The Simpsons arrived late to their marriage counseling session at the
Counseling Center of Catholic Charities of Central Florida, a United Way
partner. Both spouses were clearly angry with each other and argued
maliciously from the start. The wife blamed their problems on her
husband's drinking and he deflected by talking about her father’s
drinking and her position in that family. “She is just so insecure, her
father is a drinker and she puts that on me,” said Mr. Simpson.
Their ten month-old daughter, Crystal, soon became reactive to the tension and began to cry. This seemed to signal louder accusations and faultfinding. The fights were well rehearsed and each knew the next leap to attack and the proper defense that led to the next attack. How would it ever change? Each spouse seemed to harbor resentment from the past and fear for the future. She hates his sister and he cannot tolerate her mother. They both want out but each has tender feelings for the baby. Is there hope for them?
This Lakeland family participated in five sessions focused on reconnecting them to each other and to their shared responsibilities. When last counseled, they admitted that things seem to have turned around. They are talking more easily and finding real reasons to praise, congratulate, and appreciate each other. They recognize their strengths as a team and have experienced what can be accomplished when they support and encourage each other.
Neither spouse wants to do harm to Crystal. They don’t want to expose her to anger or teach her to hurt and berate the people that you love. Mr. Simpson says, “I know it hurts my daughter when I fight with her mother. I would never tolerate anyone else doing that, so how can I let myself?”
Mrs. Simpson explains, “We both need each other to raise her. Our families would be devastated if we part. We have to stop dragging them in when things are bad. We call them now just to say hello. They were suspicious at first. Now they like it.”
Mr. Simpson is asking to discuss his use of substances and possible treatment strategies. He is crafting an apology that he feels he owes her mother and hopes that his wife will consider clearing the air with his sister. They can talk about forgiveness and are loving and emotional about sharing a future together.
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