Does couples counseling always work?

Every relationship has its ups and downs, some worse than others. We often seek a professionals advise to help us overcome hurdles in order to ‘save’ relationships. I myself have attended couples counseling with a previous lover only to find out that in fact it only made things worse. I personally believe therapy of any kind is an excellent idea. Be it for yourself, sex, relationships and anything few and far between. We as humans can learn from each other to better ourselves. However, what if your relationship is abusive, or your lover is controlling. Can this be saved? Can we grow and learn together as partners to make change for the better? my belief is a harsh no and unfortunately so many of us learn that the hard way.

When the loved ones around me started to realize my relationship was abusive they tried to communicate their concern as pleasantly as possible. I didn’t want to listen at the time, I was in complete denial. One thing that was recommenced over and over again was couples counseling. Nobody knew the devastating effects this could potentially lead my relationship into. As for me, I knew we needed help and it seemed like a step forward in the relationship without placing all blame on him.

Couples counseling is all about working together as a team, however in an abusive relationship there is really only one person that needs to change. Obviously everyone has things they can work on however I’m talking about the detrimental stuff people! The stuff that changes and affects people for life not the “you didn’t wash up after dinner last night”. So with that, when attending counseling with a partner you are both taking an even split of the responsibility. You are agreeing that both people need to change in order for things to get better, this is just simply not true. You are not doing anything wrong at all. Unfortunately what the counselor can’t say is “Get the fuck out of this NOW!” instead they look for a way you can both compromise with each other. This only makes the victim more and more submissive. You are already making sacrifices and compromising with this person to try and make them happy. However, you are forgetting that first and for most you need to be happy.

In my case, our therapist at the time clearly saw what was happening in the relationship, he would request to only sit with my partner once a month, however my partner still wanted me to come along. So it isn’t all the therapist. The relationship with you and your lover play a huge role in this situation also. If they cannot recognize what they are doing then you are just banging your head against a brick wall. My counselor was trying to be fair and listen to my partners insecurities and frustrations whether he agreed or not. One thing to note as well was I never felt confident enough to say that he was actually physically abusing me. I sat there every week wanting to blurt it out however never wanted to upset my partner. This is very common, we often hold back information. Whether it’s because you are in denial, scared or trying to protect your significant other, it happens so often. Once this relationship ended I went to counseling on my own. The very first session they asked me to explain why I was coming. I first off balled my eyes out the entire session, and told the story of the past two years of my life. The minute I told her we went to couples counseling she just lowered her head. She already knew what was coming next. When they call it a cycle they really mean it. The same thing happens to everyone. Couples counseling is on so many of these peoples checklists and unfortunately, just like me it made everything worse.

If you think your relationship is unhealthy or something is not quite right, call a hotline (will link below). Speak to them anonymously over the phone. You will feel free to speak your mind without judgement or anyone close to you finding out the truth. Not because you shouldn’t tell anyone but because I understand how hard it is to tell people close to you. You feel weak, dumb and embarrassed that you allowed this to happen, however you didn’t allow this to happen. Someone took advantage of your love, its not acceptable and you deserve much more.

Love Always, Ashley

National Domestic Abuse Hotline: 1800-799-7233

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