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Why Counseling Therapy?

Editor’s Note: The following article was written by the Lovefraud reader who posts as “Adelade.”

My first encounter with counseling was when I was a “troubled” teenager. I’ve seen several counselors since then for various reasons. At no time was I completely honest or truthful and certain issues were “addressed,” but they were never “managed.” This was mainly due to my own shame in admitting that I had issues at all, but also due to the chosen counselors merely hearing words out of my mouth and nodding, writing, and asking, “Well, how do you feel about that?” Personally, I felt that they each should have been able to see through my fears and pinpoint where I needed to start. But, counselors are only human beings, just as I am, and they are not provided crystal balls upon receipt of their BSA or Master’s Degree. They can only work with what they’re given by their clients.

After my marriage ended, I sought counseling, immediately. I had reacted in a very uncharacteristic manner that created a multitude of legal issues, including being charged with Domestic Violence. I am not an abuser, and there were never any instances of violence or “abuse” throughout the marriage. Well, not the examples that I would have once associated with being abused, that is.

Unable to process

I sought counseling because I was unable to process my reaction to the then-known truths, and I knew that I never wanted to react in such a manner, ever again, regardless of the situation. So, I contacted my local Domestic Violence hotline, told the intake volunteer the entire story, and begged for names of counselors in the area that were familiar with DV&A, PSTD, and sociopathy — by that time, I had reconciled the man that I had loved and married fit the profile of a sociopath. Little was I to know how much of a fraud he really was until weeks later.

“I can handle this,” is a common war-cry among victims of domestic violence/abuse, and emotional trauma. We are accustomed to having control, and to seek counseling therapy is an admission that we are unable to manage our current situations, reactions, emotions, and thought processes. I was certainly not able to “handle this,” and trying to sort out my reactions, experiences, and feelings was beyond my ability, literally. I had not experienced this level of betrayal before, in my life, and I was absolutely incapable of working my way through and out of the emotional mire.

Then, there’s the stigma that people attach to seeking counseling. After all, it’s even termed as “mental health.” “Mental issues” must mean that we’re disordered or diseased, ourselves, and the stigma is absolutely visceral. This term needs to be permanently changed to “Emotional Health.” My emotions had been trampled and I was unable to put myself back together, emotionally, without help. This was emotional, not mental.

Committing to myself

Seeking out strong, competent counseling therapy is priceless to me, regardless of whether I can afford it, or not. There are many, many resources out there that will point me in the direction of low-cost-or-no-cost counseling therapy. I just have to make the decision to take the steps to do it. I must commit myself to my Self, and why shouldn’t I? Aren’t I a valuable part of this vast Universe? Aren’t I uniquely gifted with whatever attributes and qualities that I have? Don’t I deserve to feel good about myself?

A strong, competent counselor will hear the words that I’m speaking, validate my feelings, and provide me with the proper tools and techniques for me to use to recover, heal, and emerge from whatever I’ve experienced. Validation is the key to those first, wobbly baby steps on my Healing Path. The counselor isn’t going to judge me or ridicule me. The counselor is going to ask me questions — hard questions that will require me to humble myself and trust this person with everything that the exspath used to bind me to him, and this requires a huge leap of faith. The counselor is also going to point out things about me that I may not really want to hear. But, with the leap of faith in the integrity and intention of the counselor comes a grasp of courage for me to face down my foibles, faults, and weaknesses so that I can work on those things to become as impenetrable as possible against bad people with bad agendas.

Counseling only works if we want it to. Counseling only works if we match up with the “right” therapist. Counseling only works if we set aside pride, stigma, control, and false beliefs and face down our personal demons with courage, fortitude, and resolve. We have to be willing to be 100% honest and truthful, even when doing so doesn’t always make us look like very nice people. The healing process is not warm and fuzzy. It just isn’t. It’s painful, frightening, and humbling. But, with all of that, once we get beyond the shock of our own human issues, there comes the healing “itch” that we feel in our souls that signals that the scar tissue is mending and we actually begin to look forward to what we’ll find on our own Healing Paths.

New language

I was lucky enough to be given the name of a superb counseling therapist and the fit was perfect, from the first session. I felt that she heard me and she touched on core issues that I didn’t even know had professional psychological terms to describe them. Terms like “shame-core,” “trauma-bond,” “inner-child,” and “cognitive dissonance” were all new to me. Yeah, I knew what a sociopath was, but I didn’t know that these terms directly described true vulnerabilities that left my boundaries in tatters and myself wide open to exploitation by all types of sociopaths.

With this new vocabulary and understanding, I was able to take those initial shaky steps onto my Healing Path and limp along with my bone-handled cane of “comfort,” lest I stumble or step into a hole. I’ve cast away the cane, even though it provided a false sense of comfort that was only constructed of dependency, shame, and neediness. Sometimes, I’ll glance back down my Healing Path to see that prop lying by the wayside with a brief longing for the days of blissful ignorance when I believed that I was safe, secure, and loved by my “soulmate.” But, the further I get down my Path, the smaller and smaller that support is and tall grass and flowers are beginning to obscure it, entirely. I don’t need that false support, anymore, and I would have to go backwards for many, many steps to just look at it, much less touch it. By then, it will be decayed and have become an integral part of the Healing Path right where it lays.

If you haven’t sought counseling therapy with regard to personal sociopath entanglements, I would strongly urge you do consider it. The “right” one will hear you and ask you hard questions, immediately. No pussyfooting around with copious head-nodding, rampant note-taking, and profuse “harrumphing.” Hard questions, emotional expressions, and not-so-warm-and-fuzzy observations are all hallmarks of a good, strong, and competent counseling therapist. What a good counselor doesn’t do is to tell us how to feel or invalidate our feelings. Just because “feelings are not facts” doesn’t make them invalid. Any counselor that suggests that our feelings are “wrong” is not going to be helpful.

Finding a counselor

To locate a competent counseling therapist, check out the links below, or contact your local domestic violence and abuse hotline and speak to the person that answers your call. Tell them that you want names of counseling therapists that are familiar with PSTD, domestic violence/abuse (whichever applies, or both), and sociopathy. All three of these criteria must be met. Then, with courage and resolve, engage in healing yourself of your experiences. Fear of stigma is not allowed in the aftermath of sociopath entanglements since fear was one of the spath’s most prized weapons in their arsenal.

National Domestic Violence Hotline in U.S.

Canada Domestic Violence Clearing House

National Domestic Violence Helpline UK

Australian National Domestic Violence Hotline

U.S. Domestic Violence Helpline for Men

Editor’s note: As Adelade recommends, it is extremely important to work with a therapist who understands how you are affected psychologically in a relationship with a sociopath. If your therapist does not “get it,” you are wasting your time, money and energy. Find a new therapist.

IF YOU HAVE FOUND A COMPETENT THERAPIST, please submit his or her name to the Lovefraud Professional Resources Guide. Lovefraud constantly receives requests for referrals, and we’d like to build our database of resources in English-speaking countries: the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Refer a therapist to the Lovefraud Professional Resources Guide.


Comment on this article

23 Comments on "Why Counseling Therapy?"

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EXCELLENT article!! Thank you!

Adelade,

ABSOLUTELY an excellent article.

I too had therapy after my “divorce from hell”> not realizing at the time and my therapist didn’;t either that my father in law was the psychopath who manipulated my mentally ill husband to get rid of me because he (my FIL) couldn’t control me. The word psychopath never came up…but the therapy did help me through the first couple of years and with parenting my kids who were gobsmacked by the divorce and my husband refusing to see them at all.

I had some therapy years before for a short period of time….actually I was trying to work through my rape by my psychopathic sperm donor…but I never told the therapist I had been raped. I was too ashamed.

After the airplane crash (which killed my husband) I received therapy for over a year and then later during the summer of chaos when my son Patrick sent his pedophile buddy to kill me, I sought therapy again…EMDR and it helped in many ways.

Love Fraud also helped me, but I truly believe that anyone who has has SIGNIFICANT trauma from a psychopath (enough to wind them up here) needs to have some professional therapy from someone who does get it. That may take some time to find a therapist who does, but I think it is well worth the time, effort and money involved.

It was very difficult for me as a psych and medical professional to be “on the wrong side of the clip board” and I am sure it was for the other psych and mental health professionals who are on here both as authors and bloggers.

We do want to “CONTROL” IT, but the thing is we were fooling ourselves during the relationshit with the psychopaths, because Actually WE HAD NO CONTROL until we finally went NC with them. Any interaction with them is a lose for us and a win for them. Only by NC can WE control the relationship 100%.

Thanks for a great article.

OxD, no contact is an imperative to end the madness. All of the counseling one could cram into a year doesn’t match the initial choice to go NC – that takes so much back that we’d lost: our control, our ability to discern truth from fiction, and the ability for the to manipulate is removed.

BTW, how is your injury healing? Still in for surgery? Ack….

Thanks for asking truthy, the foot is still unstable and somewhat painful, I have to be careful or it will put me on the ground if I am not careful.

I’m getting the house arranged for my “scooter” that I will be hobbling around with…and trying to do as much running around as I can before the surgery (August 1) because it will be hard for the 6 weeks after that…NO weight bearing.

So anyway, have laid in a huge pile of books to read and DVDs borrowed from all our friends (we don’t have cable TV) so I think I’m all set! Have an RN friend that will be with me over night at the hospital, and then another one that will be with me a couple of days at the house in addiction to son D…

I’m so prepared it isn’t even funny! LOL Gettin old ain’t fer sissies though!

OxD…..just take care of yourself. And, get to writing some more articles!!!

Why contact a domestic violend/abuse hotline? For the very simple reason that the acts that spaths perpetrate ARE abuse, at the very least, and VIOLENT, at the very worst.

Neglect, stonewalling, silent treatment, verbal humiliation, emotional manipulation/coersion, and spiritual manipulations are ALL forms of ABUSE. They each “abuse” a victim on various levels. The physical abuse can range from pushing, shoving, pinching, slapping, punching, tripping, poking, and even tickling.

What each survivor of spaths has experienced was ABUSE, on some level, and it was either within a romantic relationship, family relationship, or platonic relationship. Period.

GREAT ARTICLE!!
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR WORDS.

Dupey

Excellent article.
I’ve had lots of therapy following my divorce from my spath. Unfortunately, none of mine really helped as there doesn’t seem to a list of qualifying therapists in South Africa, to deal with spath issues.

I’ve been told I’m paranoid, and over-exagerrating the situation, which has left me in the cold and very alone.

Over the years I’ve tried to find therapists who would help me put a name to what was going on with me (of course, the problem was always me in my mind because my spath told me so). Unless we already have a good grasp of what the problem is within our hearts and souls, emotionally, no counsellor that I have ever encountered could help.

I like “talk” therapy. Here I have no agenda on what I am going to get out of a counsellor (a savior is what I use to look for; someone to save me from myself and my negative thoughts). I noticed that when a counsellor just allowed me to talk, with little interruption, I could come to the right conclusions myself with my own awareness while I was talking.

Interestingly, I am a talk therapist (use to be called lay counsellor) but have not used my skills for years. I’m about to take a course to become a registered hypnotherapist and it is my goal to focus on men and women who have suffered at the hands of spaths. I could also use my experience as a bereaved mother, sexual abuse survivor, mental health system survivor, loss and abandonment expert, etc.

My point is as I start my new career (post writing my memoir which is selling wonderfully now!) I know of what I speak when I reach out to help others and along my way of helping I pray to God that I begin to feel better.

I am sick to death of considering myself a victim to spaths and have decided to get strong and take care of myself in a way I have never done before. I want to deliver myself from the evil that has surrounded me since birth.

Bottom line? I am responsible now that I know what has really been going on as my life seemed so upside down. I am fortunate to have the education and experience to turn my misfortune around and to help others help themselves. I have learned I am 100% on my own – that people just never get it when trying to describe a spath event or PTSD reaction unless they have experienced the same thing.

I am so excited about starting my new career as a registered hypnotherapist and talk therapist. I am able to take one room in my house and make it special – filled with light, angels, candles, and crystals…and a warm person to fall onto when everything seems hopeless.

Loved the article about counselling therapy (excuse how I spell counselling – tis our way in Canada and the U.K. I believe) and really do urge anyone who can find a viable person who has some knowledge of spaths and the aftermath of such empty souls — outside of simple academic credentials.

Bless you all for being here and Donna for your wonderful works (loved the last video as well!).

Adelade,

Thank you for this most informative article and for the incredibly useful information that you have provided!

Shane

The first thing that stuck out in my head here was how tickling can be considered abuse. My ex boyfriend used to tickle my feet until I cried. It actually hurt. I would tell him not to but he would do it anyway, and one time I kicked him in the face. He turned out to be antisocial (according to Dr. Hare’s checklist–he had every single one on a high spectrum).

I did cognitive behavioral therapy for my PTSD and it did help, but I’m having a reoccurence of my PTSD and so am back in counseling again. PTSD is a life-long illness, like Diabetes, but it can be managed. I had thought once it was treated it was cured. But certain things can trigger a reoccurence and it is important to go in for “tune-ups” from time to time.

I do think when I first started counseling while going through the trauma with my sociopath, the validation that I was not crazy and the trauma was real was probably the most important thing for me to hear. Sometimes I STILL need it. Sometimes I STILL feel it is all kind of surreal and maybe it wasn’t really as bad as I thought it was. Well, apparently it was because it changed my brain forever. And that doesn’t mean that I can’t have a good and successful, satisfying life from here on out, but it does mean I have to acknowledge that I had a very bad thing happen to me that has changed who I am, learn how to deal with that, and figure out ways to turn that into something positive (such as being able to help others that are temporarily lost.)

Stillinshock, yes…..what constitutes “abuse” to the general public is absolute misconception. The stigma of all victims of domestic violence being “deserving” of it is still alive and very, very powerful. Movies, television, and other media have stigmatized domestic violence as something that it simply isn’t. We never hear “Stockholm Syndrome” applied to “why doesn’t he/she just LEAVE?”

PSTD is a lifelong condition, I agree. It can certainly be managed, but there will always be triggers. I think that returning to counseling therapy is always a good choice. It doesn’t mean that we’re nuts – it just means that not one of us has “All Of The Right Answers” on how to manage these experiences.

I don’t have transportation, so I am unable to continue with my counseling therapy, and this has really caused some serious issues for me. I can’t get what I need just from reading. Yes, I can process the words that I’m reading, and I can apply those words to my situations, but I require human interaction, and I sorely, SORELY miss my sessions.

Yeah, we are all forever changed, and it can be a change for the good, or remain the worst thing that has ever happened. IMHO, without the validation of strong counseling, it’s like trying to build a 4-bedroom house with a box of pasta and a ball-peen hammer. I just don’t have the tools that will get the job done.

Brightest and most sincere healing blessings to you

Shell, I don’t know enough about agencies in South Africa to be of ANY help, at all. There are, as far as I’m aware, international agencies that can help victims to connect with strong counselors.

To put it into perspective, most professionals in the psycholgical and psychiatric community skim the surface of psychopathology during their course of studies. Yeah, they reference the worst of the worst, and they study for their exams, and graduate. But, most of these professionals do not have practical experiences with garden-variety, everyday spaths. They have the academic knowledge, but they have no frame of reference to apply that knowledge to.

Keep looking, Shell – keep “trying on” therapists until you find one that “fits.” Contact your local domestic violence agency or women’s organization. But, don’t throw in the towel on your own recovery. You are far too precious to this Universe, and you are worth every effort to recover.

Brightest blessings

I have not felt able to post for a while as my poor mind is struggling to cope with everything. I’m processing my entire life’s events and separating everyone I’ve ever met or known, into spath or empath. I feel overwhelmed. I need more than I’m able to give at the moment.
Please know this; each and every one of you beautiful people are a gift.

Anem, it’s okay to just come and recieve…when you feel stronger you’ll give back.
I so understand that processing of every person and every event. It’s hard work, but part of the process.

Cognitive distortions also known as “dichotomous thinking.” are inaccurate patterns of thinking that keep you feeling bad. It’s a concept largely associated with cognitive therapy, a type of therapy designed to help individuals overcome their difficulties by changing dysfunctional thinking, behaviors, and emotional responses.

You don’t necessarily have to have been abused to have them, although if you survived child abuse or a spath it is likely that you do engage in the following cognitive distortions. So what are they and how do you know if you’re using them? Read on and see if any of the following apply to you.

Ten Cognitive Distortions

All-or-nothing-thinking: This type of thinking is when you evaluate things in absolute or black-and-white. For instance, if you fall and trip and you tell yourself: “I am an absolute klutz. I can never do anything right.” All-or-nothing-thinking is a distortion because things are rarely so cut and dry. All-or-nothing thinking leads to perfectionism, a type of defense mechanism used to cover up feelings of shame.

Overgeneralization: This is where you use the outcome of a single event to conclude that the event will keep happening. For instance, while studying for a test, you miss an answer on a self-study question. You then say to yourself “I can never do anything right.” But had you taken the time to think about the previous week, you might have realized you successfully completed a homework assignment and handed it in on time.

Selective negative focus (or mental filter): You find yourself focusing on the negative aspects of a situation exclusively, and conclude that the whole situation is negative. For instance, your car breaks down by the side of the road and you conclude that “all cars are junk.” You ignore the fact that your car is over 15 years old and has over 300,000 miles on it.

Disqualifying the positive: You continually discount positive feedback and experiences in order to maintain negative beliefs. For example, suppose your neighbor tells you that she thinks you are a wonderful person. You then think to yourself “that’s because she doesn’t know who I really am.” You think this in spite of the fact numerous other people have told you so as well.

Jumping to Conclusions (or arbitrary inference): You make negative conclusions which are not warranted by the facts at hand. There are two subtypes of this behavior. In mind reading, you assume that people are making negative assumptions about you and you don’t bother to check it out. This can become a self-fulfilling prophecy and setup negative interactions with others. With fortune telling (or negative prediction), you assume that something bad will happen even though it may be unrealistic.

Magnification and Minimization: When you engage in magnification, you exaggerate the way something or someone is. For example, with magnification, you would overstate someone’s talents as being better than what they actually are. With minimization, the opposite occurs. You understate the way something or someone is. When focusing on yourself, you may notice you have a tendency to magnify your faults and minimize your strengths.

Emotional reasoning: You use your emotions to justify the way things really are. For instance, you may feel ashamed. Therefore, you conclude that you are a bad person. Or if you feel overwhelmed, you conclude all your problems are impossible to solve.

Should statements: These kind of cognitive distortions involve coming up with rigid rules and expectations for yourself or others regardless of the circumstances. Of course, not everything is black and white. Making should statements towards yourself is an attempt to motivate yourself. For instance, you tell yourself “I should scrub the floors one more time” even if you’re running late for an appointment. Should statements make you feel pressured and guilty. All you end up is feeling unmotivated. Psychologist Albert Ellis called these statements “musturbation.”

Labeling and mislabeling: Labeling involves creating a negative self identity based on your mistakes and imperfections, as if your mistakes and imperfections were your entire self. For instance, if you trip and fall, you tell yourself “I’m a loser.” Mislabeling occurs when you describe an event with highly loaded emotional language which does not accurately describe it. For example, suppose you eat two hamburgers while on a diet. You then think to yourself: “How disgusting. I’m an overgrown pig.”

Personalization: You assign blame to yourself when there is no good reason for it. For example, suppose you’re a teacher who assigns a homework assignment and a student does not do it. You then conclude “I must be a lousy teacher, or the student would have done it.”

“PTSD is a lifelong condition” is “All or Nothing thinking.

Overcoming Stuckness in PTSD
http://www.healthcentral.com/anxiety/c/414186/134652/overcoming-ptsd

http://healmyptsd.com/

Michele Rosenthal

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms Running Your Life?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a normal reaction to an abnormal experience. If you’ve survived a trauma and feel you are different than you were before, you’ve come to the right place. After a trauma life can become full of post-traumatic stress as a survivor experiences Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms, including nightmares, insomnia, flashbacks, rage, emotional numbing, hypervigiliance, hyperarousal, depression, anxiety, intrusive thoughts, and avoidance.

If these PTSD symptoms describe you or someone you know don’t despair ”“ you’re not alone. While we are each individual in our trauma, we are universal in our PTSD experience. With Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder causes ranging from natural disasters to terrorism to war to life-altering illness to domestic, sexual and child abuse, the PTSD survivor crowd is large, diverse, global and always growing. The good news is, a range Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder treatment options exist. PTSD is a disorder, not a disease. Recent research suggests up to 90% of all cases are wholly treatable.

I struggled with undiagnosed PTSD for 24 years and then I was diagnosed and went on a healing rampage! Today, I am 100% PTSD-free. This site is designed to educate you about posttraumatic stress, and also: to help you access your PTSD healing potential so that you can learn to cope, manage and strategize your Post-Traumatic Stress Recovery Process.

spoon: thank you for all your wonderful suggestions.
am doing fairly well and hope you are too.

the stalking completely stopped a few days ago.
actually, today is day #7 where there has been nothing.

still in therapy and on medication and doing as well as can be expected. I wanted you to know how much I appreciate everything you have shared with me. It helps a lot. xxoo

Dupey

Back_from_the_edge

I hope and pray that he’s gone for good. That you have peace of mind. And your heart heals.

Thanks for the kind words. Glad to know that I’ve helped a little. Hate to see anyone hurting. XXOO

spoon: “IT” isn’t gone yet.
One more cyber stalking yesterday.
It’s the only avenue left for “IT” now,
except for an ‘in person’ surprise visit.
I am still NC completely and it will always be that way now.

It’s alright. It doesn’t bother me anymore like it used to.
I just laugh it off and log it. I have it far far away from me now.
It lives far away from me.

I wish my heart would heal (literally) but it’s not like that is going to happen any time soon. It will heal from the ppath and all the dastardly and ugly things it has done to me but the damage done to my heart (literally) will never heal now.

Yes, you have helped A LOT.
I shall always remember the exploding smurf. Always.

This has been an experience of an entire lifetime,
let me tell you!

Have a good day spoon.
You deserve it!!! xxoo

Dupey

Like the attitude.

So your spath just a prairie doggin’. 🙂
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=praire%20doggin%27

Your heart can heal. Just believe.

Thanks for the smile.

May all good thing come to you and the bad stuff run from ya.
XXXOOO

hahahaha: good term.
I will have to share that sometime…

Is that what that ‘after ppath glow’ is???
‘prairie doggin’?

You too: thanks for the 🙂

xxoo

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