9 things you should NEVER do in couples therapy

9 things you should NEVER do in couples therapy




  1. I have a question — if we cannot discuss our NPD and BPD respectively, in couple’s counseling, how do we go about finding a counselor with the credentials to deal with this?

  2. Went to Christian based therapy with my husband. Not sure if he is full blown narcissist but definitely there are a few traits. I was trying to bring up that he doesn’t support my work despite me having a solid job for many many years(I am an RN). Somehow it all turned into “perhaps, you should reduce your work hours”, or “show your husband your appreciation of his work”. Most my concerns weren’t addressed and I felt unheard and defeated in therapy. Never again…

  3. He can black my eyes but convince everyone that it was my fault. Even the therapist. Therapist reminded him kindly not to go that far. Sounds like what I tell myself each time he comes home to a smile yet needs a reason to stay gone overnight. He only went 3 times to therapy

  4. Thank you Dr Ramani! I am waiting for a call right now, (late 5 minutes), from a therapist I contacted. I specifically looked for a therapist who has experience with personality disorder (Narcs). Doesn’t look good that she is late calling me…

  5. Thank you for explaining exactly why all my instincts told me to NOT try therapy with my ex husband. It was only me asking for therapy over many years, to which he said things like “If you are an unhappy person, you need to go take care of that.” Also “I won’t go because I’m smarter than them.” Not kidding. He said that out loud. After I discovered decades of betrayals on many levels and many areas—financial, sexual, etc—and finally said I’m done, he hung onto therapy (while doing ALL the regular narcissistic stuff) and said I won’t even work on our marriage. Holy moly. He taught me very well how he would be. He’d try doing the pity, victim, triangulation him show, and if that didn’t work, he’d walk out mentally and very probably physically. He runs when anything doesn’t go his way. EVERY TIME.

  6. I just ended 5 weeks of couples therapy w ex and I will tell you, the hell that unfolded before my eyes almost landed me in the hospital for suicidal ideation.

  7. Realistic to people who don’t go to college is to trust those who do but we can’t even trust their over paid self

  8. When do we set up clinics with teams of therapists for these issues? Just like we do for addicts etc. ?

  9. Perhaps, if therapist called out a narcissist, they would not have many clients as the narcissist would probably never return? As I understand, therapy is not for the narcissist, but for the survivors .

  10. They may have an ego issue because they paid a book. You actually live it.! DO NOT LET THEM DEVALUE THAT.

  11. Something that bothers me is that when you’re married the couples therapist pushes for "fixing" the marriage instead of looking for the truth of the relationship dynamic. This is very dangerous and keeps people stuck and committed to a partner who is killing them slowly from the inside out. 😔

  12. When you can’t even be comfortable in therapy. Don’t go. Fuck that. Don’t pay another fake abuser.

  13. When your therapist is also snowed by his charm., don’t ever say I’ve studied and whats more lived though it so… . They will get offended and screw you. Narcs.

  14. Did couples therapy. The therapist said she didn’t know if she wanted to start with us as a couple or him alone because he was depressed. Fast forward, his Narc rage caused him to smother me with a pillow and choke me and when I shared this with the therapist she apologised and said she should have seen what he was and handled our session better. She didn’t call him a narcissist, but not knowing he was, she never realized just calling out his depression was enough to help send him over the edge into a shame/rage cycle.

  15. My partner agreed to couples therapy once, we went two or three times and then we heard our therapist was being transfered elsewhere and at that point my partner said that it’s no use to continue. He’s always said that it’s no point going, there’s nothing they can do. But he’s always said it’s fine if I go. But in general he feels that therapy is nonsence.
    No need to say that our therapy didn’t go so well, I guess I tried about everything you listed not to do…

  16. Our counselor told me on the second session after cheating that I should stop holding on to things and just turn the page. And not make things bigger than they are. And that I need to work on my overthinking… I felt so invalidated, especially when my ex was justifying his cheating by blaming me 😓

  17. Never let the Narc talk the couples therapist in to seeing you separately and alone for separate issues you have or wish to work on. This is completely conflict of interest and if you do go to your own therapist it should be outside of couples therapy!! This will even embolden the Narc to continue to persist and amplify they’re abusing techniques. They won’t even future fake they’re issues and will believe that your the problem as usual ! Don’t expect the theripist to validate you as the victim of such abuse either . Especially if they themselves don’t know how to manage a difficult personality’s or understand when they’re being Manipulated themselves! What really happens is the therapist will further invalidate you and embolden the Narc!
    Good Luck to you all! I feel so deeply and I commiserate with whoever is in this situation now. I’ve been living 4 years of custody court however I do believe now that there is Freedom finally on the horizon.!!

  18. Yep, gaslighted by two couples counselors, and they actually became part of our trauma bond. It was a nightmare. They just did not see it. Ex was a covert histrionic, in my view. I finally stumbled upon the term "covert narcissism" while doing an internet search of "Can narcissism present as covert". I wound up schooling the counselor on it, lol. She and many other therapists are unaware of what a trauma bond is. I finally found an abuse recovery coach who made sense of Every. Single. Thing I’d been experiencing. I’ve been so amazed by how little information is out there about covert narcissism that I’m now studying to become an abuse recovery coach myself. We need to get the word out, as a society. Big Kudos to Dr. Ramani for helping educate other mental health professionals on this issue! It seems like narcissism is an epidemic these days; certainly interpersonal abuse is. The pandemic saw a horrific spike in domestic violence. I only saw one article mentioning that over the last year. Clearly more light needs to be shed on the subject.

  19. We tried to go to couples therapy and it was a disaster and short lived. Yes he gaslighted and it was a waste of time. They didn’t know anything, they were idiots, or weren’t they great because they liked him. I was even more horrified. He was a Gemini and truly had 2 faces.

  20. My sister is a gas lighter. she has abused me ruthlessly my entire life, proving most likely it is vax injury and she was flipped into the 1900 hz class on entry… that is has nasty magnetics installed that twist her shit, but after high school, she took a one pointed focus to try to convince people i was insane. she seemed to get some stark hostility towards me after high school when she claims I neglected her by going to college .She was so mean to me privately, but in public, she simply hammered this wide narrative that helped her avoid her demons and grossly miscatagorized them. I fought it and tried to step out in my family for years, but she refused to have it and drastically alienated me, claiming outright, that not only was I sick, but that meant I needed to be rejected… tough love until I gave up my alternative practices. It was classic cognitive dissonance. I had to come home a few years ago, hoping I’d done well and had some successes, she ramped up big time and came at me hard, faking me being suicidal and the begging for family therapy for years, then when we got there, she tried to admit me. It was too scary and I chose to live in broken hearted isolation for three years now than risk any more damage to my health or inner circle. She is neurotic at playing for crowds. This suits her fine, she just holds down the narrative that I am nuts and alone, and that she never did a thing to exaggerate or damage the precious realities of my key relationships.
    ya, when the therapist discounts helpful descriptive words its malpractice.

  21. My narcissistic husband who had been physically abusive and had major anger issues, would intentionally try to make me angry in therapy. The therapist would then ask if I was getting angry at him for just stating his feelings. He would later laugh about it. The therapist totally missed it.

  22. Ad 7: I was brought up with the saying: ”Det är inte ens fel när två träter” implying that in a conflict, both parties are equally complicit. Some resentment from the hurt it brought to my childhood still lingers.
    ”It takes two to tango” conveys another angle, but doesn’t help deciding who should lead, and who’s to follow. Both sayings can be used to dismiss one party to be the ”difficult” person. None of them is really helpful in handling conflicts as the are focused on individuals having different goals, not the common goal of handling( at best solving) the conflict.

  23. When a human tell you why would they ever be with someone who loves their selfs take heed and get away from them.

  24. yes, helpful that it is impossible to continue even with the therapist unaware or in denial of narcissism.

  25. Thank you for the insight. My husband likes to play the victim in therapy and make the whole thing about how his needs are not being met. Then when I point out what my needs are he just turns it back around on me and how it’s all my fault. It’s kind of pointless to even go because he will never admit he is doing anything wrong in the relationship.

  26. Thank you, we’ve just started a session. The Dr. who I really want specializes in this recommends individual therapy prior to couples & I don’t have that cash.

  27. useless going to therapy with a narcissistic manipulative person. A waist of money, time and emotion. I’m using my daughter’s iPad as my husband checks my computer

  28. I will be starting couples therapy next week … I am anxious
    But i have doubt im too resentful and hirt that i might yell and i tend to use my body lnaguage too
    Am i a narcissist too???

  29. If the therapist understood cptsd they wouldn’t blame. Black eyes don’t lie, problem is by the time you get an appointment its healed and stable and you won’t want to disrupt that for your family

  30. I kind of think maybe some of these tips are helpful for all of us when trying to talk about narcissistic experiences we encounter.. even with families, bosses, coworkers, friends… etc. as Dr. Ramani says not all therapists (even those who are just regular therapists not focusing on couples) are trained to get this situation.

  31. First comment when my partner gaslighted me right away in the conversation: “well we’re going to have to agree on the same version of reality…”. His personal therapist told him that yelling (raging) at your small children (for next to no reason like not taking off their shoes in the house) is “normal” and most children who get yelled at turn out just fine.

  32. BEWARE IF YOU ARE A SCAPEGOAT! My sibs and I went to a therapist who was a silent person in the room. Sibs could deny, use their excellent passive aggression and other tactics unabashedly. Brother practiced his “I” statement to effectively silence me the next week. I used enormous strength and courage to show up and be as thoughtful as possible and was told that I also am a dominant personality, which allowed his smirk to emerge and my pain to swell. I am joyful and strong and assertive (at least, I once was), and he is just strong and aggressive (passively, so it appears as great self control). How can a therapist possibly see through that in a few sessions – You specially a younger less experienced one? This isn’t about communication skills. It’s about insecurities that are well hidden and behaviors that will never improve.
    Radical Acceptance has been my goal with indifference as a summit of the mountain if I have the strength left to get there someday.

    Thank you Dr. Ramani, for giving me these attainable goals to replace the crazy-making goals in once held onto.

  33. He used couples therapy for hoovering, then we only did two sessions and cancelled it. That’s true they show their best self to the therapist. Thank you for this great advice❤ You are right and funny, they look like taken up by an alien😅 It is all a performance💔

  34. It was another lie. He quit after 3 sessions, abandoned me, abandoned the treatment and I had to find out about it through the analyst…I was wide open and working on my toxic side, which he often called out without ever treating his own issues

  35. My ex husband and I went to therapy because the military ordered him to. He was diagnosed with psychopathy. The therapist tried to help him see that harming me was not ok. That getting pleasure from pain of others is not normal. He flipped it on me and though she wasn’t tricked by him, he never owned anything

  36. I was in a couples therapy session with his therapist and mine. The issue being discussed was my Ex’s cheating. His therapist said to me, in front of everyone: "You need to learn to separate love from sex. Maybe if you allow him to have outside sex that will ‘take the wind out of his sails’, and he will be less likely to cheat. He cheats to rebel against your controlling." Welcome to triangulation and gaslighting! My therapist sat silent. I quit that therapy center that day and went elsewhere. The point is, as Dr. Ramini says, not all therapists know about narcissism. Not all therapists are well trained and experienced. Don’t be affraid to leave a bad therapist. I found a good one, and it saved my sanity and my life.

  37. I’m still not sure if my wife is a narcissist but she did learn some behaviors from her narcissist father. I do know that when we went through family counseling my wife so dominated the conversation that she would even talk to the counselor on the phone. Before I knew it she had framed the conversation before I even had a chance. I understand that you shouldn’t contradict but what do you do when this happens? I waited my turn but by the time it came for me to talk I was already in the position of being the problem and was left in a position of defense.

  38. 𝑯𝒂𝒗𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒂 𝒓𝒆𝒍𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏𝒔𝒉𝒊𝒑 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒘𝒐𝒓𝒌𝒔 𝒇𝒐𝒓 𝒃𝒐𝒕𝒉 𝒑𝒂𝒓𝒕𝒏𝒆𝒓𝒔 𝒊𝒔 𝒏𝒐𝒕 𝒇𝒐𝒓 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒚𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒎𝒚 𝒍𝒂𝒔𝒕 𝒓𝒆𝒍𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏𝒔𝒉𝒊𝒑 𝒘𝒂𝒔 𝒇𝒖𝒍𝒍 𝒐𝒇 𝒄𝒉𝒆𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒔𝒕𝒐𝒓𝒊𝒆𝖘 😌 ””””’ 𝑰 𝒘𝒂𝒔 𝒂𝒃𝒍𝒆 𝒕𝒐 𝒄𝒂𝒕𝒄𝒉 𝒎𝒚 𝒔𝒑𝒐𝒖𝒔𝒆 𝒄𝒉𝒆𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒖𝒔𝒊𝒏𝒈 *𝟔𝟗𝒖𝒏𝒍𝒐𝒄𝒌𝒆𝒓𝒔 ,𝒄𝒐𝒎* 𝒃𝒚 𝒔𝒑𝒚𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒐𝒏 𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒑𝒉𝒐𝒏𝒆, 𝒓𝒆𝒍𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏𝒔𝒉𝒊𝒑 𝒊𝒔 𝒂𝒏𝒐𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒓 𝒍𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒍 𝒐𝒇 𝒍𝒊𝒇𝒆 😌😔

  39. Gees I must’ve been lucky!
    My husbands therapist called him out as a narc about 8 years ago

  40. Look for the youtube "Blue Therapy" if you want to see a real life example of a couple with a narcissistic partner and a therapist who simply doesn’t get it at all. These videos can be triggering, but such a great teaching and learning moment with all the redflags and signs.

  41. Is it the difference between saying "You are lying" vs "I know you’re lying?" for potential future reference lol

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