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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4414
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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Ive been married for 8 years to my husband but we have been

Customer Question

I've been married for 8 years to my husband but we have been together for 14 years total. At the beginning it was like a fairytale romance. He was the sweetest, most romantic, loving, passionate man I met. Of course it all changed when I accepted a call from an "ex" that I had called for a job I had available at the temp agency I worked for at the time (it was an external job assignment). After that day, he thought I contacted him because I wanted to date my ex again. It was so ridiculous because I truly loved my boyfriend...but he thought otherwise.

Ever since that day, he would always have doubts of where I was and what I was doing and who I was talking too. I found out later that his aunt "through marriage" "took advantage" of him as a teenager. I think because he allowed this to happen, he felt it was his fault too. He had to live with his aunt and uncle at the age of 16, since his mother had to move with her new husband out of the country due to the poor economic situation here in the states. He loves his uncle very much, but he betrayed him for a few months when he was having an affair with his aunt. My boyfriend finally ended it because he found a girlfriend his age. Until this day we are around these family members and both act like nothing ever happened and she treats my husband like she's his second mother. It's a bit disturbing but it's been over 20 years when the affair took place.

My husband has always been jealous and after 14 years, I've endured verbal abuse of how I was so easy to sleep with him that I've probably slept with lots of men, even though I told him I've only slept with 8 men prior to him.

I've caught him on social sites flirting, and his excuse is it was just "business" because he's in sales or I'm over reacting. He does need constant attention from me, and our sex life is still great after 14 years, but sometimes I think he uses sex to feel loved...he can insult me and say the most horrible things, but in the next hour he wants to have sex and act like nothing is wrong. We have 3 kids and I don't want my kids to grow up thinking it's okay to insult their wife the way he does to me. I'm very successful in my career and I don't need him financially, but he's also very successful and has never recognized my contributions I've made to the family or what a loving mother I am to the kids..he just complains about what I should be doing better, yet he feels he's entitled to do less because he makes more money than I.

We've tried counseling, but he only agreed so that I would come home after I left him for 3 weeks, but that lasted for 4 sessions. He stopped because he felt the counselor didn't know what she was talking about that I always like to make people feel sorry for me (his family does like me better than him). But I'm just a positive, outgoing person and I have vented to them because I don't want my family to know how bad he has treated me at times. The thing that keeps me with him is that we do have lots of fun together when it's just us or he's not stressing about work, we have so much in common, but the jealousy and accusations are getting too much.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 10 months ago.

Dr. Z. :

Hello I believe I can help you with your concern

Dr. Z. :

I am so sorry that your husband is treating your this way, I can imagine how distressing this is for you.

Dr. Z. :

I would like to ask a few questions, so that I can get some more information and give you the best answer possible.

Dr. Z. :

When did you accept this call from an ex that started this behavior of his?

Dr. Z. :

Also before this, did you husband ever have any self-esteem issues at all?

Dr. Z. :

Also does your husband ever expect constant praise in his work or other parts of his life at all?

Dr. Z. :

Well judging by by your husband's behavior I believe he may have developed Narcissistic Personality Traits (NPD) as an over compensation to his low self-confidence. This is why he was so jealous and reacted the way he did to you, why he was not responsive to therapy because he thought he was better than the therapist, and why he verbally abuses you. Here is a good link explaining NPD in more detail for you

Dr. Z. :

Many individuals have this disorder as a firm personality disorder, but I believe your husband only has traits of this disorder and not necessarily the whole disorder, which is good because that means he will respond better to treatment

Dr. Z. :

The only way to get him appropriate treatment would be for him to stick with therapy, and typically the best therapist for this type of disorder is one who practices Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). The treatment will be intensive for these symptoms, but I think this is a response to low self-esteem that may have been enacted by you accepting a call from your "ex," but I think his low self-esteem has been more long term, but he has had a good control of it, until now.

Dr. Z. :

Here are some good books about NPD in relationships as well

Dr. Z. :

I do have to mention that if his jealousy continues and gets worse, he will start to try to control you and your movements so that he will always know where you are. Individuals with NPD do have jealousy issues and do not take rejection well either. Also when he convinced you to come back by going to therapy, but he stopped going after 4 session is a sign that he was trying to manipulate which can be a symptom of NPD as well.

Customer : I accepted the call after dating my boyfriend for about 5 months. He always used to tell me that he felt his mother abandoned him when she left even though he had the option to leave wth her, he figured there was a better chance to be succeed in life if he stayed in the states. His father died when he was about 12. My husband I very handsome, but I know he's insecre because h does need constant attention, in fact he recently purchased a sports car. I'm also a very attractive woman, but in my case, I don't need attention, in fact I get embarrased when a man shows me attention as a married woman. I figured he was narcissist based on his acactions
Dr. Z. :

This is definitely more long term then I originally thought and I think this is a strong personality disorder, which is not the best news because individuals with this personality disorder typically do not do well in therapy. Therapy is not as successful with individuals who have been diagnosed with NPD because they feel that there is nothing wrong with them, but that everything is wrong with everyone else.

Customer : I just don't know what to do in this case...well I do, but that means I would have to leave him to get his attention. Its weird because we can be having a wonderful evening out and then he gets a weirdlook on his face and he will ask a question about my past, he doesn't accept that I'm a genuinely good person and I wasn't the slut he thinks I was. Just an FYI he had more partners than I can count and he said women always threw themselves at him. When I met him,he came to me and he loved my strong personality and that I wasn't that into him when we were first dating. He actually dislikes my strong personality and says, half jokingly tha he's trzan and I'm Jane and to stop trying to be the tarzan. I guess he grew up with a house mom and I grew with both parents working and my mother was very outspoken.
Dr. Z. :

This disorder may have occurred after he started dating you because your strong personality made him more self-conscious and this caused the disorder to emerge. We do not fully understand why individuals have NPD or why it occurs at different times in a person's life, but we do know an individuals self-esteem is tied to this. Now some individuals with NPD do respond to treatment, but your husband would have to be motivated to change in order to respond to therapy. If you do leave him, I encourage you to read this book as this will give insight on leaving someone with NPD.

Customer : A year ago he poduced a timeline of when I said I dated the men I told him I dated and feels there are probably more that I'm not telling him about. He's so focusedon the past, even thouh we have a very comfortable present and forseeably nice future. I do attend church and have a very positve outlook on life, but he refuses to attend church with me and the kids. He just seems to not want to believe he can be happy. When his dad died, his family lost everything because te dad had no will. So maybe he feels everything can
Customer : I meant to write that he may feel happiness doesn't last forever and he might as well sabatoge what he has...I don't know.
Dr. Z. :

With NPD, the jealousy sometimes takes over and this is why your husband is so focused on the past. In addition, since you left him for 3 weeks, he may still be feeling rejected and this is why he has antagonistic attitude towards you

Dr. Z. :

This is why CBT works so well for individuals with the NPD because it only focuses on the present and not the past or future. A key concept of CBT is "the here and now" which reminds the individual to only focus on the present

Dr. Z. :

Like I said individuals with NPD, like your husband, may not respond well to therapy unless extremely motivated. So the odds are not in your favor and he may not change his behavior, which would be problem for you I can imagine. You may have to consider leaving him unfortunately unless he goes to intensive therapy

Dr. Z. :

Are you still there?

Dr. Z. :

I see that you are offline right now, but when you get back online I would be very interested in continuing this discussion with you and talking about anything further you would like to share regarding your concern, so if you respond in the chat box I will be able to get back to you as soon as possible.

Customer :

Thank you, this is confirmation of what I've thought all along.

Dr. Z :

Anytime, I happy to confirm for you. Is there anything else I can do for you?

Customer :

no, not at this time. Since I've been ignoring him for the last 4 days, he's been the sweetest man trying to get me to talk to him, he even went to church with me and the kids today. I know in my heart of what is needed, and it's a matter of me making sure he starts going to counseling or it will be like this for the rest of my marriage..a roller coaster.

Dr. Z :

I agree, if he goes to counseling it will at least give your marriage a good chance to avoid this roller coaster and help him manage his behavior better. He was acting sweet, but it may not be sincere and long lasting, as you know, so do not be fooled by it.

Dr. Z :

Would you like me to search for therapists in your area?

Customer :

I know, I have my guard up and luckily have a great support system of family and friends. Yes, if you can refer some marriage therapist and a therapist that can treat his condition that would be great. My zip code is 91790.

Dr. Z :

Sure give me a few minutes to compile a list. Would you like two different therapists (one for couples counseling and one for just him and his NPD) or would you like one therapist to do couples counseling and individual counseling?

Customer :

yes, please

Customer :

i have to log off, but I will check for the list when I log back on tomorrow. thank you again.

Dr. Z :

Sure no problem

Dr. Z :

So this is the only therapist in your area that specializes with NPD and can also provide couples counseling as well.

Dr. Z :

And these ones have specialties in helping couples and treating personality disorders (although they do not specifically say NPD)

Dr. Z :

These are the best ones that have specialties with relationship issues, can possibly provide couples counseling, and have experience working with personality disorders as well. So I think these ones will help you the most.

Dr. Z :

I hope these referrals help you and your husband, and if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me at anytime.

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