How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask cathy Your Own Question

cathy
cathy, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1436
Experience:  MS., MS.Ed., 30 years clinical and administrative experience in psychiatry and mental health
25773729
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
cathy is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My 35 year old daughter is married to a successful lawyer,

Resolved Question:

My 35 year old daughter is married to a successful lawyer, has three young children. They live in another state. He has always been high-strung and volatile. But she has confided in me lately that he is becoming violent--not with her so far, but has kicked a hole in a door, yells, slams things around. He is possessive toward her and jealous without cause. She feels helpless because she has no close friends in the community where they live now (they just moved about 6 months ago). She is a college graduate, but has little work experience. Increasingly when I talk with her over the phone, she seems depressed, very scared of him, but doesn't know how to get out of this situation. I know this is her situation to deal with. But I am afraid for her and the children. What can I do? What advice should I give her?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  cathy replied 3 years ago.

cathy :

Hi and thanks for writing JA

cathy :

are you there?

cathy :

Hi are you there?

Customer:

Yes

cathy :

good to see you

cathy :

how are you doing tonight?

Customer:

I'm fine.

cathy :

okay good

cathy :

I have read your post

cathy :

I dont think it will come as much of a surprise to you

cathy :

but it sounds as if your son in law is emotionally abusive

cathy :

and your daughter has found herself in a marriage with an abuser

cathy :

I think you suspect this already no?

Customer:

Definitely.

cathy :

yes when I read your post I saw that immediately


 


 


 

cathy :

does your daughter know she is in an abusive relationship or is she unsure?

Customer:

She knows. She's a really smart young woman, but seems to feel fearful and unable to take any decisive action. She almost constantly seems to be on the verge of tears, but seems to feel that she has to stay until she can get prepared to earn a living or possibly to give him some time to get straightened out, but he's unwilling to go for counselling.

cathy :

Will she go for counseling on her own, without him?


 


 

Customer:

I've suggested this, and she told me at one point she would, but I don't think she's made arrangements to do so. I don't know now whether he'd pay for it, and he controls the pursestrings.

cathy :

How far away do you live from her?

Customer:

It's a full days drive. 7+ hours.

cathy :

okay

cathy :

most women in abusive relationships are afraid to make a move

cathy :

they keep thinking things will improve

cathy :

the fact is that they do not

cathy :

she has to make a move

cathy :

but it is going to be hard for her

cathy :

I also wanted to tell you that as you probably already know

cathy :

domestic violence is not limited to the uneducated or poor

cathy :

its prevalent even among the educated and rich

cathy :

she has to make a move but she is paralyzed

cathy :

and to some extent ruled by wishful thinking to say that she truly believes if she just does this or just does that

cathy :

he will change

cathy :

but he will not

cathy :

so the longer she stays the worse it will get

cathy :

she needs to get herself and her kids out

cathy :

even if she is afraid

cathy :

she needs to remove herself and her children from that type of emotional violence

cathy :

and if she will not

cathy :

there is not a thing you can do about it

cathy :

this is all in her court now

cathy :

and frankly even though she cannot see it

cathy :

there is not a thing stopping her at all

cathy :

from picking up her kids and herself and getting to you

cathy :

in her mind she is paralyzed

cathy :

but thats it

cathy :

Many women think they cannot live without the money or luxuries that their marriages afford them with

cathy :

I work in deep poverty

cathy :

so I see how attitudes change

cathy :

she wont learn that lesson for a long while if she lives well

Customer:

they married young and went through college and graduate school together. Now he has a really pretigious job with high salary. she hates to give up on her dreams and move back here to a more-less "hick town," and a much lower standard of living. She thinks if she can have a year or so to go back to school, she'll be in a better position, but I'm doubtful that she would even make that move. She's mentioned it to him, and he doesn't want her to. She afraid to even discuss her feelings with him.

cathy :

well there you go

cathy :

she has a lot of luxury in her life and has yet to learn that when the going gets ba

cathy :

bad

cathy :

really bad

cathy :

you put your kids in the car with the clothes on their backs

cathy :

and you leavce

cathy :

leave

cathy :

it has to get worse for her to go

cathy :

and so sadly all you can do for now is be there for her and try not to worry yourself crazy

cathy :

thats all you can do

cathy :

I think its terrible to have kids experience this

cathy :

but she is in charge

cathy :

its her decision

cathy :

she doesnt seem to mind that her kids are exposed to this

cathy :

so

cathy :

not much you can do

cathy :

Kids exposed to domestic violence, by the way, carry a lifetime of issues

cathy :

but she does not seem to include them in her plans

Customer:

Thanks for your advice. One last thing I want to say is I'm now so afraid he's going to turn her against me or try to keep her from contacting me. I called her today at a time when I didn't think he would be home, but he was. I could hear him in the background whhispering to her while we were talking.

cathy :

You know what?

cathy :

I am so glad those grandchildren have you

cathy :

I am so glad

cathy :

because this story is so sad

cathy :

but I know if those kids call you and they need help

cathy :

I know you will give anything to help them

cathy :

and in the long run

cathy :

that is what you must do.

cathy :

I am so glad you are there and so sensible and so caring.

Customer:

I'm very worried about the kids. I had thought she was a good mother, but but she doesn't pay much personal attention to them. I've asked her about it, and she says she no longer feels like a very good mother, but will try to do better.

cathy :

Let me ask you a question before you sign off please?

Customer:

I know you've said all there is to say. Thank you for your time and advice. Okay?

cathy :

No I really have not said all I have to say

cathy :

let me ask you a question please?

Customer:

Yes. Go ahead.

cathy :

I was wondering if there were any way at all you could take your grandkids for the summer ? Are you in any position to do that? I will understand if you say no, but you seem like the sane one here and I think that might help.

Customer:

I don't think I could take them all. I have pretty bad arthritis, and the doctor has recommended joint replacement soon. My husband is quite a bit older than me and has health issues and seems depressed. The oldest and second c hildren are supposed to come here for about a week this summer. The youngest is only 2 and very attached to her mom. I don't think she'd want to come. I doubt that my daughter or her husband would let them come for an extended time. Frankly, I don't think I could keep up with all of them for any length of time. Their behavior is pretty out of control much of the time.

cathy :

I see.

cathy :

I think you are good grandparent and parent anyway. I am sorry your daughter cannot take steps to save herself and her kids, but thank you for being so concerned. I think these kids are lucky to have you.

Customer:

I feel like I'm letting them down, but really think its past my limitations now.

cathy :

I dont think you are letting anyone down at all. I think you are pretty terrific.

cathy :

You take care of you and if she can and will change and move out

cathy :

I know you will help her all you can.

cathy :

Night now and take good care of you grandma.

cathy :

I wish there were more parents and grandparents like you

Customer:

I really will. Thanks for listening. I'll try to do all I can to be there for them--especially the kids. I appreciate your comments and advice.

cathy :

I appreciate hearing from you. You made my day. Again, I like your solid caring.

cathy :

Cathy

cathy, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1436
Experience: MS., MS.Ed., 30 years clinical and administrative experience in psychiatry and mental health
cathy and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
< Last | Next >
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
  • I thank-you so much! It really helped to have this information and confirmation. We will watch her carefully and get her in for the examination and US right away if things do not improve. God bless you as well! Claudia Albuquerque, NM
  • Outstanding response time less than 6 minutes. Answered the question professionally and with a great deal of compassion. Kevin Beaverton, OR
  • Suggested diagnosis was what I hoped and will take this info to my doctor's appointment next week.
    I feel better already! Thank you.
    Elanor Tracy, CA
  • Thank you to the Physician who answered my question today. The answer was far more informative than what I got from the Physicians I saw in person for my problem. Julie Lockesburg, AR
  • You have been more help than you know. I seriously don't know what my sisters situation would be today if you had not gone above and beyond just answering my questions. John and Stefanie Tucson, AZ
  • I have been dealing with an extremely serious health crisis for over three years, and one your physicians asked me more questions, gave me more answers and encouragement than a dozen different doctors who have been treating me!! Janet V Phoenix, AZ
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/Dr.Keane/2013-8-20_204325_drkeane.64x64.jpg Dr. Keane's Avatar

    Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RE/resolutions66/2011-1-17_05728_IMG8202smilingeditedforJustAnswer.64x64.jpg Elliott, LPCC, NCC's Avatar

    Elliott, LPCC, NCC

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    5024
    35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/formybunch/2010-12-06_191055_img_0975.jpg Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC's Avatar

    Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    3733
    Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/DrAkiraOlsen/2012-2-20_746_AkiraADpicmain.64x64.jpg Dr. Olsen's Avatar

    Dr. Olsen

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2336
    PsyD Psychologist
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/norriem/2009-5-27_134249_nm.jpg Norman M.'s Avatar

    Norman M.

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2193
    UK trained in hypnotherapy, counselling and psychotherapy and have been in private practice. ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), UKCP Registered and ECP.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PsychologyProf/2010-07-15_171248_logos060400409.jpg Dr. Michael's Avatar

    Dr. Michael

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2177
    Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/KURTEMMERLING/2010-07-23_215531_just_ask_picture1.jpg Steven Olsen's Avatar

    Steven Olsen

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1727
    More than twenty years of expertise in counseling, psychological diagnosis and education