A Story From Thunder Bay Counselling’s Family Violence Program
Joe and Jolene reached out to Thunder Bay Counselling for counselling to assist in their relationship. They identified improved communication as their goal. At the time they connected with us, Jolene had moved out of the family home and was living elsewhere.
At the start of service, Joe identified as struggling with anxiety throughout his life, having no relationships outside of that with Jolene and reported he had experienced childhood neglect and abandonment. Jolene was struggling with depression, felt isolated and struggled with the role of emotional caretaking of Joe.
Through the counselling process, it became evident that Joe was emotionally abusive towards Jolene. He worked to keep her isolated, belittled her and was manipulative and controlling. Jolene described herself as needing to run interference with his outbursts. Jolene decided to leave the home when Joe came home unexpectedly and began yelling and calling her names while she was participating in a work-related meeting through Zoom.
The focus of counselling was on the dynamics in their relationship, fractures in it, the barriers to getting their individual needs met, and education about what a healthy relationship looks like, including respectful communication, healthy boundaries, etc.).
The end result of counselling was a mutual decision by Joe and Jolene to end their relationship. They realized they had different values and views of what their relationship should look like. Following this decision, the counsellor was able to support each of them individually to begin to look at resolving their individual issues and improving their quality of life.