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Norman M.
Norman M., Principal psychotherapist in private practice. Newspaper contributor, over 2000 satisfied clients on JA
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2542
Experience:  ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), ECP, UKCP Registered.
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I work at a prison with my wife. Since I have started here,

Resolved Question:

I work at a prison with my wife. Since I have started here, I can't stand for other men to be speaking to her for an hour at a time when I am wanting to speak to her myself. Then I get mad and chew her out for it. What can I do to stop this behavior?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Norman M. replied 2 years ago.

NormanM :

Hello, I'm Norman. Are you ready to chat?


 

Customer:

Yes

NormanM :

Can you expand a bit on what actually happens - why is she talking to these men?


 

Customer:

Well we are all confined to unit's. Usually four Officers to a unit. When Outside on moves or inside doing nothing basically, we can converse with eachother since there is a down stairs unit and up stairs unit in each building. Either way we can talk to our neighboring Officer any time we want.

Customer:

Basically it's a big paid B.S. session, while we baby sit inmates for eight hours.

NormanM :

What men is she talking to - fellow officers? On business matters?


 

Customer:

We have nearly six hours of down time where we can surf the web, search inmates, or talk on the phone or monitor our unit.

Customer:

It's generally "nothing" according to her.

NormanM :

Why can't you stand it? Is a feeling of jealousy, of being ignored?


 

Customer:

She may not be physically cheating on me, but I feel like she is intelectually cheating on me because I can't get the same kind of attention from her.

Customer:

It's jealousy which she knows I already have an issue with, and being ignored.

NormanM :

O rather suspected that. There is a way you can deal with it. Basically, it all revolves around your thinking of how things 'should' be.


 

NormanM :

I have a handout that I give my patients who have issues similar to yours so that bthry understand the best way forward.


 

NormanM :

 


 

NormanM :

Would you like me to post that on here for you?


 

Customer:

Sure.

Customer:

I just don't understand why she feels like she has to blow up when I try to resolve it peacefully by just talking about it

NormanM :

Ok - take your time, have a read, and let me know what you think. here goes!

NormanM :

 


I’m going to suggest that you would benefit from some Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.


CBT is based on the fact that what we think in any given situation generates beliefs about, and reactions to that situation, and also causes 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:


http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mentalhealthinfoforall/treatments/cbt.aspx


 


If you cannot afford to see a therapist, there are good free CBT based self-help resources here:


http://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/cbtstep1.htm


 


Also, there is a book called ”Feeling good - the new mood therapy” by Dr. David Burns. It has a hand book which gives you practical exercises to work through and further instructions on how to better use CBT. I really do recommend it.


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Workbook for Dummies By Rhena Branch, Rob Willson is also pretty good.


Best wishes, NormanM


 


 


 

NormanM :

You said that you chew her out - maybe that makes her feel angry and pressured unfairly?


 

Customer:

There are certain women who can't look my way with out her going off about it.

NormanM :

Sure - have you had a read at what I posted?

Customer:

I haven't went to the sites, but I read the text

NormanM :

So - what do you think?


 

Customer:

It makes sense. I don't chew her out until she makes the first aggressive statement.

NormanM :

I understand. I do think a bit of CBT would help you,even as to how to handle her when she kicks off. You'll learn a differnt way of responding to her agression so that the problem does not escalate


 

Customer:

It's not that I feel like she is physically cheating on me. It's that I feel like I can't keep her happy enough to want to talk to me like she does the men we work with.

Customer:

She laughs and jokes with these guys who she has worked with for a few years. I'm new on the job and very few people talk to me. One guy out here tried to hit on her on day two years ago on facebook.

NormanM :

If he is an attractive lady, that sort of thing is going to happen!


 

NormanM :

 


 

Customer:

I caught that and we almost got a divorce. She may not have acted on it but she didn't say anything to stop him from saying anything else either.

Customer:

I would say she is average.

NormanM :

Remember, these are people sha has interacted closely with for years on the job. It's not that you are not good enough - she's just carrying on as is normal for her


 

Customer:

Should I just turn a blind eye and expect nothing from her while we are at work?

NormanM :

Don't expect too much - after all she maybe she feels that you have plenty of together time at home, and needs some space with her buddies. I do urge you to go down the CBT route though - it could make an azazing differnce.


 

Customer:

My biggest question for her is do I not deserve to talk to her as anyone else does? After all I am her husband.

Customer:

Well, we don't hardly talk at home unless it's about work or the kids or where we would like to go on a vacation that we probably will never have.

NormanM :

Of course you do, but she is just doing what she always did at work, and all of a sudden she is being expected to change.


 

Customer:

I feel like I would be better off just ignoring her like I used to when I worked this shift as a cop.

Customer:

She says I have nothing to worry about, but I fear that I am going to loose my wife.

NormanM :

That might work for a short while, but I thing that in the longer term, you would just become bitter about the situation. I think your fear is unreasonable and your thinking pattern very negative, and that is why I recommend CBT. Why don't you at least try it?


 

Customer:

I'll try it. You're right though this is the third time I've said something to her.

NormanM :

Good for you. Go for it. Is there anything more I can do to help?


 

Customer:

Yeah. How do I redeem myself? I know she thinks that I'm just going to keep trying to control her and question her. I have already just asked her to remember that I am here too and want to talk to her. I have apologized for my actions, but she dosn't believe me. If the situation bothers me againand I don't say anything she is just going to probe until I tell her the truth. How do I avoid it until I get a handle on it?

NormanM :

Tell her that you recognize that there have been problems, and that you are seeking professional help to deal with them.. Tell her it would help a lot for her to give you time to work through thse issues, and that until that process is weel underway, you don't want to get too deeply into it.

Customer:

Now how do I keep from blowing up when I have the thought of "Here it goes again"


Really, I understand that she will talk to others it's unavoidable. But when she has had two hours to answer a simple text message, I get mad. When she finally does answer I'm so mad I want to make her wait two more hours before I answer, but by then she has already accused me of being pissed.

Customer:

Seems lately I am always wrong no matter what I say. I even told her not to bother talking to me at all while she's at work so I don't start expecting it. That way I can't have a reason to get mad.

NormanM :

You slow down and ask yourself "If I blow up now, what do I get out of it?" The answer is - high blood pressure!


 

Customer:

That's something else, My blood pressure stays fine. I find that weird

NormanM :

there is only one thing going to sort this, and I'm sorry if you think I am going on about it - and that is some outside professioal help. I have seen lives turned around by iy so often.


 

Customer:

She thinks I'm foolish for seeking help.

NormanM :

Tough on her.


 

NormanM :

It's your choice, and there is nothing weak or foolish about accepting ther is a problem and getting help to solve. it It is a mark of courage and self-respect, actually.


 

Customer:

I know. I tell her she should be thankful that I am willing to go for help.

Customer:

I guess I have taken enough of your time. I will go now. Thank you

NormanM :

Glad to have been able to help!


 

Norman M., Principal psychotherapist in private practice. Newspaper contributor, over 2000 satisfied clients on JA
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2542
Experience: ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), ECP, UKCP Registered.
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