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Hello, and thanks for visiting JA.
I would not describe your comments as an educated guess, rather as a finely detailed analysis of your situation. You may find it hard to accept that Matthew simply does not see the world from the same perspective as most of us. H sees it as a place in which he is always right, where anything that is unpleasant happens is the fault of someone else, and in which no-one else's needs are emotions are of the slightest consequence. His world view is NOT going to change, and therefore, any expectation of his reacting with empathy and co-operation is doomed to failure.
I do feel that you would benefit from some individual therapy yourself, so that you are seeing your situation with as much clarity as possible, without any false hopes or expectations, and for that reason, I’m going to suggest that you would benefit greatly from a course of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It is a form of therapy that addresses problems in a direct and targeted way and is brief compared with most other therapies.
CBT is based on the fact that what we think in any given situation generates beliefs about, and reactions to that situation, and also cause the behaviour and feelings which flow from those beliefs and reactions.
These ‘automatic thoughts’ are so fast that generally, we are unaware that we have even had them. We call them ANTS (automatic negative thoughts) for short.
If the pattern of thinking we use, or our beliefs about our situation are even slightly distorted,
the resulting emotions and actions that flow from them can be extremely negative and unhelpful. The object of CBT is to identify these ‘automatic thoughts’ then to re-adjust our thoughts and beliefs so that they are entirely realistic and correspond to the realities of our lives, and that therefore, the resulting emotions, feelings and actions we have will be more useful and helpful.
Cognitive therapists do not usually interpret or seek for unconscious motivations but bring cognitions and beliefs into the current focus of attention and through guided discovery encourage clients to gently re-evaluate their thinking.
Therapy is not seen as something “done to” the client. CBT is not about trying to prove a client wrong and the therapist right, or getting into unhelpful debates. Through collaboration, questioning and re-evaluating their views, clients come to see for themselves that there are alternatives and that they can change.
Clients try things out in between therapy sessions, putting what has been learned into practice, learning how therapy translates into real life improvement.
Please visit this website for much more detailed information on CBT:
If you cannot afford to see a therapist, there are good free CBT based self-help resources here:
I also think it is in the best interests of everyone concerned that you consult a lawyer as soon as possible with a view to making sure that each of you gets a reasonable proportion of whatever assets he has – bearing in mind that his comments about bankruptcy and so on may well de delusional. You may also wish to investigate his legal fitness to deal with the girls at all.
From what you have said he is in no way a fit and proper person.
Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX your advice. Although I certainly do find it emotionally challenging to accept that he is unable to see the world as I do and react to another's needs in a normal fashion, I do understand that he is unable to act any differently and am willing to simply accept that he is as he is and that there is nothing I more can do but deal with it as best I can.
Your words have confirmed my fears, that I now need to seek help in determining his fitness as a parent. That confirmation has, in itself, given rise to a cathartic sense of relief and, having shed quite a few more tears and layers of grief, I feel more able to come to terms with the reality I've created by having chosen him as a partner and father to my daughter.
As I can not currently afford to undertake treatment myself, I will endeavour to utilise the CBT self help website that you directed me to. I am, as ever, an optimist (hopefully a realistic one) and am certain that, in time, both Sophia and I will be able to lead happy and fulfilling lives in spite of the dramas we have been dealing with.
Do you feel that supervised visits for Sophia with Matthew would be appropriate? For Sophia's sake, I do not wish to cut her off from access to her father as I am very concerned that this would be emotionally devastating to her.
Thank you again, Norman, for your advice and kind words.
I have one further concern. Is this problem a matter of nature rather than nurture and Matthew's condition likely to manifest in Sophia? If so, is there any way to avoid this outcome and do you have any reccommendations as regards XXXXX XXXXX and/or treatment?
Finally, I’m going to suggest that you get a copy of the book “How to talk so kids will listen, and how to listen so kids will talk”. Its ISBN is 1 85340 705 4.
It has been around for a long time, but I believe it still provides sound advice - it is also a good read!