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Dr. Kaushik
Dr. Kaushik, Psychiatrist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4643
Experience:  MD Psychiatry
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Please forgive me in advance for my rambling. I have 2

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Please forgive me in advance for my rambling. I have 2 stepchildren ages 11 (girl) and 8 (boy). My stepson was diagnosed with Aspergers several years back and there has always been question as to whether or not he was diagnosed correctly. The one behavior that was their biggest concern was his inability to keep friends. They gathered this diagnosis based on both observation and the pre-parent interview. His mom was the person who was present for the interview. I have always found this strange because his mother has never socialized him so it is hard to say that he can' keep friends when he never really learned how to socialize. (ex. no play dates, no sports, not allowed to go outside etc) He only has meltdowns at his mothers house which she says lasts for hours on end and suggests to us that when he has meltdowns at our house she finds the best way to calm him down is to read him a book. She doesn't seem to believe us when we say that his meltdowns last for about 10 minutes. We take him up to his room and tell him to come down when he is ready that this behavior is unacceptable. She uses his Aspergers as a reason for NOT socializing him. Plus the world is not going to stop and read him a book whenever he gets upset. She feeds into his moods and never really addreses them.
She told my husband last night that she was taking their son to social therapy because he got mad at her sister when she was humming loud and wouldn't stop because it was annoying him. I am sorry, but if my parents put me in therapy every time my sister annoyed me we would have been there daily! She refuses to discipline the kids and only teaches “love and kindness” in their home. They have a saying that she repeats to the, “if you are kind to the world it will be kind back.” I must be living in another universe because I have found that the world is not always kind and people can be mean. Being firm hurts their feelings she says. My husband asked to go the appointment and she is refusing to let him go because she said it would be disruptive to their son. It makes me wonder if there is something else going on that she doesn't want him to know? She says that their son feels chaos because of the back and forth between houses and that is another reason she is taking him. She will neglect to tell the therapist that she has a boyfriend that lives with her for a few weeks and then moves out. Wouldn't that create some chaotic feelings for a child? My fear is that she will only give her side of the story and my stepson won't get help for the real issues. My father, who is a very talented physician has observed her behavior and has mentioned that she is pushing issues onto the kids that don't exist. Both children are adopted with different birth parents, but they are somehow both lactose intolerant (which they are not) and are allergic to sunblock (which they are not). She creates false fear in them and the examples above are just a few things that have happened this week. They don’t share DNA and so the only constant in this situation is her.
My husband has a hard time standing up to her because she is going to do what she wants to do. She used to be a Director o f Nursing so she is an expert on all things medical. IN her eyes he doesn’t know anything. She is the parent of the year and he just needs to do what he says. It is a losing battle for him. I need suggestions on how we can handle situations like his therapy appointment in the future. I know she can’t keep him from going, but she uses the kids to make him feel like he will upset their son if he goes. LOTS OF GUILT. Basically, do you have any advice for dealing with an overbearing ex-wife who is potentially damaging her children rather than helping them?
Greetings !

Welcome to the site.

I am Dr. Kaushik and i am a psychiatrist and i believe i can help you with your question.

First of all i will agree with you on your observation about your husband's ex wife's passive aggressive and narcissistic behavior which in some way or the other robbing her kids from leading a normal life. You see only having inability to keep friends is not good enough to label some one as having asperger's, as poor communication skills and persistent stereotypical behavior in the person also need to be there for confirmation of the diagnosis. Besides, the lack of friends that the poor child struggles with, seems to be a repercussion of your husband's wife's dominating and narcissistic personality because she perhaps dreads loosing control over her kids due to outside influence from peers and friends alike.

So yes i agree that the diagnosis of asperger's for your step son seems to be contentious and needs to be thoroughly re-evaluated without any biased influence from kid's mother.

Secondly, it seems like your husband's wife has traits of narcissistic personality which makes her dominating with inflated self esteem and has issues regarding vanity which she safeguards at the cost of manipulating and exploiting others including your husband and significant others in the family so that her words remain paramount in any and every important matter. Adding to this she also seems to be having passive aggressive traits as she dreads change and puts obstacles even to ideas which are constructive and for the betterment of the kids. So she does seem to be having some core personality issues which unfortunately are preventing the kids to live independently and normally.

Thirdly, your husband fails to stand his ground when confronting and fighting for his right as a parent to the kids who are as much his as hers.

So basically speaking this is a very complex issue which has become stronger with elapsing time.

Now coming to the solution to this vicious cycle of her dominance in the relationship with kids and your husband. You see believe it or not but this therapy session that she is about to pursue for your step son can be seen as an opportunity by your husband to gain some footing in this one sided equation with his ex and redeem his rights as a parent to have a say in deciding the kids future which unfortunately are undermined till date by his ex. You see what he needs to do is to gather some courage and perseverance and go to the therapy sessions despite of her resistance so that he can put forth his point of view and feelings regarding the rearing tactics of his ex and her narcissistic dominating behavior which over-rules other people's perspectives including his and also mentioning about the dilemma involving the diagnosis of asperger's syndrome rendered to the child and demanding a non - biased re-evaluation, all of this needs to be addressed by your husband in front of the therapist when his opinion is asked during the session. You see if your husband shows this much courage and speaks his mind and the therapist takes this in a positive way and considers it constructive then this will not only lead to re-evaluation of your step son for asperger's but also it will give a huge boost to your husband's moral and courage to stand his ground against his wife plus this will surely give a huge beating to the narcissistic confidence and inflated ego of his ex wife thereby making her more vulnerable and susceptible to your husband's resistance next time when they enter a stand off which will only help your husband to gain more leverage in this so far one side equation that he holds with his ex plus it will be for good of the kids who have been suffering indirectly due to their mother's underlying personality issues.

I hope this helps you to see the bigger picture and provides a direction to move in.

Wish you all the best.

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