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 Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC Your Own ...

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5244
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Hi there, Re Blended Family and psychosis/anxiety/depression I

Resolved Question:

Hi there,

Re: Blended Family and psychosis/anxiety/depression

I have been struggling with the complications of being a step mother (i have no kids of my own) to two girls aged 13 & 11 for the last 3 years. I have had a lot of conflict with my husband over financial issues, feeling like a 3rd wheel in my own home when they come to visit for the weekend every fortnight, discipline where i feel my husband is more lax and tolerant about behaviour than i am, i felt that i had to change my social life around the kids and spend time with a family that the kids have known for a long time instead of with my single or coupled friends, unable to participate in regular activities such as dancing lessons or joining a tennis club with my husband as he would not be able to commit to attendance when the kids come around.

Feelings seemed to settle down for the last 6 months last year however after an overseas family trip to see my husband's sister & family and his mother things have deteriorated over the last 5 months. I felt unhappy to be staying at his sister's place for 2 weeks as i did not feel welcome or treated with the same hospitality that i am used to giving and receiving. I felt that they were more interested in spending time with my step kids and my husband and busy with their own family activities. As this was the first time visiting my husband's hometown, i was eager to explore the place. However his family had expected to just stay at home and catch up. When we had plans to visit some attractions, they had simply postponed the trip 3 times and eventually we went without them. My husband felt that his needs were not fully met as he did not spend as much time with his family as he usually did. I felt stiffled in having to fit in with the way they did things and how his sister imposed her views on me. Even though she had step children of her own, she had no empathy for the difficulties i faced with mine. instead she took over the parenting role during those 2 weeks and the girls responded very well to her and even let her discipline them. quite the opposite of how they respond to me. this resulted in me backing off from them completely to avoid competing with my sister-in-law for authority and the parenting role. at the end of the trip, i was no longer on speaking terms with my mother & sister-in-law. i don't ever want to see them again nor do i want to go on holiday with the kids again. the number of digs and criticisms the in laws made of me in the presence of my family were unbelievable. my husband did not notice or understand any of them, even though i pointed them out to him. His family felt that i treated them, my husband and my step daughters badly during the trip and my sister-in-law has since asked him to leave me. he responded saying that he loved me and wishes to work things out with me.

Since returning home, the step daughters no longer stay over every fortnight. Instead my husband spends one day with them alone and also sees one girl by herself on one weeknight. His ex-wife who came on the trip to see her family has since been passing my husband large bills for one daughter's orthodontics and horse riding fees without any advanced planning or warning. My husband took on the expenses without getting my agreement as he feels it's his responsibility. I am likely to lose my job due to an organisational merger and wanted to defer large expenses until my job situation was stable. I disagree with sending the kids to horse riding as it is an expensive hobby which we will not be able to afford if they become serious about it and the fees will be too expensive when they get older. I don't believe that my husband will prioritise my marriage and our needs. After committing to those expenses and subsequently setting a percentage ceiling of his salary that would go towards funding the kids, he has argued the details of where the funds will be going. Even though there is an amount in writing that goes towards his expenses, he has now said that this should go to the kids.

I feel that my husband and i have too many differences in parenting styles and my inputs are heard but not acted upon. even though agreements are made my husband does not keep to them. this has only happened after the trip to see his family.

All the conflict has made me very unhappy for a very long time. i have had bouts of psychosis where i feel people in public or at work are conspiring against me or talking about me. i have taken risperal on and off. before being a step parent i had never experienced this before. i have run out of emotional capacity to continue in the marriage although my husband wants to keep working things out. we have been for 7 sessions of counselling but the last one has confirmed that the kids make my husband happy and the opposite holds true for me. Please advise. i often feel anxiety or anger in my tummy and need help with this and sometimes have meltdowns.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

 

It sounds like you are making a serious effort to make your blended family work. You've tried many things that are recommended to help work the problems out with your marriage and your family.

 

From what you said, it sounds like you inherited a family when you married your husband, made an effort to make it work, and are now finding that you are still an outsider. It makes it difficult to be part of the family if you are not included.

 

You are saying that you feel you cannot put more effort into the marriage because your husband is happier with his kids and you are happier when you are on your own without the kids. It sounds like your husband has not helped to put you first as the other parent. It seems he is putting the needs of the kids and his bond with them over his relationship with you. If he is not willing to put you first, then it will be very tough to make your marriage work. It is partly his responsibility to initiate the relationships between you and his kids and you and his relatives. By not showing you are first in his life, he is letting others push you aside as well.

 

Even in marriages with both biological parents, the husband and wife have to function as a unit. They cannot put the needs of the kids (or anyone or anything) first or the marriage will not survive. It's like on the airplanes when they tell you to put your oxygen mask on first before your children, you must make sure your marriage is strong (and breathing) before you can make sure the children are ok.

 

You have a couple of options. You can talk with your husband again and mention what we said here. See if he is willing to work on this angle of your marriage. If not, then you have another choice. You can try a trial separation. It will give you a chance to see if things improve for your marriage and for you.

 

You can also work on educating yourself about your situation and see if you can try anything else before considering ending your marriage. Here are some resources for you:

 

Should I Stay Or Go? : How Controlled Separation (CS) Can Save Your Marriage by Lee Raffel

 

How to Know If It's Time to Go: A 10-Step Reality Test for Your Marriage by Dr. Lawrence Birnbach and Dr. Beverly Hyman

 

Remarried with Children: Ten Secrets for Successfully Blending and Extending Your Family by Barbara LeBey

 

You can find these on Amazon.com or your local library may have them for you.

I hope this helps you,
Kate

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5244
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC 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's Avatar

    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