Ask the Therapist Ask our resident Psych Central therapists. 2016-12-02T19:45:47Z http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/feed/atom/ Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker <![CDATA[Do I Have a Problem Worth Addressing?]]> http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/?p=43459 2016-11-27T22:18:15Z 2016-12-02T19:45:47Z

From a teen in the UK: I’m in my last year of school, and I know its normal to feel stressed but I’m not sure if what i’m feeling is normal. I also have a history of self harm and feeling down for no reason and not being able to control it. I stopped self harming a few months ago and starting feeling really good, but I’ve started to feel unable to relax, always thinking about work, and I’ve started getting chest pains, and a worried feeling constantly. I’ve started having breakdowns and panic attacks and i’m unable to take my mind off my problems. I’ll get stressed over work even when i’ve done everything i needed to do, and I’ve started feeling down and crying for no reason. My hands get shaky, and I constantly feel tense and on edge. Is this normal for my last year of school, or do I have another problem worth addressing??

A: It’s absolutely normal to feel stressed about finishing school and launching into adult life. It is not normal to be so stressed about it that you have chest pains, breakdowns and panic attacks. Since you have a history of self-harm, I’m especially worried about you. I think it would be advisable for you to find a counselor to give you some support and coaching as you go through this challenging transition of life. You deserve to be able to celebrate finishing school instead of suffering through it.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW <![CDATA[Having Trouble Understanding Things]]> http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/?p=43760 2016-11-27T22:15:26Z 2016-12-02T12:35:28Z

I never thought it was a issue until I hit a breaking point from my Internship meeting. I was told that I’m not processing things (as he pointed at his head) at that moment I felt like I was retarded. That’s where I began to see a pattern from my previous jobs and through life. I would make a lot of mistakes when I am being told to do something. I’m not nervous, or deaf. I can hear, but when people talk to me I block out/they seem like they mumble rather than talking so I block out. It is troublesome because I have to repeat people all the time, and when I do managers shout at me and I hold back my feelings until I finish my shift which have nightmares about. I feel like I’m slow when doing a task. However it does not makes sentence because I have good grades and do all my homework and yet I can’t do what is asked to be done. I came to the point were I had to confess to my employer and my school, that I have problem and don’t know what it is. All I know that I can’t understand messages or phone calls (Even in high volume) , can’t follow instructions, I try to concentrate what people are saying but the words cant process in my freaking brain which makes me mad and helpless at myself that I can’t do anything right, it is very had to multitask, I sturred/can’t talk right. Even my family notice something was wrong with me when they talk to me because I always do the opposite of what they say. I always thought if I try harder it will be better, but with me my mistakes remind the same. To be honest my mind works differently when people talk to me I mix words up or numbers. I always have to solve what people say if I forget/block out, which makes them repeat themselves, I always compare myself with other girls and be like why can’t I get it like her, you know. As for right now, I am taking notes and writing what people say so I won’t get mix up, but sometimes that doesn’t work so I have show to them what I wrote down “what I think they said.” I cry a lot because this a problem that stops me from maturing and succeeding in my career. I don’t know what is holding me back mentally because it’s effecting me physically. I’m scared because I might not going to find a good job to provide for my family. My school also wants to know what is wrong because they know I’m doing great in school learning medical billing, but they are getting my reviews on what I can’t do which is frustrating.

A. This problem seems outside of your control. It does not seem as though you’re deliberately being defiant. I point that out because of the self-abusive tone of your letter. If a friend or a family member had this problem, would you be equally as harsh on them as you are being on yourself? It’s highly unlikely. You seem to be legitimately struggling with processing certain types of information. I understand your frustration but remember it’s not your fault.

It’s possible that your brain processes verbal information differently than written information. This is not to suggest that something’s wrong with you per se but that perhaps you have an undiagnosed learning disability. It could explain why you have been struggling for years.

One diagnostic possibility is an auditory processing disorder. Its symptoms include difficulty processing and remembering language-related tasks. There are other possibilities but an evaluation would be necessary to determine whether or not you have a learning disability.

If you do have a learning disability that substantially limits a major life activity (i.e. learning, thinking, reading, concentrating and communicating), then you are entitled (by federal law) to reasonable accommodations from both your school and employer. You should consult the disabilities service office on campus. They can provide you with more information about how to seek help for this potential issue.

You should also discuss your symptoms with your primary care physician who can provide you with the appropriate referrals. He or she might suggest undergoing a neuropsychological evaluation. This type of evaluation specifically assesses how your brain functions. Good luck. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker <![CDATA[Is This Serious Enough to Go to a Therapist?]]> http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/?p=43298 2016-11-27T22:12:51Z 2016-12-01T19:45:51Z

From a young teen: A few years ago, I went through several months of what I guess can only be described as really crippling depression. I was really stupid and slit my wrists and cried for no reason and forced myself to stop eating, that kind of stuff. What I remember really distinctly is assuming everyone else was going through the same thing. Anyway, when I kinda eased out of that phase, I became a lot happier and somewhere along the way I realized there was something different and bad about the way I’d been feeling for a couple of months (more like a year, really).

It’s coming back a little now, is the thing. Since around late last year, I’ve been feeling the same way on and off. I haven’t harmed myself, mostly because I know it’s idiotic, but also because I know I don’t want to kill myself. I want to die, though, a little bit.

Mostly the problem, though, has been this weird anxiety literally from the moment I wake up, something that feels a lot like schizophrenia except I know it’s me who’s yelling at me. The instant I wake up it’s like my whole body tightens with inexplicable anxiety. It doesn’t make any sense. And I yell at myself inside my head, I hear my voice inside my head yelling at myself and I hear my voice talking to me during the day.

Sometimes when I’m feeling very strange I can focus on the noise in my head and hear voices talking but I don’t know whose they are, and they’re not saying anything that makes any particular sense. That’s only happened a few times, though.

I don’t know if this matters, but I also have very loud music in my head, all the time. Another thing is that I am deeply distrustful of my friends, I don’t ever feel like they’ll understand what I have to say. I know it’s stupid. But I feel entirely disgusted at myself whenever I consider confiding in them.

I get frustrated very easily with myself, less so with other people, but that annoyance is still there. I’m obsessed with that which is obscure. I sometimes find it hard to concentrate on and finish things and get irrationally angry with myself because of this.

Anyway, yeah. Do I have something? What do I have? Should I see a therapist?

A: Yes. It would be a very good idea to see a therapist. One challenge of being an advice columnist is that a letter often doesn’t give me enough information for me to be helpful. A face to face therapist can ask follow up questions and get a more complete picture of what is going on. Sometimes just an initial interview is enough for someone like yourself to get reassurance and direction. Sometimes that interview results in some suggestions for further therapy.

One suggestion I have for you is this: Please keep a log of your sleep pattern for 2 weeks and take it with you to the first meeting with the therapist. Write down what time you go to bed, when you get up and if you get up during the night. I have a hunch that some of your distress may be related to a sleep disorder. That’s just a guess and I could be wrong, but it is something to check out.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW <![CDATA[Told My Mom I’m Depressed, But She Won’t Do Anything about It]]> http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/?p=43719 2016-11-27T21:40:41Z 2016-12-01T12:38:26Z

I’ve told my mom that I have felt depressed since the 3rd grade. I used to fake sick just so I could stay in bed all day and I’m sad to say that I still do it even today. I’m in my second year of college, so I can’t really afford to pay for my own help. Anytime I mention it to my mother, I start to cry and all she says is “I know its hard but you’ll pull through.” I constantly have thoughts of suicide and have a history with self harm. My mom has no job as of the moment and my parents are divorced. My family has a history with depression, anxiety, and even bipolar disorder, yet my mom still doesn’t seem to want to believe that I could be depressed or have suicidal thoughts. I don’t know what to do and I feel trapped.

A. Virtually all colleges have free mental health services available to their students. You should utilize their help. College counseling centers typically offer free counseling. Most of the therapy that’s offered is short-term, but if longer-term treatment is needed you will likely be referred to the appropriate services. The cost of longer-term mental health treatment can depend on where you live, whether or not you have health insurance and your overall mental health needs. Many communities have free or low-cost services available.

Sometimes parents don’t know how to help their children. It can be easier to deny that a problem exists. Parents don’t want to think that anything is wrong with their children. It may be that your mother doesn’t know how to help you. It could also be that she thinks you are going through a “phase” and that whatever is wrong will work itself out. You do not need your mother’s approval in order to receive mental health treatment. The college counseling center treatment staff should be able to help you. I would strongly urge you to utilize their services.

If, for whatever reason, those services are not available to you and you feel as though you might harm yourself, then go to the emergency room or call emergency services. They can keep you safe and assist you in receiving mental health treatment. You are not trapped and help does exist. I hope that you’re able to receive the help that you desire. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker <![CDATA[OCD Triggers]]> http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/?p=43301 2016-11-27T21:36:51Z 2016-11-30T19:45:15Z

Taking Wellbutrin for smoking cessation. Afraid it set off an ocd issue. Not sure. Can Wellbutrin cause a issue like this?

A: You didn’t give me much to go on. You should really talk to the prescriber about whether you are experiencing a side effect.

I do have one guess: Sometimes when a person gets serious about quitting smoking, the result is tremendous anxiety. You want to quit. But quitting makes you anxious. The anxiety makes you want to do go back to smoking for relief. That can feel like OCD.

If that’s what you think is happening, I strongly encourage you to add some talk therapy to your treatment for smoking cessation. Quitting smoking is hard! It is likely you need some more support while you do it.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW <![CDATA[The Dilemna of Having Large Student Loans & Waiting to Start a Family]]> http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/?p=43715 2016-11-27T21:15:19Z 2016-11-30T12:35:33Z

I am 26 years old. I am starting to worry about my financial future, as I have graduated with $85,000 in student loans. I am worried about retirement savings and I am worried about my short term future. I am worried that it would be irresponsible for me to get married and have children when I am in debt. The majority of my loans are private, so repayment plans are at a minimum. I have calculated that even with accelerated payments, that I can only be debt free within 10 years with my current salary. That’s 10 more years of living at home, no room for savings, and delaying the family that I know I want. I want to know if it is smart to think of these rewards when I have the burden of debt hanging over me? I know that my priority is to eliminate the debt as fast as possible, but I can only do so much and I am scared that 10 years is too long of a time to wait for a family.

A. You’re not alone in your concern about student loan debt. It is a top concern among American college students. The average student has approximately $30K in student loan debt, and many people have much more than that. This puts young people in the increasingly common predicament of having to live with their parents much longer than they had planned. These circumstances force many people to rethink their plans about their futures.

Obviously, you will have to pay back your student loans, but I’m not sure if it needs to come at the expense of delaying your plans for a family. You should explore your refinancing options. You might also consider extending your debt payoff time frame from 10 years to 15 or 20. There are likely other potential options to explore as well.

It would be helpful to consult a financial advisor and or thoroughly research your options. There are many good websites that can help. You might also discuss your concerns with a therapist. It’s always wise to consult a specialist when planning your future, financially or otherwise. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker <![CDATA[Trouble with Father of My Child]]> http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/?p=43307 2016-11-27T21:07:44Z 2016-11-29T19:45:15Z

From the U.S.: I am a single mother of a three year old having some trouble with my ex-fiance and the father of my child.

I left my ex-fiance two years ago after I came home from work to find my child starving and my ex passed out because he was drunk. My daughter hasn’t been fed all day long, and how I could tell is because all of the breast milk left for her was still in bottles in the same spots I left them in the refrigerator. My ex lied to me, saying he fed her an apple which we did not have in the house.

Needles to say he was gone the next day out of our house. I told him to get his life together and seek help for his alcoholism if he wanted his family back. Instead he got an apartment, a girlfriend, and drank even more, flaked out on his days to watch her (which were only a few hours at a time since I didn’t trust him), not to mention steal money from and claim he accidentally took it out of our conjoined bank account.

Fast forward two years he keeps trying to act like he is a father and demands my daughter to spend the night with him because he wants things fair. He pays no child support, does not do anything for our daughter or try to help support her in anyway. He claims he wasn’t ready to be a father before and that I should forget and move on.

I don’t know if I am doing the right thing by keeping her away from him or if it’s just me reflecting my resentment and anger at him for putting our daughter in danger multiple times. When my daughter requests him then I facetime him or set up a day to bring her to him but other than that I don’t want her to be in contact with him until she is old enough to decide if she wants a relationship with him or not.

He is a master manipulator and has a way of getting under my skin and guilting me into doing things for him.

I just don’t know what to do anymore.

A: Being a father is about more than biology. It is a responsibility! You were absolutely right to leave the relationship. He wasn’t taking responsibility then. He isn’t now.

If he wants things to be “fair”, he needs to man up and provide financial support. He needs to win your trust, not demand it.

If he pays a reasonable child support regularly and without whining for a year, then maybe you can consider whether to encourage a relationship with your daughter. I’d start with limited time with you there to see how he handles taking care of a toddler. And, no, it’s not okay for him to involve his girlfriend. He needs to show you he can take good care of a child without relying on someone else.

Don’t let this guy guilt-trip you. From what you wrote, it sounds to me that he is more interested in “winning” an argument with you than loving his child.

I wish you well
Dr. Marie

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Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW <![CDATA[I Feel Frustrated, Depressed, Anxious, & Angry 7 Days a Week]]> http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/?p=43712 2016-11-27T21:04:42Z 2016-11-29T12:35:45Z

It’s hard to sleep when I am anxious. & I feel anxious because I have been unemployed for roughly 8 years searching for a medication that will help with my anxiety and a sleep aid. But no pill can change the fact that I can never make up for loss time. I’m 30 y/o but I feel like a kid in an adult body & no matter what I do or how fast I do it, I can never seem to catch up with the rest getting left behind.

A. It’s common for depressed people to believe that everyone else is doing better than they are. They don’t see or feel the suffering of the masses. You are in tune with your suffering because you feel it intimately every day, but many other people are suffering, too. The erroneous idea that most others are not suffering can cause depressed people to feel even more depressed. They tend to believe that they are alone in their suffering. Generally speaking, that is not the case. You don’t see it and you may not hear about it, but life is exceptionally challenging for the vast majority of people.

It’s possible that your depression, anxiety and anger are directly tied to your being unemployed. That’s not an uncommon experience. Studies show that people without jobs are three times more likely to be depressed than people with jobs. Undoubtedly, being unemployed takes an emotional toll.

I don’t have enough information to know why you’ve been unemployed for eight years. It might be time to consider another line of work. Further education or retraining might be necessary. Having any job might be better than having no job.

People who are depressed have an increased risk of using drugs or alcohol or engaging in other negative behaviors. For that reason, it’s recommended that people with depression seek mental health treatment. It could prevent the development of the aforementioned problems which would ultimately create greater life stress.

Mental health treatment might potentially spark new ideas for employment. People with depression often have tunnel vision which severely limits their ability to perceive positive life options. They tend to only see negative options or no options at all. There may be other career opportunities of which you are unaware because of your depression. It is certainly worth your time and effort to do everything you can to feel better and to be happy. Therapy is one option that you don’t seem to have tried. It could be just what you need.

Finally, studies have shown that journaling for 20 minutes a day, for multiple days in a row, can significantly decrease your emotional stress. Research has shown that there’s a strong link between writing and emotional processing. One study of interest involves a Dallas computer company that laid off 100 senior engineers over the age of 50 who had worked there since college. A team of researchers had one group of engineers write about their feelings about being laid off. They wrote about feeling humiliated, rejected and thoroughly explored how their feelings affected their lives. The other two groups involved in the study wrote about either time management or did not engage in any writing. The researchers found that the individuals who engaged in writing about their emotional experiences were three times more likely to have found employment than those who had not written about their emotions. As one writer explained “In the process of writing, they were able to create the distance between the thinker and the thought, the feeler and the feeling, that allowed them to gain a new perspective, unhook and move forward.”

You can read more about the aforementioned study here.

Writing is not a substitute for mental health treatment when mental health treatment is necessary, but it could contribute to problem resolution by creating “… a new perspective, unhook[ing] and mov[ing] forward.” It’s worth a try and it’s free of cost. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker <![CDATA[Struggling with Crippling Loneliness]]> http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/?p=43316 2016-11-27T21:01:05Z 2016-11-28T19:45:13Z

From the U.S.: I’m 17, and throughout my years on this earth I’ve never really had anyone stay around for long, and if they did I’d eventually regret that they did. My parents weren’t really much of parents, my brother had abused me for years, and I rarely see any of my other relatives. I’ve only been able to say the words I love you once in my life and mean them. I haven’t hugged anyone in years, I can’t remember when I last did anyways. In short, I feel unlovable, I feel as if this world doesn’t want me and subsequently has decided to leave me behind.

I recently broke up with said person I said that I loved, and she loved me too. But I ended up messing that up and ran away because I was afraid she’d just didn’t care about me. I’ve only realized recently how wrong I was, and how much I must’ve hurt the only person I’ve ever cared about. And needless to say I’ve been struck lonely. Again.

I’ve been seeing a counselor, which my parents are paying for. They’re not bad people in anyway way, they just didn’t feel like raising me all too much. and I’ve spoken with her about this, and she suggested that I go to meet ups. But I’m not too sure this suggestion will work, given that I’ve tried to find a structured environment(I can’t hold conversations well at all, so I’d need something that would give me a topic of conversation) in a meetup and I’ve come about empty handed. Most meet ups only seek adults well into there thirties and such, and I’m no more than a year behind eighteen. The only meet up I found that would allow me to go would be a board game meet up. But I don’t know anything about board games outside of base ones like monopoly. I feel i’d just be a burden.

But needless to say, I’m still terribly lonely, and I don’t know what to do. I still need to be able to love myself, but I still feel as if I can’t accomplish said goal until I have the love of another. What can I do to accomplish that task? Should I go to that board game meet up regardless of my knowledge ,or lack thereof, of board games? It may be the only option I have.

A: Seeing a counselor is a great way to start. I hope you are being as honest with her as you were in your letter.

Although I understand why you feel you need validation from someone else, the place to start is really with you. Currently, when you meet someone, you are kind of like a salesman who starts his pitch with “You wouldn’t want to buy this widget from someone like me, would you?” It doesn’t exactly invite someone to want to get close.

A meet-up may make you feel too vulnerable. I can suggest a couple of other things.

Talk to your therapist about finding a group therapy for you. Groups are run by therapists who help the members learn new skills for interacting with others. You will get feedback about how to be better at “personal sales” and you will get practice in using those skills with others in a safe place.

Volunteer! Find a project or charity or fundraiser in your community that attracts teen volunteers and get involved. When people are focused on getting something done, not on each other, relationships develop gradually and naturally. There isn’t the pressure to make friends.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW <![CDATA[I Think I Have a Mania or Obsessive Disorder. Should I See a Therapist?]]> http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/?p=43709 2016-11-27T20:17:41Z 2016-11-28T12:30:09Z

I have created a fantasy world in my head with characters and one of them talks to me in my head. Often when I’m alone I will reply to them out loud. When I was younger it was good because I was never alone. But now it is causing me to see and hear things or people that aren’t there. My parents believe I have ADHD and it’s simply an overactive imagination but I’m not so sure. It has caused me to have nightmares and get this weird feeling like someone is following me. On one hand I see the world in a way that I would never be able to, but on the other hand it’s starting to drive me crazy. What makes it worse is I used to be able to do this thing where I could tell what people were thinking, but now I can’t do it. Instead when I look at people I get this horrible feeling that they’re thinking the worst of me. I have thought about taking my life but I always talk myself out of it because I wouldn’t want to hurt my family’s feelings or make them believe I didn’t
care about them or they didn’t do a good job of being supportive for me.

A. Because you think you have a problem, you should seek help. As you have described, you are experiencing significant distress. It has led you to think about taking your own life. That is a serious matter. When someone is considering suicide, they are struggling and need help. To answer your question directly, yes, you should see a therapist.

It helps to talk about your problems with a trained professional. A therapist will assess your situation and give you feedback based on their knowledge. Therapists also provide much-needed support for people with emotional problems. Your symptoms are treatable. You will feel better with treatment.

If you have health insurance, call the 1-800 number on the back of your insurance card. The insurance company can refer you to the appropriate therapist. You can also ask your primary care physician for a referral for a mental health professional. If you feel as though you might harm yourself, contact emergency services or go to the hospital. They can protect you and keep you safe. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker <![CDATA[Obsessed with My Therapist]]> http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/?p=43309 2016-11-21T23:46:06Z 2016-11-27T19:45:29Z

From the U.S.: Forgive me, this is going to be a very fragmented story…About 5 months ago my female therapist of a year and a half transferred me to a male therapist because I was a little obsessed with her. Nothing sexual. But I did look her up online and managed to find out…. probably everything about her.

I know it’s not ok. Upon seeing her children and husband I was really angry at her. I still don’t REALLY know why. Jealousy likely I guess. I told her about it and she decided that maybe she “couldn’t help me” like someone else could. That means she just didn’t want to deal with me anymore right?

It was frustrating because I’ve known her since I was around 9 years old. But, even knowing my hatred for sex and men in general, she transferred me to a male therapist and said that he would help me not feel like that towards them anymore. About a month into therapy I began researching him as well… I didn’t know what to do with my thoughts. They were very sexual. I’ve never had sexual thoughts like that about anyone before.

At one point I stayed up all night doing nothing but replaying the same scenario in my head. It began with just, I don’t know how to explain it. It’s like I couldn’t remember what he looked like after I left and it bothered me (happened before too.) Sometimes I don’t feel close enough to him and sometimes I feel too close. I’m sometimes a little worried that he’s going to die or something. I wanted to buy him a present so that I wouldn’t be stressing him out.

I’ve only ever attempted suicide once and I told him about it at the end of the session so we didn’t have to talk about it…I don’t want him to worry about me.

I don’t think therapists care much for the stressful clients and I want to be one of his favorites. And I know that I can’t tell him about the severity because he will probably transfer me too. I know that this isn’t normal. But what even is normal? Please, I just need some help.

Also, I’ve never been sexually abused FYI, I don’t really know where my issues with males comes from… I have theories, but nothing concrete.

A: I don’t know enough about the situation with your first therapist to comment on her decision to transfer you. It sounds like she understood her own limitations and thought you would do better with someone new.

Actually, what you are reporting is a “normal” experience some people have in therapy. What you are describing is an example of “transference”. At 17, it is normal for you to be struggling with developing your sexual identity. Whether or not you were sexually abused, you are living in a culture that can make that frightening. Therapy can be a safe place to explore your feelings about sex and relationships. It is not at all uncommon for clients to do that by processing intense feelings for their therapist.

Do talk to your therapist. Share your letter and this response as a way to start. If your therapy doesn’t feel safe, first talk about it. Yes. Talk about it. If the therapist can help you feel safe, it is often in such moments of awkwardness, even fear, that the most growth can happen.

Do remember that not every therapist is a “fit” for every client. If it still doesn’t feel right, consider whether you need to look for a therapist who you can work with.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW <![CDATA[What’s Wrong with My Mother-in-Law (and Wife)?]]> http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/?p=43706 2016-11-21T23:41:39Z 2016-11-27T12:35:49Z

1. She arbitrarily ‘chooses’ people, distrusts them and thinks of them as liars, amoral, inferior, etc. People arbitrarily chosen are the ones close to me.
2. Thinks her family, her morals and beliefs are ‘superior’ to mine but bends her ‘superior morals’ whenever needed to suit her convenience.
3. My wife has a similar personality. She will make a fuss out of something, call her mother and trigger her off (Eg; During my wedding reception, my parents got carried away greeting guests. My wife blamed my parents for ‘not offering her water on purpose’ – she did not even ask for it. She triggered her mother. Her mother asked me to ‘offer water to a thirsty woman even if I am not willing to feed my wife’. Both women soon got enraged.)
4. Shows dual behavior – first she is this soft ‘parent-of-an-abused-girl-god-believer’, transforms into a raging verbally abusive woman derogating me and my family, cursing death/dismemberment/etc. to my parents. Later, she absolutely denies all she said in her anger and swears on gods that she never lies – I am the liar.
4. Every time we try to speak about these issues, she ‘faints’. My wife says there is ‘no oxygen flowing to her brain’ and asks her father to violently shake her head while blaming me for what happened to her mother. She ‘regains consciousness’ after a few minutes. Opportunity to address problems lost.
5. Recently, she began exhibiting literal split personality. She went into a trance – some ‘god’ had entered her. She said my birth was flawed and that god has come here to save me, threatened my parents with curses and death and asked me to treat my wife well. She physically hits my wife when angry.
6. My wife is very similar – dual behavior – shows affection, romance, we live normally for a few days and then finds a random fault with a sudden mood swing and goes into a rage-crying-despair cycle. In her rage mode she is absolutely uncontrollable. She hits me physically, abuses me verbally, weeps and threatens to call the cops and book me for ‘dowry harassment’, degrades me in front of her mother, plays the victim and so on.
7. My in-laws seem to act mostly on impulse without thoughts about consequences. My wife and FIL both rigidly obey my MIL.

A. The behavior of both your mother-in-law and your wife is unusual. Without being able to interview them in person, a diagnosis is not possible. However, based on what you described, it would seem that they are emotionally unstable and perhaps dangerous. The physical abuse and rage is concerning.

If you can help it, limit your contact with your mother-in-law. Interact with her as little as possible. You also should strongly encourage your wife to seek treatment with mental health professionals. If she’s unwilling to seek help, then you should consult a mental health professional. He or she can assess your situation and provide guidance for how you should respond. These issues are significant and cannot be ignored. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP http://www.FormerChild.com <![CDATA[Breaking Things When Angry, Crying for No Reason, Mood Swings]]> http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/?p=43784 2016-11-21T23:38:58Z 2016-11-26T19:45:49Z

I have trouble controlling what I speak when im angry. My mother hurts me with her words and I hurt her right back. I really don’t mean to do that it just happens.
I have trouble controlling myself from breaking crockery when im angry.
I cant communicate very effectively while talking.
Breaking crockery usually calms me down.
I have dug my nails into my mother’s arm once because she wouldn’t stop accusing me. Never again. It scares me how vicious I was.
After an outburst I cry a lot. But after that I have trouble even remembering what made me so angry. Or what words exactly triggered it.
I have a severe headache and I sleep it off.
Sometimes I have trouble falling asleep too.
I have frequent mood swings. I happy one moment and I could start crying the next. Even if it’s a commercial in TV I may start crying.
I get very sad. I hardly talk to people. It irritates me if someone tries to talk to me when im in this mood.
Other people’s habits annoy me.
Any kind of sound irritates me when im in this mood.
I cannot stand people who are fake or selfish or people who lie n deceive or those who show off.
So I avoid such company. I have very limited friends. Im very selective. Im very cynical. I either believe people too much or don’t believe them at all. Me being so critical makes most of my relationships temporary.
When I get angry, I have headaches, nausea, my eyes hurt n also I have occasionally breathlessness.
My parents stayed together because of me and usually my mother blames me for all of her problems.
I feel very guilty. N hurt. I have been trying to please them all my life. But nothing ever makes them happy.
Im normally quite content in my own bubble… talking to myself, talking to imaginary friends… I am used to staying by myself..i take up hobbies to busy myself and never get bored.
I don’t socialize much because my parents wont let me… but I do love making friends.
I really don’t know how to handle myself. I don’t like this side of mine. I don’t wish to hurt anybody with my words but I end up doing the same.
Please help. (From India)

A: At 27 it is time for you to move on and realize your mother’s anger, frustration, disappointment and aggravation have a big part to play in your growth and development. It is time to start making a plan to get out of her house. It might take you some time to figure out where to go and what to do, but if your conditions stay the same it is not likely your reactions will change. It is time to leave.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. DanProof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

 

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Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker <![CDATA[Scared of Specific People]]> http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/?p=42834 2016-11-21T23:37:12Z 2016-11-26T12:35:05Z

From the Netherlands: I am so scared of some specific people that I cannot see or even hear theyr voices. I completely panic. I am scared of going out and see this people, Because if I see them I Always have crisis and there was one time I thought I would lose my control. I also cannot see them in pictures, cause brings me bad feelings.

Usually are people that are related to my love life. It can be a ex, the girlfriend of my ex, or a neighbour who has a nice boyfriend, or a more attractive cousine which can have a nice boyfriend.

It all started when I lost my first handsome boyfriend to another interesting girl, and I kept seeing them at social media. The moment I discovered that I had to protect myself, I blocked them. But still, I cant block people in real life. So I am Always scared.

Please help cause its driving me crazy! I Always compare myself to them and Always feel like I am the loser. I see good things about them but I Always forget about myself.

A: It sounds to me like you have developed a phobia. Phobias usually have a basis in an event that the person found overwhelming. In order to deal with it, the person then compartmentalizes the anxiety and fear to a particular kind of person or event. It’s like people who get afraid of all dogs because one dog bit them.

In your case, being rejected was more than you could bear. So you unconsciously decided to block the feelings (and the people) associated with rejection instead of deal with them. As you have discovered, it’s not that easy. A person who is afraid of dogs can stay away from most dogs most of the time. But social media and life in our community makes it nearly impossible to avoid seeing other people who are in successful relationships.

Please see a counselor. You can’t handle this on your own. The good news is that treatment of such issues is usually successful. You need to face the rejection you’ve been avoiding and learn to move on in your life. You deserve to get past this and to make yourself open to loving and being loved.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW <![CDATA[ADD or Autism?]]> http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/?p=43628 2016-11-21T23:24:46Z 2016-11-25T19:45:58Z

I have been diagnosed with ADD 1 year ago, i have a limited area of focus, I get bored easily and quickly and my life is not organized at all. but my main problem is that I have a difficulty in having close relationships, I always feel frustrated when I am around my family members or closed friend and I just want to leave the lace, I cant maintain eye contact with them although i can maintain eye contact with stranger to certain limit. i cant express feelings to close people. this makes me hesitant about marriage or having at least having a girlfriend. my question now is these a symptoms of Autism, I mean I have no problems in talking or reading, I am actually an author, but can I have autism and in the same time doesnt have any talking or reading problems, and if yes what can I do to solve this? please advise

A. Diagnosis requires an in-person, formal evaluation. There could be alternative explanations for how you feel. Not everyone feels comfortable around their family members. There are some people who feel more comfortable sharing personal information about themselves with strangers than they do with family members. It may be the case that you are not close enough with your family to share emotionally charged information. It could be that you feel that they would misuse the information that you would share with them.

You also mentioned having difficulty with close friendships but didn’t elaborate. You described having eye contact issues, but I would need more information to know if it constitutes a sign of autism.

It’s important to remember that relationships are two-sided. Perhaps the people with whom you are interacting have personal problems of their own that impact how they relate to you. At this time, more information and analysis is necessary. It would be tremendously helpful if you met with a therapist to discuss these issues in more depth. The therapist could objectively analyze your relationships and advise you accordingly. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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