“Counseling………..do I need counseling? I really think this is a waste of time. What will he tell me about me that I don’t already know?”
These were my thoughts after scheduling my first counseling session. I had seen a counselor before. He really only had what I told him to go on and I only went to humor my wife to keep our marriage together. I was able to manipulate him easily. I didn’t think this would be any different.
My wife’s counselor suggested that my wife make it a requirement of continuing in the marriage that I see a counselor. Not just any counselor. One that worked directly with her in the counseling practice. Someone that I actually knew. He was a nice guy. I had heard him tell his story before to others at the church I used to attend. He had a history in this kind of thing, you know, in admitting to being unfaithful like I am. He shouldn’t be much different than my previous counselor.
By agreeing to see him, I figured this would make me look good. I set up the appointment. On the day of the appointment, I went in his office looking sufficiently contrite and ashamed. He asked me to tell my story, why I was there in my own words. So I did. I told him my story, as much as I was willing to tell. I told him everything that my wife knew and was feeling great about myself. If this was counseling, I had this covered.
When I finished, he just looked at me. And waited. For a long time. An uncomfortably long time. Then he said, “Thank you for telling me that. But there is more, isn’t there?”
So, here I was at a decision point, a crossroads. This was not what I expected, but I had an opportunity. This was a chance for me to unburden and release the junk in my life that I have never let go of before. I was scared and nervous and actually very much wanting to withdraw and isolate. However, I saw sitting across from me someone who had been where I was and didn’t seem to be judging me based upon what he could already see.
So I unburdened. For the first time in my life, I was honest. I started as far back as I could remember and let go of all the things that have weighted me down into despair and shame. I didn’t realize how much shame I had deep in my life. I guess I have been denying the impact that my years of acting out have had on my psyche and especially on my self-worth.
I cried. I don’t know why whether it was from the shame of verbalizing my actions, the relief from unburdening them, or the terror of having just let another person see who and what I was. What surprised me the most was that I didn’t die. The world didn’t end. Lightning didn’t strike me. I just knew one thing for sure, I couldn’t go back to what I was, being hidden. The only question for me now was……..now what??