We Need To Talk with Kris Godinez

01-08-2023 No Couples Counseling Bad Therapists
In this episode of We Need To Talk With Kris Godinez, Kris discusses why it is dangerous to go to couples counseling with an abuser and what to look for if you feel your counselor is bad.

Hello and welcome to We Need To Talk with Kris Godinez podcast. I’m your host Kris Godinez, licensed professional counselor. I help people get out of, and stay out of, toxic relationships. This podcast is for informational and educational purposes only the views and opinions stated herein are mine and mine alone. They do not represent the ACA, the APA or any other therapist for that matter.

I want to thank my sponsor betterhelp.com. They are an online therapy company. Whether you are in the US or internationally. They will set you up with a qualified licensed therapist. PhD level or Master’s level. If you are interested in more information, go to betterhelp.com/krisgodinez.

Okay, a little bit of housekeeping. So housekeeping, please don’t message me on my personal Facebook page. I will see it, I will read it, but I will not respond because then that gives you access to my whole private life, and I don’t want that so. So, if you want to message me, please message me on my LPC page. It’s Kris Godinez LPC public speaker, or you can message me on We Need To Talk With Kris Godinez page on Facebook. Or you can go to my KrisGodinez.com. And there’s a way to get a hold of me by email. So, you can do that. That would be great. I would appreciate that.

Let’s see any other announcements I can think of… Happy New Year guys! Happy New Year’s. So, diving into current events. And I think this is important. So, people have asked me to comment on the murders in Idaho. I will talk a little bit about that on Wednesday. They also asked me to comment on the recent family murders that have gone on in the country.

So, we had Dharmesh Patel drive over a cliff with his entire family, and they lived, thank God. So, with his wife and two kids, him in Northern California over a cliff; it was intentional. And they survived, which is a miracle seriously because that stretch of road is super dangerous and is known for accidents. They decided this was not an accident. So, they decided this was not an accident. It was intentional. He is being charged.

The other murder that we have was a murder-suicide. Michael Haight, an interesting name, killed his entire family. He killed his wife, her mother, and their children then, and then himself. Eight people he killed, and the wife had just filed for divorce. So, the moral of the story. And I posted something on Facebook recently about, you know, did your abuser use the car as a way to rage at you? Is that where they did their raging and their abuse? Abusers…. Okay. Gathering thoughts: Hold on. If there had been prior calls to the police, at least with the Haight case, prior calls to the police, domestic violence, that kind of thing. If there is any involvement or needed involvement of the place in a relationship, and you go to file for divorce, do not allow them to live with you! Do not allow them to have access to you.

You want to go absolutely no contact when you file; you’ve got to have a safety plan. You got to have a safety plan; you’ve got to have Where are you going to live? Have you filed a restraining order? You should know what your safety plan and I think a lot of targets of abuse make the fatal mistake of thinking that the abuser or that the person who’s they’re divorcing or whatever. And again, I’m not diagnosing anybody. I have not seen them personally. So, but based on what I’m reading in the newspapers, well, newspapers, wow, hello old, um, you know, CNN, that type of thing. Based on what I’ve been reading, it’s like, okay, this person filed for divorce, then the spouse flipped out, losing control. And what is the ultimate way that people that are abusive can get control? Is it to kill them. Did I mention that abusers want us dead? Did I mention that that is the ultimate form of “Look how powerful I am.” So, before you divorce an abuser, you have got to have a safety plan together, you have got to have a safety plan. Where are you going to live? How are you going to support yourself? You know, are you going to need a restraining order? In a lot of cases? Yes. You know, getting an attorney, all of that stuff, you’ve got to have your ducks in a row.

I don’t know what the particular circumstances were; I don’t know if this was an exchange of children. I don’t know if he just stormed his way into the house. I don’t know if they were still living together. But you’ve got to cut as much contact as possible with these people. In the second case, I suspect it’s something similar. And there, I just pulled up an article on this. If I can find it, I don’t have my glasses on. So, there we go.

Okay, according to studies done and compiled statistically, by USA Today, the Associated Press, and Northeastern University, on average, for the last two decades, family violence, mass shootings, or mass killings happens every three and a half weeks. So, for the last two decades, every three and a half weeks, a family is murdered. That’s unacceptable. That’s unacceptable. It’s not okay. It’s not it, you know, and then you factor in things like the Pettit case, you know, and other cases of domestic violence, you factor in other cases that are, you know, not marriages, but the relationships and the cause was either financial or relationship that pushes the abuser to finally do whatever they’re doing. And that is unacceptable. Three and a half weeks, every three and a half weeks, for 20 years, two decades. Three and a half weeks, there was a mass family killing based on domestic violence, financial relationships. Wow.

Mental health is not okay, here in the US of A, we need help people. So again, police were called. Did anything happen? Probably not, you know, there needs to be better training, there needs to be more public awareness. Seriously, share these videos, guys. Share these videos people need to understand when you’re under the thrall of an abuser. We tend to minimize. Oh, they would never do that. Oh, they wouldn’t. Because we would never do that. But you’ve got to understand you’re probably dealing with a dark triad, somebody who is psychopathic, somebody who would kill, and somebody who will kill themselves to not face the consequences. So, if your ex or soon-to-be ex has ever had the police called on them, has ever threatened you, has ever done anything physically to you, or made jokes about, you know, hiding your body in the desert or whatever. And yeah, they do that. You’re going to want to make sure that you do not have access. They don’t have access to you. And they may have limited access to the kids if you can prove that they’re, you know, cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs don’t underestimate them, I think is the big thing is because we minimize to try to comfort ourselves, you know, like, oh, it’s not that bad. Oh, no, no, they would never do it. Well, yeah, they would.

So, denial is deadly guys. Denial is deadly. Denial is deadly. And getting into a car with an abuser is deadly, too. I can’t tell you the number of times my dad played chicken with me and my sister in the car. And it was terrifying. And I think he would have been perfectly happy if we had been hit head-on. He would have because then he wouldn’t have died, quote-unquote, alone. So, they use the car as a means to terrorize. They use the car as a contained captive, literally, audience; they can rage as much as they want. And you are trapped in a car with this person driving like a maniac. You know what I’m saying? It’s terrifying. It’s terrifying. So, you know, if they’ve ever done that to you, ah, don’t ever get into the car with them again, ever. It’s not safe. It’s not safe. If they would do that, if they would, yeah, they’ll be happy to drive off a cliff, and I think my dad would have if he thought he could have gotten away with it; if he thought he could kill us all he would have because just any way, the point being is every three and a half weeks for 20 years, two decades.

Kris Godinez  09:47

We have had family mass killings based on domestic violence or financial issues which are still domestic violence. You know, or things like that. And that is unacceptable. absolutely unacceptable. So, there it is.

Now, this leads me into our topic for today, which is why you do not want to do couples counseling with an abuser. So, recently, I’ve had several people be like, but you know, they, they’re saying they want to go now. So, it’s to the point where, you know, the person is saying, that’s it. I’m out of here, I’m done. And now, the abuser is like, Oh, well, I’ll go to couples counseling with you.

Okay. If they were truly interested on saving the relationship, let us be clear here, they would have gone to couples counseling the first time you suggested it. Let’s just be clear. So, somebody who really wants to save the relationship is going to go yeah, you’re absolutely right, we’re not working this is we need some help. We don’t know how to communicate. Let’s you know, let’s go to couples counseling. That’s a completely different horse of a different color, if you were, if you will. So, um, Healthy People, when they recognize that there is a problem. They go to couples counseling, they learn the communication skills, they work on the issues, and the behavior changes in abusers. They won’t go, what they will say, myriad of things, but what they will say are things like it’s a waste of money, it’s too much money. We don’t need it. I don’t need it. You’re crazy. You need therapy; they do that. They also do the whole psychology is, you know, a load of bull. And I don’t believe in counseling, bla bla, bla bla, bla bla, right? So then, when the target of abuse finally gets to the point where they’re like, I’m done, I’m out of here.

Then the abuser suddenly goes, Oh, or I’ll go to therapy with you. Let’s do couples counseling. Okay, Danger, Will Robinson Danger, danger, danger, danger, danger, okay? Not a good idea why? Well, for one thing, the target of abuse, when they hear that they go, hallelujah, they’ve changed hallelujah, they get it? Oh, my God, they’re going to, they’re going to hear me finally. Nope, they’re not. What they’re going to do is they will go to couples counseling just long enough to hear all your complaints, all the things that they you know, this is this is ego wounding going on when you’re like, you don’t hear me you don’t…, because then of course, they’re never wrong. They’ve never done the wrong thing in their entire lives seriously.

So, they’re there, you know, gathering information, and then they will turn it around and spirit right back out at you. And it’s all your fault. Seriously. So, it’s dangerous to go to couples counseling because now they know your plans? Because they’ll be sneaky. They’ll say things like, well, you know, you were talking about leaving me. Well, what were you going to do? And then you, in your naivete, tell them everything. Well, I was going to go to Aunt Martha’s to stay, and the kids were going to blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, well, now they know exactly, well, how you are going to leave them exactly. And they will then take that information and make sure that you are never able to leave them. They will isolate you, they will financially bankrupt you, they will do whatever they need to make sure that you cannot enact your plan that you had for leaving. This is why it’s dangerous to go to couples counseling with an abuser.

So, then I have people go well, but you know, I want it fixed. And they’re saying they want to go okay, back it up, back, back it up, back it up. Okay. In the very beginning, when you said, Hey, I think we need help, and they gave their list of excuses that tells you everything you need to know. They’re not interested in changing. They are not going to change. It is not going to happen. Healthy couples, when they realize that there’s communication issues because, let’s face it, you’ve got two people coming from two different families of origin that need to kind of figure out how to communicate, and sometimes they need help, you know, especially for families of origin, we’re kind of, you know, not healthy. So, the healthy couple come together and go, Hey, we’ve got some stuff we need to work on. Let’s go to a counselor and figure out how to communicate, figure out how to have a healthy relationship. They do, and it changes, and they’re healthy, and they’re happy. And they love each other, and they’re respectful.

With an abuser, there’s no love. They don’t know what love is. They don’t, they don’t understand love and respect the way you and I understand love and respect. Its power and control. The 100% there is nothing but power and control going on with them. So, they’ll say that they’ll go, they’ll gather information to use against you, and it’ll start happening right after that session like, well, why did you say that? And how dare you tell the counselor that I blah, blah, blah, you know, I watch porn or whatever. Okay? So, they’ll start throwing stuff back at you that you said in session. And it’s dangerous because, like I said, they’ll start pumping for information. And that inner child inside of us wants so badly to be loved that we tell them everything that now they know exactly what we’re thinking where we’re at. And then they use it against us. They manipulate it against us so that we cannot leave. So, it is dangerous going. And the other thing that happens is they’ll go to couples counseling, they have a good counselor that, you know, is clued into kind of what’s going on the good counselor will go, Okay, nope, I want to see you both separately, and then we’ll have a little session together. They can’t stand that. They can’t stand that because they’re not hearing what the spouse is saying to the counselor, they can’t control it, because they try to control.

If you’ve ever sat in on a session where there was an abuser and a target of abuse, they will try to control the session. And it literally is like herding cats. And when they realize they cannot manipulate the counselor. That’s when they explode. That’s when they rage, that’s when they storm out, and they demand that the spouse go with them. I mean, it’s just it. There’s a reason I don’t do couples counseling anymore. And that is it. So yeah, they are just it’s, so they’ll storm out, or they’ll start saying that the counselor is incompetent, or they’ll start saying that the counselor is wrong, and they know more, and bla bla bla bla bla, if any of that occurs, you’re dealing with an abuser, they’re not going to change.

So that kind of then leads me into the second part of this. Well, so, and then the danger is, again, like I said, they will use that as the fuel to scream at you to abuse you to throw things at you physically, verbally, mentally, emotionally, etc. They’ll use it as a way to stop you from leaving. They’ll smear you like nobody’s business. They’ll, Yeah, it’s just not a good idea, guys. I’m sorry if they’re hitting you if they’re verbally abusing you. If they’re financially abusing you, do not go to couples counseling with them if they’re refusing couples counseling when you offer, okay, there, here’s your here’s your huge red flag. It’s starting to look like a communist party out here. Because it’s like there are so many red flags. You know what I’m saying?

So, they’re showing you who they are, they are healthy people when there is a problem. Let me put it to you this way. Okay. A healthy person when they break a bone, they don’t wait to go to the doctor. They go to the doctor and go, Hey, problem needs to get this fixed. Bone gets fixed. Done. Right. Okay. Abusers, what they do is that kind of magic thinking. It’s like, well, if I keep putting it off and putting it off, putting it off and putting off they’ll drop it. Okay. So no, I’m not going to go, No, it’s not going to happen. But then you know, the abuse keeps going and the person keeps going, No, we need help. And so, then they’ll finally go, but then they’ll either blow it up in the first session, which often happened, or they’ll go for a few times and declare the counselor incompetent, that they know more. And we don’t need that. We just need us. Oh, my God, how many times did I hear that? So yeah, they’re dangerous.

They’re not going to change. Guys, I cannot emphasize that enough. Abusers don’t change. Leopards do not change their spots. They don’t. They don’t change. They are incapable of it. And they do not want to change. There is no desire to change. Healthy, normal people. When something goes wrong. We get introspective and we go…. Fudge, how did I do that? How did you know what? Holy cow, let me fix this. I don’t like this behavior. I want to change it. Let’s make sure this doesn’t happen again. And then it doesn’t happen again. They go to counseling; they read books, they take care of themselves, they apologize to their partner, they make the whole thing. But people who are truly disordered do not.

They don’t think they’ve ever done the wrong thing in their life. And once you know you’ve pointed out they’re not perfect, the punishment is going to begin. So, they’re going to ramp up the abuse. They’re going to ramp up the nastiness. They’re going to ramp up all of this other stuff. This is why you cannot go to couples counseling. It’s not going to help; they’re not going to change, they’re not interested. They’re not they’re not so that’s why it’s dangerous because it makes the abuse a lot worse than it was, and now, they’ve got more ammo to use against you. So, the best bet you have is to go to an individual to get strong work on your self-esteem. Self-Esteem Workbook. Glen Shiraldi. CPTSD from Surviving to Thriving Pete Walker, The Disease to Please Harriet Breaker.

Kris Godinez  19:45

All of these books, all the things, all the books, you know, read the books, get help, get EMDR therapist work on the trauma. You know, it’s important because you get strong, you get healthy, you’re able to see clearly what’s going on and not think it’s you. Because that’s what a lot of us did it’s or do is that we go, oh my god, it’s me, it’s me, it’s me, and then you’re like, Well, no, it’s not. So um, yeah. So there that is.

Now we’re going to switch gears into how do you know you’re with a bad therapist? Okay. So okay, first of all, don’t go to couples counseling. If you’re with an abuser, period, exclamation point, don’t do it. Don’t do it, Frenchie. It won’t end well, it will not end well. So um, okay. So, all right. If you choose to go to couples counseling, a good therapist will ask questions ahead of time. I interview people before I take them on as clients. I don’t do couples counseling anymore. For the very reason of there were so many abusive couples, or abused couples coming in. And I was like, No, this is not what I want to be doing. Because you can’t, there’s no room. There’s, there’s no, there’s not there, you can’t work with them. And they’re not going to allow a partner to grow. So, you want your therapist to interview you.

Okay. So early on in mine and John’s marriage, we had communication issues, both of us came from families of origin that were not healthy. John and I are not abusive to each other John and I love each other; we want to be able to talk to each other in a way that both of us can hear. So, we went to couples counseling, and John went, as soon as I suggested it, it was like, Look, this is a problem. We’re not… this is not working. We need to fix this. So, we did, and we went, and it was great. And we, you know, read all the books, and we worked on it, we practiced, and you know, all of that stuff. So healthy couples do go to couples counseling to refine communication skills, or to fix communication skills, or to learn how to, especially if they were not taught in their family of origin.

Abusers go to couples counseling because they need to hear what the spouse is saying.

So, a healthy spouse will have no problem letting the couple’s counselor talk to the spouse separately, for the for the first session or two, you know, just to find out what’s going on, you know, and then vice versa, and then the other one comes in December, and then you do the two together so that there’s a full picture. Okay, a healthy spouse doesn’t have a problem with that. An abuser has a problem with that, because they want to know exactly what you’re saying. And I cannot tell you the number of times that I would insist on that. And then couples counseling totally stopped, they quit. So, you want your couple’s counselor, if you’re in a healthy relationship, to have the freedom to interview, you interview your spouse, and then the two of you come together. And if you’re healthy, there won’t be a problem with that, because you’re interested in fixing the problem. If your counselor is not well-versed in personality disorders, the abuser is going to run the session. Seriously. So, and that’s what I said, it’s like herding cats. So, you will try to start talking to the spouse, and suddenly they’re interrupting, or the spouse is saying something very deep and important, and they’re interrupting, or they’re bringing something up that was handled three sessions ago, you know, and trying to reignite that argument. And that’s another tactic they do. So, a good therapist will just shut that crap down as soon as possible. I mean, seriously, it’s like, Nope, we’re not doing that. This is what’s going on right now. You need to wait your turn. Of course, they don’t like being put in their place. And they don’t like having to wait their turn.

So, and they’re very, that’s another clue for, you know, student therapists out there. Interrupting, interrupting is a clear sign of a personality disorder. They interrupt like nobody’s business, especially if a topic is coming up. It’s genuine, it’s authentic, and it’s going to affect their ego. So, watch for interrupting. That’s a huge red flag. Bad counselors don’t control the session, okay? They allow whoever’s disorder to control the session. You don’t want that. And you want to stop the counseling. If it looks like you got with a therapist that doesn’t know what they’re doing. You want to stop the council. You don’t want to go to with couples counseling with an abuser anyway. A good therapist, when they do the interviewing, will ask point blank, are they verbally abusing you? Are you being yelled at? Are you being kept up at night? You know, all of the questions, right? Because you need to know what’s going on so that you can help this person either, you know, get away from them or seek their own therapy or whatever. So, anyway, where was I with that? So good therapists will do that. They’ll do the individual and then come together for the couples counseling. If there is any abuse going on, they will cut out the couples counseling completely. They’ll be like, No, you need your own therapist. You need your own therapist, you know, and that’s it.

And now as far as firing a therapist goes, so not every therapist is a good fit. Let’s just be clear. Everybody’s got different personalities, I am very outgoing, very to the point. You know, I don’t allow people to sit there and wallow in their story. I don’t. I’ll let them do it one, maybe two times. But then after that, it’s like, okay, you’ve told me this sad song 1000 times? What’s the plan? How is this helping you? You’re not getting better by telling me your sob story. So, let’s move forward. And here are the tools, you know. And a lot of times people don’t like that. So, they’ll be like, Oh, you’re mean, you’re this, you’re that? You know, I’m firing you. Okay.

What’s funny is a lot of times, they come back. Because probably counselors are probably the first people to hold them accountable. So, you know, it’s in people don’t understand counseling, either. A lot of people have this idea that counseling is a one-and-done, you know. I just need somebody to talk to. Okay, well, we’ll go. Let me explain what counseling is. And this is what I do when I’m interviewing my clients so that they understand and I ask them, What are you looking for? Oh, I just need somebody to talk to. Okay, well, maybe you need a warm line. Or maybe you need a life coach because what counseling is, is diving to the deep issues. It’s like what happened in your past that’s causing the behavior that’s going on now. And a lot of times, people don’t want that. They just want the quick, they want the easy, but it doesn’t happen that way. There is no easy button. So, good counselor let you know what you’re in for.

Okay. So, like, I tell people upfront, it’s like, you’re going to be doing homework, you’re going to be doing homework, and I’m going to expect it to be done. And if you don’t do it, I’m going to ask you what’s going on stopping you. And we’re going to analyze that, you know, and so it’s really, it’s about moving people forward, is what it is, if you’ve got a counselor that is not holding you accountable is not, not giving you the tools you need, not helping you practice with those tools, because half the session is spent practicing, it’s like, okay, so you know, help, you know, practice. Let’s practice with this. Let’s do the positive affirmations. Let’s work on this. Okay, you had a nightmare. So how did you handle it? Okay, well, what if you did this next time? You know, it’s, it’s doing that kind of thing. So, um, not every therapist is going to match everybody, okay? And don’t feel bad about hiring a therapist if you need to. So, you do want to give your therapist, you know, what’s going on? It’s like, well, I just don’t feel like I’m getting what I need from you and give them a chance. If you feel they’re somewhat good. Give them a chance to kind of okay, well, let’s, let’s do this. Instead, a good therapist generally will follow where the client needs to go. Does that make sense? So, it’s like the client will kind of lead the therapist so that the therapist can do the interventions that will help the client keep moving forward, okay.

But if you’ve got a bad therapist and you need to fire them, don’t be afraid to send them an email. If they’re a bad therapist, you don’t like them. They’ve Okay, here’s the signs of a bad therapist. They don’t ask you questions. They don’t tell you what the therapy process is like. They don’t ask you what you’re looking for or how you can help. They talk about themselves all the time. They interrupt you. They make you wrong. Then you feel worse, leaving the therapy than when you walked in. Those are all signs of a bad therapist.

Now, that is not to say that therapy is all going to be sunshine and roses and unicorn farts. It’s not. It’s hard work. But a therapist should be that, you know, Rock of Gibraltar, Guiding Light, I got your back, you’re doing a great job. Keep going. Yes, this is hard. Yes, this is not fun. And I want to validate that. And it will pass. So that when the client leaves even after a really heavy session, and a lot of sessions are heavy, because we’re dealing with abuse, and we’re dealing with inner child and we’re dealing with stuff that happened when we were itty bitty babies. And it’s a lot of stuff. You always want to end the session with hope. I just don’t understand therapists that send clients out into the world. Without doing that last 5/10 minutes of let’s review. Look at all the good things you’re doing. Look at how well you’ve come, look how far you’ve come, look at where you were when you started and look at where you are now. And this is just a minor little bump in the road. You know, you give them hope, you give them encouragement, you give them and that’s what it is. We are there to encourage to give courage to our clients because the courage has been taken away from them by these asshat abusers So yeah, so you want to always in the session, even when it’s hard when even when it’s a tough one, with encouragement and hope, and, you know, validation, because this is tough, and a lot of us didn’t get validation when we were kids, a lot of us didn’t get validations, obviously, when we were in the emotional abusive relationship, or the physically abusive relationship, so helping that client see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it is not a freight train is huge.

So, if you’ve got a therapist that is constantly sending you out, and you’re like, Oh, my God, find a different therapist, you need somebody who was uplifting, who can help you through the hard times, you know, be with you when you’re going through the tough stuff. So, like, how do I explain this? Sometimes my clients will tell a story, and I will find myself tearing up because I relate, you know, and so I’ll let them know, it’s like, that touches me, I totally hear you, I get it. You’re not alone. You know, and I don’t tell my story. I just validate them. Wow, I get it. You’re not alone. I feel you. And that is amazingly healing. For so many of us that have been told, You’re too sensitive. You’re crazy. You’re, you’re imagining things, it’s all in your head, blah, blah, blah, blah, to see where I’m going with that. So, you don’t tell your story. You just let them know that you relate. And that is huge. Letting somebody alone, is huge.

So, firing a therapist, simple, send him an email, dear, so and so I’m terribly sorry. But you know, this is just not the right fit. Thank you very much. I’ll be asking for my medical records. Sincerely, me, you know and be done with it. Make sure you cancel the appointment, etc, etc, etc. So, like I said, not every therapist is a good fit. Some people need a different modality. Some people need a different personality. Some people don’t know what therapy is. And when they get into it. They don’t want to dive that deep. And that’s okay. And when they’re ready. What I do when somebody does that, it doesn’t happen very often. But when it does, I will just send them an email back. Thank you so much for letting me know if you ever change your mind. You know where I am. Oh, done. Because I think a lot of clients think that when they fire somebody, that it’s the way that a disordered family does where it’s like, you know, done! Grrr. you know, and I’m always like, hey, the door’s always open, you know? Can you give me you know where I am. A lot of times they come back, so not always, but you know, so there is that.

So, you don’t owe the therapist anything right here. A lot of clients say, Oh, my God, I’m so afraid to fire them because I’ve been with them for years, and years and years and years and years. And there’s been no movement, and I just feel like I can’t, no, you can, you absolutely can’t if you are not getting what you need. Fire them. So, this is the time invested fallacy; okay, it’s that we do the same thing with relationships. Isn’t that interesting that we do that with therapists too. So if you’ve been with a therapist, and there’s no growth like you’re not growing, you’re not moving forward, you’re not learning new stuff, you’re not, you know, absorbing it or whatever, then you need to look at a different therapist, it’s not obviously what you need, you might need a different modality, you might need a different personality, you might need a different, I don’t know, you know what I’m saying. So don’t be afraid to fire them. And don’t fall for the time invested fallacy. It’s like if this person was an investment, which it is because you’re paying them money every two weeks or whatever. If you’re not getting what you need out of it, why are you continuing to throw money at that? No, you need to go to a therapist that is going to give you what you need. And then there’s the whole. Oh, I don’t want to hurt their feelings. Well, if they’re not disordered, their feelings are not going to be hurt. If they’re disordered, they’ll send you back a nasty email. I’ve seen that happen, too. So, in which case, I then encourage the client to file a complaint with the board. But you know, I mean, it’s so yeah, so there that is, so firing, your therapist is a must if you’re not getting what you need from them. It can be as simple as sending an email and or making sure to call and say, this is not working out, I need to cancel my appointment. Thank you very much. And you just leave it at that.

If the therapist says why you don’t need to answer them, you can say hey, I’ll send it to you in an email, and you could do that. And that way, there’s no back and forth. It’s just you know, this is not what I need. I don’t feel like I’m growing, etc. But thank you very much, and hopefully that’ll be it.

Sometimes clients want to fire the therapist because the therapist is getting too close to the real issue. So, you want to make sure that you’re firing them for the right reasons and not because you’re afraid. So that happens too you know, and that’s when you need to talk it out with your therapist. Boy, howdy, I’m terrified, and I want to run, and I wanted to fire you because you frightened me or you scared me when you said bla bla bla bla bla bla, which happens because we’re saying what’s never been said. We’re saying what the family of origin didn’t want heard. We’re saying what the abuser does not want known. And it can be frightening and scary. So, you know, and I think people need to know that about therapy. It’s not all sunshine and roses, a lot of it is a lot of hard, dirty work. But it’s so rewarding because then you’re free, you are free. Once you work on all of this stuff. You don’t have to have toxic people in your life. You don’t need to talk to your parents. If they’re abusive, you know what I’m saying? It’s freeing, frightening, but freeing. So anyway, I hope that helps. All right, let us dive into the questions. Here we go. Okay. And I need to make this big because I cannot see the words. Oh, there we go.

Okay, can a relationship come back from cheating with counseling? Well, it depends. So, here’s the deal. Narcissists are generally serial cheaters. So, they will cheat, cheat, cheat, cheat, cheat, cheat, cheat, they’re cheating all over the place. If they’re a narcissist, no, absolutely not. Does cheating happen in younger relationships? Sometimes it can, especially if the family of origin was not a good example. So, if the person is truly, here’s the key, truly remorseful, like, truly is getting their own therapy, seriously working hard on what heck made them go and cheat, if they’re working on that working on their own family of origin, working on their inner child, with a therapist that’s helping them understand the who, what, when, where, how, why, okay, and there’s a great book called after the affair. And it’s for both the person who has been cheated on and the person who did the cheating.

Now, this is not for personality, disordered cheating. So, two different things. So, there’s various reasons why people cheat. A lot of times what I heard when I was doing couples counseling, is that the needs were not being met. And the partners were not communicating. And so, one partner thought that that would be a great way to get their needs met, and make the other one jealous, which is not the way to handle a relationship. But again, how mature are we talking here? That’s kind of a young thing. That’s why I see that a lot. Or I saw that and a lot of younger couples, not so much the older ones. But the younger couples, because it was kind of like a tit for tat thing. You’re not getting me what I want. So, I’m going to do this, you know. So, maturity helps. Individual therapy for both parties helps after the affair is a great book for both parties. And if they’re not disordered, if they’re not disordered, if there are no other affairs, okay? If there’s nothing else going on. There’s no porn addiction. There’s no other narcissistic traits going on. Yeah, it can, it can get healed, absolutely 110%. But you’ve got to remember, breaking trust is like, it’s that Japanese art when pottery gets broken, and they repair the crack with gold. So, it’s repaired. But you can always see where the crack was. So, it takes time to rebuild trust. Now, here’s something to think about.

Kris Godinez  38:23

When you’re dealing with a narcissistic abuser or an addict. This goes both ways. They want immediate trust back immediately. They don’t want to earn it. They don’t want to work for it. You should just trust them. Why? Well, because I’m tired of not being trusted. Okay, you did this, this, this, this, and this. Or you used again, when you said you wouldn’t, um, and you expect him to trust you again. Oh, really? You’re going to have to show me I’m from the show me state, you know, so they want immediate trust. And that’s a huge red flag, a huge red flag because that says they’re not done with their addiction or they’re disordered one of the two or both. You can do both. So yeah, they want immediate trust back, and that’s not going to happen, and there is always going to you can always see that crack. You can always see where it happened. But with both parties working on themselves and working on the relationship and being open and honest and trust worthy, eventually, trust will come back, and you’ll be able to continue on the relationship. But it’s going to take open honest communication and not hide anything. Okay? Trust takes time to rebuild. And the only way to rebuild trust is to be open. Honest. No lies No. Obfuscation. I don’t even know if I said that. Right. But it’s like, everything needs to be seen through it cannot be, you know, oh, I’m guarding My phone, or I’m you know, whatever. Uh-huh. No, you’ve got to be open and honest. And you’ve got to show that you’re trustworthy in order to build back and earn that trust. And it takes time, guys; it takes time; it takes probably a year or more of solid, changed behavior and solid trustworthiness in order to have the partner trust you again. So that’s why affairs are so damaging. And that’s why it drives me crazy that people are unwilling to go to couples counseling when there’s first issues.

Like I said, if there’s first an issue, you don’t wait for that bone to, you know, to grow on its own; it’s going to grow in crooked. You know you want to go as soon as there’s a problem. You want to get it fixed. You don’t wait; you want to get it fixed. So, if somebody is waiting, okay, they’re, they’re an abuser, probably. And if somebody is avoiding counseling, that’s a red flag as well because they obviously don’t want to look at themselves. So, but yeah, with an affair, yes, it can be rebuilt, but it’s going to take a long time to regain that trust. And you can always see where the crack was. That’s always going to be there. It’s not going to be like, Oh, we’ve done couples counseling, suddenly, everything’s sunshine, roses, and unicorns. You know, it’s going to be building the trust. So, there it is, after the affair, I don’t know who wrote it, but it’s on Amazon. Great book, highly recommend it. So there that is, okay.

Um, is avoidance a form of abuse, not taking accountability, not acknowledging behavior, not seeing codependency tendencies, etc? That is abuse that absolutely that’s, that’s what abusers do. They don’t take accountability. They’re not responsible for a damn thing they’ve ever done in their entire life. They don’t change their behavior because they don’t see anything wrong with it. So, a healthy normal person is introspective. You know, when things go wrong, what is the first thing most of us do? We go, Oh, fudge, what did I do? Oh, how can I fix this? What? Where did this happen? How can I make it right? What’s the amends I need to make? I need to change this in myself. And then the behavior changes, and we work on ourselves, and we make sure it doesn’t happen again. And when an apology is given, it is a true apology. It is I hurt you. I am ashamed that I hurt you. I am mortified. What do you need, so that I can make amends to you so that you know, you’re okay. And I’m okay. And I want to make sure this never happens again, and we go get therapy and make sure it never happens again, or we get introspective and make sure it never happens again. So, it’s really it all of that’s not avoidance. That’s those are the signs and symptoms of somebody who’s an abuser. Not taking accountability. Let me read that list. Again, not taking accountability, not acknowledging their behavior, and not seeing the tendencies. Absolutely, that’s classic abuser behavior. It is because Healthy People take responsibility, personal responsibility. It’s like when stuff goes sideways. You don’t point your finger out and go, Oh, it’s you. It’s you. It’s you. That’s what an abuser does. A healthy person goes yo, my bad Clean up on aisle five. I need the bucket. Can somebody give me the mop? Thank you. And you clean it up, even if it’s mortifying. Even if it’s awful, even if it’s, you know, and there’s been times I have stuck my foot in my mouth, Oh, dear God, and I will clean it up. I will own it. I am so sorry. I hurt you. You know, what do you need? How can I make amends? And then I make sure that behavior never happens again. But an abuser, they will pretend that they never heard anybody, or they’ll slough it off. Oh, wasn’t that bad? Oh, I Oh, it was a joke. No, it wasn’t things said and just by those guys are meant. So yeah. So that’s kind of what you want to look for. That’s I mean, those are all behaviors that are not healthy. Not normal. Okay. All right. Yeah. Because a healthy normal person. If somebody says, Well, I’m seeing this behavior, instead of either taking it into heart to the point where you’re paralyzed or denying it, you will go you’ll question it. You’ll question is like, do I do this? Oh, yes. In this instance, I did. Interesting. And you work on it, but an abuser either gets super defensive, or they ignore it, or they blame you, or whatever. So yeah, okay.

Does a narc stay married to someone they hate and then go to a therapist themselves in order to have the therapist side with them that the spouse is the bad one so that they feel superior? Yeah, they can. So, narcissists are known abusers are known for therapist shopping. So, they’ll usually pick a therapist that is fresh out of school and has zero experience. You know, I don’t really know any disorders. So, when I was going through school, they didn’t teach personality disorders. I had to get training on that on my own after I got my degree because they did not touch that with a 25-foot pole. And they should have been. That’s a disservice. So, yeah, they will seek out therapists that are brand new to the field and don’t have a lot of experience that maybe you’re not specializing in, disorders and things like that, you know, personality disorders, helping survivors, etc. And yeah, they will, they will absolutely, and you got to remember too, guys, and I’ve seen this over and over professionals like mine, so helping professions, police, lawyers, judges, psychiatry, they attract narcissists. So, there are a lot of narcissists in my profession. And that’s kind of what you want to avoid when you’re looking for a therapist.

So, if a person reminds you of your narcissistic abuser or fires them? Absolutely. There’s a lot of narcissists in this profession. And there are a lot of therapists that don’t understand personality disorders. There’s a lot of therapists out there that don’t understand what abuse does to a target. So, you want to make sure you get somebody who knows what the heck they’re doing. If your spouse suddenly goes to one of these therapists, and they start going, well, you’re this, and you’re that and you, you, you and my therapist said, Oh, my God, in my book, so you want to be a therapist, I talked about that. So, abusers will either pretend to go to a therapist and not really go to a therapist, or they’ll find a bad therapist. And then they’ll come back to the spouse and say, Well, my therapist said that your therapist was filling in the blank because the therapist is probably getting that person strong enough to get out. And a lot of times, it turns out, the abuser wasn’t even going to a therapist. They’re just making this stuff up. So, and especially if somebody is using a lot of psychobabble, that they’re not a counselor, that is a clear sign that they’re disordered because healthy normal people don’t do psychobabble, thank you, or word salad or any of that other stuff. So yeah, they do that. They absolutely do. And they look for a therapist that’s green. They look for somebody that does not know what they’re doing. And you cannot trust that what they’re saying the therapist said is something that the therapist actually said because nine times out of, 10 It’s not so, and at that point, you need to leave, you need to get out to save yourself. As sometimes I have people go well, I need to go see that therapist so I can set the record straight. It doesn’t matter, guys doesn’t matter. Nine times out of 10 that therapist never even said what the abuser said they said so no, don’t do that. So yes, abusers do do that. Absolutely. 100%.

Okay, where can someone go if they need to tell their story and experience not being gaslighted about it?

Kris Godinez  48:01

As many times as needed until they can feel that there’s no need to be ashamed. Okay, so here’s the thing. There’s a difference between being gaslit. And then there’s a difference between wallowing in the story. Okay. So, when you’re in therapy, the purpose of therapy is to move forward. If you’re coming into therapy, and you’re telling the same exact story every single time, and not doing any of the work and not moving yourself forward, then that’s not therapy. Okay.

So, telling your story is hugely important. But along with telling your story, there must be movement forward. If there’s not, then it’s wallowing. It is. So, if you’re going and telling your story, and you’re not listening to the interventions, and you’re not taking the advice, and you’re not working the books, and you’re not moving yourself forward, so that you can understand that story. Or if your therapist is not, hey, let’s pick this story apart. Let’s talk about this particular part of it. That is telling your story and validating it, just telling the story. And being angry, which happens with clients, especially if they come from a family where nobody knew how to talk. Nobody knew how to communicate; nobody knew how to validate. Nobody knew how to move people forward, they will get stuck in their story, and they will wallow in it. And they will use that as the excuse to stay stuck. Or they’ll use that as an excuse to use substances. So, it really depends on what is going on. There’s nothing wrong with telling your story once or twice in therapy and then analyzing it. Tell me about this part. When and How old were you when this happened? What were you thinking? Are you feeling how retelling your story is helping you or is it hurting you? That’s what you want to start analyzing. Does that make sense? So, it’s not gaslighting to stop somebody from telling your story if it now is hurting them. Does that make sense? Gaslighting is when you tell somebody, oh no, that didn’t happen to you. That’s gaslighting because you’re saying that this event that happened to you didn’t happen. That’s gaslighting. Okay.

In therapy, it’s like, okay, this happened to you and get it. I totally get it. And now what? How are we going to move forward from this? Because that happened over here. You’re here. You want to be over there. So how are we going to get from here to here? Does that make sense? So, you don’t want to get stuck in that story. What happened to us is important. 110% Absolutely. But you do not want to unpack your bags and live there. And a lot of times, clients when they’ve come from exceptionally abusive households where the abuse happened when they were Itty Biddy, I’m talking, I’m talking itty bitty, they have a very difficult time moving out of that into the present and moving forward. And that’s what you want to help them with. So, it’s fine to tell your story. As long as you don’t unpack your bags there. Does that make sense? And there’s a difference. You can tell the difference. When somebody is unpacking their bags there. It’s the same story every single time. And there’s no movement, okay? If it’s the same story, but you’re working on it, and there’s movement, that’s healthy. Does that make sense? So that’s how you tell the difference.

And gaslighting is when you deny what happened. Gaslighting is when you go. No, you didn’t. That didn’t happen. Bla bla bla Nananana. No, that’s not what’s happening there. It was like, Yes, this happened. And now what? How are we going to get you going to where you want to be? Here’s this goal you have over here, and it’s wonderful. I love this goal. This is great. So how is what happened back here keeping you in the present from reaching that goal? What do we need to tear apart with that? And really work on it and really work through it. So there that okay, um, okay.

Do narc parents pit children against each other? Oh, good. God. Yes. And pit children against the parent. Oh, I’m sorry. Do narc parents pit the children against the other parent? Yes. Parental alienation and also the children against each other? Yes, they absolutely do. It seems narcs thrive on creating chaos and drama. 110%, you are not mistaken. So, narcissists have this crazy thought that it’s got to be an I win, you lose situation. There are no amicable divorces. There is no amicable custody in an abusive relationship ever once. Let’s be very clear; amicable divorces do happen? Honest to God. It’s like; sometimes people just grow apart. And they’re kind of like, you know, I love you. But this is not working for either one of us, you know, and it’s not healthy for the kids. And so, they separate, and they generally don’t need a court to do it because they’re healthy, okay?

The ones who end up in court are the ones where the abuser is fighting, or every last toothpick, and every last fork and the toaster and the dog and everything else. So, abusers have this; I must win at all costs. And I do mean all costs. They don’t care who they have got a scorched earth policy, mutually assured destruction. They don’t care, just like those two that killed their entire families. And then you know, the one that drove the family over the cliff. Didn’t care, didn’t care, didn’t care. So yes, they need drama and chaos, the way that Healthy People need oxygen seriously. And it’s an amusement for them. So, it’s amusing to them to turn the kids against the healthy parent. Which is why if you’re divorcing one of these Jack wagons, you need to get the kids into therapy as soon as possible. Trauma therapy. And what you’re going to say is it’s the trauma from the divorce. You don’t need to say I’m getting you into a therapist because you’re crazy. Divorce is traumatic. The kids need therapy, and you get them into a trauma therapist, and then the trauma therapist starts working on the relationships.

Isn’t that interesting? So that’s what you want to do. You want to make sure that they’re in with a trauma therapist, for sure. As soon as the divorce is even thought of, make sure in the divorce decree the kids get to go to therapy absolutely needs to be in there. Because otherwise the abuser will stop it. They don’t want the kids to go to therapy. They don’t want a second set of eyes on anything. So yeah, you want to make sure to do that. So, they turn the kids against the other parent, parental alienation. And how do I explain this? It’s a game. So, if they can get the kid to turn against you, it’s a win for them, and they enjoy the suffering that they see you going through as you do somersaults to try to win that kids love back. Okay. Which is why you need to have them in therapy point blank to stop that right here right now. And the other thing that drives me crazy is here in Arizona. There’s this reunification thing. So, unless there’s been physical abuse, like real physical abuse, they insist that the abuser have access to the kids. That’s unacceptable. It’s stupid, and it’s unacceptable. Don’t get me started anyway. So, they are reveling. They revel in turning the kids against you because they know it’s going to hurt you. Because those kids were your life. And so, they do that. And then the other thing they do, and this happened in my family, kids were turned against each other. Why is it entertainment for them. That’s why they are the golden child and the black sheep. And those two are always pitted against each other.

And so, there’s always this nastiness going on. And they live for that which is delicious to them. That is their cocaine that they love that. And they thrive on that. So yes, they absolutely do that. That’s another reason why you want to get the kids into a trauma therapist as soon as possible so that the kids are united and not being torn apart by the abuser, and the abuser will do that. They’ll pick one kid to be their ally, and they’ll pick the other kid to be the scapegoat. And oh, my god, the damage is insane. And so, it’s all intentional; they must win at all costs. And I do mean all costs; they don’t care what happens to the kids. They certainly want you to suffer. So, you want to get the kids into a trauma therapist as soon as possible! As soon as possible and make sure it is in your paperwork. Okay.

Um, when I’m interviewing therapists, they can be invalidating and almost re-traumatizing how to deal with that afterwards. Okay. So, first of all, if you realize if you feel invalidated or if you feel re-traumatized, that is not the therapist for you. So how do you help yourself afterwards? Kind of again, it’s that. Is it them? Is it you, okay? If you’re feeling invalidated, that’s your perception. Those are your emotions. So, it’s kind of like, okay, that therapist was not the right one; I do feel invalidated. So, write it out, write it out, dear bad therapist, I feel invalidated, and then burn it, you know, until you can find a good therapist. And then that would be something to talk about with your good therapist. It’s like, wow, I went to this person and was interviewing them, and I felt completely invalidated. And the only thing I can tell you is that, again, there are therapists out there that don’t understand abuse, that have never been abused themselves, that have never studied it. They don’t understand what’s the word I’m looking for… insidious.

Kris Godinez  58:03

The erosion of self-esteem is, how critical it is for validation and how healing it is to be like, you’re not alone. Yeah, I hear. Yeah, yeah. Okay, we can work on this year; we’ll go with that. So, write it out. It’s not you; it’s them. And you have a right to your emotions, you have a right to your emotions, and keep interviewing therapists. Now, one of the best ways to get a good therapist is to talk to friends, talk in the support groups, who have you gone to, who did you like, you know, who was a good therapist in your area, that kind of thing. That’s a great way to read reviews, you know, and find one that fits your personality and fits what you need; you know, you have a right to find somebody that’s going to help you heal. So, if you’re feeling invalidated after interviewing one write it out, you know, this person was not the right fit, they validated me, this is what they said, This is how I felt, this is what it reminded me of. Boy howdy, I don’t want that again, and then burn it. Let it go. Validate yourself, do the mirror work. Hi, good to see you. Have a great day. You know what? Not everybody is going to be a good fit. And I have the right to feel the way I am feeling, and I will continue to interview therapists until I find the right one, and it’s okay. And I am a good person. And I like myself and then walk out. Seriously. We have to be our own cheerleader. Sometimes guys, we have to be our own cheerleader, especially in the beginning. And especially when we’re trying to get the healing going. So be your own cheerleader. Be your cheerleader. Be gentle with you the polar opposite of how family of origin or how the abuser behaved, gentle, kind, loving, soothing, engaged present. That’s what you need right now. So, give out to yourself, give that gift of you to you. That’s really what that’s all about. And that’s what you’re going to do whenever you feel invalidated when you’re interviewing until you can get to a good therapist, and then that is a perfect topic to bring up with a good therapist. It’s like, wow, while I was trying to find you, I went through this, and I went through this, and this is what I was thinking, and this is what I was feeling. That’s how old I felt. And this is how icky I felt. And let’s work on that. Yep, I think that’s great. And that’s going to give your new therapist. Wow, lots of stuff to help you. Do you see where I’m going? And lots of tools to help you through all of that.

We are very. What’s the word I’m looking for? We take things very personally. We do when we’re coming out of a family of origin or when we’re coming out of an abusive relationship. We take things intensely personal, and how often did we hear You’re too sensitive? You’re You’re crazy. You’re you, you, you, you, you you guns. So, I just want to validate that we are very, it’s like raw, it’s like a raw nerve. So, when somebody invalidates us, it is like a raw nerve. So just gentle, gentle, gentle with you, and it’s a great topic to bring up with a therapist you finally do land on, so yeah, that that rawness, you know, so while you’re healing, you want to start re-parenting yourself. That’s why the mirror work is so important. So gentle with you. Okay. All right, guys, we are out of time. You guys have a great week, sweethearts. Be gentle with you. Please, please, please be gentle with you. I want 2023 to be the year if you truly re-parent yourself, be gentle with yourself, and give positive affirmations. I love that Inner Child. Work on Self-Esteem Workbook by Glenn Schiraldi got this all right. Have a great week, guys. Bye.

Thank you so much for listening to this podcast. You can always listen live on YouTube every week Sunday at noon, Arizona Mountain Standard Time. And if you want to find out more or listen to other episodes, you can go to Krisgodinez.com and if you have a chance, subscribe to this show on whatever podcast app you use and let other people know about it. I want to thank my sponsor betterhelp.com. They are an online therapy company. Whether you are in the U.S. or internationally, they will set you up with a qualified licensed therapist. PhD level or Master’s level. If you are interested in more information, go to betterhelp.com/krisgodinez.

You’ve been listening to the podcast version of We Need To Talk with Kris Godinez.

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