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Norman M.
Norman M., Principal psychotherapist in private practice. Newspaper contributor, over 2000 satisfied clients on JA
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2568
Experience:  ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), ECP, UKCP Registered.
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My bro (49) and Julia (33) dated 10 months; he wined and

Customer Question

My bro (49) and Julia (33) dated 10 months; he wined and dined her.  She pressured him for a ring after 3 weeks; he gave her a ring on Valentine's Day.  (Julia was married for 6 years in the Ukraine and came to the U.S. 3 years ago with green card.  Said she wanted children but her husband in the U. didn't.  Julia's stepdad ran off with a girl 1 year younger than Julia.)  Bro wants a family.  After the ring, Julia casually mentioned that she can't have children because of high blood pressure.  Bro was shocked.  Julia wants a sugar daddy.  She is demanding, jealous, untrusting, and gives ultimatums.  Julia demaned a Carribean trip and left him immediately afterward, one of 3 times before the engagement.   She broke the 2-month engagement over fear that his renter's 23-year old daughter was going to wear a bathing suit during her summer visit.  She demanded that he evict the renter.  The list goes on and on.  She just bought a 2-week plane ticket to Europe to find her identity.  For the past several years, my bro has been the primary caretaker for my Dad (died 1 year ago), my Mom with dementia, and my second brother who is severely brain-injured.  I think that bro feels that because our family is such a hard situation, he can't be too picky.  He turns 50 this year--not much time left.  All his friends & family have told him to run, run, run.  Church minister told him that it's only going to get worse.  He keeps making excuses for her, trying to fix her.  Have I painted enough?  Is there some objective literature that I could give him?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Norman M. replied 6 years ago.
I think he needs to give himself breathing space, and talk to a counselor about this problem, so that he can clarify his options.

Basically, how does he feel about living with this for the rest of your life?
What are the prospects of her changing?

The sad fact is that until she accepts that he has a problem, and will accept help for it, there is nothing he can do directly in that area.

I have several suggestions for him. He needs to understand that in fact, he is being exploited and abused, and that the age of 50, there is PLENTY time left.

First off, he needs to confront this woman with his feelings about his behavior, and she must be made to understand that it is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

She also needs to understand that that any continuation of this behavior will have consequences. They need to be spelled out to her very clearly, with clear emphasis on the fact that they will apply immediately. This might mean withdrawal of household services, finance, support , or even ending the relationship.

We humans only indulge in behaviour that brings reward of some kind. Only when that reward (whatever it might be) disappears, or the consequences of our behaviour promise to be unpleasant do we consider changing what we do. Therefore, he needs to give her a reason to change, otherwise she simply will not do do. Why should she? She has gotten away with his behaviour until now, so it works for her.

Here is the clue to sorting things out. When he is faced with non-co-operation - give her choices, and make sure she understand the consequences of her choice - and always follow through. If he does not she will continue to take treat him the way she is doing just now.

Ask her too, what he is prepared to do to change his behaviour in future - tell her to research what might help her, what professional helps he might get, and even consider a ‘contract' between them. In other words, involve her in his own change, with a prospect of a small reward for success and dire consequences for failure.

He should try not to get angry, stay cool and in control, matter of fact and stick to the facts. Avoid drama.

I'm going to suggest that he would benefit greatly from a course of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It is a form of therapy that addresses problems in a direct and targeted way and is brief compared with most other therapies.

CBT is based on the fact that what we think in any given situation generates beliefs about, and reactions to that situation, and also cause the behaviour and feelings which flow from those beliefs and reactions.

These ‘automatic thoughts' are so fast that generally, we are unaware that we have even had them. We call them ANTS (automatic negative thoughts) for short.

If the pattern of thinking we use, or our beliefs about our situation are even slightly distorted,

the resulting emotions and actions that flow from them can be extremely negative and unhelpful. The object of CBT is to identify these ‘automatic thoughts' then to re-adjust our thoughts and beliefs so that they are entirely realistic and correspond to the realities of our lives, and that therefore, the resulting emotions, feelings and actions we have will be more useful and helpful.

Cognitive therapists do not usually interpret or seek for unconscious motivations but bring cognitions and beliefs into the current focus of attention and through guided discovery encourage clients to gently re-evaluate their thinking.

Therapy is not seen as something "done to" the client. CBT is not about trying to prove a client wrong and the therapist right, or getting into unhelpful debates. Through collaboration, questioning and re-evaluating their views, clients come to see for themselves that there are alternatives and that they can change.

Clients try things out in between therapy sessions, putting what has been learned into practice, learning how therapy translates into real life improvement.

Please visit this website for much more detailed information on CBT:

In summary, if he does not stand up to her, she is going to make his life miserable until she bleeds him dry.

This book might help:

The Emotionally Abusive Relationship:

How to Stop Being Abused and How to Stop Abusing

By Beverly Engel
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Dear Sir,

This is not exactly what I was looking for, but I appreciate your effort and have Accepted you answer to allow you to get paid. Telling my brother to see a counselor at this point is not something that he will accept because he does not "see" how abusive she is. He defends her, makes excuses for her, minimizes everything she does, tries to fix her. My husband and I keep telling him but it is going in one ear and going out another. I wanted a source (literature) with a checklist that basically says that the following are serious issues in a relationship that will not go away if he marries her. He needs to see that it is a serious problem before he acts on it.

Thank you,

Concerned Sister