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Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: Daughter's Ex - Anger & Control Issues


 BaffledMom - Wed May 28, 2008 11:58 am

I am very concerned at this point and needed someone to discuss this with, so I searched for an appropriate forum and found this one. Hope someone can help; I'll try to condense this as much as I can but feel free to ask for additional information.

My daughter began seeing someone who lives out of state around this time last year. He's made several trips to visit her in her location and she's done the same. From the get-go it was apparent he had some pretty serious control and jealousy issues. After some time he admitted that he had been previously married (no children) and his wife had cheated on him most of the marriage and blamed his lack of trust on this fact.

My daughter has met his parents and became very close with the mother - he also appears to be very close to his parents. He's a very successful young man and seems to also be somewhat of a perfectionist. On my daughter's last visit to his location an incident occurred in which his jealous reaction was so extreme and over the top (not only according to my daughter but many other people who witnessed it) that she felt compelled to share it with his mother. His mother seems to understand that he has problems and has been encouraging him to get help for years (since his divorce). Long story short, his parents - along with my daughter - convinced him to see a professional. My daughter let him know that the relationship was on hold until he got the help he needed; he agreed.

This occurred about three months ago and he began to see a professional almost immediately. He doesn't share with my daughter a whole lot of what goes on in there, which I think is appropriate, but then suddenly he stopped calling my daughter. Then just a few weeks ago he admitted he was seeing someone else; someone who is also undergoing therapy (same therapist). According to him she waited for him as he exited the office and made conversation, but my daughter has no way of knowing if that is indeed what happened.

Generally my daughter has very little contact with his mother but a personal crisis had occurred in my daugher's life that he mentioned to his mother and she called to check on my daughter.

Immediately after that happened he called my daughter in a panic and asked if she had told his mother about how he met this other young lady; my daughter assured him she had not (and she hasn't). He then told her that he'd stopped seeing this other person because "she had real problems." (his words) I should mention that at this point in time his mother didn't know of this other young lady's existence. Based on subsequent events my daughter thinks this was a lie told only because he was afraid my daughter would tell his mother about her and that there was never a break in their dating.

By the time he spoke with my daughter again the young lady had shown up at his door unannounced when the mother was there so she ended up meeting his mother. When that happened the mother was surprised of course, and a bit disappointed (as she really likes my daughter) but of course he didn't tell her how they'd met. He told my daughter that when this happened he had told his mother that he didn't think things would work out between himself and my daughter but then immediately asked my daughter if that was true, obviously looking for my daughter to assure him that she still felt they had a future. When he asked her this, my daughter said that initially she thought things could work when he agreed to get professional help but if he insisted on not taking his therapy seriously she didn't see how it could. His response was that was okay, because he was once again dating this other person. The conversation ended on a cordial note.

My daughter's initial reaction was okay, if that's the way he wants it - but then upon thinking about it she became very concerned about his well-being, since it is obvious to her that he is not taking his therapy very seriously if he (and the young lady as well) are lying to their therapist. So two days later she called him and said she needed to talk to him - he curtly told her he was spending the holiday weekend with his parents and he'd call her Tuesday (yesterday evening). Up until this point all their conversations since he's been in therapy have been very pleasant, according to her.

He called my daughter last evening and snapped that the young lady was on her way over to his place and what did she want to talk to him about and make it quick. His tone was extremely nasty; again, a dramatic change from their previous conversations. She tried to tell him what was bothering her about this situation and he replied that he and this new young lady were good for one another and they were helping each other through their problems and that she "made him happy." My daughter then expressed concern that he was getting involved in a co-dependent relationship and reminded him again that if he had been serious about their relationship he'd not be seeing anyone at this time. At that point he began telling her that he'd given the new young lady the present he'd bought my daughter for Valentine's Day since he'd never given it to her (because of the falling out they'd had at her last visit that I mentioned above). She asked him why he was telling her that and he said "I thought you'd think it was funny." She said his anger toward her was palpable. She did ask him again if their therapist knew of their relationship and he said "Of course not." She asked if he'd admitted to his parents how he met the girl and he replied "of course not."

Obviously my daughter is extremely concerned for his mental well-being. I told her at this point I didn't see much that she could do other than to let it go. She knows logically that it's not her place to tell his mom but feels guilty about that, as his parents have been so kind to her. His mother really likes my daughter and feels that she's good for him precisely because she doesn't put up with any foolishness from him. I think that's true as well, but obviously as her mother I don't expect her to put up with abuse from him, nor does his mother expect that either. And my daughter certainly isn't going to do so.

I think it's so sad that he's rejecting the advice of those who truly do care about him the most; his parents as well as my daughter.

I've always believed that no one can help someone unless they agree to help themselves, and it's pretty obvious to both of us that he is in some sort of extreme denial about his problems. But if anyone has any advice that I could pass along to my daughter that might be beneficial I would appreciate it.

I think at this point a hands-off approach is best, but my concern is that he'll continue to contact her as he's so afraid she'll tell his mother how he met this other young woman and I can see him lying about all sorts of things and trying to manipulate her in order to insure that doesn't happen.

If he should continue to contact her, what advice would you give her to handle the situation properly?

Thank you in advance for your help, and my apology for such a long post.
 seriously12345 - Fri May 30, 2008 5:14 pm

I'm not a doctor. But I have a question, why don't you stay out of your daughter's relationships? And if her "ex" has problems, why would you want her with him anyways? That guy sounds like a moron.. she could do better.
 Dr. E. Seigle - Sat Jun 07, 2008 3:23 pm

Hi BaffledMom,

You are right that your daughter should let go of this apparently troubled man and his superficial and destructive relationships. This includes stopping interacting with his mother. To do otherwise sends a message of wishing further involvement, and risks eliciting further negative reactions and entanglement.
The healthy step is to simply let go and move on. Good luck!

-Eliot Seigle MD

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