This same sort of correspondence and counsel between this man and Joel continued over the next 7 months, the end of January until the end of August 2014. I just want to quickly share some examples here today.
One was sent on June 3, 2014...Joel and I had been living apart for a couple of weeks by that point. The email contained a lot of counsel and information about forgiveness...mostly counsel and information that I think is completely bad and wrong. I have a LOT to say about forgiveness. We'll get to that. But, in another part of the email, he said this:
You said on the phone you were asking forgiveness of the offenses Michawn mentioned in her timeline. It is good you reaffirm at this time your covenant commitment, and love to her, even though she claims there is nothing in her heart for you. That she may realize we men are insensitive and we will never be like a woman who feel everything, and are able to mull over and over every negative thing until it replaces good feelings.This person is obviously really big on generalizing about men and women. He likes to put people in boxes. I don't do well in a box. He obviously doesn't know me at all since he continues to say things like this about me. For instance, I am not and never have been a 'feeler'...not that I don't feel, but what I mean by that is that I'm not someone who is motivated by my feelings. His generalizations are just so...outdated. Men aren't these insensitive pigs just because they are men. And women aren't, just because they are women, these 'feelers' who mull and mull until they work themselves into a negative frenzy. These are cartoonish stereotypes.
Yet, this was the 'help' that Joel was getting. Like I said in my last post...this man is a pastor...and does marriage counseling. It must be stopped.
During our time with our counselors #4 and #5 (the two that we had before we went to the couple who finally went after root issues), I worked with a female counselor and Joel worked with a male counselor...all via Skype and email. I never Skyped with the male counselor. But, the female counselor joined Joel and his male counselor once. We had already been meeting with them for about two months when this took place.
Around that same time (during the summer of 2014), my counselor suggested to the male counselor that maybe it was possible I had what is known as Borderline Personality Disorder. They just mentioned to Joel that maybe he could get a certain book that talked about that disorder...to see if it was something that might line up with me.
Yet another instance where there were people talking about me, but not talking to me. Betrayed yet again. My counselor (who I stopped seeing mid-July) never did mention this to me (I found out only after Joel moved back in on Sept. 1st and we started talking through everything), but Joel ran with it. He thought he finally had a diagnosis for me. And when you're grasping at straws continuously (instead of just listening to your wife and providing her basic needs), you run with whatever you can find...and anything that anyone suggests becomes your 'solution.'
One overview of 'BPD' is:
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)Now, according to this, I have none of those signs or symptoms, and I'm 40 years old...young at heart maybe (or I was before the past 3 years aged me about 20 years), but certainly not considered in adolescence or early adulthood.
Brief OverviewBorderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious mental illness that causes unstable moods, behavior, and relationships. It usually begins during adolescence or early adulthood.
Most people who have BPD suffer from:
- Problems regulating their emotions and thoughts
- Impulsive and sometimes reckless behavior
- Unstable relationships
I asked Joel recently what was it about that disorder that made them suggest it and made him think that it could be a possibility. He looked up some of the more specific symptoms and descriptions again and sent me the info in an email. Every. single. thing that was mentioned can be completely explained and refuted by the reality and truth of really looking at the real root issues that were at play here (they also all applied to me only as related to Joel and our relationship...and only our relationship the past couple of years). Had the counselors actually been going for the root issues...and had they asked me...the 'possible diagnosis' would have never come about. But, I'm going to give you a couple of examples.
As far as regular patterns for people who have BPD, some of the common 'fights' are listed:
1. The “It’s Your Fault” Fight#1 and #2 basically seem like the same thing. I remember my counselor asking me specifically, 'so, you can't see anything that you've done wrong here that could have caused this all to happen?' The family member in her correspondence with me (Part 18) also was just adamant that surely I was equally to blame for the horrible condition of our marriage. Apparently it's a big deal to people. I'm not sure why. Maybe since there was no infidelity involved here?
--For BPs to admit to themselves or others that anything about them is less than perfect would be admitting that they are defective.
2. The “Projection” Fight
“There’s nothing wrong with me. There’s something wrong with you!"
People often try to avoid feeling bad about their own unpleasant traits, behaviors, or feelings by attributing them (often in an accusing way) to someone else. This is a common defense mechanism called projection. people with BPD take it to the extreme.
I was sure to tell all of my counselors that obviously no one is flawless. And that there were some symptoms that had sprung up gradually since January 2012 when all of this begun that had not been present in me before that (for instance, irritability and acting on anger when yet another betrayal occurred, etc.), and that I owned those. But, I told them, I felt sure we needed to conquer the roots...and then those unhealthy symptoms would disappear.
As I wrote in response to a blog commenter:
again, nobody is perfect. but, what we are addressing with this blog series is what happened to us. where it all went wrong. and what caused it all. unfortunately, in this instance, it was a very specific turning point…and the turning was done by my husband. i did not turn. now…having said that…again, no one is without fault. as far as day-to-day, every-marriage issues, sometimes it is joel that screws up and sometimes it is me. those are the easy things. those were the only things that we had to deal with for the first decade of our marriage. but, we are specifically talking about, here in this blog series, the thing that happened *after* that first decade of marriage. the thing that turned the tide. sadly, that had nothing to do with me and i had no control in that matter.In our case:
when someone says something like ‘yes, but what did *you* do wrong to cause all of this?’…that’s like saying to the wife who was cheated on (adultery), ‘yes, but what did *you* do to cause him to cheat?’It's not that I don't get what people are doing. They want to make sure that I'm not just trying to put all the blame on someone else...and not trying to just get a free pass. But, 1) for it to be constantly assumed that it isn't even an option for the 'wrong turn' that led to the breakdown of our marriage to be taken by just one person? That's ridiculous. And 2) believe me...there is no free pass here. There is nothing free about all that I've been drug through the past 3 years...and all that still must be done to overcome this. So, it's not like I'm 'getting off' here. Don't worry your pretty little heads.
But, it just simply wasn't me who turned. And not backing down from that truth...apparently it gets you a BPD diagnosis.
Grasping. at. straws, people. That's what was happening.
So futile. So maddening. So upsetting that no one would just listen to me...and believe me.
A 3rd email from the man from whom Joel was receiving counsel was shared. And in it, it was very obvious that he was 'running with' that diagnosis too. So that's what the 'BPD' is about. There were other things too, as you'll see. This email was actually written just 3 days before Labor Day...3 days before Joel moved back in. The email said this:
Awoke early with Michawn on my heart and got up to pray.Actually what God did was use that couple to bring about TRUTH...to get to the real root issues of things, none of which were mentioned at all in the counsel Joel was receiving.
At different times I have shared with you spiritual principles that in my understanding have been violated in Michawn's life that have lead her to where she is today. Thought it may be good if you feel appropriate to share with the couple you are meeting with as these produce undesirable fruit in Michawn's life. If she is opening to them, perhaps God will use them to deal with these issues.
Psychology would classify Michawn and others like her as BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder). They do a good job in describing the symptoms. Do not know if in the book you read they dealt with spiritual root causes. The problem is a spiritual one.
The first is unforgiveness. Unforgiveness toward (a specific person who shall remain nameless) and any other person who she perceives as opposing her view points in any way. When I was a youth I attended a youth seminar and unforgiveness was a main topic, because of it's devastating effect on a life. Unforgiveness hurts the one who does not forgive and permits as Jesus told in the parable oppression that torments. Many different fears can be the result of unforgiveness.
Another spiritual principle is submission. To many that is a bad word today, but the principle is still valid. Submission to godly oversight whether husband or church authority is a safeguard against the attacks of the enemy, specially in the area of deception.
I know you have seen the bad fruit from lack of forgiveness and submission, I don't have to elaborate. We are praying God will use this couple to address these issues in Michawn's life and bring deliverance to her.
Amazing to me how this person just proclaimed things about me as if they were gospel. This man, with whom I hadn't had an actual conversation with in years.
Yet, these were the people my husband continued to listen to. How is it that my husband who used to be my best friend knew me so little and had turned on me so much that, with the tiny suggestion of someone who doesn't even know us (counselors #4 and #5), who we've never even met in person, he thought that I had a mental disorder?
It makes it really, really hard to trust your husband...ever again. This husband who, when things didn't go his way, he abandoned his spouse, defamed her behind her back for years, and went so far as to convince himself and others that she might just have a mental disorder...that that might finally be the answer.
Not only that...but, he went to her father to ask him if he thought this mental disorder sounded familiar. Her father, to whom she hadn't revealed any marital problems whatsoever yet. Her father, who she had specifically asked her husband not to reveal anything to...for very specific reasons. None of my family was supposed to know about our problems or that we were living apart until I got ready to tell them in my own way. (He told several...as always, behind my back)
No. No, there's no free anything here.
So much betrayal, y'all. So much bad counsel.
As far as the betrayal...more to come on that.
As far as the counsel...now you see just a small sampling (through the 5 actual counselors that we both engaged with and the family members that Joel was getting counsel from) of what was at work against us. Sadly, there is more of the same kinds of things to document here.
But, the counsel here, and in the last post, from this family member...these are the kinds of teachings and very popular 'mentoring' that husbands get.
Does anyone else find a problem with this?
A friend asked me after the last blog post, "Wrongdoing is exactly that-wrong. So what's next? How do you overcome that hurt? I know forgive, but what does that look like in daily life when dealing with other Christians?"
Great question. I have so much to say about forgiveness. I'll start on that next.