I haven't been to this forum since I first found it in early September, and I know my postings upset some . . . so apologies in advance because I know many of you are having awful experiences with spouses or friends who've gone through this training. I just thought that I would share the following, for what it is worth.
My husband and I were separated and really struggling in our marriage. We have a young child. It was tearing us apart. We both have professional careers and had been in couples counseling for a year without much movement. We were very stuck, at an impasse and I was planning to file for divorce in June or July. We'd tried very hard to save our marriage and it just began to feel that nothing would ever, ever change.
In May of 2007, he went to Discovery. Hesitant, I agreed to attend the following month in June. Five or six months later, here's my report...we are the most happily married we have ever been, and communicate better than we ever did before. It has been a long road and isn't all sunshine, but the trainings helped us cut the BS in our life and focus on what was most important. We aren't in touch in any regular way with the people in our training classes, but do get emails from time to time from those with whom we connected. I share this only because, while I accept that trauma and past sadness and newfound boundaries DO get rattled during a weekend like a Discovery training, it isn't necessarily for any mind-control reason. My husband and I went to a retreat where we learned a lot about ourselves. Taking this time away for ourselves and experiencing what we did in a group format gave us empathy and a renewed ability to come back into our marriage, forgive each other for past hurts, recommit and fight for our marriage. While I'm not involved with the TAs or people who run the training, I have heard from one or two of them over the past six months and they were genuinely thrilled that our marriage had been reinforced by our experience. So, I just wanted to share that in my experience, the goal of this training is not to take people away from their families. In fact, many people in my class--their whole focus--was how they were determined to be a better wife/husband/father/mother/daughter/whatever.
The biggest difference I saw in my husband when he returned in May...was that, for the first time in our 10+ year relationship, he admitted responsibility for his role in how things had gone south. This got my attention and began to give me some hope (after years of being afraid to hope), as it was a huge departure from his formerly typical defensive stance. I could tell he was genuine. He was ready to own up to stuff and to stand up for himself in a new way--a way that wasn't defensive, but was definitely firm. I was so surprised that something finally got him to admit his own responsibility...that I did agree to go to Discovery myself. I am glad I did.
Yeah...there were a lot of exercises similar to those used in other LGAT, and the emotional stuff was pretty intense, but . . . for whatever reason, it's made a very big difference in our lives and our marriage. Since so much of what has been written on this forum is the bad side of how participation in this training has hurt or at least crippled some marriages, I just thought I'd share my story. I know I will be bashed for sharing my experience by many of you. But I'm not necessarily writing this for you. Your minds are made up, and I respect that. You've had an awful experience and you're trying to figure out how to recover. I hear that. But I also know that others who read this might benefit from hearing that not everyone who goes to Discovery gets sucked up into some black hole of jargon and emails and CDs. I admit there are some people in my class who attended when their marriage was on the brink, and sadly, their marriages may not have been saved or repaired. But mine was. I had an experience through the training that showed me, pretty clearly, all the ways that I wasn't being the best wife I could be. I got some help from TAs there on how to focus on my commitment to my husband, not run from him. How to own up to my role, forgive him for his and move forward together. Had just one of us gone, I think it would have been rough. But, that we both went, it gave us something to share in a new way, after a long period of not really being able to come together on much of anything.
So, let it be known that not everyone gets ruined in there or brainwashed. We've not given a cent to Discovery since we completed the trainings, we don't try to get others to go, and we haven't replaced our families with people we spent three weekends with. But we do value each other now, respect each other more, communicate more clearly, speak less defensively and ask for what we need in a much better way. This, for us, has been worth it. And that is our story. I'll post in another few months with an update...to see if this is still the effect of some endorphin high...or sustaining. The whole way this forum started was someone named "free" asked for people's experience with this training. So, before you blast me for sharing . . . please accept that I am answering that original post. I'm sharing my experience.
Um, Suspect...STAY ON TOPIC. I COULD CARE LESS ABOUT YOUR TESTIMONIAL.