Wednesday, October 27, 2010

excerpts from The Doctors: Sirius Radio XFM (10/19/10) - Dr. Michael Aronoff & Dr. Jennifer B. Naidich

Dr. Naidich,

I found out my husband went out on two dates last year with a woman he worked with after he had been complaining he felt "empty" after the death of his mother.  He said he was happy I found out and ended everything.  For a while everything was great.  But then he started pulling away emotionally and physically.  When I finally confronted him he said he was confused.  He listed endless complaints about me and said he didn’t know if he was in love with me anymore.  He refuses to go to couples counseling and says he need time and space to figure things out.  I am seeing a therapist on my own for the first time tomorrow.  I don’t know what to do… I am at my wits end.   I need your advice.

Your husband may be depressed and using you as a scapegoat.  Sometimes when people feel ”empty”, seek out affairs, and put all the blame on their significant other they may be suffering from chronic low-level depression.  It is too bad that he won’t go to therapy with you.  What does he have to lose?  Maybe you should tell him that you are hurt and confused and have made an appointment with a counselor for tomorrow.  Tell him that you would like to figure things out together - whatever the outcome may be - and that you’d like him to join you.  But the most important thing you do right now is to take care of yourself. Going to therapy is a great start.  You need to figure things out for yourself by exploring and dealing with your own feelings of hurt, rejection, and possibly anger.   We wish you the best.

Dr. Naidich,

My 40 year old son has Borderline Personality Disorder and he tends to get all these great women and then ruin the relationships.  He's divorced.  He's been dating a really nice woman now for the past 6 months and I’d like to warn her about my son’s problems to save her the heartache.  What do you think?

Your son is an adult and so are the women he is dating.  If you’d like to maintain a relationship with your son, then we recommend that you do not disclose this information to the woman he is dating or any woman he dates in the future.  That's between them - 2 consenting adults.  No one is perfect (that includes all of us) and maybe these women know of your son’s problems but decided to date him anyway.  They might accept him as is (unconditionally).  Either way it is for them to work out on their own.  Our advice is to stay out of it. 

Dr. Naidich,

I am married to a narcissist who is impossible to communicate with, and we have two 9 year old children together.  There is a career discrepancy with her being the major bread winner, as I am currently unemployed.  We completely disagree on how to parent our children.  We have been to therapy three times because we can’t seem to hear each other’s needs.  It's been completely useless.  I still cannot talk to her.  So I 've stopped trying.  Now I do anything to avoid conflict with her because she is always right.  I have no voice here.  I 've shut down. The only way I can cope is by drinking to take the edge off.  Please do not give me the textbook answer on how to communicate better with your spouse; believe me I’ve been there - done that.  At this point I am only here because I don’t want to leave my children.  Any creative advice?

We are sorry that you are going through such a hard time. You must be under a significant amount of stress given your martial strife and loss of your job.  But drinking is not the solution to your problems and may only make matters worse.  It's a depressant and might contribute to your feeling even worse.  Enough lecturing.  Some creative advice: You may want to re-evaluate the reasons you are staying in this marriage.  Staying for the kids is not always in their best interest.  They tend to pick up on the emotional climate in the home, meaning they are not unaware of how you and your wife feel about each other.  The tension in the home must be causing them undo stress.  Furthermore, you might want to consider what kind of role models for intimate relationships you are providing for them.  Is this really what you want them to grow up and emulate?  We know you don’t want to leave the children, but you won't necessarily be out of their lives.  You can gain joint custody and see them frequently.  Basically we're recommending that you think of what is in the best interest of the children and that might not mean staying in a marriage filled with anger, contempt, stress, tension, and major communication problems;  think about this.  You might want to seek therapy for yourself before you make a decision based on emotion rather than reason.  You're certainly in a tough situation. We hope this helped and wish you the best.