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Dr-A-Greene, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Clinical and Forensic Psychologist
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Help! My husbands ex-wife and children are extremely badly

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Help! My husband's ex-wife and children are extremely badly behaved, create emotional scenes and drama on a fairly regular basis.

His 24 year old son is abusive and seems to thrive on threatening others and his own life. He disrupts the lives of those closest to him. I think he is manic and also may abuse drugs. My husband once again refused to report him to the authorities because he claims his son is all talk and always calms down. His ex-wife is also prone to episodes of drama and victimization, however I never seen anyone dole out abuse more than her. His 27 yeat old daughter gets all worked up by her brother and mother, then comes in to my husband's work and creates verbal and physical scenes that threaten his job. The three of them are all about opening up the proverbial can of whoop ass.
They like to blame all their problems on my husband, who limits his actions to trying to avoid them at all costs . I have never seen anything like this. My husband is kind, generous and loving. In short, he is the nice guy that tries to make everything right. He feels powerless and overwhelmed. Moving is not an option for us.

This latest episode took us on an emotional rollercoaster for two days with these people. It culminated in my husband blaming me for all the trouble I caused. ??? I was not any part of their drama, but this time I put my foot down and assertively demanded he go to the police and confront his daughter's false accusations.

I feel betrayed by my husband. I want to respect him, not feel sorry for him. I see now he is just as much to blame for this dysfunctional mess. I know I need to set boundaries and make action plans should these people start threatening me and my children. I need to state these boundaries to my husband, but I am afraid of the consequences should he continue to support their bad behaviour by not taking any action.

My happily ever after bubble has totally imploded. We have been married since July of last year. After thanking my own parents for a stable and non-dramatic up-bringing, can you give me some direction here? I beginning to doubt my husband is going to protect our relationship from these abusive people.
I believe that seeking therapy with your husband (together) might be a good option. You need to learn to react to these insults as a team. Reacting individually, as you did, may have seemed like the best option, but your husband probably felt betrayed by it. This is not completely surprising considering that he probably feels betrayed by his ex and his children all the time! Also, keep in mind that your husband has been dealing with this drama for a good many years now. Basically, he is introducing you into a system that, though dysfunctional, works in its own way. Maybe through some couple's therapy you might be able to make an assessment of the situation and see how you and your husband can respond together. I welcome your thoughts on this - it sounds very delicate.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I'm very sorry, but I was hoping for more in-depth advice. Going to therapy is something I initiated the first time an episode occured. We went once to a counselor and no good came of it. My husband's ability to take action on his decisions has never manifested. he fails to stand up to them.
His son threatens my husband's life and also mine and now this latest time he is pulling his boss and my children into it. Despite the fact that he has never acted on any of his threats, I am afraid a day may come where he does.
I am finding the whole situation absolutely unacceptable. Managing their outbursts is no way to live. I appreciate the tip that my husband feels I betrayed him. It helps me to understand his blaming me for their bad behaviour.

I see what you're saying (I hadn't realized the extent of the problem - sorry) and I agree that just sitting back without taking some action is probably a bad idea. Death threats are very serious and shouldn't be ignored. I can't in good conscience advise you to ignore the threats and not call the authorities. Too many tragedies occur that way. Thus, I think you did the right thing.

Encouraging your husband to see how scared it makes you for you and your children may help his protective side to kick in. Otherwise, you may be alone in reporting the behavior. Regardless, you are correct in that it shouldn't be allowed to go on. My next step would be to get a restraining order (I'm surprised your husband's boss hasn't done it already)!

Additionally, if your husband continues to refuse to stand up for you and your kids, he has effectively chosen which side he wants to be on. Though painful, it isn't a message you can afford to ignore (for your own safety and the safety of those you love).


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