You are fighting all the time and you don’t stop. Your partner is lying and you know it but the lying continues. You are living with alcohol and/or drug abuse or violence. You make requests that go unnoticed despite pleas for negotiation. The children are doing as they please because you two can’t agree. Yes, it is time to get help!
So who do you pick? It’s hard to find a good person. You want someone living a life that you would want to copy. The therapist should be your model of what you need to do.
There are guidelines for making relationships work. My Universal Truths are examples of those guidelines. They are found elsewhere on my web site. Your therapist should be optimistic, practical, married for a long time, and believe in marriage. He or she should advise you of what works and what mistakes you are making.
He or she should appreciate that running off to find happiness and abandoning one’s children won’t produce the sought after joy. In fact, divorce with children doesn’t work. It brings more problems.
The majority of people that I see do quite well. The difficult issues are brought by people who either can’t tolerate doing anything wrong (there is too much guilt) or people who must run everything. Often but not always, we find this with addiction.
The addict—alcohol, drugs, maybe sex) begins to get better. They go inpatient, get discharged, rely on outpatient help. They go to AA. They want to become part of the family. That means they get troublesome. Usually at about three months, the partner who has been in charge sabotages the therapy. The couple stops coming. The substance abuser returns to the substance and the partner goes back to running things.
Recently I saw a couple for help with his out of control sex drive. He is Bipolar, was sleeping with prostitutes to manage his sex drive which was out of control, and was not in the habit of asking for help ever.
He got on mood stabilizers, calmed down, was behaving better at work and at home, and stopped seeing prostitutes.
Alan’s wife could never accept that he was sick. She continued to rage and carry on about what he had done to her.
Every time things got better she got scared and produced more drama. They went from a place where he had no one to talk to but prostitutes to a place where he had his treating psychiatrist, his therapist, and beginning dialogue with his dad I was trying to get her to be a resource for him also.
It was all too scary for the wife.
She decided coming to see me was a reminder of what he did. She announced that THEY weren’t returning to therapy. He had his own reasons for quitting. Talking to his dad was difficult. She gave him a good excuse. So she announced they were done—that left him with only her to support him and she got rid of the people who got in the way of her rage. I feel sad thinking of how that turned out).
Fortunately, most situations have a much better outcome. The poor prognosis lie with addictions and some have better outcomes than others.