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Is He Crazy About the Therapist?

CD Knowles 8 months ago

Dear Knowles,

My problem is very personal and I haven’t discussed it with any of my friends for fear they’ll think I’m neurotic and ridiculous. But I don’t think I am. My husband started seeing a therapist about a year ago to deal with some issues around his mother’s death. (His mother, a drama queen, died very suddenly of a brain embolism last October. She was seventy-six years old.) My husband quotes his therapist all the time. She’s about his age, upper forties, and from the way he talks about her — with utter respect and adoration — I feel she’s subtly trying to gain control over his life. Whatever she tells him to do, he does — whether it’s to become vegetarian, or start running ten miles a day, or read certain books or take up yoga. It bugs me since he never follows my advice the same way. At night we have to watch the stuff she likes on Netflix. He’ll say “Maggie recommends thus and such to help with my fear of seeming inconsequential.” Really? To me that’s bs, but you should see how googly-eyed he gets when he talks about her. Like she can walk on water. Recently she’s been advising him on financial matters, how to invest his money, and that really freaks me out. But if I say anything, he’ll get annoyed and tell me I’m not nearly as educated as she is. It’s a bad situation and I feel as if it’s beginning to undermine our marriage. I know patients are supposed to have transference with their therapists, but this seems like it’s going too far and he’s actually falling in love with her. We are about to celebrate our fifteenth wedding anniversary, but my husband doesn’t seem nearly as excited about me and our marriage as he does about his weekly therapy sessions. I’ve looked the therapist up online and she’s drop dead gorgeous. I know you’re not a psychic, but could you please give me a reality check?

Thanks in advance,

Going Crazy in Kansas City

crazy

Dear Going Crazy,

No, I’m not a psychic, so I can only give you common sense advice. It’s not unheard of, though it’s definitely unwise and unprofessional, for a therapist to get involved with a client. This almost never happens however, because a well-trained therapist knows better than to put herself in such a precarious position. Should she develop feelings for the client, her most likely course of action would be to refer them on to someone else. What happens more often is the client becomes slightly enamored of the therapist as they go through the early stages of their work. For the client, the therapist is a wise and all knowing guide who is more tuned into their psyche than just about anyone else on the planet. From your description, your husband seems to be at that point in his therapy. What can you do about it? Not much. To nag or raise a stink would have negative consequences, though I would advise you to talk to your husband about the way you feel and see if you can come up with solutions together. It is always difficult when one partner is in therapy and the other isn’t. Accordingly, you might want to seek your own therapist, especially as you’re feeling uncertain and jealous. A good therapist would be a sounding board and offer clarity, which is exactly what you need right now. Hope that helps and wish you luck.

All the best,

CD Knowles

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It’s been awhile, Knowles. Did you wonder where I went? Ha ha, thought I’d give you a break, but don’t think I haven’t been reading your column and keeping an eye on you. So here’s something you could advise me on. I want to go out with a beautiful woman I met in a coffee shop. The question is do I approach her in the street (I know where she lives) or get her number and call her? Which would make her like me better?

Ah yes, there you are again, Honed-to-Kill. My advice would be to do neither. A connection with you leads nowhere good, so why don’t you do some soul searching and turn yourself in to the cops. You’ll feel better and so will everyone else.

Stay in touch, CD Knowles

****************************************************************rageREACTIONS TO ROAD RAGE CAN’T RULE

Dear Frightened,

I used to be like your husband. But I don’t agree with Knowles that your husband doesn’t know he has a problem. I knew my behavior was bad when I honked people off the road or screamed and yelled  names. Driven by rage, I couldn’t help myself but I always felt embarrassed afterward. Finally I went for counseling and was surprised when the therapist was so understanding. She encouraged me to meditate and learn yoga which I began doing regularly, and now if I’m in the car and get pissed off with someone else’s driving, I start chanting a prayer and the anger recedes.

Hope that helps.

Freddie Z, Phoenix

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Dear Frightened,

One time this driver honked at me so I slowed way down and when we stopped at a light I got out of the car, grabbed my crowbar and smashed out both his headlights. He never saw my license, I made sure of that.

Watch what you do on the road, it’ll bite you in the ass.

Gordon L, Baltimore

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Disclaimer: CD Knowles is not a doctor or psychotherapist. Any opinions expressed on Knowles Knows are just that — opinions.