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belove0820, Psychologist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 43
Experience:  I have over 10 years of experience working with children, adolescents, and parents.
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My 82 year-old mother and I are visiting my 4 1/2 year old

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My 82 year-old mother and I are visiting my 4 1/2 year old (Micah) and his mom at her house in California. My mother and I are staying at a separate hotel. I flew my mother from Hartford to DC and from there we flew out to California. I can only make it out her once a year and I try to stay 1 week when I come (as I am doing this time). Otherwise I visit Micah on webcam to chat with him. Our first full day together here went well and I had fun wrestling with my son, playing the Wii with everyone, and generally having a good time. We stayed from about 10am to 7:30pm for the first day. As we were leaving his mother (a neuropsychologist) asked me if my texting function on my phone was fixed. I said "yes." I thought no more of it. I check my phone several hours later and saw I had received a text from her that indicated she was unhappy with something I said while in front of my son (Micah). A text. Her point may have some validity. That's not what concerns me. What concerns me is that instead of talking to me face-to-face about this incident (which occurred in the middle of the day), she waited to text me a message after I left. After all, I only get out here once/year. I had no idea during our time together that she felt so strongly. Any thoughts on ways to handle this? Thanks.

I'm happy to work with you on this. But, first, it would be helpful to have some idea regarding the text that she sent. There's no need to transcribe them, but could you tell me what the general idea was.

I will be happy to get back to you with a response as soon as I can review that information.

Thanks so much!
Dr. Autumn
I actually have a few thoughts for you, even without knowing what the text said...

I wonder if it's possible that Micah's mother did not want to interfere with any of your time with Micah. It may be that she thought that it would be better to send a text and let you know how she was feeling without having a discussion (or possible argument) in front of Micah, which could lead to you and he having a different experience during your short time together.

I would text or call her and ask if there is a time that you and she could talk about her concerns in person, or even set a time to talk to her over the phone when Micah won't be around.

It does seem that since you get so little time in person with Micah, that it would be sad to have any of her concerns interfere with your time with him.

I hope this is helpful. Please let me know if you have any additional thoughts or questions.

Thanks so much!
Dr. Autumn
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Doctor Autumn,


Thank you.


Actually I have told her several times after she has sent me emails that I would rather speak with her face-to-face. She seems to ignore my pleading and I think at this point I need a new way to approach. *I feel* that she can *seem* to be manipulative of my emotions. Could this be her way of getting a "rise" out of me? I don't know. However, she knows that face-to-face is better because: 1) I've told her several times, 2) she's a psychoneurologist with patients (!).


Given that information, what do you think?




It is possible that she is trying to manipulate your emotions and get a rise out of you. So, possibly, you could try responding via email or text, and see what happens. If she is trying to get a rise out of you, and you respond by not getting emotional or upset, then maybe she will change how she approaches you. It's important to consider what she gets out of these situations. What is she looking for when she sends you these messages? Is she looking to upset you, or is she looking to somehow avoid the face-to-face contact with you (or is there something else). If she is specifically trying to avoid the face-to-face contact, what are her reasons for doing this? Once you understand what she gets out of this, then it's easier to figure out how to approach the situation.

Also, I hesitate to rely to much on the fact that she is a psychoneurologist. On the one hand, it would seem to indicate that she should have a better understanding of how to interact with other people. However, professionals like this don't always bring these skills home. Just because someone can be helpful to clients or patients, does not mean that they are as good at using those skills with their own friends and family. So, while she may be very skilled at her job, it doesn't mean that she knows how to interact with you. Also, if you only see her one week out of the year, it is possible that she just doesn't want to interact face-to-face because she's not used to it, and it's not comfortable for her. It doesn't mean that this is right, it's just another thing to consider while we try to figure out why she responds the way she does.

Let me know how it goes if you have a chance try some of these other ways of responding to her.

Dr. Autumn
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Well, I'm sitting with her and my mother and son in her house right now. I did not respond to the text. She has not mentioned the text. And I have not mentioned the text. I want to give this a little more time and then I'll get back to you. Thank you for suggestions. Let's see what happens. (By the way, I have some personal knowledge of what it is to be a patient of a pychologist/psychiatrist...just FYI).


Also, thank you for your thoughts on professional psychologists and home life vs.professional life.

That seems good to just wait it out and see what happens. Good luck, and let me know if I can do anything else.
Dr. Autumn
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