My son needs therapy but refuses to go
Our son is in his early thirties. He lives in another city and treats me like a therapist. When he feels low he phones me and gets angry if I just listen and offer no opinion. It usually comes down to him feeling he wasn’t encouraged as a child.
This has gone on for years with old gripes being aired regularly and he gets defensive if I suggest therapy.
He and his dad have had a difficult relationship over the years. In his late twenties he casually mentioned he’d been molested by a relative we’d trusted when he was about 12. His dad offered to take this up with the relative but our son said to leave it.
He was engaged but his fiancé freaked when she found out and the engagement ended. He then tackled his dad to take up the matter with the relative, who is now elderly, but his dad did nothing.
Our son then confronted the relative by phone but he denied it. I’d hoped it would at least help our son feel better to have done this, but he’s still angry and depressed. He was diagnosed as ADHD and bipolar but a fresh opinion would be appreciated.
- Karen, email
Dr Louise’s advice
Your son seems to believe the world and his parents should solve his problems. He seems to have taken on the role of victim rather than survivor.
All parents make mistakes and there’s no value for your son in blaming you and your husband for his present problems. He’s an adult now and must take responsibility for his life – which therapy would help him with.
Victims of sexual abuse need therapy as it can be a very traumatic experience.
You’re correct in saying you’re not his therapist and nor should you be a “punishing pillar” for him to thrash when he’s angry about perceived wrongs in his past.
The next time he phones you to complain about it, tell him you’re no longer willing to have that conversation and he needs to discuss it with a therapist who’ll know how to help him stop being a victim and be a survivor instead. He’s abusing you by using you as a “therapist”, even if you’re just listening. Don’t allow it anymore.
Your son’s diagnosis is important only in order to ascertain the medication that should be prescribed for him. But medication alone won’t solve the problem. He needs psychotherapy – but he has to choose to go.
I feel hunted by women
I’m an educated man in my early thirties and have a good job and a bright future ahead of me. The problem is I feel as if every woman I meet is chasing me as if I’m an animal she’s hunting.
They don’t care about my feelings – they care only about getting me into bed and getting me to commit to a long-term relationship.
The worst thing is that the needier they become, the more any positive feelings I might have had for them disappear.
Why can’t they just relax and give me time to get to know them as a friend? The result is that I’m forced to terminate the “relationship” before it’s even started.
It’s as if every woman I meet is simply trying to get a man who can give her a comfortable life. Many of them have had the same opportunities in life I’ve had to study and build good careers. Why don’t these women make a life for themselves that’s not dependent on a man?
- Ben, email
Dr Louise’s advice
There are plenty of women who are quite capable of taking care of themselves and many who are focused on their careers and not looking for a man to support them. Perhaps you’ve just had bad luck not to come across such women and for some reason have met only the “hunters” out there.
Try widening your social circle by getting involved in business organisations or other organisations in your field where you’re more likely to meet dynamic women who are career-focused and don’t view men as meal tickets.
You could also try joining special- interest clubs. Think about what really interests you – whether it’s the outdoors, hiking, books, sports – and find out if there are clubs in your area. These will provide the chance to meet like- minded people.
His excuse is unacceptable!
My husband is 70, fit and healthy, and still works full time. But he’s unable to maintain an erection or ejaculate and this has been going on for some months now.
When I broach the subject his answer is that it’s just “part of old age”. But I find this unacceptable. How do I get him to do something about it?
- Confused, email
Dr Louise’s advice
Sex does change with age and it’s not uncommon for men to have issues with erectile dysfunction. But it’s also just normal for older men not to be able to get an erection as frequently as when they were younger.
It’s also normal for the quality of ejaculation to change but it shouldn’t stop completely. If that’s the case there’s likely to be another cause, such as certain medications. It seems your husband is trying to pin his sexual dysfunction on old age, probably because he’s embarrassed to seek professional help.
Speak to your husband about getting professional help. He needs to consult a urologist specialising in sexual dysfunction. A few tests may be all that’s needed to resolve the problem. There are also medications and implants that can help.