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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4745
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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my stepson 45 is always the centre of attention, never stops

Customer Question

my stepson 45 is always the centre of attention, never stops talking...about himself, or his childrens achievements...and is contributing greatly to the breakdown of his fathers and my marriage. we are married now 12 years, at first, i helped in caring for his sons daughter a lot, and then another child by a different relationship, although these children live in good homes, he takes them at weekends, and i invested a lot of time and energy into them, but his son, although he lives in his fathers old house, keeps coming over to our house, and his father, my husband idolizes him even ignoring his other two children who are older. this son plays a lot of mind games, has gone through all his fathers money, but im not crying over that, it is the innunedos that i have to live with,...for example when i asked for the key to our home back, which he uses to come whenever he wants he texted me back saying he needed it to rescue his dad. My husband is a pastor of a church, and i have been systematically put into the role of evil wife....even hearing conversations to the effect on the phone...my own children have all left home, and i see them maybe once a fortnight, but they wait to be invited, or phone up if their coming and usually its not that often either, this other stepson, comes up and cooks in my kitchen, takes food from the fridge, and his children do the same. Ive tried to talk with my husband about boundaries, and respect, but its as if im attacking my husband, and i get called paranoid, or having a suspicious mind...but the root of the problem is my husbands lack of respect towards me....he always manages to turn it around, that a good christian would be hospitable, especially as we wont have these children for long, and that his son needs a family athmosphere to bring his kids too, but i have asked that we visit him in his house, but although the kids sleep in his home there in and out of here all the time. His son gets right in the middle of our marriage...even though he is twenty years older than my own children he just monopolizes this home even when my kids were here...im just so angry with my husband for allowing this to go on for so long...and it feels as if i have had two husbands. My husband is 77 years, and only that i love him to bits, i would have left by now. How can i make him see this situation, i find im getting cynical, and even playing games of my own to get back at them both, as in forwarding his text to a counsellor in our church., i dont like what this is making me to be.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 11 months ago.

DoctorZ :

Hello I believe that I can help you with your concern

DoctorZ :

I am sorry that you are going through this with your stepson and husband, I can imagine how distressing this is for you

DoctorZ :

It sounds like your stepson has some traits related to Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) by the behavior he exhibits. Here is some more detail on NPD for you

DoctorZ :

Your husband's behavior is definitely not supportive of you and enabling your step-son's behavior. Most likely your husband is doing this is because he has been used to your step-son's behavior for so long.

DoctorZ :

Because your husband is not listening to you, I do think that going to a counselor would be a good idea for both of you, but even if he does not go that still should not deter yourself going to one.

DoctorZ :

Have you mentioned to your husband that the thought of leaving him has come to mind because of his behavior towards you?

Customer:

my husband came from a missionary family and was separated from his parents during the war, from 6 till 9. he has no concept of danger, or keeping rules...one of his sons has aspergers, but not confirmed, and his other son, the son i am talking about is dyslexix, my husband i think has some of these tendencies, as he is unable to show his emotions..

DoctorZ :

So if he is unable to show his emotions, he may also have a limited sense of empathy too and may not understand what you are going through

Customer:

yes i have talked about leaving him, but he always manages to smooth over everything, its like groundhog day.... and yet when i talked to him about seeing one of the consellors at our church the thought of these issues been shared with a friend of his made him so angry with me.

DoctorZ :

I thought he would react that way to the idea of counseling which is why I mentioned that you can go to therapy by yourself and you can benefit from it. Also many times when an individual sees that their spouse is going to therapy and making some good changes in their lives, it will make the individual want to check out therapy as well. So even if you go by yourself, do not be surprised when your husband asks to join you at a later date.

Customer:

i think that is a good idea, and perhaps it would be better if i saw a therapist outside the church setting, rather than a mutual friend of ours, and may not make him so defensive.

DoctorZ :

That can be an option as well. A good approach to your husband is to try to find common ground with his son (your step-son). If you both can find a compromise that you both agree on, that will go a long way.

DoctorZ :

But to do that, he has to willing to communicate with you and not be dismissive of your concerns

Customer:

I think i could work towards that, and maybe try to make some arrangements with his son, if the three of us could try to talk together.

DoctorZ :

Well you and your husband can go to a counselor to have an objective opinion weigh in on both of your concerns and help both of you reach a compromise and then you both can talk to your step-son.

DoctorZ :

Here is a good worksheet to help building compromise for both of you

Customer:

i thing that perhaps is better, i am aware i tend to rush things and make wrong decisions, thankyou for the worksheet, i will look through them tomorrow,as it is very late here now, but appreciate your advice, and will also try and get information on the

Customer:

npd disorder as well, not for ammunition, but maybe i could understand him more

DoctorZ :

Anytime, I am always happy to help

DoctorZ :

If you have any other questions or concerns please feel free to contact me again at anytime.

Customer:

ok. goodnight

DoctorZ :

I want to wish you and your husband the best of luck and I hope you both work through this difficult time. I hope I provided you with excellent service tonight

Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4745
Experience: Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
Dr. Z and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Hi Dr. Z,


well i have spent a few days away with my sister, and am not so stressed.


I will be returning to college next week, and should be busy again. not that avoidance is good, but when my bp. goes 236 over 100 my doctor worries.
i asked my stepson for key back, but he just said he needed it to rescue his dad... i told my husband but he doesnt see anything wrong with this comment. to me its the ongoing interference of his son, but in reality i suppose, it is my husband who is at fault, in allowing it. Im backing off for a time. laying low, and getting on with things. ive made a couple of practical changes, like changing the internet settings, which my stepson uses all the time, and also not shopping till mondays, so theres no food here for the weekend.sounds draconian, but im hoping to tempt my husband away with a picnic or a restaurant...does that sounds conniving.

Expert:  Dr. Z replied 11 months ago.
No it is definitely not conniving, I think you are taking appropriate steps to regain control of your household. I agree that your husband is enabling his son's behavior which makes this a problem. I think you are using subtle ways to be closer to your husband and trying to stop his son from interfering with your marriage. So I think you are doing a great job, please keep me updated on how it goes. Good luck.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.

thanks and hopefully i will have some good news soon

Expert:  Dr. Z replied 11 months ago.
I hope so too. Good luck with everything and if you have any other questions or concerns, you are more than welcome to ask at anytime.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.

hi doctor z,


today has been rough, in fact the whole weekend. when my husband learnt about the internet today he decided to move out for a few days, just to get space. he is going down camping.....punishing me, he never uses the internet, its because his son cant. yesterday too, he spent most of the day waiting for his sons call after horse-riding with his daughters, so he could go down to his sons house....and then on to our prayer meeting...its ironic....im now branded as demon possessed....and needing deliverance...he argued with me that because its his money too his son should be able to use the internet.... by the way his son is going down as well to get some materials for his work. this is crazy, as in the last five years his son went through 150 thousand euros of our money, with the excuse of building and extension for his house for the Lords Work.. I objected at the time saying it would be a money pit, and by this time next year we would be in debt and you would regret it , but my husband wouldnt listen, and now my husband not my stepson has 15,000 debt on credit card, 5,000 mortgagge debt in my husbands name, other debts in my husband name..they even borrowed from me at one time but never paid me back...and thats out of my weekly pension which is very small.and my husband and i share in council housing, which we will never own...my children are all moved out...and i will never have anything to leave them. my husband said he would never leave this house, but when i said i would move out, he said go ahead,its no problem to him for me to leave. he should move in with his son, god knows theres plenty of room with the extension. however he doesnt want to infringe on his sons space.....????? my husband also is a hoarder, and has given me untold problems of making the outside space of this home a dump. I just had a hip replacement last year, and when my stepson texted me looking for my credit card no. as his dads cancelled, my sister texted him back saying i was unwell and he would have to ask any information through her. he was livid after that....my husband says im turning into a bitter old women.

Expert:  Dr. Z replied 11 months ago.
Hello Sue,

I am sorry that you are going through this with your husband. It definitely sounds like your husband does not respect you and does not understand or care about how his son treats you and your home. At 77 years of age too, he may not change his behavior either. But how did he respond to you wanting to see an outside therapist at all? I think he is not open to seeing a couples therapist to discuss your issues, then you may have to think about leaving him because this is not a relationship that you deserve, as you deserve more respect. I know you have thought this way before, but he has managed to "smooth over everything," but you have to think about yourself here and what you deserve too and that is a husband that will show you respect and listen to your concerns.

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