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Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 7664
Experience:  35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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I have a manipulative manic dad, and an alcoholic drug addict

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I have a manipulative manic dad, and an alcoholic drug addict manic ex husband. Talking to a guy that I really like but I'm terrified of choosing someone that's not right for me. Taking it slow so far, but as we get closer to commuting, I've starting doing stuff I don't like. Help?
Seeking expert testimony is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective

Dear friend,

They say that once stung, you will avoid bees. You have had bad experience with two men that should have been your protectors and the ones that you trust. That has made you reluctant about setting yourself up again for another bad experience.

Of course you are wary but you have developed a great deal of anxiety which is triggered in situations where you are approaching new relationship, and are probably doing your best, XXXXX XXXXX sabotage these relationships. I guess that is what you meant when you are doing "stuff you don't like".

You could explain that a bit more if you wish.

Staying sigle has its advantages. I believe that it is best to go very slowly when considering become more intimate with others to avoid that very potential let-down.

The other person must need to understand this as well and not be one to put pressure on you. You will flee from pressure, and that is alright. You would be best to find someone with enough emotional intelligence that he understands intinctively that you are a serious person and not a player, and one who needs time to feel comfortable.

I understand that there is a bit more of an issue with you because of past experiences, but it is not out of the normal.

I would like to recommend an excellent book for you that will guide you, give you wisdom, and encourage you as well in the development and unfolding of future realtionships (or current ones as well).

Product Details

The Courage to Trust: A Guide to Building Deep and Lasting Relationships by Cynthia Lynn Wall LCSW and Sue Patton Thoele

You are quite normal and just very cautious. That will serve you well. If you feel you are overdoing it then I believe that with the right person you will be able be accepted and waited for. You will relax and learn to trust again.

I wish you great success, wisdom, and perseverance and shall keep you in my prayers for that end.

Warm regards,

Elliott, LPCC, NCC and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you Dr. Elliot. I have rated your response as excellent.


Here's the thing... I see things in my new guy that remind me of my ex. I even had a dream that I was back with my ex husband when I had a fight with him. I love strong personalities, be they in friends or partners, and he definitely has one, but I don't know how to talk to him sometimes, and that scares me. He has a very high opinion of me but doesn't know, nor does he want to know anything about my past. I fell in love with my ex-husband because he was not frivolous, he was serious and seriously in love with me. But as my shine faded, and he was mean. He was not particularly physically abusive, but he was very hard on me, and I felt abandoned and alone throughout the whole marriage. He was never a provider to me, and I went all of my assets trying to patch up our marriage. I had two kids for the same reason, I know-that was not wise.



We were living in Guatemala. I can home, even though I loved Guatemala, because my husband and I were very well known, and the scene became very "small town" during our separation... I didn't need the drama. My family said that they would help me, and in their own way, I guess they have, but I am essentially alone. I am usually very comfortable being alone. I have an impossibly difficult time asking for help, or receiving help, and at the same time I am resentful that the help is not there.


Enter new guy-- the first thing that he says to me is that he wants to take care of me. He is looking for an incredible woman like me to spend the rest of his days with. He wants a family and to build a life. BUT, he doesn't exactly have anything to offer me right now. First, I would need to make the initial investment of getting him here (he went back to his home country of Venezuela), then, if things go well, marrying him, then he would be able to take care of me. He talks a good game, and I love his straight-forward, no-nonsense personality, but in the time that I've known him (almost a year) he has not had a job, and in theory has been living off of his savings. (I work in finance, and find that very hard to believe).


He is also interested in taking things slow, but I see things already that concern me. He doesn't like me being social, which was one of the first ways that my ex really started to isolate me, by alienating my friends. I can see myself happy with him when I am alone, but wouldn't want to be with him and others. Sometime I think, what the hell? My family doesn't particularly care about being around me anyway, if I have a guy that loves me, lets go off and start a life just the two of us.


Also, he is the first guy that I have ever dated that doesn't find me beautiful, or at least pretend to. He is constantly telling me that he doesn't like my hair, that my face is red, that I should loose weight. He says that my daughters are more beautiful (seriously creepy).


Another thing that concerns me is that I'm not proud of him. He is sexy to me because he is very masculine, but he doesn't speak English. I would constantly be having to translate and mitigate situations for him (been there and done that). There would be situations in which the cultural complications would be very difficult. (Whereas I move relatively freely between all cultures because I have made a conscious effort to learn how to do so, he has not, and is not particularly interested in trying. He can't even come to terms with all Hispanic cultures) He wants to keep everything a secret and that's okay with me, but I would never want my girls or nieces or friends to be in a relationship that they aren't proud of.


Lastly, although we talk all the time, sometimes I feel like I couldn't really have a heart to heart. I wont tell him I'm attracted to him sexually because I'm afraid he'll make an unpleasant comment about my appearance. When there is something that we disagree on, I feel like he essentially just shuts me down, because I don't say what I think, because I don't want him to get mad (my ex would have paid money for that kind of treatment)


Because with all of that, comes the promise of him taking care of me. Being there for me. Providing for me. He calls religiously, says he loves me. He makes me happy. And because that scares me, I start flirting with other guys, and I even had someone over one night. None of these guys are guys that could/are offering me anything really, but just to feel like I'm not trapped.


God, as I write this out I feel really stupid. I am setting myself up for failure big time, aren't I?




This is quite a well presented and complicated story which I followed with great interest. You seem to be quite a woman.

Is this man a narcissist? Does he control you by throwing you off balance, insulting your appearance, pitting you against your daughters?

A narcissist loves to control, be admired, and will lie to well that they can literally fool a lie-detector device. They are the best con artists. They feel superior to others. Most importantly is that they do not have the capacity to feel empathy towards others. They cannot feel your pain. Because they are great actors they act like they do in order to manipulate a person, but they cannot experience empathy just as a blind man cannot see how many fingers you are holding up.

I do not know if he truly is but the more I reread your entry, the more I suspect that he might be. "He talks a good game". He lives without money (lives off women?) He promises the world but doesn't have the means to do anything.

He is counting on you buying your way into this relationship based on (empty?) promises.

You are in finance. Would you buy this bridge?

He knows how to play you but is this all part of his scheme to sell his snake oil?

I want you to read this book to help you:

Product Details

The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists: Coping with the One-Way Relationship in Work, Love, and Family by Eleanor Payson


If you are convinced that you want to break with him then this book is he best guide.



Product Details

Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder by Bill Eddy LCSW JD and Randi Kreger



You seem very strong, but you are at the same time vulnerable and perhaps a bit naive.


I advise you to take things VERY slowly and learn about NPD and how to defend yourself against it.


I agree that you may be walking into a bad situation.


My prayers are with you. You could do better than this. There are too many red flags in my estimation.


Warm regards,



Elliott, LPCC, NCC and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I really appreciate your feedback. I will definitely take a look at the books you have recommended to me.


I'm not sure what part of what you read made you think that I am "quite a woman", but I appreciate the comment. My loneliness appears to be my Achilles' heel. That will be something to work on next.


Thanks again.

Dear Jennifer,


1) You are an adventurer

2) You are adaptable to to other cultures

3) You have brains and beauty

4) You are generous and supportive

5) You are trusting (which is a plus if you can temper it with good judgment)

I am lonely too but it is not my vulnerable point and it does not have to be yours.

You might even find a GOOD guy.

Warm regards