Friday, July 18, 2008

Online Counseling Summary: The Marriage Did Not Survive; But The Wife Was Saved

Online Counseling Summary: The Marriage Did Not Survive; But The Wife Was Saved

You may entitle this summary as an example of a successful Online Counseling rescue from domestic violence through the process of EMPOWERMENT.

At one point after four months of marriage, M. was puzzled, hurt and frightened. She had started a new job and gave her phone number to a male colleague also new and in training. When he called, one evening, her husband became furious. M. was gentle and willing to “compensate”, but his sexual behavior was close to violence. M. felt as a rape victim.
Later he checked her phone and found that she had returned a call to her co-worker. He accused her of ‘acting cheap’, said he couldn't trust her anymore, pulled from a hidden drawer some illegal drugs (his prior addiction) and walked out for several hours.

M. was stunned: not only from his abuse of her but his wedding promise not to abuse drugs!

M. recalled that while they were dating there were several social encounters in which she was embarrassed by her husband’s rude and controlling remarks regarding her supposedly staring at other men. He was very agitated, but not violent, she commented. She also admitted that her instincts were to protest, but her irrational fear from childhood memories about her father’s estrangement after a conflict with her mother, blocked all oppositions. And yes, M. feared canceling the wedding plans.
The last episode, was so alarming for her, it elicited a new fear, thoughts of divorce.

A good decision is born from a good assessment; the Online Counseling method was called for.
I first helped M. to tune to her feelings: she could not however compromise the love for her husband with his abuse behavior. Violence and drugs were not an option!
I then helped M. to assess the magnitude of the current problem. She realized that her work environment would always involve interactions with male co-workers. The more she would advance in her job, the more interactions she would have with co-workers thus more insecure and hostile her husband would be.
The next stage of my Online Counseling involvement was to create an action plan. I encouraged M. to talk with her husband about their need for family therapy. He refused. He also rejected her plea to join the online family help process with me.
M. therefore accepted my suggestion regarding a third alternative: to prepare, with many rehearsals, how to initiate a dialogue with her husband. When M. felt ready, she exchanged her views regarding values, expectations, norms and moral guidelines.

M. was not fearful any more. Her marriage had to be either re-defined and re-structured, or terminated.

Two weeks later they both filed for a non-consensual divorce. The Online Counseling process did not save the marriage; but M. was saved.