All I can say is that there were no new revelations or breakthroughs during our second counseling session. I think it was Emily who suggested that real work didn’t happen until session #3. In my case, it may be session #4.
This session was spent with the counselor getting more background on our parents. I can’t think of much that was revealed that I haven’t talked about before. Her Dad’s alcoholism was a major theme, as well as the tendency of him to favor her two younger brothers over her. For instance, she’d ask for a game or something for Christmas and it would appear under the tree…for her brother! She spent quite a bit of time going over the strains of that relationship, and then when my name came up she dealt with comparing my frugality juxtaposed with her father’s monetary generosity. Thing was, her dad was so fraught with guilt, he felt the need to compensate in the form of money and stuff. So while I was trying to pinch pennies when we were starting out with very little money and lots of debt, she rebelled and went out and bought stuff anyway. This just made things worse, money-wise. So in a certain sense when comparing me to her father, I was coming up short in the money/provider department.
That was a bit difficult to hear, but I couldn’t apologize for that. But I could acknowledge that I enabled it by avoiding talking to her about her spending. I saw a lot of stuff coming into the house and didn’t question it much, figuring her dad was bankrolling her. That was a mistaken assumption as she was using her credit cards and pretty much maxed them out. We finally, finally have those crooks from Visa paid off. They have steadily been shortening the grace period, raising the interest rate, increasing the amount of time on the penalty rate from 6 to 12 months and raising the late fees . Playing with credit cards is like playing with poisonous snakes. Sooner or later you will get bit.
I talked a bit about growing up on the farm and how that took priority over everything in the family. It was an oppressive enough atmosphere that looked a lot like a sweatshop type of thing to us kids that we all live as far as Iowa as possible with my brother on the West coast, my sister on the East coast and me in the deep south. But I think climate had quite a lot to do with it, too, seeing as you Midwestern folks are suffering this winter. I have not forgotten frigid mornings fighting snow and ice or sweltering humid summers.
I sat in the counseling session and found myself wondering why we both needed to be there and why we needed a babysitter. Reflective listening is comforting in a way, but it was not getting us anywhere. Little new ground and certainly nothing approaching resolution. I’m willing to give it a half dozen more sessions but at some point there needs to be some progress made considering the time and money invested. Arwyn and I have made progress on our own individually but not much together as a couple. The next session, Arwyn will be going on her own followed by me going on my own the following week. Maybe those sessions will shake something loose and I’m willing to stick with going a few rounds with that. The fees are reasonable at $75 per session, but not if we’re not getting anywhere. I might as well spend the money on lottery tickets.
One thing of note, is that starting in January (well before counseling appeared on the radar) I did confront Arwyn about her odd sleeping posture, i.e. sleeping with her head at the foot of the bed and wrapped in a totally separate blanket. She has since reoriented her self back to having her head at the head of the bed, but she is still wrapped in her own blanket. Cold weather would seem to be opportune snuggling weather since her chief complaint about sleeping close to me is that I’m too hot but that hasn’t happened. So maybe there is some progress in there somewhere, but it has been glacial at best. Warm weather WILL be back soon enough and then the hot complaint will kick in.
So you Yankees just hang tough and stay warm!