Hello,I was looking for some advice on what to do regarding myself (28) and my girlfriend (31). We have a child together and when she gets upset at something she acts passive aggressive and won't look at me let alone talk to me. It's been hard trying to get her to talk about anything about what she feels and how we can help the situation as we have a child together. She will usually say she wants to move out and then leave with the baby without even talking to me. She says that I don't care about her. I tell her I do and that it's when she acts like this, I can't help but focus on how she's acting rather then care about why she's upset. I do get upset at this. I'm not the perfect person myself. I'm not one to be out all night or to cheat or anything like that though. One day it will be "I love you I want to marry you" and then the next is "I want nothing to do with you" I understand hormones and can't differentiate between the two since our baby is just 3 months. She's always had trouble talking about her problems and puts a lot of things off. She was in a 10 year marriage that ended 2.5 years ago. The husband wasn't the greatest guy in the world. My mother passed away so I was left to care for my sick father and he passed away jan 2011 and I know I haven't been 100% my self. Any help or suggestions would be much appreciated as it's July 4th and I had to tell my family not to come because my gf has taken the baby and wants nothing to do with me.
Person's Gender: Male
Person's Age: 28
I had been in counseling.
I've tried to talk things out.
To be home all the time after work and help out.
Offer to both go to therapy.
Hi! You know, to give you the best answer, I think I should ask you a few questions first that will help define the problem and the situation.
Your question is very evocative because in my experience, more often than not, when a woman goes from one extreme to the other (I love you, I can't stand you), there is a history in her childhood:
Was there trauma or abuse in her childhood? What about alcohol or dysfunction in her family when she was growing up?
She was married for 10 years, so she knows how to maintain a stable relationship. Why did that marriage end? Was she like this with her husband?
What were you in counseling for?
Are you getting any treatment right now? If so, what type? How is it going?
If not, when was the last treatment? What type of treatment was it? Was it helpful?
Now, it's unusual for the man to offer couples therapy and for the woman to reject it. Why did she reject it? Because that is the best way to deal with the situation. Why would she not want to go to therapy and work on the relationship?
Any extra information that will help, feel free to share.
Hi Dr. Mark. Thanks for your response. To answer your questions.. She didn't have any definite trauma in her childhood. Her mother is very conservative and opinionated and doesn't seem to see the big picture or how certain things will effect children in the long run. My Gf's two brothers still live at home and life off her money at 26 and 29. She had her first child who is now 10 with her ex husband when she was 21 and her father whom she loved so much died in her mid twenties. From what I've heard and seen, the ex husband buys her sons love with toys and gadgets and did not come home very much during the relationship. He sees his son when he wants and had gambled and spent all of there money as well.The son is going to counseling and functions on a 7 year old level socially and developmentally being a 11 year old. We are now living in suburbia and he does not know how to ride a bike, make friends, sleep alone or play any sports with what I am currently trying to help him with. My GF is an escapist in the sense that after the divorce she became addicted to pain killers which she had gotten off since. She has a good heart and is a great mother, she used to drink when upset but hasn't drank since she became pregnant and takes great care of her son and ours, giving the only discipline and I guess being the bad guy. She didn't talk much with the husband because she didn't want an argument so it was similar. The last time I was in counseling was about a year ago after my father had passed away. I didn't discuss our issues at the time. We started seeing each other about one and a half years ago right after my father passed away and for months I wasn't myself so I don't know if I caused this. I had slept over a friends house, whom is one of my best friends and is also female. That was the beginning of her acting like this which I understand. My friend was someone who had been there for me through my family crisis and is like a sister to me. No sexual attraction could ever be there. Today my GF said she was up last night thinking about this and that she was positive that this will not work on. I'm not trying to find ways to get her back but learn if there may be things I can do to open her up or change things for the better. Since the baby has been born I come home from work every day and spend time with the family. I don't go out nor do I feel any need to. She thinks shes keeping me from other things and that I want a single life. Sorry for the long response. Thanks for helping out. I really do appreciate it.
Thank you for the replies to the questions and the added information. It helps a lot in understanding what the situation is. I believe I can now be of help with this issue.
I can imagine how frustrating and distressing this situation must be for you. You are clearly an intelligent man. You read people, emotions, and relationships very well.
Your girlfriend, on the other hand, seems to have difficulty in that area. She doesn't read people well and has a hard time with emotions. I want to share with you that my first suspicion here is that her mother tends toward being narcissistic.
One of the characteristics of kids who grew up in a narcissistic environment is that decision making and judgment forming is a difficult task. They alternate from just subjugating themselves to the narcissistic parent's strong personality on one side to seeking refuge in the "loving" parent on the other. This really causes a sense of extremes within a child. The sons seem to have submitted to the mother. She, the daughter, is trying to make her own way independently, but still seems to divide her emotions to those extremes.
I think your sense that couples therapy would be necessary to resuscitate the relationship to give it some chance of working is correct. This is not a self help situation. The problems here are too deeply in her psyche and self. And you recognize that you also have problems you need to work on.
So, it seems that she's now headed on her way with 2 kids from 2 different dads. I am working with a woman in therapy in my office presently who has 4 from 4 different dads. It has taken her this long to recognize she needs help. So I can't say when your gf will realize that she needs help.
I'm sorry this leaves you with a son that you can't raise full time. And a step son that seems to have bonded with you to some extent: that's another blow in his life. His developmental problems will not get better with these types of constant changes. But this is how she's playing out her own instability. Whether there is a mood disorder such as Bipolar Disorder present, or she has other problems, I can't diagnose. But again, they are possible and they also point to that need for couples therapy to begin sorting things out.
Okay, I wish you the very best!
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Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice