My wife and daughter need assistance with anger management. We have weekly shouting matches that escalate into screaming swearing, pushing, and the potential for more physical harm. I’m at my wits’ end trying to control them. My marriage is on the rocks because of these outbursts, as well as our intimacy, and also issues regarding kids from my first marriage.
- Trouble at Home
There’s more than one fix needed for your household troubles. It’s clear that you and your wife need counselling help to work out an amicable agreement on your responsibilities to your other children. The distance between you is showing up in the bedroom. Meanwhile, mother-daughter tensions are not uncommon during some of the child-through-teenage years, but they are worse when the person who’s supposed to be acting the adult, is herself unhappy and angry. As you two work to re-connect through the counselling process, your daughter can be brought into the picture, so that she and Mom can learn to express their disagreements without a pitched battle.
• In Ontario, see the Ontario Association for Marriage and Family Therapy at www.oamft.on.ca, to find a therapist in your area.
My fiancé is a wonderful father to his daughter, age nine, from a previous "situation” (if you know what I mean). His daughter’s mom is VERY irresponsible, lazy, and selfish. He’s gone to court to establish scheduled visits which she tried to deny him. I get irritated because she’s always trying to hold conversations with him unrelated to the daughter. He entertains her, to keep the peace. Was it inappropriate for her to buy him a Christmas gift, now that we’re engaged? They’ve bought gifts in the past for each other, from the child. I'm not concerned that anything’s going on, I just don't like the idea of them exchanging gifts. His daughter’s old enough to give her dad her own gift.
- Bothered Fiancée in Illinois
I DO know what you mean, but fear that you don’t… it doesn’t matter how this child came about, she’s there in his life, and so is her Mom. For the child’s sake and stability, he must communicate with the mother. And keeping peace is wise, so long as he sets some boundaries, such as not talking to her about his personal life with you. When she attempts chit-chat that’s non-essential about their child, he can politely cut the conversation short. As for the Christmas gifts, do not make them into a big deal. You’re right that things change as children grow up, and your guy can tell the mother, next year that their daughter should be helped to buy her own gifts for them, that way, he can end the exchanges. But do remember, there are school meetings, sports events, and other activities where the parents may occasionally meet, though he can try to structure different times to attend. Try to accept these occasions without overreacting, as a good father deserves support more than hassle.
My boyfriend of two years and I had special plans to go out, but that day, he was having an anxiety attack about work and didn't want to leave his house (he regularly sees a psychiatrist). I went over to see him, then went home to cook, and returned with dinner. The next day, he said how much he appreciated my understanding, how much better he felt, and how much he loved me. I enjoyed the evening, despite the change of plans. But we’re still having the same issues. All he talks about is how stressed he is at work, and how much work he has to do on weekends. I do love him, and love spending time with him. But I try to keep my work life for the work week, and like to spend the evenings and weekends relaxing. I don't know how long I can take always being the one to initiate activities, while he prefers to brood by himself.
- On My Own
Be careful not to become his Rescuer. Your boyfriend is depressed, suffers anxiety attacks and is under psychiatric care. If you want to sustain your relationship, you have to accept that this is who he is. Until, and IF he changes, you may frequently have to initiate activities. So assess where you stand: are you willing to find ways to relax without him? Are you willing also to adapt often, when he can’t go along with plans? Or not?
Tip of the day:
When a whole household is troubled, there’s more than one solution needed to calm it.