herself, she told me she didn’t have any more strategies for me to try with John. She started to encourage me to be careful…. not to open myself up to him too much. Eventually the word abuse came into play. I wasn’t the problem. The problem was the way that he was treating me. It would still take me a very long time to internalize that…. but eventually I would… and that was 100% due to Jane.
Jane frequently tells me how kind and patient I am…. but I think there is no one in this world as kind and patient as she is. See it took a long time…. a lot of hard work … for Jane to help me see that John was abusive. Looking back, I have no idea how she listened to me without banging her head on the wall. I constantly made excuses for him. I consistently explained his poor behavior away and explained what I did that resulted in him reacting the way that he reacted.
Jane continued to work at helping me to see my worth. She slowly and patiently planted the seeds of confidence and reassurance that I needed to remember my value, and continues to do so to this day. Over the weeks … months… years she put her time, her effort and her concern into helping me find myself again. I believe that people come into our lives for a reason… and the reason she entered my life was to give me faith in myself again. ❤