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Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 7664
Experience:  35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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I have been dating a man for over 2 years. Currently, we both

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I have been dating a man for over 2 years. Currently, we both are under a lot of stress. He is having a career crisis, not making enough money and trying to change careers. I am currently trying to get out of sharing a business with an ex-husband, struggling to keep up with house payments, repairs, yardwork, etc. I also have 2 teenagers, an 18-year-old daughter who wants nothing to do with her dad and an 15-year-old son. My son recently had an episode with his dad where his dad was calling me an "f****** idiot", etc. and my son was sticking up for me. It was quite a yelling match and my son had to tell his dad to get off our property. I am currently looking into filing an anti-harassment order against my ex who won't stop sending me negative and mean texts. (We separated in 2008). Recently, I expressed to my boyfriend how my son feels he doesn't like him (my son has ADHD, is very hyper, and is difficult but sweet). My boyfriend said he is just hard to be around. This weekend my ex went out of town plus my daughter just got back from being gone a week and I didn't want to be gone but my boyfriend made comments about it being so hard to be around my son right now. I became hurt and said fine, we will just wait until next weekend to see each other. He sensed I was mad. I don't know if I'm feeling my parenting is being criticized, or I'm disappointed that he won't make more effort to be with my son, or I'm not being very understanding of his stress and what he is going through. He texted me this morning about talking with my son and modeling specific concerns that would help him which makes me feel judged with my parenting role. I can be sensitive. I am going through some life changes and have constantly been told I'm too nice and now am trying to make sure I get my needs met, feelings expressed but I constantly doubt myself and my opinions. What's the best way to figure out what is going on inside me, if it's legitimate and worth expressing. Should I be upset that he didn't want to come to my house this weekend to be with me and my kids but preferred to be home alone?
Seeking expert testimony is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective.

Dear friend,

You are under a great deal of stress and so is your boyfriend.

An ADHD child is so active and can be so volatile that it is certainly a factor in your relationship.

I assume that you are doing all that you can for your son. If his behavior is not being modified then his therapist will have to try a different approach.

I don't think that your boyfriend is criticizing you but rather trying to lend a hand so that the home situation is more conducive to harmony between all of you.

Your abusive ex husband is adding to your stress level. Block his phone. Block his emails and texts. If he further harasses you, call the police and get an order of protection against him through the courts.

I believe that your boyfriend is frustrated and wants to to the best thing and sees that change is needed. He just wants to help, but he is not a professional.

I urge you to find a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) to help you. These are master's level mental health therapists specifically trained in relationships but with plenty of additional knowledge in mental health issues.

He doesn't want to come to your house this weekend because he does not want to be in a high stress situation which he cannot control and where his input is not particularly well taken.

You will do well to shop around for a therapist with the experience and intelligence to help you. Perhaps you and your boyfriend could do that together.

A good place to start is at:

Enter your state and city and then narrow the search to relationship issues or marriage and family problems. You will see an area called issues.

Read carefully and assess the therapists listed. Not all are equal. Many will give you a free phone consultation as well.

I wish you great success in establishing harmony and stability in your life and family. To that end I shall keep you in my prayers.

Warm regards,

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

My boyfriend is a school counselor and by me telling him that my son feels like he doesn't like him, I was expecting him to know what to do to make a connection. With him withdrawing like he did, it makes me feel like he really interested in making a connection. Should I just back off because he is stressed with his career or expect him (after 2 years together) to make more of an effort to help my son?


Thanks for filling me in on the details.

If your boyfriend is a school counselor then he should have master's degree in school counseling which is not far off from a professional counsleor and she should be aware of how to get along with troubled children.

I can see that he is having career problems and does not seem to have the skills or patience to work with children. His difficulty with your son may reflect his bad career choice and only serves to reinforce his anxiety about the predicament he is in.

He may be in a state of depression which would render him unwilling to be around anyone and being highly irritable. He was probably just trying to give you advice rather than criticize your parenting skills.

She should have the understanding to help, but he needs communication skills in order to convey that knowledge to you.

Right now he can barely manage his own feelings. If he is depressed that will make it nearly impossible for him to show enthusiasm or patience, and he will be very irritable.

As a prelude to seeing a therapist I highly recommend this book: the best one ever written on couples communication:

Product Details

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert... by John M. Gottman and Nan Silver

You don't have to be married to profit from this book.

I wish you great success in making this work.

Warm regards,

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