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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5821
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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McCoy only...Kate, I have a personality disorder, probably

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For Kate McCoy only...Kate, I have a personality disorder, probably several of them, or at least strong traits of many of them. I am narcisistic, self absorbed and sometimes very mean. I can function, or at least appear to function mostly...but up until very recently have thought that everyone else had issues, not me.
I am married and have kids, and am mostly okay with them, but and have really hurt my wife over the years. I have ignored her dreams, her desires and feelings and minimized her thoughts and desires on most issues. She has tried with me, too much probably, and has stuck it out in hopes that I could get better and be less into myself. However, recently she has told me that she is too much in pain and wants to leave, I think because she sees little hope that I actually will deal with my egocentrism and selfishness and taht she has been hurt so much. I really cannot blame her, but I am looking for some direction here. Nothing I have tried as been sucessful at dealing with this need for control and my self-centeredness. Recently I felt that I made some progress into the issues but agree with my wife that I have only scratched the surface of what I feel comfortable dealing with, and that the real issues are still there.
I want to and I genuinely wish to be different and I do not want to hurt her anymore. I feel that she has endured much and is justified in divorcing me. Yet, I would like some way to change. I do not want to hurt her in any way and just feel so stupid about my self. I have "tried" endlessly and sound so phony about changing, even to myself. I am like the boy who cried wolf. At this point it all sounds the same. Even still, I am serious about giving up all that I am to change this, but how can she believe me? Other than just doing it, what? Truthfully, this is ridiculously simplified and much more has happened, but I do want to let go of my control and my selfishness and not be abusive. I am not sure what to do. Is this all too late?

Hi and thank you for the request.

The only way you can really address this is to do some inner reflection and find out the true reason you keep hurting your wife and others. My professional opinion would be that it is something from your past that is causing you to continue with this behavior. It is most likely be something that was taught to you as a child, a parents abuse and/or behavior you were forced to model in order to survive.

You also may want to examine why others are not as important to you as you are to yourself. Understanding empathy and selflessness must come from deep within. It is the ability to understand someone else's pain, and feel sympathy. In order to do that, you must practice putting yourself in their shoes. Changing things from your perspective may not be enough. This may take some "cleaning house" or cleansing of your motivations and behavior in order to make enough change to make a difference in your relationship.

You also need to give change and trust time. People cannot trust instantly. They need time and especially evidence of trust in order to be able to let go and trust again.

I hope this helps you,

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I appreciate your candor. I do have a past that is filled with abuse from my mother and others. I think more than anything that my feelings are a part of a pattern of learning to cut off others so that I do not feel the pain and hurt that they potentially could give me. Hurt first, then worry about consequenced. Although it is protective, it is pathological, and extremely painful to others, especially my wife. She is the one who gets hurt when I do this and I do want to stop doing this at all costs. She has lost her trust in me.


Truly, she doesn't trust what I say, and for good reason. I do grasp this and wish to give her time and space. Do you think that would help? I do want to not be the way that I am and am willing to look as deeply as I have to go, even though in the past I have not been able to do so. Thoughts?

I will pay you...

I think what would truly help is working on what the real issue is. This pattern you have created is very damaging to other people. And it puts you first in everything, which pushes everyone else out. There is no chance for anyone to trust you if you are looking out for yourself in every situation.

You have to learn to accept pain as part of your life. You are going to feel pain, just as everyone else does. But instead of accepting that, you avoid pain by causing it in others. And then you stand back and allow them to deal with the consequences. It is a very destructive way to handle relationships and it is no wonder your marriage is having problems. It is also a very self centered way of coping. You need to ask yourself what makes you special enough to avoid pain and therefore cause it, when everyone else must deal with it?

Find a way to deal with this destructive tendency in yourself. Therapy, self help and other trusted family and friends are all great resources to help you overcome this problem.


TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I do agree that what I do is hurtful and useless as a coping mechanism. It does not allow me to put myself last. I just hope it is not too late to change this. I will look into what you have said.

Sounds good! My best to you,