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What to do When Your Spouse Refuses Counseling

What to do When Your Spouse Refuses Counseling

People who have experienced trauma, including emotional abuse, often feel powerless to get themselves out of their situation and cannot see a way out. They become reliant on thinking that the only way out is for their spouse to change. Sharmen talks about how to see outside the box, what some of your options are for moving forward in your own healing and what to do when your spouse refuses counseling.

What to Do When Your Spouse Refuses Counseling

When facing a troubled relationship, many individuals often seek counseling as a potential solution to mend the cracks and heal the emotional wounds. However, what happens when your spouse refuses counseling? In such challenging circumstances, it’s crucial to explore alternatives and take control of your own healing journey. This article will delve into the intricacies of this situation, offering guidance on how to navigate it effectively.

The Impact of Trauma and Brokenness

One of the primary factors that can lead to a sense of helplessness and a lack of autonomy in relationships is the presence of trauma and brokenness. People often rely on external factors, such as their partner or established rules, to maintain a sense of safety and control. This reliance on external sources can lead to feeling trapped and unable to make independent decisions.

The Effects of Emotionally Abusive Relationships

In emotionally abusive relationships, one partner typically exerts control and power over the other. This dynamic leaves the victim feeling compelled to comply with the abuser’s wishes to maintain their safety. As a result, they become overly reliant on their partner to provide security, while simultaneously surrendering their ability to make choices for themselves.

The Challenge for Women

Historically, women, in particular, have often been conditioned to be submissive in relationships. This cultural and societal expectation has reinforced the idea that men are the ultimate decision-makers in a partnership, leaving women feeling incapable of considering alternatives or making choices outside the prescribed boundaries.

Fixating on the Spouse’s Change

When individuals in such relationships seek counseling, they frequently focus solely on what their spouse needs to change to fix the relationship. This fixation on the partner’s transformation can hinder their own healing process. Instead of looking inward and finding healing for themselves, they stake their emotional well-being on the changes they expect from their spouse.

Taking Charge of Your Healing

A crucial step in overcoming this predicament is realizing that you are in charge of your own healing. Your heart can heal independently of your partner’s actions. Moreover, your identity and self-worth should not be solely defined by your relationship; you are an individual capable of growth and healing.

Are You Looking for a Miracle or Change?

It’s essential to discern whether you are seeking a miraculous, instant transformation in your relationship or genuine, lasting change. True healing occurs as you navigate the journey of life and relationships, making continuous efforts to evolve and improve.

You Have a Right and a Responsibility to Choose Your Own Steps

In every situation, you retain the right and the responsibility to choose your actions. Your identity and worth are not determined by external circumstances or relationships. It’s crucial to establish clear boundaries that allow you to remain true to your character while dealing with challenging situations.

So What Are Your Options?

Consider the choices available to you. Utilize healthy boundaries to engage in situations that align with your values and character. You don’t have to force change in others; instead, focus on how you show up in the world and in your relationships.


When your spouse refuses counseling, it’s a challenging situation that may leave you feeling stuck and helpless. However, remember that you hold the power to make choices and find healing, regardless of your partner’s actions.

Embrace your individuality, set boundaries, and prioritize your growth and well-being. By taking charge of your own healing and focusing on your journey, you can create a more meaningful and authentic path forward, whether within your current relationship or on a new path to personal fulfillment.

To learn how we can help, reach out to us at (206) 219-0145 or info@marriagerecoverycenter.com to speak with a Client Care Specialist

Also read: How to Respond to a Narcissist Label

About Dr. Hawkins:

The internet is inundated with hyperbole and misinformation about narcissism, leaving many people confused and hopeless. Get the facts on narcissism and emotional abuse from someone who has been researching, writing about and treating narcissism and emotional abuse for over a decade.

Dr. Hawkins is a best-selling author and clinical psychologist with over three decades of experience helping people break unhealthy patterns and build healthier relationships.

He is the founder and director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute which offers education, training and counseling for people who want to break free of, and heal from, emotional abuse. Whether the perpetrator of the abuse is your spouse, partner, parent, boss, friend or family member, we offer practical advice for anyone trapped in a toxic, destructive relationship.

In addition to narcissism & emotional abuse, you’ll learn about the lesser known forms of abuse, including covert abuse, reactive abuse, spiritual abuse, secondary abuse, relationship trauma and much more.


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