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Ask Dr. Z Your Own Question

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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Dr. Z, how are u. We chatted a few days ago about my anxiety

Resolved Question:

Dr. Z, how are u. We chatted a few days ago about my anxiety and issues with my fiance. Would like to chat futher with you now.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 10 months ago.

Dr. Z :

Hello

Dr. Z :

Of course I remember, we can definitely char further

Dr. Z :

How are you?

Customer:

I'm ok. Had an anxiety attack at work today. Very hard to perform at a high level, but i have a big job and so i do my best.

Dr. Z :

I am so sorry, anxiety attacks are very gruesome and bothersome

Customer:

I had a wonderful night with my fiance last night. we were both very tired, but intimate and she said wonderful things... that she loved me so much. then this am, intimate again and after she headed off to work a quick text with a thoughtful reminder and a love you. one other note, my teenage kids behaved badly before bedtime last night refusing to help clean up. this disrespect really bothers my fiance.

Customer:

bothers me too

Customer:

seems there is a pattern when kids are upseting, she tends to call her old boyfriend the next morning and today was no exception, she called him within 20 minutes of leaving the house.

Dr. Z :

Well that is really good that you and your fiance had a great night and morning too, it sounds like your physical intimacy is great with her. I am sorry to hear about your teenage kids, many teenagers go through this rebellion stage

Customer:

i could tell from the length of the call she likely just left a message., again, nice texts during the day. but right after work, her first phone call is to try to reach her old boyfriend. i'm just having a really hard time with this and that was what my anxiety attack was about.

Dr. Z :

I can understand. Like I said most likely she is not having an affair with this man, but probably just wanted to vent to him about some issues that she may not be able to talk to you about, for instance your children

Customer:

she talks wth me about her concerns with the kids.... it's been a tough road with my deceased wife passing 3+ years ago. and being a single parent has been very hard, i've done my best and achievement wise, the kids are doing great. socially, and as citizens of the house, there is much room for improvement.

Customer:

it just bothers me greatly that reaches out to this other guy.

Dr. Z :

I can understand that and most likely you are a great parent for them, but sometimes kids act out emotionally at home because those are "safe areas" where they can lash out and still you will always love them. Did you ask why she reached out to him?

Customer:

no because she doesn't know i see her phone activity.....

Dr. Z :

So you do not know exactly what she wanted to talk to him about, you are just assuming it is negative

Customer:

negative or intimate in some way with him

Dr. Z :

But you do not know for certain

Dr. Z :

There could be many reasons why she reached out to him

Customer:

true, because there is no way i can ask her about it. when we were on a recent trip, i looked at her phone in her

Customer:

presence and she went off on me and got very upset if you will recall we discussed this?

Dr. Z :

Yes I do remember, she did not like being accused of cheating and she said that she has never been unfaithful ever

Customer:

yes, that is what she said, i so want to trust her, but this frequent contact just really really bothers me.

Customer:

as i said, it triggered an anxiety attack today.

Dr. Z :

Well your options are unfortunately limited. 1. You can completely trust her and just dismiss this 2. You can confront her about it or try to talk about how you are concerned about her contact with her ex-boyfriends 3. You can try to go to Couple's therapy and see if the issue is brought up there.

Dr. Z :

Unfortunately all the options will be a difficult road for you I believe and probably for her too

Dr. Z :

Because I do not think you can continue to monitor her phone activities without bringing it up, the anxiety will be too much for you

Customer:

i so want to choose option 1, tonight when we're on the phone, planning a weekend away, i can hear and feel

Customer:

her love.

Customer:

what would make option 1 difficult for her?

Dr. Z :

That is what I think too, I think she adores you and wants to be with you and only you

Dr. Z :

It will not make it difficult for her, except she would have to deal with some of your increased anxiety, but the other 2 options would be harder for her, although I think couple's therapy would help your communication with each other

Dr. Z :

If you want to do option 1 though, you will have to stop monitoring her phone. This is for you anxiety and stress because if you keep looking at it, the stress/anxiety will get to you

Customer:

ok, can i change the topic for a second

Dr. Z :

Of course, you can ask me anything

Customer:

she was divorced over 8 years ago, but the battle never stopped. the daughter sided with the mother, she won joint custody and child support. she says her ex was a verbal abuser. ex has fought her over money issues ever since. was supposed to pay for daughters college, didn't. now he's trying to get custody of the son and make her pay CS.

Customer:

i think one of the reasons she's having a more challenging time with small issues with my kids is because of this background. like tonight, the son who is siding mostly with the father is confronting her on things. in my view she doesn't deserve any of this. ex is not a nice person. is using son in a manipulative way

Customer:

how do you think this influences things?

Dr. Z :

Well I definitely think it puts a lot of stress on to her, but I also think that she is very appreciative of you by how she acts towards you and that you give her a good life, which is another reason why she loves you so much

Dr. Z :

It may also make her more sensitive towards how your children behave possibly too

Customer:

yes, exactly, i know that she doesn't have quite the energy and stamina that i have for all things.... i have been incredibly supportive for her in every way that one could think of.

Dr. Z :

So I think that she is definitely more appreciative of you and maybe she talks to her ex to vent and not bother you with it because she does not want to add to your issues, that is a possibility even though I know you two do talk a lot, but may be she is just trying to be considerate and is afraid of scaring you off

Customer:

not sure... when they broke up she promised to stay in his kids lives, although it is thoughtful, that bothers me too. they were only together for a couple of years, but she has seemingly made a lifetime committment to be in touch with the kids and defacto somehow him too??

Customer:

kids are older in their 20's...

Customer:

thoughts?

Dr. Z :

So the kids talk to him, the ex-boyfriend?

Customer:

no no, it's my fiance who talks with her ex boyfriends kids.

Dr. Z :

Oh I understand, is it possible that his kids are telling her things and she just wants to keep him in the loop? Or may be she is asking advice about children from her ex-boyfriend because you said she routinely calls him after an incident with your children occurs.

Customer:

yes perhaps. i could go on but i've got a very early meeting. i have one other question though. we can come back to these issues at another time. my last question. my fiance just got a book on "co dependence" at the suggestion of a friend of hers who ironically just read it and is about to get married. when i asked my fiance about why she got the book, she said it was because of her ex husband , not me. does that make sense to you?

Customer:

i have zero issues with substance or alcohol !!!

Dr. Z :

Co-dependence does not mean substance abuse, it means dependent on another person too much where they are no longer independent

Customer:

understand that definition, but do you think that her comments about this issues being with her ex on this topic

Customer:

and not me make sense?

Dr. Z :

Well it may not be about you, but actually may be about her ex-husband and son because it appeared from what you told me that he was manipulating her son against her and this can lead to co-dependency issues. You see these issues a lot with children and parents.

Dr. Z :

Also she may be reading it to not make the same mistakes in her last marriage, even though you are a much better person that her ex-husband ever was.

Customer:

i want to spend as much time with her as possible and she does push back on that a bit, mostly because of the kids,

Customer:

but i think as we become a full time couple, she is losing some independance and that bothers her. for me that meldingof two lives is a natural process, i just want to bring that up in the context of the codependance conversation to make sure this is not about me in any way.

Customer:

thoughts?

Dr. Z :

Well you can ask her if she has any concerns about being married, like losing her independence at all. These are natural conversations for engaged couples to have actually and very common, so you should not be concerned about bringing it up

Dr. Z :

Also you can bring up some independence issues that you will lose too by being married as well.

Customer:

we're planning a very nice weekend away together to attend her friends wedding. have you heard anything tonight that would give you reason that we shouldn't just go away and relax and enjoy each others company. i think if we just enjoy life that things will work i out fine, i just want to know that my trust (like tomorrow night when we won't be together...) is not misplaced.

Dr. Z :

No I have heard absolutely nothing, I you two should definitely go out and have fun this weekend. So far she has done nothing concrete for you not to trust her, the only reason you may not trust her is because you are focused on negative thoughts and worst case scenarios, but there is little evidence to support those negative thoughts. Go out and have fun this weekend :)

Customer:

ok thanks. be in touch. i'm signing off it's very late here.

Dr. Z :

I understand, you have a great rest of your night and a great weekend with your fiance :)

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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