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Topic : 05/12 Toxic Relationships

Number of Replies: 410
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Created on : Friday, May 05, 2006, 07:05:23 am
Author : DrPhilBoard1
Do you know someone who turns your stomach or makes you cringe the minute they walk into the room? If so, Dr. Phil has advice for managing toxic relationships. Janet left her husband, Mark, on 10 separate occasions in their first year of marriage. She says she’s tired of being his maid and concubine, and of putting up with his lying, and his selfish and unsympathetic ways. Mark thinks Janet needs to get over her deep-seated issues. Why does she keep tolerating his behavior, and is he the only one at fault? Then, Gay and MG say their lives are being torn apart by their daughter, Summer’s, hostility and abuse. They say she lies about illnesses, verbally attacks them and blames them for her chaotic lifestyle. Summer feels betrayed by her parents and even accuses them of taking away her child. Find out Gay’s ultimatum to Summer and share your thoughts here.

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May 12, 2006, 8:47 am CDT


It seems that summer has had a hard life right now, & can't deal with all of the hard issues. I pray that she gets help real soon & to get herself straightened out. Her son needs her support & she really needs to change real soon for that. She should also get herself a full-time job, as well. I'm not condemning her like some of you are doing. Were all human beings here, & nobody's perfect. We just got to learn to accept of what can be changed & what cannot.
May 12, 2006, 9:20 am CDT

Get Out While the Gettin' Out's Good

Quote From: raineday1

I need an opinion.  I have been with my boyfriend for 2.5 years.  We have been living together a little over a year of that.  I have had immense trouble from his x-wife and also the relationship with his 10 year old daughter.  It’s been a very emotional relationship as far as being accepted into his side of the family.  His x-wife didn’t want the divorce and for years they had a traumatic marriage.  He ran around, cheated and for the life of me I don’t know why she stayed with him.  I knew him before his divorce, he would always tell me he was getting divorced trying to get me to go out with him and I would respond, you get a divorce and maybe we’ll go out.  He eventually moved out and got the divorce and we started dating.  I told him from the onset that I would never tolerate his treatment towards me as his relationship was with her.  In the beginning we did everything we could not to be around anywhere that she would be and considerate of her feelings.  Once we moved in together and she had actually dated others, we were invited to a party at his parent’s friend’s house whom she is friends with their daughter.  She was therefore, invited too.  It was his weekend to have their daughter and we had her with us at the party and had decided we would just stay a little while because of the situation and then leave.  His x-wife was drinking and glaring at me the whole time.  I walked into the house to use the restroom and as I opened the door to come out she was there before I even got the door open on top of me hitting me in the head and ribs with her fists until finally someone pulled her off of me.  I was lodged between the toilet and bathtub from the fall and all I could do was put my arms over my face to protect myself.  She done this with her daughter there, I was shocked.  Because of the circumstance being at his parent’s friend’s house and due to the fact that she’s friend with their daughter nobody would call the police.  Therefore, we immediately left and went to the local Sheriff’s department and I pressed assult charges and then went to the hospital where I had golf ball sized lumps on my head and cracked ribs.  We ended up going to court and my boyfriend’s sister-in-law appeared that day as well along with his x-wife to support her which caused more hard feelings of course.  Once this happened everything, including my relationship with my boyfriend’s daughter became very complicated and has been very painful in many ways over the last year.    



When I first met his daughter she was accepting of me and liked me.  I got along fine with her and it seemed to be pretty easy going after all the worry about it.  Once this all took place, his daughter was caught up in the middle and basically her mother turned her against me.  She knows full well that we do not like each other and because of that evening we can’t be in the same place.  The x-wife is still on probation and has a restraining order on her to protect me.  She has pushed it several times appearing where we are and calling our house hanging up, it’s been endless.  



The problem now is I cannot deal with anything that involves the x-wife or the child.  It has made our relationship so difficult that I am afraid in the end it’s going to destroy us.  I don’t’ know how we have made it together enduring everything but somehow we have.  One day, my boyfriend had to work on Saturday so he tells her she can stay with me until he’s home and she gets hysterical and says that if she does, her Mom will ground her and she will be in trouble.  We tried to explain that it wouldn’t be her that got into trouble, if her Mom was going to be mad at anyone it would be us.  Also, we tried to explain that when she is at our house, for his weekend visitations, it’s his decision to make.  This is where the trouble really began.  The problem is anytime he has to work on the weekend, he has to call her Mother and take her home early in the morning or the evening before, or he’ll call all around looking for a sitter.  Because her Mother says she can’t be with me or go anywhere with me, he goes along with this not to complicate things but the only thing it’s doing is hurting me more and more and making me feel despise towards this child because it’s causing us so much trouble.  I rarely talk to her unless I have to, and I keep my distance because frankly I have been hurt more times than I can possibly mention on here over this whole situation.  Last weekend, he had to work and we had her and so he called his sister to come and get her at 10 on Friday night and then picked up back up on Saturday rather than her just stay at the house.  If I were a bad person, if it was not a good environment then I would understand.  I have raised two wonderful children whom are 19 and 21.  My daughter just finished her freshman year in college.  I would never have lost my control so bad with my kids around to assult someone.  She has done so much damage to this child mentally that I fear it will scar her for the rest of her life and to be honest the child is getting to be just like her Mother.  She even called our house one time and insisted to her father that he break up with me because she didn’t like me and that her Mother broke up with her boyfriend because she didn’t like him.  Her mother told a huge lie to her, it was the man that broke it off with her because he didn’t feel she was someone he would like to take home and meet his kids.  The child will do anything that she knows will cause conflict between her father and I.  He is blinded by this whole ordeal and thinks I need to just get over it and that I shouldn’t let any of this bother me.  His justification for not putting his foot down while she’s at our house and just saying look you’ll stay here until I get home is that I wouldn’t have allowed my x-husbands girlfriend to watch my kids while they were little.  I said if they were living together in a serious relationship I would have no choice.  It’s a lost cause and I do try to just harden myself to it and it’s why I have to block the child out as well because I am tired of being made to feel that I am not worthy enough for this child to stay with me.  Although, I am good enough to go shopping for her, cook her dinner, buy her Christmas, birthday gifts, my paycheck goes into this too as well as what he pays in child support.  He does not correct this child, anything she wants, he agrees even if he knows that I don’t agree with it.  I do not try to be her parent, or I do not set her rules as well as I don’t say anything about discipline I don’t feel it’s my place.  I let him do that or not do that it’s not my concern.  He pushes her on me, trying to force me to have a relationship with her, saying you don’t love my daughter when we get into fights over it and he doesn’t even try to understand my feelings.  I see her as her Mother and frankly just a downright spoiled brat.  I know some of this isn’t her fault and I know she’s suffered too, but I just cannot set myself up for anymore hurt by any of them.  I have a huge wall built up.  My problem is, I don’t know how to keep it from affecting our relationship.  I can’t even talk to him about his kid, he’s so blinded and it’s quite sickening the way he goes on about her that I don’t’ want to hear anything about her.  He even has said well your daughter can babysit her and that’s another problem he’ll throw up to me that I think my daughter is perfect and I say I know she isn’t perfect, but she’s mine and I love her and she’s a pretty good kid.  I know she has faults just like they all do.  



I’m sure someone else has had this type of circumstance with their boyfriend’s kid(s) or stepchildren and how do you handle the x-wife and him going along with her rules because he can’t stand up to her and the bad feelings towards the kid(s).  I feel so immature over it and I keep thinking is it me, my fault why can’t I get over it but I just can’t.  I’m actually going to be going to counseling at the end of the month to get a professional opinion.  I feel very vindictive and angry with the whole situation and it is hurting our relationship.  I’ve seriously considered leaving him to get away from it all.  I’d love to hear from anyone that may have some advice. Good or bad thank you.    



 Run far, run fast in the opposite direction from this man and his family.  Why?  Multiple reasons, but in a nutshell:   


1) As Dr. Phil says, he will always be the parent of this little girl, along with his x-wife.  Therefore, you will *never* be free of the head games and the frustrations for as long as you are with this man.   


2) Also as Dr. Phil says: "He did it WITH you, he'll do it TO you."  You may not have slept with him before his divorce, but face the facts: you were on his mind for a long time while he was still married.  Did he *earn* his way out of that marriage? He'll do it to you too.  If you stay with him, and maybe even get married to him, how long do you think it might be before he sets his eye on someone else and divorces you to be with #3?   


3) You wrote: "He ran around, cheated and for the life of me I don’t know why she stayed with him."  Enough said about that.  See point 2) above.   


4) He's not in your camp.  You said: "He is blinded by this whole ordeal and thinks I need to just get over it and that I shouldn’t let any of this bother me." This doesn't sound like very supportive behaviour to me.  You two are not on the same page.   


5) He's placing part of the blame on you.  You said: "His justification for not putting his foot down while she’s at our house and just saying look you’ll stay here until I get home is that *I* wouldn’t have allowed ....."  (emphasis is mine)  He's using your principles against you.  This doesn't sound like very supportive behaviour to me, either.   


6) You wrote: "He pushes her on me, trying to force me to have a relationship with her, saying you don’t love my daughter when we get into fights over it..."  Trying to *force* you???  Sounds like more blaming behaviour and rather like bullying behaviour to me.  "...and he doesn’t even try to understand my feelings."  You two are *really* not on the same page.   


7) You have been with him for 2.5 years.  If his daughter is 10, then he has *at least* 11 years of history with his ex-wife.  You're the new kid on the block, and you're up against the ex, the daughter, the sister-in-law, and who knows how many other relatives of the ex-wife, and this is with little support from the boyfriend (see points 4, 5 and 6 above.)   


8) You said: "I feel so immature over it and I keep thinking is it me, my fault why can’t I get over it but I just can’t."  Nor should you have to IMHO.  You have happened into a situation that has been boiling over for more than 10 years.  It is not your fault.  Read that again: IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.  Repeat with me: "It is not my fault."  Again: "It is not my fault."  Once more: "It is not my fault."  You are not being immature.  You want a man who will place you #1 in his life, and that is not immature.   


9) You've been assaulted.  To me that is an absolute "drop-dead deal-breaker". (I learned that expression from Dr. Phil, of course, and I love it!)The rest of the family and guests were bystanders, who apparently did nothing to prevent her from following you into the house or to stop her.  Maybe they weren't aware of what she is capable of, but I doubt that this is the first time she has resorted to fists.  It sounds like this happened a year ago.  If it were me, I would have been gone immediately.  I would never stick around to allow something like this to happen a second time.  Sounds like your boyfriend did the right thing at the time, and maybe at core he's OK, maybe he's just overwhelmed by it all but stands up for you only in the most urgent and dire of circumstances.   


10) You have no guarantee that you will not be physically harmed in future.  Restrainig orders are often not worth the paper they're printed on.  Anybody out of control enough to beat someone up is possibly out of control enough  to violate a restraining order.  Ask the thousands of women in shelters.     


11) It sounds like you are reluctant to leave, I think partly because you don't want to be manipulated into anything by the ex-wife and the daughter.  Perhaps you are thinking that they will brag that they made you leave.  Well, so what if they do brag?  Let them!!  Think about what that bragging says about *them*.  You don't need to be concerned about what they say.  You are better than that.  You deserve better than that.  You don't need to defend yourself to them or to your boyfriend.  I think it was Oscar Wilde who said: "Living well is the best revenge."  Take a lesson from that and you won't have a need to say a word to anybody about these goings on.  You need to take care of yourself.  And in case that sounds like a selfish approach, read on to point 12:   


12) In your entire message, I didn't see any place where you said that you love him.  Think long and hard about that.   


13) There are plenty of fish in the sea.  Move on. Cast your net wider.   Life is 'way too short to spend it putting up with this kind of behaviour.  Good luck!   

May 12, 2006, 9:25 am CDT

Summer I Hope You Read This Board

I would love to talk to Summer. She is very troubled. I seen myself in her a few years ago. Its easy to sit back and judge her. But at one time I lived in the world she lives in now. And no its not her parents. Its the world she lives in. What she is surounded by. I to was a dancer. I left my first husband who was very mentally controling. I felt like I was nothing no one wanted me. I left him 3 days before christmas I had a small child. No one was hiring. So I got a job as a dancer. I went against every thing I believed everything I was taught. I had to feed my child I had to get us a place to live. So I chose the wrong rode to do that. That lifestyle sucks you in. I cant began to explain what it does to you. How your whole being changes. I turned in to someone I did not know. I blamed every one and everything for where I was in my life. I made excuses for everything. Sitting there listening to her was like listening to myself back then. Fortunately I wisened up on my on. But it was not easy.  And I dont think I could  have done it with out my family. Who no matter how bad got or what I did they stood strong. They new the real me not this insane person I had become . What she needs is not a bunch of judgement she needs someone to really believe in her. Even if there is no reason to other then she is a human being. That lifestyle  believe or not is like a cult. Maybe even worse. I can honestly say that because I dont sit back and judge her not ever had walked in her shoes. I was there I lived through that and came out on top and a much better person. Would I go back and change things? I dont know that I would. I know I would go down that road again. But I learned alot about people about who I am. I think of some one put a whole lot of faith and in her she may be able to be saved. Summer if your reading this honey the first place to start is to get out of that lifestyle. And I know its not easy and it wont be. At anytime but you have to decide you want to. Decide you want better. I know the money is really good. And the attention makes you feel good. But its a false feeling good. Because the people telling you are beautiful and they want to help you. They say they will take care of you. They convenice they are your friends. Fact is they are not. They all want to use you. Like the guys in  the club that promise you this that are the other. Or say you are to good for this why are you doing this let me take care of you let me get you out of this. Fact is if they are so good why are they in that place to start with. Why are they contributing to degrading you which is exactly what they are doing no matter how nice they appear. Or the so called friends who do things for you or help you get your fix. A true would do things for you not expecting anything in return. And they dam sure would not be helping you get high. They would be helping you stay clean. My prayers are with you. If you read this and pray you do. I would love to talk to you. Theres so many things I can tell you and you wont have to do a thing but listen and maybe through my story you will see a mirror of your own and get out before its to late. I got out you can to. I now am married to a wonderful man who loves me despite my past. I have the greatest kids who love me more now then they ever did. And we own our own business. Life can better. Its hard work but it can better. You just have to want it bad enough. 

May 12, 2006, 9:30 am CDT

05/12 Toxic Relationships

Quote From: benjione

  I have been remarried for almost two years now and have experienced a whole lot of emotionally draining issues with my spouse.  He is very stubborn and whenever we argue, I find that I am the one ending up saying I'm sorry and that he is right for feeling the way he does.  I have a nine year old son from a previous marriage who is a great kid and loves his new home and step dad.  He is your typical kid who you have to constantly repeat things two to three times and he fibs about little things once in a while.  He is great in school and is full of life.  My husband however, feels that he doesn't listen and his head is in the clouds most of the time.  In the past he has called him dumb and stupid and I told him repeatedly that his is not right to call him names is destructive to his self esteem!  He said if that is what he is then that is what he is!  I completely disagree.  I asked if he really cares about him and he said of course he does.  He cares that he is a good boy and listens and wants a good future for him.  He doesn't seem to understand that his behavior is pushing our son away instead of closer.  We have a 15 month child together and the most recent incident was when he fell in the yard and got hurt while our oldest was playing with him.  My husband was in the backyard working while this all happened and said that Chris left kyle to get a toy and didn't tell him.  The result was Kyle got hurt and Chris was sent to his room for one week!  I thought that the punishment was too harsh and that Chris new that he did wrong by leaving his brother alone.  My husband did not talk to me before he decided on the punishment and said he did not want to speak with Chris or see him when he gets home from work.  We had an evening science fair two days later and he refused to give him permission to go even though it meant getting a lower grade in school.  I could not stand to see that happen and took Chris to his science fair.  My husband was furious and said I created the problem and because of that he will continue to not speak to our son. It is now a week and a half and that little boy says hello and good morning with no response from his step dad.  HELP!!!!  


 The other draining issue is that one year ago My husband and I had a huge argument with my family, mainly about him and our relationship has been severed.  Chris, our son, was practically raised by my parents and now does not get to see them.  I have begged my  husband to mend the relationship and he refuses.  He says that I am free to see my parents but if I do I could pack my bags with Chris and Kyle stays with him.  How could I do that???  I could not see my kids torn apart.  I think of parents who are in there 70's everyday and pray that something will give.  They want to put the past behind but my husband refuses and will not have anything to do with them.  He said they are not allowed to contact us or visit our home.  I was so close to my parents, it's like someone ripped half my heart out. My parents say that I need to open my eyes for my sake and Chris's who is at  such an impressionable age and misses his grandparents.   I tell my husband carefully  how I feel in fear if my Dad or Mom dies I couldn't live without having peace.  He argues that I don't stand by him and back him up like I should and that is  the chance I will take - but I hope you will not resent me for it.    


If you truly love someone...wouldn't you want to make them happy?????  

It is your job above all things to protect your child both physically and emotionally.  This does not mean undermining your spouse in the presents of your child unless you are preventing abuse.  This means when all is calm after an incident you talk it over and ensure your child is treated fairly.  If your spouse does not want to listen insist on counseling.  If you still feel your child is being treated unfairly take your children and build a life where you can ensure that child is safe and treated fairly. 






What ever you do don't rationalize the miss treatment of your children. 





This is why I think it is very very important for all parents to put themselves in a position that they can support and care for their children and not depend on someone else to do it.  When you can’t take care of yourself and your children you might be tempted to make compromises that are not in their best interest. 




May 12, 2006, 10:05 am CDT

been there..........

Quote From: chrissylil

Hi, My opinion?Run away from this man and his family fast and far. That's what I should have done 12 years ago.My husbands x went above and beyond to make sure I never helped with school pick ups. They would miss religious instruction instead of relying on me for the transportation. Do u believe I have never me her? I got in over my head but I didn't know it at the time and truly believe I could make a positive contribution to my husband and his 2 boys. I was certain that my husband would see how "evil" ( and I don't use this term lightly) his x is and fight for custody of his children. Well. They are 14 and 16 now and they have no friends outside of school hours. The oldest has become a the husband of the house and they live in an isolated part of town where the only person that comes over to the house is their dad 3 day a week. These boys have been emotionally abused and there is nothing I can do. My husband kinda of sees what I see but he is so affraid to cause turmoil that he has done nothing of any weight to help - he seems paralyzed. I have him in therapy and the therapist understands the whole picture but he can only help so much. Had I known that my husband would never fight for his children's well being I would have never married him. He told me from our first encounter that his kid came first and I believed him and loved him for it but I know know he is probably as sick as his x and together they are raising their children to be the same. I truly mean it don't stay with this man you heart will continue to break. I have a son now so I feel I must work my marriage out and do what ever it takes but I am sooooo frustrated right now.Hope this helps you. Chrissylil

I can relate to your situation. I had moved back to town after being away for three years. I ran into someone I had known for 20years.... we started dating, he was going through a divirce, he had2 children, he did warn me that his soon to be ex- is a piece of work....... we started dating, after 3 months i was introduced to his children. we all got along fine. his soon to be ex would call him all of the time drunk and wanting him to pick her up from the bars... witch he did, his reason being it would help in court. When my boyfriend had to work on his weekend that he had the kids, I would watch them. The little boy who was 4 at the time has a very mean and angry attitude. He no longer listens to me and he started throwing things at me and told me he was going to kill me, and explianed how he was going to do it. things started getting better. I moved in with Will. when he had his kids i tried to give them chores to earn allowances.  this did not last for long. Will would do all of their chores because they had it bad at their mothers house and when he had them they should not have to clean up.  So i quit cleaning, doing thier laundry, and going to all of their sports. they did not understand why i wouldnt go, so I exlpained to them that if they helped me clean up then i would do things that they wanted me to. Dad however did everything for them witch caused problems for Will and I.   every day we would hear about his ex being drunk or half dressed or taking her tops off for free drinks. she got new boobs that gave her confidence. I finally had to move out because the house was getting in such bad shape i can not live in fiflth. I only go to Wills house when his chidren are not there. his ex is still calling him at night very drunk and the kids are now being abused by one of their mothers many boyfriends. Will answers the phone everytime his ex call because it may be about the kids, i understand all of that. but she does not need to call at 11:00pm when the kids are at Wills house. she is lonely and wants Will back. Last night i finally had to end our 1 year 10 month and 1 day relationship. It was very hard for me because I still love Will very much. I could no longer be in a relationship with the ex in our everyday life.   Good luck to you, but you need to realize, things in your situation will not change, they will only get worse. 




May 12, 2006, 10:06 am CDT

So what are you doing about it?

Quote From: newlife06

I have been married for several years.  My husband and I are not close whatsoever.  When he comes home I cringe because I expect a fight to happen.  I no longer am in love with him, I've been hurt too much (emotionally).  He's called me foul names, as I've called him names too.  He's broken things around the house when he's been mad at me.  He blows up at me and I am constantly walking on eggshells around him.  He's very negative about life and he is constantly stressed out.  I have no support system, rather instead I have a judge who is constantly irritated with me.  I want out but am stuck since I have no money to move with.  I ultimately do love him, but I no longer like him.  I don't feel in love anymore.  What am I supposed to do with this situation?  Any advise?

Other then cringing and walking on eggshells what are you doing about it? 






It takes two to fight so don't.  When people pick fights they are usually pretty predictable.  Think about how they start and thinks of some preplanned responses.  Like: I'm sorry you feel that way.  My favorite is Hummm….  Or I see.  Or other neutralizing statements.  You don't bite he gets no fight.  People tend to escalate when they can't control you but eventually they change because it does not work anymore.  There are loads of books in your public library about how to deal with difficult people most have loads of neutralizing statements to defuse confrontation starters.  The ones for co-workers work just as well for spouses. 




You are only as stuck as you let yourself be.  You need to be your support system.  Go to school; get a job make a plan.  You might not be able to move out today but there is no excuse for not getting yourself set up to move out in the future.  Might take a few months or a year but if you do nothing your going to be in the same situation next year as you are today.  




How long have you been waiting so far?  Take some action!  Feel better about yourself!  Don't just sit and take it, go do something for yourself. 


You might find by being in a position to leave and defusing the tension you won't need to because it will change the dynamics of the relationship. 


May 12, 2006, 10:16 am CDT

I'm desperate

I would never have thought I would be seeking help at this time of my life.  I am a 67 year old and my husband is 68.  My husband and I have been married sixteen months.  He was a widower (14 years) and I was a widow (8 years).  We dated for over four years and even broke up for about six months at one point.  When we got back together, it just seemed like we really were meant for each other.  He was so loving and gave my more attention than I had ever had.  We have had many stressful things once we were married.  He sold his house, moved him here and putting an addition on to my house. He is doing most of the work himself.  He is very intelligent and can do almost any thing. 

My problem is that he is a very sarcastic and moody individual.  He always has to be right and he can and does say anything he likes but as soon as I react, he yells at me and then for whatever period of time he needs, he will pout.  He is the one who decides when things are ok again.  Of course, I have allowed him to do this.  But any attempt to talk to him results in nothing changing.  Now I saw all this type of behavior before we married but it didn't happen often.  Now it is almost every week.  Even his kids (4) tellme I must stand up to him or he will run over me. 

I am very depressed and lately wishing we had not gotten married. 

I don't know how this can be resolved and it is eating me up. 





May 12, 2006, 10:27 am CDT


Quote From: ruby420

 I can understand Summer's frustration with her parents.  Am I the only one who understands her parents did raise her and did help her get to the point she is today?!  She is a 29 year old woman now but who raised that woman to the person she is today?  The same parents blaiming her for all her bad choices.  Dr. Phill asked why they are so involved with one another if its so toxic?  HELLO,  These people have her son.  If they were not so closely involved Summer would be blamed for not caring about her son.  I just want to say I can see Summer's side of things and hope she can get to a better place and have her son full time.  Then Summer will know her son won't be raised by the same parents who raised her and helped her get to where she is. 

I realize that Summer is very frustrated with her life, and your question about how her parents raised her is a valid question.  However, upbringing is not the only factor in how a child turns out as an adult.  I am one of five children and my parents did their best to raise us the same.  Although we are of course different ages and family circumstances changed over the 32 years that any of us lived at home, we came out mostly OK.  Except for one sister. One of my sisters is so out-of-control in managing her own life that for many years, we have been concerned over her health, her work status, her financial position, her effect on the rest of the family (including extended family ) and her future.  No one knows where her attitudes and behaviour came from  - my father, who was a very stoic man,  was in tears in later years, wondering what he and my mom had done so wrong to have such a rebellious, self-righteous, condescending, and rude daughter.  Right now, she is allowing what started out as a perfectly fine house in a medium-sized city fall to wrack and ruin, simply because she is... well, I don't know what she is.... disorganized, lazy, sick, stupid, incapable of thinking ahead, too proud to accept help, too condescending of us to ask any of us for help?  I could go on, but your eyes would start to glaze over.  The nearest I can figure is that she suffers with Borderline Personality Disorder.   


Now Summer seems to be:   

 - terribly unwell physically (her own doing, it seems?),    

 - fixated on not having a car ( the author of her own misfortune?),    

 - far less concerned for her son's well being than her own lack of a car (her own attitude again?),    

 - blaming her parents for her misfortunes, past  and present (not taking responsibility for herself or her actions?),    

 - constantly extremely late for occasions (whose fault is that, Summer?),    

 - blaming being 41/2 hours late for an occasion with her son on not having a car (she had to arrange a ride, Oh, *really*, give me  break, Summer),    

 - blaming not having an 8 to 5 job on not having a car (get *real*, Summer!),   

 - painting her parents as completely evil, with no redeeming qualities (they're taking care of your son! Providing him with a soft place to land!), and   

 - completely unwilling to listen to anybody (and who is responsible for that, Summer?)   


The similarities between Summer's attitudes and my sister's attitudes are staggering.  You don't run across these people often, and they're hard to spot, and there's controversy about the existence of some disorders, but I believe in this one because I've been dealing with someone who has it for many years ...this sounds like classic Borderline Personality Disorder to me.   


Summer, you have a long hard road ahead of you.  You are only 29. But it's not too late for you.  My sister is 60. If we had been able to get through to my sister when she was 29, our lives, and hers, could have been vastly different.  Please listen to Dr. Phil.  Please let your walls come down and listen without interrupting.  Open yourself to hear him without naysaying. It is within your power to make your life better, to heal your hurts, to repair your relationship with your parents and build a life for you and your son. Don't spend the next 30 and more years of your life this way.   I know you are hurting deeply, badly, and you're probably feeling that you're hurting incurably.  But believe me, the people around you who love you are hurting too. They want to help you. But they feel powerless. They don't know how to help.  And they feel that you won't let them help.  Dr. Phil can help you and them with that. They want you back in their lives in a meaningful and loving way. It is within your power to open yourself to their love and caring.  Your hurts are not incurable.  It is within your power to listen to Dr. Phil and his people and to listen with not only your ears, but with your heart.  It is within your power.   

May 12, 2006, 10:52 am CDT

05/12 Toxic Relationships

Quote From: mgcarroll

I would never have thought I would be seeking help at this time of my life.  I am a 67 year old and my husband is 68.  My husband and I have been married sixteen months.  He was a widower (14 years) and I was a widow (8 years).  We dated for over four years and even broke up for about six months at one point.  When we got back together, it just seemed like we really were meant for each other.  He was so loving and gave my more attention than I had ever had.  We have had many stressful things once we were married.  He sold his house, moved him here and putting an addition on to my house. He is doing most of the work himself.  He is very intelligent and can do almost any thing. 

My problem is that he is a very sarcastic and moody individual.  He always has to be right and he can and does say anything he likes but as soon as I react, he yells at me and then for whatever period of time he needs, he will pout.  He is the one who decides when things are ok again.  Of course, I have allowed him to do this.  But any attempt to talk to him results in nothing changing.  Now I saw all this type of behavior before we married but it didn't happen often.  Now it is almost every week.  Even his kids (4) tellme I must stand up to him or he will run over me. 

I am very depressed and lately wishing we had not gotten married. 

I don't know how this can be resolved and it is eating me up. 





 Even his kids tell me I must stand up to him or he will run over me

His kids are right.

Any attempts to talk to him result in nothing changing...that's what you said.   You've trained him by ACTION that you will forgive and tolerate the behaviour you don't like.   Why is it that "he can and does say anything he likes"  and expect to get away with it?   You have to call him on his behaviour EVERY TIME.  In turn You have to react with calmness and firmness yourself.  You have to be specific and clear about your objection.   A simple pause,  a stare, and firm, unshouted rebuke is what he needs. Every time.   Because you have been training him that you will go along with him to get back to a peaceful state.  Hence, he always gets to decide when things are ok, because you are always willing to accept the calm after the storm.

Before I go any further, age-related changes can affect mood and temperament.  He may be changing with age, under new stresses.    

May 12, 2006, 10:55 am CDT

This is so familiar

I have a similar situation with my son.  He lives in a world that I don't understand and he tries very hard to suck me and my husband into it and when we stand up and say no, then he turns everything around, we are the bad people and he is constantly picking a fight, just to get a reaction out of us.  Like Summer, my son is always angry at something or someone.  Anything that happens to him is someone elses fault.  He always plays the victum card.  Nothing in his life goes according to plan, in his opinion.  Now as far as I know, he is not into drug or alcohol.  He drinks with his buddies on the weekends from time to time, but that's it.  It has been noted that he may have ADHD.  When he was younger we took him to doctors and such, but nothing really helped him.  He was always the same no matter what we did for him.  But, he learned to run a scam before he learned his ABC's.  

The most recent crisis is his wedding.  We have a situation with my husbands side of the family.  They are ALL alcohlics.  We have no contact with them.  We can't have them in our lives.  We have spent too much time "putting up" with them and we have found that if we stay away, things are better.  Well, "grandma" has a big fat check book and buys my son's affections.  My son thinks his "grandma" really cares.  So with his wedding only 6 weeks away he is insisting she be at the wedding.  My husband and I have told him, if she is there, we can not be.  Our son is not giving my husband and I any consideration in the matter.  As long as "grandma" is there, that is all that is important to him.  My husband and I are feeling like we are being put in a situation that no good willcome out of.  If we don't attend his wedding, we will regret it forever.  If we go, the rotten side of the family will pick a fight, so where does this leave us?  The wedding in the first place is not one where everything will be lace and puffy stuff and lots of people wishing them well.  My son and his girl friend fight constantly.  My son has tried to leave her dozens of times already.  But all the girl friend has to do is cry big aligator tears and he goes back.  I don't know what to do or how to feel about this situation.  My husband and I have an opinion that no one wants to hear, because it is not what they want to here.  W eare not being given the oportunity to talk it out, so that everyone can be happy.  We are just being dismissed by our son.  So we stand by our decision? or do we " put up with the other side of the family, one more time?  

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