Consistent Episodes with Boyfriend’s ex-wife

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Q. My boyfriend’s ex-wife is giving us fits. When it comes to anything, she has to have total “control” over it; it has to be her way or no way. If he even attempts to gain any kind of control over anything, she flies off the handle and does whatever it takes to gain control over it, once again, even if she has to lie to gain that conrol back. Also, she is a person that will not take any blame for anything; she will take a situation and twist it around to her advantage to make my boyfriend or whoever, look like the blame is their fault. If you try to convey that the situation occurred because of something she said or did, she will fly off the handle and lose total control. I have never seen a person like her. My boyfriend left and divorced her over 2 years ago because she acted this way throughout their whole marriage. He could no longer take being blamed for everything, being cut down for everything, and he could no longer stand the fact that she had to have total control over everything no matter what the situation was, it had to be her way or no way at all! This whole situation about drove him nuts. Since their divorce, she has only been getting worse. She still tries to control him, totally, when it comes to his visitation time with his daughter. She is constantly interferring with their time together and she tries to dictate what he can do and cannot do with his daughter. If she is not happy with the visitation time layout, she will do whatever she has to, including lieing, to get things her way. If she finds herself in a situation where you try to prove her wrong, she goes into a rage and starts screaming and yelling aobut it. I have never in my life seen a person like her. Most people bend at least a little; this woman doesn’t bend at all and if she doesn’t have “control” over everything that comes along, then, as I said, she does whatever it takes to gain that conrol back. They have been having to attend a mediation session over his visitation time with his daughter. During these sessions, she screams, yells, and goes on a rampage for the littliest thing said. Their medication therapist informed her that “she obviously has issues and those issues need to be dealt with”. Vicki (the ex-wife) flew off the handle at the terapist saying “I don’t have issues and even if I did, I will deal with them myself”. Need less to say, the sessions have not gone well at all. Is there a psychological reason as to why Vicki acts this way and always has? It worries me sometimes wondering what she might actually be capable of if she was to lose total control during one of her fits.

A. It’s a difficult situation between the new woman and the ex-wife. Your boyfriend was married to her for quite some time and apparently accepted her until their relationship degraded. There is very little you can do as the “new woman” in her ex-husband’s life. There’s natural animosity and it’s a very complicated issue. I would recommend that your boyfriend pursue all of his legal options, continue with the mediation, move through the court system, to guarantee his visitation and the safety of the children. You should stay as far removed from the situation as possible. I also don’t think is the simple issue of “her not bending at all”. I think the psychological dynamics and the interactional variables existing between the two of them, makes this a very complicated issue and nothing as simple “as she won’t compromise.”

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 24 May 2005

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2005). Consistent Episodes with Boyfriend’s ex-wife. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2005/05/24/consistent-episodes-with-boyfriends-ex-wife/