My husband has never met his real father, and lately wanted to see if what his mom’s told him is true.
His mom married a different man who raised him, whom my husband considers his Dad. He also grew up with a stepbrother.
Three years ago, his mom got divorced and moved in with someone else.
It tore up the whole family; his step-dad and stepbrother barely talk to him any more.
She’s told multiple lies over the years, e.g. that my husband has a trust fund, a horse, a four-wheeler, none of which seemed possible.
She’s even given us fake paperwork about a horse.
My husband has come to know that it’s all lies.
He’s raised this previously, but she just gets mad, so the conversation never goes anywhere.
What do we do? How do I advise him?
Your husband’s been hurt by all this deception, but he’s not a victim.
Yes, he has a mother who’s a compulsive liar, who misleads him with grandiose stories, but he has you as his partner, and he also has choices.
He can make every effort to reconnect with the stepfather who raised him, and his stepbrother too, since his mother’s behaviour to them didn’t reflect him.
He can seek out his birth father for more important reasons than checking lies – health information and family history that may be significant to his well being.
He can tell his mother that she no longer has to lie to impress him, gain his love, or cover up her insecurities. He won’t believe her anyway.
But he’d still like to have a real mother in his life, if she can be that person without all the bull.
He’d also benefit from having some individual counselling to get past the old, phony stories and how they affected him growing up.
Your role? Be supportive, work with him on any boundaries with his mom that he wants to set. It’s not up to you to turn against her, if that’s not what he wants.
Reader’s Commentary - Regarding your website page http://ellieadvice.com/resources:
Reader – “My kids, a boy age12 and a girl age 10, are now understandably spending a lot of time online and on social media.
“My daughter just had an incident where one of her best friends was being bullied by a girl on a fake Instagram account.
“It got really nasty and her friend was deeply affected by it and even had to seek counselling.
“The whole incident really shook me up as a parent, so I decided to do some more research on Internet safety and bullying.
“I found your page and it’s been so helpful to me.
“In this day and age it's pretty impossible to completely prevent your kids from being online, but I want to protect them as much as possible.”
Ellie – Dear Readers, the significance of this feedback is about parental rules regarding kids time and practices online.
Do the research ahead of any incidents - on available parental controls, and on preventing cyber-bullying.
Discuss reasonable (your definition, not theirs) limits on the time spent online.
Talk to your children about the pitfalls of not being careful about what they post, the necessity of not responding to any posts from strangers contacting them online, and reporting these to you.
Most of all, keep the conversation going. Listen to your kids’ stories about their day and their friends, and be alert when they seem troubled for no apparent reason.
FEEDBACK Regarding the man who’s infatuated with his co-worker/boss who recently got dumped (Oct. 22):
Reader – “I can't believe you concentrated on how he could win her, rather than telling him: "Do NOT date your boss! This will not end well for either of you!"
Ellie – I respect your strong opinion and suspect it comes from personal experience or that of people you’ve known.
My own experience and that of many others has shown the other side, too: Happy, successful relationships can and do arise within workplaces.
BUT where there’s an employer/boss power imbalance, a relationship must be handled thoughtfully (unless strict workplace rules prohibit it, and one person in the couple needs to back off or change jobs).
I advised him not to “win her,” but to make friends with her to find out if they had anything besides the workplace in common.
Tip of the day:
The partner with the dysfunctional parent should try to set limits, with his/her partner’s support.