All posts by Susan

I am a 38 year old married man. My wife and I have been married twelve years. We have three children–all girls. The children are the light of my life. With the third pregnancy, my wife gained fifty pounds and has never gotten back to her pre-pregnancy weight. That coupled with her drill sergeant attitude towards me, makes me inclined to avoid her in all ways. I cannot bring myself to initiate the subject of divorce for fear of losing precious time with my children. Couples counseling did not help our marriage. What advice can you give me?

You indeed sound very detached from your wife. Divorce is traumatic for children. I would suggest that you reenter counseling with your wife to discuss how any separation or possible divorce could be amicable. The more you and your wife are able to treat each other with respect and civilly, the less potential there is for damage to the children. You and your wife may want to be in individual counselling to deal with conflicted emotions. And keep an eye on your children–watch for agression or signs of depression.

My therapist referred to my parents as having been narcissists. Could you please elaborate on this.

A narcissistic parent has some of the following qualities:  The message to the child is you have always been a burden, the child exists for limited reasons having to do with the parent’s psychological needs.   The child’s needs are not recognized and the child is not listened to in a serious manner.

The adult child of these parents may question his value and may continue not to feel heard or seen.  The adult child may have no way  of expressing his feelings or validating his existence.  Depression frequently occurs.

Your relationship with your therapist and your therapist’s interest in you can help you begin to deal with this issue and heal.

My estranged wife is and alcoholic and is irrationally angry with me and through a brick through my window. I didn’t do anything wrong, she’s just drunk all the time and no longer lives with me. What do I do?

I would hope that when the window was broken you called the police to report the incident.  Did you photograph the broken window?

If your wife assults you or your property again, you will have evidence should you want to obtain a restraining  order.

How are you feeling with all of these issues?  Al-Anon meetings might  be helpful to you.

Do you want to help your wife with her alcoholism?  You could speak to someone at AA               and learn how best to handle an intervention.

I moved to Miami six months ago and cannot find a social network. Any suggestions?

Have you considered taking an on-going class or joining a sports team?  Have you joined a gym?  Possibly your church or synagogue has social functions.  Also you might try Meetup Miami and look for a group that would interest you.  These are a few of the strategies that clients have used with success.  I hope that you begin to feel at home in Miami shortly.

One question, are you relatively comfortable in new social situations?

Susan, I recently started on anti-depressant medication. What else can I do to feel better?

1.  Exercise for thirty minutes five days a week.

2.  Eat foods that are discussed in such books as 8 Weeks to Optimum Health by Andrew Weil, M.D.

3.  Have a social network of positive, supportive friends.

4.  Find activities that you may enjoy, or at least “stick with.”

5.  Remember, it may take a while to feel your old self.

6.  Be aware of negative thoughts.  Alter your inner dialogue.

My husband was recently released from prison where he was incarcerated on narcotic charges. He was in prison for two years. The prison was close to our home and my now six year old twin sons and I were able to visit twice weekly. The boys were told this was a “special school.” How do I protect them from gossip or cruel comments when they enter first grade.

More realistic is how to prepare the boys for the real possibility of some taunting.  The first time that this occurs you need to explain that the school was to help daddy do better.  They need reinforcement that dad is a good person.  Possibly you can do some role playing with the twins so that they know how to react.  Your husband’s involvement in the boys’ lives is crucial.  Would he enjoy coaching a sports team?  This will also serve to reintroduce him to your community.  Small barbecues during the summer may also be helpful.

Both you and your husband need time to reestablish your relationship.  Good luck.  Let me know how you are doing.

I was severely physically abused by my mother when I was a child. I am 29, married and seven months pregnant. Please give me tips on not repeating this abuse.

First of all you are aware of the potential devasting effects of child abuse.  You have determined that this is behavior you don’t want to continue.  Have you spent time with small children?  Do you know what your triggers are and how to handle testing or diffcult behaviors?  You may, after your delivery and the post-partum period, want to take a class in parenting.  There are many books in print as well as on-line suggestions.  If you feel that you have unfinished issues and feel you are duplicating the physical or possible verbal abuse, therapy could be very helpful.

My husband had an extra-marital affair two years ago. The other woman has since moved to another city. I find that I cannot get past this. We want to remain together. Can you help us?

It’s not unusual for both men and women to take a long time to heal from a spouse’s affair.  You may find that you have many questions regarding the affair.  If your husband doesn’t want to discuss it further, don’t allow yourself to be intimidated by your husband’ admonishments not to bring up questions.  What led to your husband’s involvement with another woman and what can he doto assure you of his current committment?  The affair needs to be addressed and cannot be the elephant in the middle of the room.  Possibly your clergy or a therapist can be helpful in resolving underlying issues.