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TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1701
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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My father and my 6 year girlfriend speak more than my father

Customer Question

My father and my 6 year girlfriend speak more than my father and I do. I even find they keep conversations secret. Have even found out about secret rendezvous they do. Not sure about what they do or what it's about but I find it fishy. A woman who is bipolar and easily taken advantage of. I love her and have 5 kids with her. I'm turning 31. can't completely get rid of the notions though as they know too much about things I've only divulged with the other. I tested it and said certain things to one then the other to see what would happen. Found out that things were being relayed between the two and both deny ever talking. But then the phone bill says something different. My dad only shows up to visit when im gone. Even caught him in the act of trying to hide his appearance. I spoke with him right after work and on my way to school and suggested get together of him ans me for a beer maybe just to talk. Catch up ya know I offered to pay. He said maybe. But that always means no without an act of God. I spoke with siblings about it and they say the same as I do and think nothing of it but don't think he would. I did have a better relationship than he with his mother my grandmother who was my life. Growing old ya know things he's gone through. I want to learn from him. He avoids it most of the time. Getc rude. Maybe it's just his way. Also one day my dad divulged to me my girlfriend exposed herself to him. Early on before we were ever together. She was my sisters high-school friend and needed a place to stay and was 19 and he came home and was on his computer and he didn't know anyone was home he said but she walked out of the master bath that only he and mom used primarily walked past him butt naked into my sisters bedroom. Sister was gone only them two home. I was 16 at the time. He said nothing more. That was it. Nothing became of it and hemail said they never spoke of it. She has been diagnosed with multi personality disorder as well. Has moments where she has complete blanks. Forgets whole events. Either way before her I was never a jealous man. Acts like she don't care but I can tell when she's interested in a man which is harmless. It means nothing to me at that point but where we're supposed to be were exclusive. Everything was fine until I started to drag my feet. I was dog tired and just wanted to sleep. We argued for something she decided to be angry about and I started to get leery about what was going on. She was trying to push me out the door. Was all dressed up. Didn't even try to show me like she always does.Then catching a peek to see if I'm looking. I spoke up and said let's go to dinner just you and me and she kinda despised the notion because maybe deep down she knew what she was doing and couldn't react as if she really didn't want to. Begrudgingly she entertained the notion and tried to co.e up with excuses as to why we can't. When usually she's always like he'll yeh. Find a sitter and then she helps. It was kinda tossed up in the air back and forth and I became more suspicious when she then says we can ask a neighbir girl who she says we could use but im like do we knkw this girl and ask how much and daughter says 40 but seemingly spoke tok soon and mom got upset scolding her which i didnt understand why and she says 10 an hour. Like she already was sure of it. Like they already worked it out and she said this was the first time using the babysitter. I wanted to meet speak with the babysitter and she insisted she deal with it. I later found out it wasnt the first time from the babysitter. But my lady already had cash to pay her as i went to pull cash she said she had it coming home. Then realize she had 2 20s. Pulled the cash earlier even used a check two times to hide the transaction on the statement. A check stilm shows but later and not showing time and date of withdrawal. She never keeps cash on hand. Im not sure if she committed anymore. But again at times she acts as if she cant live without me. It is genuine too. Am i stupid. Am i in denial. I just want a family for my kids. Also found a pic she sent to some odd number. It was a preg test. Positive. She then also bleeding excessively irregar. Seemingly in pain. As if abortion. My dad wants me to leave her but sees her more than he sees me. Which she says she never had. But also dont want to show me health records. Is it too much for me to ask. But nit pregnant she say. I dont want sti either so it becomes a concern. Tell me wht you think. I even very generally forgave my father so as not to point fingers. Said i wanted a family when he tells me to leave her and need him to show my kids what it means to be family. He then follows suit. Very little trust. How do i approach this. Is it worth a shot. Am i wasting my time. Sure i have my throughts what are yours. Then comes in and
mot's driving me crazy and not sure exactly how I shou
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.

Apparently the mother of your children has very loose rules about her intimate behavior. Did she not have a good mother or good father? Bipolar disorder acts a lot like Borderline Personality Disorder, which is often anchored in a very unreliable relationship with mother, or no mother at all. You haven't written anything about your own mother--is she living in the household and relating to your father? Who is the head of household where you live now?--You?

Who do you trust in your household to be adequate for parenting your kids? Or are there several people who might each contribute some of the security and childrearing needs your five kids would naturally have?

I look forward to your answers some time tomorrow. I can't advise you on how to proceed until I know more about the love and power relationships in your household.

Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.

But initially I can say that you may have success if you focus on building a 1 to 1 relationship with your father without first confronting him about what might be going on between him and your commonlaw partner. And apparently spawning babies with this woman is easy, but providing a stable and supportive environment for them is NOT easy.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am the head of the house. I make the rules and my word in the end final. I do allow for reason and am open minded. I'm not a dictator. I get your point about making babies but I'm not sure I agree with the term you use. Kinda funny kinda not. Yes ultimately I am willing to get myself into the situation and ultimately I am the one who will fix it. I'm the only one who can. She seems to have no desire to try to fix anything anymore. We did have a fifth daughter who died at 3 months from a rare form of muscular dystrophy which made things on edge throughout the family. The kids the extended me my girlfriend. She has wanted me to marry her for a long time now and may be causing doubt in her because I don't feel the need or maybe I feel like I'm not ready or she isn't ready or she wants for the wrong reasons. Many doubts and not wanting to start a union between us that may very well be forced to break. I think marriage is sacred and should be treated as such. If you start it you should finish. I don't think a person should be allowed to back out or divorce it goes against all that you say at the altar. Have a little conviction. A little commitment. If I say I do i mean forever. Until we die. Through thick and thin til death do we part. No exceptions no excuses. Nothing can come between or even be used as an excuse to split. You vow you life and soul before God and should be held to their word. I grew up good. Never wanted anything. Both my parents were hard workers. School and work full time. My father had a rough relationship with grams because she was an alcoholic early on and apparently I know a different grams then uncle and father do. But all I've ever known her to be was like Christ. True unconditional love. Forgiving if you ask it. Love no matter what. With my father I have been trying to just build on what we have. I do realize accusing would only make things worse. He was a cop and then went on to natural resources. He didn't like all the politics involved. He found it to be dishonest. His actions prove I can trust my father and I know I can. My mother was a nurse for many years and is niw declared unfit to as able to make decisions on her own basically. My grandmother had dementia in her old age and presenting in my mother as well. Early stages but getting worse. Im not any risk as all my uncles from that side are stable. Well to do. Signals just present over and over. Maybe coincidence. What I mostly hope to gather from this is a neutral viewpoint and sure your only seeing one aspect. She was adopted at birth to the family she knows today. You're right about her relationship with her mother and it is trickling down to daughter. She don't know how to be with her. All she knows is what she was taught. Her mother was a poor model. Not bad but not the mother she needed. A teacher very strict not understanding or open to listen they were stable but her mother was incapable of compassion. Well at least to the extent her daughter needed. My girl friend that is. Was diagnosed at an early age she was that she had disability. Which didn't help her develop but was also had small form of cerebral palsy. She is very smart. Not lacking in the book smarts category her father was the compassionate one. Nothing but good to say about him but he passed from cancer in her teen years. Then was stuck with her mother alone. A woman who didn't know how to deal with her child. How to communicate. Just didn't understand. Her doctor does say that meds she takes affects her memory or can. Among other things. Basically said if she had done something wrong and don't remember it she can't be held accountable. I'm not really eating all that shit. There are other meds. Excuse my language. I'm only day to day. Not sure of what to expect. When she's unhappy all are. Maybe I deserve it. Maybe I am only being taught to persevere. Maybe it's gods plan. Maybe it's a test of my faith. Maybe she just a phase. I don't know. My mother isn't in the house with my father. Not for some time. Lives in another state. Our house is just the immediate relations. Me her and kids. My kids don't need anything. They need a mother's love and compassion. She slowly is becoming unwilling to raise them. School is done for me now and have more time at home which is good. We do many things as a family. Outings. Trips. Camping. Fun stuff and bonding galore. Or should anyways. I try. I can't be faulted for not trying. I am ever patient. Of her and kids. No one has ever said different except her when she's mad. Seemingly for no reason sometimes. I am definitely working on showing my kidson i love them often. I think I do a pretty good job too. Everyone always say I'm so good to my kids. There seems to have been a sort of power struggle as of late as shes been withdrawing. Command daughter to do one thing just to see if she will obey. Strict to no end to daughter but more patient with the boys. Three of them. They are babies still though and toddler. Young kids.
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.

You sure do have a rough row to hoe. I apologize for the implied judgment behind the word spawning; but I was thinking "why create 5 kids if you're not willing to marry their mother." What's going to happen with those kids if you end up needing to divorce--and you're right that that could really happen? But you're taking the responsibility for now as the test of faith (and I'd say personality development via responsibility for little ones. I know what an ordeal that can be because I have sole responsibility for a 65 yr old wife and a 28 yr old daughter who are both disabled by severe and incurable illnesses and in chronic pain.

i would definitely have the same suspicions that you do about your father, since he lost his own wife to dementia a good while ago.

I was concerned about your partner's mother because an unaccepting/unembracing mother plus genetics for bipolar can develop Borderline Personality disorder, which is extremely difficult to improve. But the key emotional trigger-button for flipping-out is Shame = anything less than praise for her personality and actions--even "sensing criticism" where there is none. Strict religion naturally breeds quite a bit of moral judgment-which can work when applied to yourself, AND as careful training for your kids, but usually BACKFIRES when applied to a partner whose mother was Narcissistic (incapable of loving any child but the Perfect one for HER reflection) or or otherwise perfectionistic (Obsessive-Compulsive Personality could fit some teachers). You can look up the list of characteristics for these Personalities: Borderline, Narcissistic and Obsessive-Compulsive.

Even if your partner doesn't have enough BPD characteristics or her mother doesn't have enough NPD or OCD characteristics for them to fit the profiles, the best road to take for making your relationship last for the 20 or so years you'll need to give your kids their chance at productive & happy lives would be to add an ongoing "good mother" therapist relationship to her pharmaceutical mood management meds: a woman old enough to be her mother, with enough warmth in her heart to love the way your partner's mother could not and enough training and skills to handle your partner's difficult behavior.

I wonder if you're worried about your partner's declining interest in motherhood and perhaps also in you, because you're also worried that some day you're not going to feel enough love towards her to want to preserve the family you have with her, and you're not going to know how to get it back. I KNOW THAT LOVE IS RENEWABLE, but not as easily as an overdue library book. That's why I'm advising you to invest in a psychotherapeutically trained Good Mother (as "Grandmother") for your family: You had yours at a younger age when you needed her, but your partner never did. And you don't have yours anymore now.

I have lived a similar life in that way: My mother was good-enough until I was 23 when she died, while my father was a Narcissist (who couldn't love anyone less than perfect= anyone). But my wife's mother was a Narcissist, and her Good Father died when she was 11. Now I've had to learn to be the good mother for both my wife and daughter, and it's an uphill learning curve.

I assume it could be tight financially for you to furnish a capable therapist for the long term for your partner--but you'd be investing in her good-mothering (under professional supervision) as well as her emotional balance for becoming a good wife. You'd need to interview lots of psychologically trained people beginning with your partner's psychiatrist) to find the right person and then developa way to afford her ongoing devoted services (bipolar & borderline therapy, marital counseling and parenting consulting). She would become a valuable member of your family.

Now I haven't addressed your concern about your father well enough. So let's have at least one more exchange of messages--we have a week or more--or I can also offer you Skype or email counseling outside this website as a "premium service."

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I will think about the premium as it was possibility and option just need the right person and willing to pay. Just know I'm not one to fall into the head shrink crap. I am educated and not easily manipulated and I'm not being rude just honest. I mean what I said about having predisposition to this whole counseling stuff. I would rather talk with family and have tried but the woman thinks they are bias. So I'm entertaining the idea of a neutral party so know it's what she wants. I'm telling you this because if I'm going to pay you I would rather you could convince her. You will have to play her side. Put me on the spot. Question my actions but not to the point of disarray. I havery tried with local doctors. Almost everyone in town. There are a ton. Well the ones worth trying. Just curious do you accept blue Cross as payment. Didn't think you would ad this is very slim and not sure about your certifications so if so it would help but I am willing to pay for whatever makes her happy. Even willing to take lashings to help her feel equal as she is definitely shamed and feels inadequate so will have to pit myself to her perceptual level to make her comfortable enough to make her open up. Just informing you of the task at hand. I don't want to disrespect you or what you do so don't get me wrong. Get back to me and I'll talk with her about it. Maybe you could meet her to consult then move from there.
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.

I do understand and respect your attitude towards me AND towards mental health professionals in general: My wife, who was also a very good mental health professional before she retired in 2009 due to lifethreatening disease (still present), was fond of quoting a NY Times article stating that 2/3 of counseling professionals were frequently unhelpful or more harmful than helpful. It's because they are underqualified and don't bother to realize it--due to normal human self-serving personality bias, but that cannot be tolerated in this profession. For in this profession (more than medical/body sciences) the counselor's personality is THE major "instrument" thru which the problem-solving (that's the easier part, techniques matter) and personality development (very hard part: therapist's life-commitment to self-development matters) must be carried out. That's the reason why the founders of the profession (let's say Freud and Jung as the best known in psychoanalysis) asserted that you needed several years of weekly analysis before practicing and lifelong supervision-analysis. I get what supervision I still get after 40 years of licensed practice with my wife, which isn't good enough for F&J standards, and particular human flaws will assert themselves anyway.

But I'm NOT applying to become the counselor for your woman but only an advisor for you, because 1. I'm licensed in Florida where I was mainly a full-time college professor of Psychology and Humanities, but I've moved to Georgia, where I don't bother to jump thru the hoops to transfer my license because I don't have time to practice enough to keep up an office and advertise for clients because I'm too busy taking care of my chronically ill and very weak wife and ditto daughter (not-life-threatening, more chronic pain, less weakness) and our undermaintained house and liaison with the outer world. I 2. She should have a Good Mother type therapist, preferably very experienced thoroughly psychodynamically (& newer modalities) trained Social Worker or PhD who's got the patience for Borderline & Bipolar personality treatment. and 3. You need a skilled professional who could follow your family through 20 years as your family-supporter, too long for me. I've been practicing for over 40 years already, mostly part-time; I'd be surprised if desire & abilities were still good enough 20 years from now. 4. I cannot accept any insurance companies for payment, so I've always just lowered my rates down toward what the copayment would be anyway, because my income came from full-time professorjob and now from Teachers' Retirement and Social Security, and this counseling I've done is part of my service to humanity for the privilege of channeling the love of the Divine Source thru my efforts for whoever it may benefit

That's why I'd rather coach you for as long as it takes in finding the right Woman for your woman, so that both of your lives can grow towards the satisfaction that humans, and esp parenting couples need to thrive. As a parent of a disabled 28 year old woman I'm acutely aware of the challenges involved in balancing sacrifice and self-responsiveness for these needs and goals. I know it may not be possible to find such a good-fit counselor for your family, and also few laypersons know how to persist until they do succeed in the search I'm advocating for your moral and emotional satisfaction.

Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.

My wife's best advice for finding the right therapist is to call up the doctors you've seen and particularly the psychiatrists and ask them who they'd send her to (use words of Borderline Personality features--after you've checked on the list--and Bipolar). A major general weakness of female therapists is that many will cover for their lack of high level expertise by "using their intuition" which often means emotionally manipulating clients--aka "charm" or "good-mothering." My wife was referred to by many doctors and psychiatrists because she wasn't just manipulative (tho she was that at times too: I've ;seen & heard it) but also had had 10 years of Jungian analysis from both gender therapists and 2 years of weekly supervision by the best adolescent&adult psychologist in the FL county where she worked at psychologically detained boy's home.

So ask all the psychiatrists--assuming they're honest enough to know that they're inadequately trained to do talk therapy, but they should know who could help someone taking psychiatric drugs.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What are we talking about here. Explain your proposal.
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.

I am proposing to stay in touch with you via email to do some counseling of YOU, but mainly to guide you in finding a viable female therapist for your partner, and further guidance for you in dealing with your father. I think she needs an engaged, face-to-face female "good mother" counselor to help her develop the stability she never got from her own mother. I don't think my distant written or Skype expertise would be present and influential enough to keep your relationship (and therefore family) in a stable state--so I don't want to offer you what would not be enough for your needs. I'd hope to steer you through your bias against psychotherapy, but mainly toward finding someone in your town who could provide what you really need, which needs to be in-person.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
How much price for you. How often.
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry it took me this long to notice that you had responded to me again. For years JustAnswer would notify me thru email that a customer had responded. But they stopped doing that some months ago, for reasons never explained to me. If you want to work with me, I want to consider whether it would be a wise use of your time and mine, and your money to do that. The way to do that would be to First choose a Premium Service Fee, $25. Then this would give us access to each other's private emails and to Skype if you have it as I do (it's free anyway). Second I would discuss with you through either email or Skype messaging What You Would Ideally Want To Accomplish. I would respond to what you can list that you would want, to begin discussion of which of those desired outcomes (or changes) with respect to yourself, your father, your girlfriend and your kids, may be possible to pursue under the conditions available to us, or not possible, and, if possible, how we might go about the learning & practicing procedures (that I'm competent with) for achieving them.

This is what a counseling contract is like: And that is where I'm willing to start--with negotiation. I think you want 1. to get your father barred from intimate relations with your girlfriend and 2. to get your girlfriend to embrace both her motherhood and your partnership with greater stability and commitment than you experience from her at present.

Are these statements accurate about what you want? If they're not entirely accurate, please let me know what you do want from counseling, so I can respond. I will only negotiate an agreement to do counseling if I think that we can accomplish what you want through methods that I'm capable of training you in. And both your father and your girlfriend are wild-cards in this game over which I have no control--which is the reason that I'm advocating to find HER a counselor who can handle her personality UP CLOSE, since that's a task I will not attempt at a distance.

Don't worry about the "timed out" notice. It doesn't mean anything. But creating our own private email & skype connection needs to be the next step,k so that we can manage our own relations instead of paying JA to furnish this forum.