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Ask Dr. L Your Own Question

Dr. L
Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1165
Experience:  Licensed as a Psychologist and Marriage & Family Therapist.
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Dr. L, Can we chat?

Resolved Question:

Dr. L,

Can we chat?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. L replied 1 year ago.

Dr. L :

Hello,

Dr. L :

I am here now.

Dr. L :

Are you available?

Dr. L :

I will wait for you to see if this is a good time.

Dr. L :

Otherwise, we can try to schedule something for tomorrow or Saturday.

Dr. L :

I see you also wrote another question. I will try to get into that question and respond to that.

Dr. L :

But would be happy to chat as well.

Customer:

Thank you for being there for me... I went to sleep, trying to forget.

Customer:

Like you said in your other answer, I feel scared and paralyzed because he is not calling

Customer:

I really don't understand why he is doing it

Customer:

but what bothers me most, is that I am waiting

Customer:

which tells me that when I break up with him, I will feel really bad

Customer:

Last time, I was sad but felt peace... I guess I will feel the same this time

Customer:

but, for some reason, I feel guilty when I think of my son

Customer:

I feel guilty when I think of my family

Customer:

and I wish I could talk to my mother... but she wouldn't support me, she would treat me like she is disappointed and will fill my head of possible consequences of my acts

Customer:

what will people say if they found out... blah, blah, blah

Customer:

I made an appointment with a therapist but he won't see me until end of next week and probably will make me tell him about a million things before we can talk about this

Customer:

I made a decision so I just wish I didn't care... but my fear of abandonment is so big, why?

Customer:

why do i care that he abandons me?

Customer:

why it is so important to be the one that walks away

Customer:

?

Customer:

and why would he abandon me?

Customer:

we are just starting... actually that is why I fear he won't believe that I am breaking up, he will thing I am throwing a tantrum because he didn't call

Customer:

I will look for you during the day... why don't you let me know at what time we can speak tonight? You usually answer at about 9:00pm central... is this the best time for you?

Customer:

Thank you

Customer:

Hi!

Customer:

Are you available?

Dr. L :

Hello,

Dr. L :

I am sorry but I was delayed and am just signing on now. I will be available tomorrow during the late morning and most of the day.

Dr. L :

I imagine that your fear of abandonment comes from your ex-husband and how you were treated. There may be some pieces of your childhood as well...but we've never talked about that. And yes..it is strange that you fear him abandoning you...it shouldn't make any difference but it just does.

Dr. L :

You ask why is it important that you be the one who walks away....that's because you don't want to him to abandon you! If you stay in control ... that he can't abandon you...

Dr. L :

You also ask why would he abandon me...there is no good reason for him to abandon you...unless you don't give him what he wants....

Dr. L :

And yes..he may be shocked that you want to break up because you have so newly gotten back together. And yes it is possible that he will think you are just having some sort of tantrum and that you can't possibly be serious. But you are serious....and he will have to live with that reality.

Customer:

hi!

Customer:

he didn't let me finish talking so i couldn't break up with him

Customer:

he called me after 9:00pm when he came back from the movie and started talking about how hard his week had been and how he had fights with a couple of people

Customer:

I started saying that we never had a serious talk about the things that bothered us the fisrt time we were together

Customer:

but he said that we were not going to talk about them right now

Customer:

I'll tell you what bothers me

Customer:

1. He told me that one of the things that bother him the most if people questioning him, and that he feels I do that

Customer:

2. He told me that we were very far from really loving each other, that we were like two steps before that

Customer:

3. yes, he was punishing me - he said that he let a couple of days go by so he could calm down

Customer:

he wanted to talk outside of work because he said this was important and that he wanted to get to the bottom of it

Customer:

i started saying that many things bothered me too: that he was married, that I didn't believe he was not intimate with his wife... he stopped me! I couldn't finish because he said he really preferred to talk extensively about it AND he added "please think very well what you are going to say to me", to which I responded: "I have thought it well".

Customer:

His manipulation did not work as he expected, that is why he wrote he loved me. He said he loved me many times when he was chasing me, but when he had me he started saying that it was hard for him because he had been so hurt in the past.

Customer:

I know it's a game, I just don't know what he is after

Customer:

yesterday i felt he cared... he was sad and preoccupied

Customer:

but he tries to manipulate me

Customer:

i said that i figured he was angry (but i said it in a tone that meant to tell i am tired of his explosions), but i also said that I was grateful that he took the time to calm down because in the past he had been very hurtful BUT that waiting so much seemed childish to me

Customer:

those things got to him

Customer:

but the way he talked sounded to me like he was considering a break up... or maybe it was my fear of abandonment because he started calling me constantly once I mentioned that we wanted different things

Customer:

one thing he said was that he was not going to change me and that I was not going to change him

Customer:

which is true, except i am not even attempting to change him

Customer:

hello

Customer:

are you online?

Customer:

hi

Dr. L :

Good Morning,

Dr. L :

I am here. I am going to read through you latest post...but I am here now and will be for several hours.

Dr. L :

I am glad you realize the manipulation now....that is important for you to see that pattern. And yes...he is being childish by purposefully dropping out of sight. That he said he needed the time to calm down...this is possible...but then he could have said, "I'm sorry. But right now I am very angry and need a day or two to calm down. This is best for both you and I. Please know that I will be back." But he didn't do anything like that did he? No. Instead...he disappears and then reappears expecting that you have learned your lesson and will not cross him again.

Dr. L :

And why don't you have the right to question him? That's about control as well.

Dr. L :

As I wrote...I will be online for several hours. I will get an automatic notification when you sign on.

Customer:

hello

Customer:

I just read your message

Customer:

yes, I told him he could have said something like: I am too angry to talk right now

Dr. L :

Yes...that would have been far better for him!

Dr. L :

And for you!

Customer:

but I never imagined I could tell him everything you wrote

Dr. L :

You were left guessing and worrying as to what had happened...and it really made matters worse.

Dr. L :

What could you tell him?

Customer:

I was impressed to read that I could tell him: you could have told me that you will be back as soon as you feel better

Customer:

I think what bothered me the most was the uncertainty of him coming back

Customer:

because I can certainly understand that someone might need time to organize their thoughts

Customer:

disappearing only makes things worse

Dr. L :

Absolutely...his behavior was childish. He is an adult. He can act like the man he is supposed to be.

Customer:

and I still don't know what did I do wrong!

Customer:

he just called me

Customer:

now he is calling me like nothing happened

Dr. L :

Yes...you would have understood and been perfectly fine if he would have said he needed time to organize his thoughts and calm down. Still...what could you possibly have done that caused him to get so upset?!

Customer:

according to him "I questioned him", whatever that means... what do you think it means?

Dr. L :

Truly....we are in control of our feelings...no one MAKES us feel...that is a decision we make on our own. Yes...we get frustrated when life doesn't go our way...and we get angry at injustices in life...but what possibly could you have done that would have caused him to treat you so poorly?

Dr. L :

And this is not the first time that he has acted in this way...and it won't be the last.

Dr. L :

This interaction is part of his pattern...and it is destructive.

Dr. L :

It means that he doesn't like you to be on equal footing with him....

Dr. L :

It's that you are not taking his word for 100% truth...that you are unsure of him.

Dr. L :

People who demand control don't like others questioning them.

Customer:

that is true, and I have reasons for it

Customer:

I don't trust him

Dr. L :

Yes...you do have reason to question him...he has not been 100% truthful, he has asked you to keep secrets, he has put you in the place of being a mistress...

Dr. L :

And you may never trust him because of the way he does life...

Dr. L :

For many of us...trust is about integrity...we want others to know that our word is our bond...that we keep our promises, that we will not lie or pretend or tell half truths. That they can count on us.

Customer:

he told me some hurtful things... AGAIN

Customer:

I feel that way

Dr. L :

We want others to know that we have the best of intentions in all matters. That we will not purposefully hurt others or make decisions that will bring harm to others.

Customer:

I told him I feel offended when he doubts me... but he didn't let me finish

Dr. L :

Yes...I do believe that for you trust is a key piece of who you are...

Dr. L :

It seems to me that there is difficulty with power and control in this relationship. You need to be independent and stay in control of your life because of your responsibilities to your son, to your other, to your employer to your self. But he wants to take away your control and instead...he wants to control your life. This is what feeds him....

Dr. L :

In healthy couples the power is shared....it is a partnership. This guy doesn't believe in partnerships...

Customer:

that is completely true

Customer:

what I don't get is WHY he insists in controlling me

Dr. L :

A man who can't find a job....who has a mistress...this is a guy with a power problem!

Customer:

he already knows I won't go down without a fight

Dr. L :

He wants to control you because he can't control other aspects of his life!!!!

Dr. L :

He can't get a job.

Dr. L :

There is a problem in his marriage.

Dr. L :

He has financial issues.

Dr. L :

You know he has had problems with work mates in the past.

Customer:

like people with anorexia, they want to control their weight because they can't control life

Dr. L :

What better way to feel in control then to have a mistress!!!

Customer:

yes, he's had problems with co-workers and continues to do so

Dr. L :

Yes...same thing.

Dr. L :

Likely because he tries to bully and control others...

Customer:

it hurts to read that I am a mistress

Dr. L :

And..you know yourself...that he sees you as the big prize!

Dr. L :

I'm sorry...I know that the word is bothersome.

Customer:

I am not sure he sees me as the big prize

Dr. L :

And I am not trying to hurt you by using it...rather it is my attempt to be completely honest with you.

Customer:

I know, I don't feel hurt by you, I feel hurt because I feel guilty

Dr. L :

Well...you are beautiful, admired, intelligent, you have a stable position in the company....

Customer:

that doesn't mean he believes those things

Customer:

I may be the one that said yes

Dr. L :

I think he does. Why did he try so hard to get you to talk to him again....he saw you as helping him get a job in the company....

Dr. L :

And yes that's possible too...that he tried chasing other women and they all refused...and you didn't...

Customer:

why do you think he doesn't want to loose me?

Dr. L :

Do you think that feeling guilty is one of the things he is counting on? That is, does he want you to feel so guilty that you will believe everything he says about a bad marriage and no intimacy with his wife...and all of that other garbage he says?

Dr. L :

That in order to be okay and not so guilty...you will justify the affair because you are "saving" him from the tragic home life he has?

Customer:

I don't know if he is as savvy as to think that, but something that is completely true is that I feel guilty ALL THE TIME and for every thing, INCLUDING having refused him in the beginning

Customer:

it is pathological

Customer:

many times I have agreed to go out on a date because I feel guilty

Customer:

i feel guilty when I say no

Dr. L :

and because it is pathological is why it must stop!

Dr. L :

What's wrong with saying NO?

Dr. L :

What makes you believe that you must say Yes?

Customer:

I don't know

Dr. L :

Is it because you want to take care of him?

Customer:

I really don't know

Dr. L :

Is it because you don't like someone telling you no?

Customer:

I feel I need to take care of everyone, like it is my duty

Dr. L :

I think this is an important aspect to understand.

Dr. L :

But it's not your duty. Your duty is to you, your son, your mother (perhaps), your job.

Customer:

I accept when people say no to me

Dr. L :

It is not to other random people in the world.

Dr. L :

And why do you do that? Why are you okay when others say No to you?

Customer:

i understand that, but I still FEEL guilty

Customer:

because i understand people at not at my disposition

Dr. L :

Good point!!!! Yes...the world does not revolve around you...correct?

Customer:

I would be "asking' not "imposing"

Dr. L :

And people have other priorities or other responsibilities...and you may not be on that list.

Customer:

exactly

Customer:

and it is okay

Dr. L :

So when you feel that you are "imposing" on someone then you feel quilty?

Dr. L :

Like you are asking them to do something that they won't naturally want to do?

Customer:

no, I mean that I accept "no" because I would not impose anything on anyone

Customer:

but when it comes to others, I feel I have to say yes

Dr. L :

okay...

Customer:

when I feel happy and I am not with my son, I feel guilty

Dr. L :

If you say Yes to other's wants/desires then you are giving yourself away...then you are saying...I have no power or control over me....

Customer:

I feel guilty for everything

Dr. L :

But this must absolutely stop!

Customer:

not only about not saying yes

Dr. L :

You were not put on this earth to satisfy the needs/wants/desires of others!

Dr. L :

Your life is not about only serving others!

Dr. L :

You deserve to be happy...whether your son is with you or not.

Customer:

but when I am not helping others, making others happy, sacrificing for others... I feel guilty

Dr. L :

WHY???

Customer:

I don't know where it comes from but it has been that way all my life

Dr. L :

You deserve to be doing things that make YOU happy...and have nothing to do with anybody but yourself.

Dr. L :

Then it is part of the messages you heard as a child and the role you took on in your family.

Dr. L :

Which does make sense - correct?

Customer:

actually, that is one of the things that make me so good at work

Customer:

yes, what you are saying makes perfect sense

Dr. L :

You have put yourself in the position of being a servant...and you must get up off your knees!

Dr. L :

Yes...I understand the work part and so that's an appropriate and healthy use of your "servant" role...but it's not a healthy and appropriate use when applied to interpersonal relationships!

Dr. L :

Does this make sense?

Customer:

yes, but how do i apply it?

Dr. L :

I believe you must begin to look at how that aspect of your personality...your devotion to helping others...plays out in your life and decide where it is healthy and where it is not.

Dr. L :

So...it is healthy in the workplace.

Customer:

that sounds like a good plan

Dr. L :

But it is not healthy in relationships in which you should be equal partners with the other person. This could be with girl friends or guy friends or love relationships. To be a servant to others leaves you open to being exploited and used.

Customer:

I know

Dr. L :

You get caught in this servant role with your mother. And sometimes it is very difficult for you because your mother depends on you too much. So...there could be a better balance here.

Customer:

yes

Dr. L :

Your relationship with your ex-husband is another difficult place for you. Here you cannot be a servant...here you must maintain complete control of your self and your priorities for your son.

Customer:

Dr. L, I feel this guy cares about me... I worry when he talks about work, but I really don't feel that is his main motivation... could I be misinterpreting?

Dr. L :

We could also look at other types of relationships...like with your hairdresser, your attorney, your physician...here you are not the servant. They are. They are providing you a service and you are paying for it. So...here you need to stay in control of your own agenda.

Dr. L :

Yes...you are misinterpreting. He is using you like a pawn in a chess match.

Customer:

You have no doubts about it? You are completely sure?

Customer:

why do I feel that way?

Dr. L :

Everything you tell me points to his trying to control you, trying to maintain power over you...he "tells" you what he wants, punishes you when you step out of line. He does not tell you the truth...he spins stories. He is not trustworthy nor is he really believable.

Customer:

but how can my senses be so wrong?

Dr. L :

Yes..I feel completely sure based on all the descriptions you have given me, all the things he has said and done. Of course, I am basing this all on your word...but if you have been honest with me...then my conclusion is that this man is manipulating and controlling you.

Customer:

so there is no chance he might love me someday?

Dr. L :

Your senses can be wrong because he is a master manipulator and you are unable to extract yourself from his grip. He is smarter than you in this regard. NO man who has a mistress is honoring his marital vows. It does not matter what rationale he provides. The reality is that he is cheating on his wife...and cheating on the mistress. If the marriage is no good...then divorce so that you are free to engage in a healthy, open, and honest relationship. This is the major point for my conclusion that he is using you. Then there is the work situation, the harrassment, the explosiveness, the secrets...there is a tremendous amount of evidence here.

Dr. L :

He might love you someday if he were to leave his wife, get some professional help to understand why the marriage did not work, be willing to tell the truth, stop having affairs, learn to control his anger and explosiveness...that would be a start.

Dr. L :

But until he makes a decision to lead a healthy and honest life...there is little chance that he can love you in the way that you understand that word.

Customer:

I see...

Dr. L :

And when might be someday??? A year from now..years from now?

Customer:

I will let you go now, so I can process all this information, but I will look for you later

Customer:

Is that ok?

Dr. L :

Yes...that is fine.

Dr. L :

I will be here. I will look for you as well.

Customer:

Thank you Dr. L!

Dr. L :

Take care!

Dr. L :

You are welcome.

Customer:

Do you want me to close this chat and open another one later?

Dr. L :

That would be fine.

Dr. L :

Thanks.

Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1165
Experience: Licensed as a Psychologist and Marriage & Family Therapist.
Dr. L and 3 other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you

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