ask dr-robert

ask dr-robert ask psychologist todos santos ask psychologist dr robert saltzman

Thank you very much for a letter which you wrote to my fiancé. For a pity I have to disagree with what you said in your letter. I may assure you I am intelligent and none of the people I know can describe me as “a person that needs an urgent help”. I find myself very communicative and never gave a trouble to anyone. As I always was different from all the children, I always was spending time with older people, like my teachers at kindergarten and school, and of course when I grew up I was not interested in boys which were only talking about computer games and were meeting their friends to get drunk to death. So of course I was more interested in serious mature relationship.

My father……Well yes, I felt lack of his attention, and I can't say he was a good person for a child to spend a time with, but this man never made me feel abandoned, he never let me alone in a trouble, I know he will do anything for me to become a nice person, he always was an example for me in his intelligence. Yes, he was not running with me while I was riding a bicycle, he never went to see my school performances, but he was always giving me everything I needed to develop as a child. I have the best parents.

I was in a very bad relationship. My fiancé took me out of a nightmare. I was in a very bad trouble, my ex was giving me injuries, called me a bitch, I was sitting at home, cooking and cleaning as a slave while he was drinking beers somewhere with his friends. Then he was coming home, and the things he was making me to do after made me vomit every time. So don't say I simply changed the horses.

My dear fiancé saved me, he was chasing me everywhere trying to show what the real relationship are, and still I was telling him that I will not change. But with his tenderness, care, attention, love he made me fall in love with him……fall in love not like a girl, but like an adult, with complete understanding of all my responsibilities . I find him the best man in the World, I know I will never let him go as now I know what the real relationship are, full of love and understanding.

When we got engaged, I was invited to visit him in his country to meet his family. I must tell you that during all the previous time it was not even one single disagree between us, I never tried to control his life, he has 100% of my trust. I knew that this person will never do anything to hurt me. So, I went there, I left everything behind and left for 3 month. On the second day of my stay I got to know he was married before, he has a son. I was asking him before if he was ever married or if there are any things I have to know about his past. He said he never was married. So imagine my stress. I was completely broken. I bought him a present before I came to him. Two little shoes, so tiny, so beautiful. We always used to talk about children, he was telling me he dreams of me making him a father. And yes, I was dreaming about it too. I gave him this present as a symbol of my hugest trust and love, I wanted to show him that he is the only one I want to live my life with.

Anyway… the end of the day I was broken. I felt myself like an idiot.

Now every time I hear about this other 5 years old child, I remember of my broken dreams. I told my fiancé that I can't be angry with a child, as it's not his fault that his mother was a psycho. My fault is that in the moment of insanity I said some bad things which I didn't mean. Yes, now my life is not like before, as instead of being a wife of 28-year old man I will be the wife of a 32-year old (yes, he didn't tell me his real age too), who was already married and who already has a child. And believe it or not, I will change my opinion about his son just to be with him as I love him. I have nothing against his son, but when I have my kids I want them to be very special for us, as you can't compare a child who appeared to this world with his mother doing it just to keep my man next to her and my man who actually was afraid of her committing a suicide and a child who will be born in a loving family. But things that really worry me are that this child will mean for him more then my kids. I am afraid to lose my man because of something that happened in his past and I have so many worries, even stupid ones.

So, I hope you will read this letter and give an answer. As you can see, I am a completely adequate person with completely adequate thoughts. The way you described me in your letter to my fiancé was not right. I am deeply hurt with your statement that I will never be a good mother and that my fiancé shouldn't even think about having children with me….and many other things which I don' want to mention as I was misjudged, The letter my man wrote was a complete truth too. We both need a help of a professional person ,but the advice to break-up is not available here, we want to be together, and I am ready to change. But don't describe me as a monster please.
Thank you very much for an attention.

ask dr-robert ask psychologist todos santos ask psychologist dr robert saltzman

Thank you for writing. And before I continue, you should understand that my reply to your fiancé's letter to me was intended for him, not for you. If I had been addresssing you, no doubt I would have proceeded differently. Also, since I have never met you, and so knew you only by the rather anguished and desperate description of events given to me in his cry for help (he really sounded at wit's end), there was not, and could not have been, anything personal to you in my discussion of the psychological dynamics between the two of you. In other words, I was addressing his relationship to his mental version of you, if you understand that, not you as you are, for I had no evidence of that--only his words.

Now that I have read your words, I can form a far more accurate picture of your attitudes than before when I had only your fiancé's characterizations to use as a starting point. As I like to remind myself, the map is not the territory. And your fiancé's "map" of you, like all maps, failed to describe you, the actual territory, in the fullness of your own words.

I do not believe that I ever referred to you as a "monster," or even suggested it, and, based on the intelligence of your letter to me, I am willing to grant that you seem to be "a completely adequate person with completely adequate thoughts," as you wrote. Perhaps you are even more than just adequate. And certainly I recognize and feel for the suffering you have been through as you explained it, and I know that  certain experiences have left you fearful and distraught, perhaps even a bit terrified underneath it all, which certainly is not your fault. Also, I understand completely that your fiancé lied to you about himself, and that now, having been deceived, you are tempted to try to erase the past about which he lied, and which came as a shock to you. Nevertheless, I recognize, not just in your fiancé's letter to me, but in yours to me also, what I would like to call a fundamental flaw in your thinking, a major error in point of view of which you seem quite unaware.

Really, there is nothing unusual about such a state of unawareness.  All of us are unconscious of many things in life, particularly we are usually unaware of our own "shadow side" as C.G. Jung like to call it. Our shadows are parts of ourselves of which we are not proud, of which, perhaps, we are ashamed. They are the parts of ourselves which received disapproval during our impressionable early years, and which we felt forced to hide from others. The disapproval might have been active, such as being told that something is "no good," or passive, such as when some strong personal trait goes unrecognized by loved ones, and unappreciated. Both kinds of disapproval hurt, and lead to our defending against that hurt, usually by burying the offending traits in the shadows of consciousness. We deal with our shadow sides, in other words, by hiding and denying them, certainly to others, and eventually even to ourselves. Often, this is accomplished by a combination of two main psychological techniques:

first, we make ourselves blind to our shadows: we deny them, that is;

and second, we project our shadow stuff on to others.

The first technique, denial, is obvious. For example, a man has a habit of lapsing into foolish, thoughtless speech. His friends see it, but he does not. If you asked him, in fact, he might say, and actually believe, that his conversation is unusually witty. Projection, the second technique, simply means the tendency to take the "bad" parts of oneself, and, while denying or disowning them (first technique) to oneself, one blames and demonizes others for those same "badnesses." To return to the example of the prattling man: instead of seeing his foolishness in himself and owning it, he will project it elsewhere. He does this by noticing and pointing out foolishness, real or imagined, in other people who then serve as the hooks on which he can hang his projections. Once he has found a good hook, and hung his projected "faults," he can then relieve himself, and strengthen his level of denial, by blaming the "hook," finding fault in that person, that is.

As I say, I notice a fundamental flaw in your thinking, of which you seem quite unaware (denial). And this is not a small matter, for, as I took great care in telling your fiancé, that flaw in understanding permits you to justify to yourself a dangerous set of  ideas, a completely disordered fantasy in fact, which, if you do not wake up from it, will lead to a great deal of suffering for him and his son, to say nothing of yourself. Now that he has pursued you, and rescued you, and won you, I urge your fiancé to see that flaw in your thinking, come to terms with it, and to stand strong against it, for if your present thinking is allowed to set the agenda for your fiancé's life, and for his son's life, he will be washed up as a man--he will be a slave henceforth to that disordered part of you which only wants her way, only wants to remake history to suit her own needs, and doesn't give a rap for anyone else.

When I say that you seem "quite unaware," of this disordered thinking, I mean that you are denying and projecting. And, of course, since you are denying, you don't see how really bizarre your fantasies are. That's what denial is.

When I urged your fiancé to see about strengthening his sense of manhood--and now, as I assume you will share this with him, I want to repeat that appeal: Your son is part of your family. He needs you.--my intention was to try to fortify him against just that flaw in your thinking which you deny, and I see as frankly treacherous.

I will try to set this forth, but probably you will find ways to deny it. Still, even if you deny it, your fiancé may be awaking, at least a bit, from the hypnotic trance which sexual relationships--especially at the beginning when everything is hot and heavy--seem to promote, particularly in the male of the species. As the old saying goes, "when all the blood rushes towards the groin, the brain becomes deprived." I hope he will awaken.

Now, in your letter to me, you said this:

"I have nothing against his son, but when I have my kids I want them to be very special for us, as you can't compare a child who appeared to this world with his mother doing it just to keep my man next to her and my man who actually was afraid of her committing a suicide and a child who will be born in a loving family."

Well yes, actually, I do compare them, and find them exactly equal, precisely the same, totally identical in every important regard. Both children, if they are to reach their full potential as human beings, require exactly the same "nutrients." These nutrients are, air, water, food, protection, affection, education, and love. Is it possible that you cannot see this? You know, the way you put it, you come off like the evil stepmother in some fairy tale. Do you really imagine that your fiancé's son should have less of his father's love than your fantasized children who do not even exist yet? And, by the way, all children "appear" in this world in exactly the same way; a sperm fertilizes an egg.

And look, I don't mean to quibble, but you say that the ex-wife was pulling out all the stops in order to "keep my man next to her." But he was her man then, wasn't he? He certainly was not yours, you two hadn't even met. You keep trying to claim this man's past, and it does not belong to you. It all happened long before you arrived on the scene: the meeting of a man and a woman, attraction, flirtation, sex, love, marriage, fertilization of the ovum, childbirth, fights, divorce, etc. That is the real story, the true story, and you have no right to rewrite it! You have no right to rewrite a single moment of it! Anyway, as you tell it, not only she, but even their son, should be condemned because she pulled out the feminine wiles just to try to keep her man. But as I see it, that seems to be pretty much what you have been doing yourself, pulling out the manipulation stops, whether you know it or not. And she might not have known what she was doing either, any more than you do.

Please ask yourself this: Even assuming that your rival was really as calculating as you claim (I smell projection here), how do the motives of that woman in becoming pregnant in any way diminish the affection, protection, and love requirements of their son, a totally innocent bystander, both to his own conception, and now to your impossible fantasies of a "loving family" into which your "special" children will be born? In fact, if she really is as witchy and crazy as you claim, I would think that your fiancé would need to become more involved in his son's life, not less, as you have been politicking for. After all, the protection, affection, and love have to come from somewhere--if not from her, then who else but him?

Your child, if you ever have one, will not be any more "special" than the child your fiancé already has, and whom I am urging that "your man" acknowledge fully, and, like a real man, get to know, protect, cherish, and  love, even if the child does happen to live in another town. And, as a father and grandfather myself, I recommend that he assume those responsibilities and pleasures with absolutely zero regard to how you feel about it. Zero. Get it?

Your fiancé's son needs him, and that child deserves his time, financial support, affection, protection, education, and love, regardless of anything that ever passed or will pass between the child's parents, and regardless of anything that ever passed or ever will pass between you and your fiancé. That child is not his mother. He is your fiancé's first-born son, and, as such, represents both a responsibility, and a wonderful opportunity. The responsibility I just mentioned; time, financial support, affection, protection, education, and love. The opportunity is to know this child, to bond with him, to grow with him, and eventually to know him as an adult friend, a friend who might even be there for his father in later years when a little strength and affection from one's first-born son could come in handy. If your fiancé misses out on this opportunity he will be hurting his child, who really needs his father's love, and hurting himself as well, for, although I think your fiancé will require some wise counsel in order to realize it, he needs the love of that boy too. Judging from his letter to me, he needs the love of that boy a lot.

If all this is not immediately apparent to you, clear as a bell, beyond reproach, obvious, self-evident, unmistakable, undeniable, then please get whatever counseling and psychotherapy you require to help you to understand it. My dear, with the attitude you have now, you are not--take my word for it--headed towards creating the "loving family" of your fantasies. If your man can abandon one child, he can abandon the next, and the next wife too, just like the last one, if she fails to please, loses her looks, falls on bad times, or whatever may happen in this dangerous, insecure, precarious life we all share. 

If  you understood any of this, and if you respect my time, my thought, and my effort on your behalf in replying, until you get the therapy you need please follow this advice:

Stop trying to alienate your fiancé from his son, no matter how good your justifications may sound in your own mind

His ex-wife's character, good or bad, has nothing to do with this, and is not a good excuse for anything. His having lied to you has nothing to do with this, and is not a good excuse for anything. Yes, he lied in order to win you. Now, having been won under false pretenses, you have a choice: either forgive his lies and go on in a positive way--positive means that you accept things the way they are and deal with them properly, including getting to know this boy, and being certain that your future children (if you ever have them), whose brother he will be, will get to know him too, as a brother--or else, if you cannnot embrace the realities of this situation, leave this man and try to find another one who will not have a past which you resent and cannot accept. This is a simple choice really, but trying to alienate a man from his son is not part of that choice.
To continue with that sad project clearly would be the work of a seriously disordered mind. That is what I told your fiancé, and I hope he heard me, for if you go any further with your attack upon the relationship between this man and his child, your fiancé would be well advised to tell you goodbye immediately.

And please do not even consider marriage, much less becoming pregnant
, until this mess is straightened out.

Be well.

Thanks to your support, "ask dr-robert" has become the world's number one ask the psychologist site.

Pass it on:

Tell a friend about this page!
Their Name:
Their Email:
Your Name:
Your Email:
(all infomation remains private)

Or, if you find the site worth sharing, link to from your webpage, newsgroup, discussion forum, or blog.

return to ask dr-robert archives

page last modified April 1, 2007

copyright robert saltzman 2007 all rights reserved