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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5838
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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My fiance has 3 girls who's mother is very controlling and

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My fiance has 3 girls who's mother is very controlling and uses guilt as a form of punishment. The mother will not allow any communication between their father and the girls during her parenting time. The mother tells the girls consistently that their father is a bad and abusive person, which none of this is true. There is obvious emotional abuse going on in the mothers home! For example we have clothes for the girls at our home, but mom told the girls that "our clothing is taking home away from them" - so the girls were packing clothes from mom's house in their school bags so they could change once they got to school. Reason why school is a big deal, is during paternal parenting time - mother goes to school to see the girls at least 3 times a week and the girls never know when she will show up and they cannot get caught in our clothes when she does show up.
Another example; the mother even went as far as having the girls see a counselor and she coached them prior to the sessions, then once the father found out about the counseling he talked to the counselor. Once the mother found out that the father knew about the sessions, she scolded the counselor and took the girls out of counseling.
The father felt the need to continue counseling but this counselor did not want to "get involved" so we had to seek out a new counselor. We have since talk with 3 other counselors but... because the mother is so completely against counseling nobody will see the girls.
Is there anyone or any organization that will not or cannot turn us down?
Isn't here someone out there that wants to help children?
Why are so many counselors afraid of the mother once they speak to her?

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

It certainly sounds like your fiance's ex wife has control issues and emotional abuse issues. This makes it extremely difficult to co parent since she is not putting the children first, but her own issues first. It may be that she is angry at your fiance for the divorce and is using the children as weapons against him, or she has a personality disorder and acts this way in everything she does.

To find a counselor to work with you, you can try a few options. One, ask your fiance's lawyer for recommendations. Let the attorney know, if he/she doesn't already, that the mom is acting out in this way and see if they can recommend someone they have worked with before in custody cases that would not be scared off by the mother's behavior.

Also, you can try contacting any counselor you call for an appointment ahead of time and letting them know about the mom's behavior up front. Do this as part of your screening process so you can get the counselor's input as to whether or not they are willing to work with your family.

You may also want to talk to your fiance's children's school counselor to see what they recommend to help. Schools are usually well versed in custody issues and the counselor may be able to help your fiance's children deal with the stress of their mother's behavior.

You can also try contacting the Children and Youth services in your area to ask about counselors. Since you have already reported the mother, you may have a contact with them. Let them know you are concerned for the children's wellbeing and see if they have any ideas for you.

As far as I know, any counselor has a right to opt out of working with your fiance's ex wife. She may be threatening the counselor's with a filing a false report against them or other scaring them off with other threats. If she is as out of control as you describe, she could be saying anything to the counselor and the counselors are deciding it is not worth the risk to work with her, or that it is not productive.

You can contact the American Psychological Association for more ideas on how to approach this issue. They can tell you more about counselors in your area and who may have the experience to help you. Here is a link to help you:

I hope this has helped you,

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you!
My fiance has done pre-interviews with the counselors and they all are good and we've set appointments for the girls and then they call the mother (just to be up front and legally correct) and at that point they opt out of helping the girls. One counselor even stated "that it would probably be worse for the girls since mother is so against it and that the sessions with the girls would not be beneficial due to the mom."
So, why aren't the 2 counselors who've seen/heard the obvious emotional issues on the children calling Child Welfare?

The counselors probably do not have enough information to file a report. All the counselors know is that she is an angry person who is fighting about her ex wanting the kids to be seen by a counselor. Plus what they are seeing is just a small part of the situation. They do not have the full story like you do.


TherapistMarryAnn and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Just seems odd to me that anyone would fight so hard to not have their children go to counseling!
Also to me it would be a red flag that someone is hiding something that they do not want others to find out about. - again just me.
I also have a hard time understanding how people can, in good conscious, just stand by knowing that this is happening to children and do nothing. Guess that is why I'm not a counselor.

A counselor cannot report every conflict they hear. They hear them many times a day. Plus they have to have facts to back up what they are reporting, including being knowledgeable of the abuse first hand. They can hear the mother going off, but there is no sure way to know if this is because she is angry or if it's because she has mental health issues. Plus she may not be letting on that she is emotionally abusing the children. Most abusers don't. Add to that this being a custody issue and it is hard to separate what is the parents and what is abuse.

Child reporting agencies want clear information. If you report hearsay or vague information, they will not accept the report.