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Doctor Kevin
Doctor Kevin, Ph.D.
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  25 years in private practice
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I sent a message a few days ago pertaining to "adult

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I sent a message a few days ago pertaining to "adult bullies" and have not heard back as yet. I have a lengthy letter to forward regarding an issue of a manipulative mother of our grandchild. Do I just send it within the message box or is there another link?
Dr.Kappler :

Was your question answered by another expert? It is not on the question list so either another expert has answered or the moderator timed it out. I would be glad to review it and any other information you have that pertains to your question. If the letter you have is a separate question list it as one and it can be handled separately. I have had 30 years of experience with the criminally insane and know a lot about "adult bullies."

Dr.Kappler :

I see you are standing by so I will wait for you reply.


I just sent the actual letter in the question option of the site so please read it for more specifics.


Dr. Kappler, did my letter make it through?


I have the feeling there is a problem of some sort as I have not received a response.

I do not see on this screen where I can retrieve your attachment. I have always asked that people paste their additions to the main text. While I research it you can paste your letter and if I don't find it first I will be able to read your additional information. I was away briefly but I am back for another 4 hours.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Seeking advice. Schools are taking a stand against bullies among our children, but what about the adult bullies or should I say manipulative behavior? How do you handle a woman with this so called manipulative behavior over your son?

This is a problem we are enduring over the past year and a half involving our son (age 30) and his girlfriend (age 36?). They have been together since ~ the Spring of 2008.

Our son and she have a child together, age 14 months, expecting another and run a business together. With the first pregnancy, our son was initially concerned and confused when he told us they were having a baby. We asked if he was happy about the baby and he said yes. We asked if he loved the mother for which he said no. That answer changed to yes about 6-7 months ago. At any rate we let it be known to the mother we were happy for them and offered any assistance they needed. The baby was born in November of 2010.

We thought we had a good relationship to start which was the spring of 2008 but during the planning of her baby shower the fall of 2010, she became more and more distant with us. It was at this time, we began observing her constant dictating requests to our son including maintaining the environment around her, where to go, how long they stay and with whom they go out with. She also displays symptoms of OCD by her obsession with a clean house and things on a schedule…her schedule that is. Her own girlfriend confirmed the OCD in a conversation when planning the baby shower. Her mom, sister and girlfriend and I exchanged many pleasantries during the planning and following the baby shower which was frowned on by this woman. As of the summer of 2011, she wanted no contact made between families and she refused to allow our son to bring the baby to our house or anywhere for that manner. She asked my son and then followed up with a voice message to me to cut off all ties with her family because “we are not family”. I sent a letter to try to remedy this strained relationship and suggested we meet. She responded with a threatening e-mail. She had two separate birthday parties for the baby so our families did not meet.

Unfortunately, we are finding as the time passes our son has been more accepting of her behavior, defends her and has no issue regarding the distance with the family. This past Christmas Eve, we (me, my husband, son, baby’s mother and baby) actually had what one could describe as a normal visit and I would like to think we can move forward. I wish I could believe this but as of early December 2011, my son and daughter are not speaking to each other due to the issues with the mother of the baby.

We have a strong and supportive family both with our other two children and extended family unlike what we see of the relationship the baby’s mother has with her parents and sibling, It breaks our hearts to see how she treats her parents and sister. They appear to be such nice people. It is as if she is apparently working to break ours. This woman’s behavior has hurt not only our immediate family but our extended family as well as they have not been allowed to see the baby either excepting for the invitation to the Dedication/Christening and the one year birthday party. My son had to leave my mother’s funeral to pick her up to bring her and the baby to the funeral breakfast even though she has her own car.

We have always had respect for people’s boundaries but her boundaries are so restricted, they are disrespectful to us. You may ask, what is wrong with our son. Well, he is just too good and has “take advantage of me” written on his forehead.

To make matters worse, she is overly possessed with having a medical condition applied to the baby beginning with Autism/High Sensory Need Infant and Reflux. They have often used this as an excuse not to visit us or attend a family gathering. Personally, I do not believe she is as “high maintenance” as the mother makes her out to be but she has asked for help from one friend who helps with the baby 3-4 times per week.

We consulted a lawyer regarding Grandparent’s rights who basically told us without having our son in our corner, we are up a creek without a paddle.

I believe that partners in a relationship can either blend, or be at opposite poles with regard to their personalities but if only one changes, this is a result of one powering over the other and frankly, I find that a crime.

You may have already had this topic on one or more of your shows, and if so, I would be interested in viewing the tapes if your staff would direct me to the appropriate web site. Your voice means so much to the people and bullying is such a hot topic. Is this not a severe form of bullying? My husband and I would love to speak to you privately in this matter if you find this worthy of your time. Going public with this would probably only sever our relationship more. We are concerned over the welfare of the children.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
You have asked for more information. What is it that you need? The summary above gives a history of the issue. Basically, our question is to request Dr.Phil's assistance in bringing awareness to the public about "Adult Bullies" and those with manipulative behavior. I know we are not alone and as I said our concern is for our current and forthcoming grandchild. We have seen the control this mother has over our adult son. What are we to expect regarding the children? Can something be done to have pediatricians more aware of these issues? Any personal advice is of course appreciated but we both feel powerless over the ways of this woman. If we rebel her demands, we will certainly lose our son and never see our grandchildren. If we comply to her wishes, we are enabling her behavior. I spend a lot of time praying. Below are some examples of the manipulation I was referring to.

Examples to show regarding the manipulative behavior.:

My son and she took a trip to Florida in 2009, the first year they were together.

There was a plan for a visit our cousins as well as visiting her aunt. Upon arrival to my cousins’s house, she almost immediately wanted to leave with my son to see her aunt. My son suggested he would stay and visit my cousins and they would give directions for her to see her aunt on her own as she was nearby. She left and very shortly returned claiming she got lost and insisted my son leave with her which he did.

In September of 2010, on the scheduled date for the meeting to discuss the baby shower with she, her mother, sister, girlfriend and myself, I received a telephone call 10 minutes before the scheduled time that it was canceled . My son called on behalf of her stating she does not want us to meet her mother that way and she feels her sister is too controlling. I was told there would be a dinner meeting to formally meet her parents before the baby shower planning. This never happened and I found it necessary to touch base with her sister to discuss re-scheduling the meeting. The baby was due the first week of November.

In May of 2011, I received a call from my son sending a message from her to stop all contact with her parents and sister. I was shocked and I asked for a reason for such a request. He replied by saying something that happened in the past but he could not tell me. I told him with the exception of the New Year Eve invite we are only sending e-mails for holidays and so forth so I do not see any harm in that and her mom sends me such lovely e-mails.

In July of 2011, her mother had contacted me by e-mail sending her phone number and suggesting we get together for dinner. This was a continuation to a conversation we had at the baby’s Dedication/Christening just one month prior. When she heard of this plan from her mother, she left a voice mail requesting we do not contact her family as they are her family members and she does not wish to combine families. I made phone contact with her mother to determine what she knew of this, if we were still getting together and she proceeded to tell me of her daughter’s disapproval of us getting together. I informed her mother of the phone call and she apologized profusely and we had decided to get together anyway however a few days later, she canceled and I have not received any e-mail from her since.

August 3, 2011, I sent a letter to her asking to meet with her to discuss ways to remedy a strained relationship between us.

August 4, 2011,she sent an e-mail to me at work with very hateful words and ending the letter with “Do not contact my family or friends or these issues will balloon. It is not your right and never was”.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Relist: Answer came too late.
I am not to sure what "Answer came to late" means but you sent this to me and I made it explicitly clear when I would be back online and would give you an answer.
Secondly I must complement you on your clear and detailed account of your daughter-in-law's assent to total control of all communication and meeting among the assorted family members in both families. My guess is her family is glad she is your son's problem now and not theirs.
Third my guess is you sent this to Dr.Phil as a proposal for a show focusing on such family divas and their ability to force everyone to do what they want, good or usually bad. Dr.Phil refers all psychological requests to JustAnswer. For such show requests you need to contact him at
I think you have made a clear case for such a show and yes I have counseled family members (usually grandparents) on just such issues. I usually refer hem to an attorney to discuss two things: Parental alienation syndrome and Grandparent's rights. I have worked as a forensic psychologist and testified in court on both venues. I have never heard that either parent needs to be willing to help in fact in all the cases I have consulted in or testified both parents did not want the grandparents to have limited custody and it was granted by the courts. You may need a second opinion on that from another attorney.
Lastly what can you do about this woman? Relatively nothing directly. Your son is under her spell and will continue to act like her zombie despite any attempt on your part to intervene. What you can do is ignore her and continue to relate to the rest of the family and her family on your own completely disregarding her wishes. You may find you have more allies than you thing. Typically this type of person in her attempt to control everyone really creates more enemies and resistance than anything. I would however find a lawyer with the courage to fight for your grandparent's rights and I would demand that you have a set time to see your grandchildren.

It is my goal to help and exceed your expectations. If you need to discuss more or need clarification please just respond here and I will be notified. However, if you are satisfied with my efforts, please don't forget to click on the green accept button because I need to get credit for my work.

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