Back to therapy I go.

About a million years ago, or what seems like it, The Ex and I went to visit a counselor together.  It was in September of 2000, about 9 months after I discovered the gambling.  And about one month after The Dream.

Have I mentioned The Dream?  If so, just skim on down to some other stuff that is probably a repeat. If not, I want to warn you that some of the details are rather horrifying and others are just plain weird.

I dreamt that I was at Kroger and the police and FBI were in the store.  They warned me to be careful.  They were about to apprehend someone who was known to kidnap and hurt children.  When I rounded the corner, I spotted the man at the end of an aisle, sitting at a card table, eating peas from a bowl.  I knew instantly that it was my husband and I wondered if they knew what they were really dealing with.  Were they really equipped to handle such a sneaky and conniving man?

I could tell by his methodical actions that he knew that he was surrounded, but he didn’t seem frightened.  He wasn’t attempting to flee.  He was simply bent over the bowl, scooping up peas and smirking.  The officers moved in and one of them attacked from behind and put a machete into his head.  (I warned you.)  It reminded me of one of those fake Halloween knife-through-the-head headbands, but this one went from front to back.

Instantly, he stopped eating the peas and slumped in his chair.  The officers started to celebrate.  Everyone was smiling and congratulating each other on the apprehension.  They had stopped an evil man.

I can still feel the fear that I felt as I moved closer to see if he was really dead.  When the officers weren’t looking, he opened his eyes, smiled and winked at me.  He wasn’t dead.  He was just pretending until he could make his next move.  I became hysterical, trying to convince officers that he was still alive. I pleaded with them to listen to me because they didn’t know what he was capable of.  I did.  They needed to shoot him or something because this was definitely not enough to stop him.

Needless to say, I woke up in a cold sweat.  I knew that I couldn’t go on another day, pretending that it would all work out, but secretly living in fear.

At first, I hauled his butt to Gamblers Anonymous meetings.  Four of them to be exact.  What he learned there was that THOSE PEOPLE ARE CRAZY.  He, of course, was perfectly normal, despite the fact that he had drained all of our savings, our retirement, and our kids savings and put us into debt that felt like it rivaled the national deficit.  He just “got in a little over his head.”  Dude, that’s called drowning.

At that point, I gave up on Gam-Anon.  It’s not like I was enjoying to ride in a car with him for 30 minutes, listening to him whine about the stupid  meeting while I wondered how many times I would roll and how many bones I would break if I hurled myself out of the moving vehicle.

So I suggested counseling.  He agreed, but thought it should be marriage counseling since he was through with gambling and all we needed to do was fix our marriage.  Whatever.  At least it’s SOMETHING.

I’m not gonna lie.  That first visit was no picnic.  Dysfunctional families do not talk about their problems.  Not with each other, not with anyone.  We pretend.  We put on a show.  But that show comes to an end when you are sitting in front of a counselor and she asks, “So what brings you to my office today?”

At this point, almost 13 years later, I don’t remember much of what was said.  I remember telling her about the dream and how it stayed with me.  I told her about my crying jags and fear.  I told her that I felt like my whole marriage had been a lie and I didn’t know how to fix it, and I told her that the Gamblers Anonymous meetings just didn’t seem to be the right fit.  The Ex told her that he had stopped gambling and that he was totally committed to his family and making it right.  He knew that he had done wrong and it would never happen again.

I don’t remember our exact words.  I don’t remember how I felt about what he said or I said.  I do, however, remember what the counselor said at the end of the session.  She stated that she needed to meet with us separately.  She believed that we were dealing with separate issues and until we worked on those issues separately, there was no way to work on the marriage together.  I was shocked when she said that she believed that I was suffering from Post Traumatic Shock and that he had some addictive traits that needed to be addressed.  She didn’t think that the marriage was over, but we needed to heal ourselves before we could heal it.  We scheduled our separate appointments and went on our merry shell-shocked way.

The following week, I visited with her to start healing from the pain.  To find myself again.  To find the ability to breath and no longer feel like a caged animal.  That same week, he called to cancel his appointment with a promise to reschedule.  A promise that was never fulfilled.

It’s no surprise that over the past 13 years, a time filled with abuse, infidelity, broken promises, and eventually divorce, I have visited with her more than a few times.  (Who am I kidding?  I’ve probably paid enough co-pays to build a beach house.)  I don’t go as often or as regularly any more, but there are times when I know I need to get back for a visit.

Like the past few months while I’m working with an attorney to get ready for a court date on April 4th.  Or SOON because of a surprise visit from him on Sunday.  The dreams have started again.  No, don’t worry, no one has any sort of knife through their head in these new dreams, but I’m spending my REM time pleading with him, hoping that he will see what he is doing and make a change.  Trying to understand what he is doing and figure out how to help or survive it.

So back to therapy I will go.



  1. Oh my–you are telling my story here–not the dreams, but the “supposed” therapy that HE agreed to, went once, canceled and promised to make another appointment, but then said, “I’m not the one who needs help. You can go, if you want, but there is nothing wrong with me.” So, I have continued to go, over the years. It will help get you back on more stable footing again. Onward—–

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