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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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My husband's ex copies everything about my house. I paint

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My husband's ex copies everything about my house. I paint the living room red. She paints the living room red. I painted the dining room and kitchen black. Two weeks later, she painted hers black. She got the same couch we have...the list goes on and on. She and I rarely speak and we've never been very friendly. It's a known fact we do not like each other.  She has never complimented me on anything in my home, yet her house now looks identical to mine...Why is she doing this? And, why does it bother me so much? It infuriates me!  They were never married, but they do have two children together.

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

Although most people feel you should be flattered when someone copies you, it can be very annoying and even frightening when someone does everything you do.

Most likely what is going on is that your husband's ex has a personality issue. People who copy other people often lack definition in who they are as a person. She may feel that she can't make good decisions and doesn't have a clear identity about who she is as a person. So she sees that you have class and talent, so she copies you feeling that doing what you do makes her more valuable as a person.

Usually, people who lack identity also lack self esteem. They usually grew up in a home where they were abused or neglected. They took the abuse as meaning that they are not valuable as people. So they look to others for their identity, especially people they feel are strong and self confident. Apparently, your husband's ex feels you are that person.

But that does not help how you feel. It is not flattering when someone decides that everything you do is worthy of being copied. It only makes you feel as if you cannot make choices of your own without someone butting in. It makes you look over your shoulder all the time, wondering the effects of what you are doing. It also brings on the feeling of being stalked, which is uncomfortable at best.

You have a couple of choices. You can confront her and ask her why she is doing what she is doing. What you most likely will get is a surprised look and a denial. She may even become angry at you. But she will also get the message that you are aware of what she is doing and she may back off. The other choice is to let your husband handle it. He can confront her and make it clear that you are both unhappy with what she is doing. She may deny it, but the message will get across.

While you can't stop her from seeing the improvements in your home, you may be able to arrange it so she is in your home less often. Also, don't talk about improvements or anything you do around her. That may also help.

I hope this has helped you,
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