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Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 7662
Experience:  35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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Ive been with my boyfriend, Ken, for 3 years - living together

Customer Question

I've been with my boyfriend, Ken, for 3 years - living together 1 1/2 years. He's very particular about his home being clean and always finds something that wasn't done to his standards. It's his home and I'm feeling like I'm just the housekeeper. Lately, he's been overly critical about both my daughter (Jade - age 15) and my dog "ruining" his house. Jade is a typical teen who needs to be asked/told specifically to help out around the house. When she does help, Ken criticizes that she's not doing things right, which discourages Jade.

When I come home from work, Ken doesn't even acknowledge me. He's a truck driver and is gone from early Sunday morning until Thursday afternoon. He goes out Thursday night with his brother-in-law and most recently, he's been out Friday nights and some Saturdays -- never including me. One a few occasions, he's told me to find somewhere else to live. Finanacially, I really can't do it.

Other issues in his life include an ex-wife with a boyfriend who used to be a very good friend of Ken's (and is a co-worker). And Ken's 2 daughters, 16 and 7, who only visit if there's something to gain by visiting. The ex constantly taunts Ken via text messaging, harrasses him at work thru her boyfriend, and buys the kids extravagant gifts, telling them their father is too cheap to get them anything. He pays over $1,000 per month in child support.

I know that Ken is going thru a difficult time and I'm trying desperately to help him. I never complain or criticize when he goes out -- I just keep my positive attitude, kiss him whether he acknowledges me or not, and initiate sex, to which he is always receptive. He speaks kindly to everyone but me.

Several months ago, his primary physician prescribed Adderall to help with his lack of focus. He only took the medication for a short period of time but he seemed happy and attentive. He decided he didn't want to rely on medication so he stopped taking it. When I mentioned that he seemed better with the Adderall, he got very defensive, so I dropped it.

I love Ken and am not ready to give up on our relationship -- I know the real him, before he became so moody. I get the feeling that he thinks the more he mistreats me, I will take the initiative to leave him and he won't look like the bad guy.

What more can I do to help him thru this (depressed?) state? Thank-you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 1 year ago.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

Seeking expert counseling is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

Dear friend,

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

This situation has to be very hard on you.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

You are so patient.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

Jade seems to have your positive disposition, but she is a teenager and doesn't have your adult point of view and ability to spring back.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

At this point you are a live-in housekeeper with benefits, in many ways, and I know that you don't feel the security that you (and all of us) needs in your day-to-day life

Customer:

She is very positive. Sometimes I feel she detaches herself emotionally. I don't want her to experience another of my failed relationships (divorced from her father).

Customer:

That's exactly how I describe myself -- housekeeper with benefits!

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

She is experiencing the negativity right now, and it is NOT your doing, whatsoever.

Customer:

I just feel that by putting her in this situation, it is my doing. Up until a few months ago, she and Ken were best of friends -- he's more of a father to her than her own.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

I know that you have a place to live for yourself, Jade, and the dog.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

What happened to change the relationship?

Customer:

I can't even pinpoint an incident

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

Was there a specific event?

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

Just a slow decline perhaps?

Customer:

Seems to be. But only on his end.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

He comes home from a long week and then hardly spends any time with you?

Customer:

Exactly.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

Runs his finger across the furniture to check for dust and then goes out partying?

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

What is so much more attractive to him than his "family"?

Customer:

Now that I think about it . . . I started a new job in April and my long work days are Friday & Saturday, his days off. So I'm not home when he's home.

Customer:

Yes, the white glove inspector.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

Is there someone else?

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

Is he drinking or taking drugs?

Customer:

I would have to say "no" to that. He's very loyal and we have had conversations that if there was ever someone else -- for either of us -- be honest and walk away.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

Do you know what kinds of places he goes to for his "good times"?

Customer:

Social drinking and no drugs. He's a truck driver and is drug tested regularly.

Customer:

His good times are spent with his brother, brother-in-law and nephews.

Customer:

He's very close with his family.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

He has told you to leave on a few occasions. Why didn't you, and how did you respond to him?

Customer:

I have no where to go. He knows this.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

If he literally kicked you out, what would you do?

Customer:

Then he'll call from work and ask me to check the furnace, pick something up at the store, etc.

Customer:

It's as if he wants to be alone, yet he needs to have someone here, just to make sure everything is in working order.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

So he needs you but is not able to treat you as the valuable ally and asset that you are.

Customer:

If I were literally kicked out, I really don't know where I'd go.

Customer:

Yes.

Customer:

I feel if I were better able to make a financial contribution to the home, it would improve the situation.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

I know just the question must raise some anxiety, and you probably don't want to think about it (who would?) but it is something you ought to have a backup plan for. He is too volatile for comfort, I'm sure.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

You do make a financial contribution: security guard, housekeeper, groundskeeper, cook, and other benefits.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

Do you want or are you able to bring some c-a-s-h into the household?

Customer:

I have been trying to get myself financially stable enough to make alternate arrangements. My ex destroyed my credit and my stability.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

It is slower, but you can come back without credit, and it is cheaper in the long run.

Customer:

Since just starting a new job in April, I have been getting my finances under control. My debt is now manageable. I explain to him that I need time to catch up, then I'll start looking for a new place.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

You seem to have a stable personality. You are articulate, honest, supportive, loving, and accommodating. You would be a great catch for a lot of good men who find it hard to find someone with all of your qualities.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

Does he want you out?

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

Really want you gone?

Customer:

Thank you. I just choose the wrong me!

Customer:

Men*

Customer:

I don't think he really wants me out.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

There are are a few good men out there, believe me.

Customer:

He commented that I should live on my own and have to fend for myself -- pay the bills on my own and learn responsibility.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

Do you want out if you can afford it?

Customer:

I don't want out, but if he truly wants me gone, I'll go.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

There is a big difference between having responsibility and being able to pay for it.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

In the meantime, can you accept the living arrangements as they currently exist and hang in there?

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

That seems to be a good option if you can bear it.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

Drop the expectations.

Customer:

That seems to be where I am right now.

Customer:

I just wish there was something I could do to get him out of this state that he's in.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

Put a little extra money up from household expenses and any savings from your job.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

He refuses to continue the Adderall, you say. This is basically "speed" but it sometimes used for low mood.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

Does he take any antidepressants?

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

Does he have periods where he is in a very high mood?

Customer:

For an entire month, he opened the car door for me, dinner was ready when I got home from work . . . he was his "old self" again.

Customer:

He doesn't take anything now. When he's on the phone with co-workers he's very happy, laughing, joking.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

So, it is just a mood that has to do with YOU?

Customer:

Seems to be.

Customer:

The nicer I am to him, the more he distances himself.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

Why do you think he reacts this way to you? You seem to be someone he should be so fortunate to have in his life.

Customer:

I don't think it's something he's used to. His ex was (is) very abusive towards him.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

It is like you are in the way of something.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

What you are saying is that he is sabotaging the relationship and you don't understand why.

Customer:

Yes, but he's doing it in a way that's going to force me to end it.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

A cowardly approach.

Customer:

He's a very popular man -- a lot of friends. How would it look if he evicted a single mom?

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

If he doesn't have someone else, then why? The only negative about you being there is that he needs the empty space for some other reason. It does not make sense. And he cares only about the false impression that he is making for his benevolence towards you and your family. He doesn't really care about you. Just what others think.

Customer:

And still I want to help him . . .

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

He is not being honest. I don't know what his motives are, but they are not apparent.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

I understand. The type of woman that you appear to be is what I would call "a keeper".

Customer:

Actually, I've been called an enabler

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

How do you think you are an enabler? What are you enabling?

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

Do you mean that you allow him to continue acting in a negative way?

Customer:

Bad behavior.

Customer:

Yes -- I don't speak up.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

If you put your food down, you are kicked out.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

Can you change that? Will it work for you in a positive manner at this point?

Customer:

That's what goes thru my mind. However, I've never been one to speak up.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

Are you willing to try to learn to be more forceful in a positive way?

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

Its called Assertiveness Training, and can even be learned through a good self-help workbook.

Customer:

I would like to. I've always been a non-confrontational person. I don't like to make waves. I know I need to become more assertive without becoming aggressive

Customer:

Can you recommend something?

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

and a couple more. You can look these over at amazon.com

Customer:

I will -- today!

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

Your Perfect Right: Assertiveness and Equality in Your Life and Relationships (9th Edition) by Robert E. Alberti and Michael L. Emmons

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

And one more:

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

The Self-Esteem Workbook by Glenn R. Schiraldi

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

You can click the links, go to the pages and even "Look Inside" the books to get an idea of what they are about and how they are written.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

If your boyfriend doesn't have anyone else, he would be a fool to lose you, in my estimation.

Customer:

Thank-you so much for your time and information. Just sharing my story has eased my anxiety.

Customer:

I appreciate the kind words.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

Don't sell yourself short. I talk to lots of people every day, and you definitely stand out as a real winner.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

It has been my pleasure to serve you.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC :

Warm regards,

Customer:

Thank-you, Elliott! Enjoy your day!!

Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 7662
Experience: 35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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