Saturday, December 29, 2007

Message in the Bottle

Anonymous writes:

"i have a 'friend' who is dating a lovely woman with a severe drinking problem, it recently reached a crisis, and she is trying to stop, without help, without counseling or meetings. She relapses, so now he is on the edge of issuing the ultimatum. Will this have any better chance of working that the begging, pleading, crying? He is a nice guy, I would hate to see him hurt again. "

At this point, whether it "works" or not, he has to decide if he is willing to stay in a relationship with an alcoholic. He really cannot affect what she does. He can only affect what he does.

Walking away is the only sane option, I believe. If she is unwilling to get help, counseling, etc. then I would have to say that she is not fully committed to stopping. It's like when one decides to lose weight but doesn't tell anyone else. It's easier to "cheat" or fall off the wagon when you have not publicly stated that you are dieting or quitting smoking, or drinking in this case.

So your friend has to make the choice for himself, not for her. What is he willing to accept in a relationship?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sorry for the delay in posting here... for some reason I didn't get the notification about this comment/question!

Here we go:

From "Anonymous":

"Here is my major issue.
Since high school (10 years+ now) I have been secretly in love with my best friend of the opposite sex. Now it hasn't been the darkest secret and perhaps secret is not the way to describe it. However for the past 5 years I have been in a sometimes dysfunctional sometimes wonderful relationship, I believe I am happy, however fear that I am just comfortable.
Now, this guy from high school is still a very good friend and about 2 years ago we had an "incident" no boundaries were crossed however a lot came out into the open. We both admitted we felt the same.
I fear though it is more of infatuation than sparks. I mean he is the "forbidden fruit" right now right?
Am I lying to myself and perhaps denying a good thing due to comfort? Or am I hung up on feelings that I never expressed when the timing may have been just right?
This debate in my head consumes me from time to time. I really need some help on this issue.
Anony for now."

Dear Anony:

Unfortunately, this is one of those situations where you will never know the answer unless you attempt to have a relationship with this person. Very often, the fantasy does not live up to the reality. But of course, being in a current relationship, the stakes are very high for you.

I think you have to examine your current relationship on its own merits, without the "safety net" thoughts about your H.S. honey. Maybe take a break from it for awhile and see how that feels. The key would be NOT to see the H.S. guy during that break, though. Just be by yourself for awhile and make some decisions about your current situation. If you determine that you're better off without your partner, give yourself some alone time before attempting to take up with this new/old person. And when/if you do decide to give it a go, take it very very slowly.

Good luck with whatever you decide!


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Back on the Couch

OK, so I fell into the August shrink-on-vacation thing. Sorry about that.

Hopefully it is not to late to answer "Anonymous'" question below:

I'm anonymous for this post, otherwise I'll get killed. My husband is sick, and he needs to see a doctor, but he has not seen anyone but a dentist, eye doc and dermatologist for over 30 years. He is having problems with balance, and it is so bad that I suspect he has had a small stroke recently, but I can't prove it.

He told me today that if I tell our children about his symptoms, he will leave me. Then he screamed that I was making him worse with my nagging him to go see a doctor.
I don't know what to do. Part of me wants to wash my hands of him - if he can't be bothered to care about himself - why should I worry about him? Another part wants to call the children and tell them, so maybe they can force him to see a doctor or go to the emergency room. One big problem is that he has no medical insurance. The other is that he is a scaredy-cat. His mom was deathly afraid of doctors and she did a good job of transferring that fear to him. What would you do?

Dear Anonymous,

I have a feeling your husband may have already had the stroke. I'm sorry, if that is the case.

If not, look at it this way: if you are ready to leave him over this, what do you have to lose by telling your children? He's threatening to leave you if you do, but you're ready to go if you don't.

Don't go through this by yourself. Tell your kids. Have an "intervention". Get him the help he needs.

Again, I apologize for the delay in answering. Had a lot to deal with in my own life but all is ok.

We have to stop now.

Friday, August 10, 2007

It's August...

... but THMDS is still operational, unlike your basic paid therapist. Yeah, so they have their big degrees and all, but can they really and truly relate to what you're going through?

Remember that we always link back to your blog when you post a question here (unless you prefer to remain anonymous of course), so ask away.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Welcome Surfers!

Warm welcome to the blog surfers of

It's been quiet here at the Shrink's, so hopefully you guys are a dysfunctional bunch with lots of issues that need resolving. ("Why, oh why, do the number of comments on my blog directly correspond to my level of self esteem?").

For those who misread this post, I was referring to the general blogger self-esteem issue, not my personal one! It was a comic reference to a possible psychological problem that might need to be resolved. Don't you hate it when you have to explain a joke?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Anonymous asks:

"My mom and I used to be very close. Let me say, she was a wonderful mom growing up. Now that I'm an adult and married, I almost feel like she's in competition with me. Not like with material things, but if I say something she doesn't agree with, she gives a snotty comment back. Or she'll complain non-stop about my grandma (her mother-in-law) and I'll try to point out things from grandma's point of view (she's dying and all of her friends are dead for example!). This annoys her to no end (I can never disagree with her or give a differing opinion) and she won't speak to me for days. It drives me crazy. It's to the point that I avoid any conversations with her unless I just want to smile and nod and agree with everything she says. I've tried bringing this up to her, but once I do she is immediately on guard and defensive about it. I miss our relationship, but I just feel like it's not worth the frustration and hurt it causes.

I love her to death and appreciate her, but sometimes I just want her to be a mom. (If it helps any, she has never kept friendships with females either. Always kinda made me wonder growing up why not and now I know!)"

Clearly, your mother was comfortable with the adult/child relationship that you once had. But coping with you as her equal is something she doesn't seem to be able to do. Often, when we as adults are around our parents we regress in subtle ways and act like we're children again. You are obviously not doing that, even to the point of trying to get your mother to be more compassionate towards her mother-in-law. Your mother is resentful of the fact that you are, in some ways, more of an adult than she is.

I think you need to sit her down and tell her that you miss the closeness you once had. She needs to see that the potential for an even better connection now that you are grown is there. I'd also lay off the suggestions about your grandmother for now. You're correct in what you're trying to do, but it may require backing off a bit in order to begin to repair the relationship with your mother.

Hopefully your mother is not really conscious of what she's doing. All you can do is point it out to her...the change itself has to come from her.

OK, we have to stop now.

I'm baaaack. Fire away.