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Baggage Check: So over him; putting the kids first

By Andrea Bonior
Andrea Bonior
Andrea Bonior (that's BONN-yer!) is a licensed clinical psychologist, professor, and writer. She completed her M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology focusing on individual and group psychotherapy for young adults and specializing in the treatment of anxiety disorders and depression.

Q: My ex of one year recently called me to chat. At first things were friendly, but then he dropped a bombshell that he had broken up with his girlfriend – the one he ended up dumping me for – because he suddenly developed intense feelings for me again. But I’m over him. So how do I tell him that I’ve moved on and no longer want him in my life?

After all you’ve been through with him, I find it rather interesting that you didn’t want to shout this out with a bullhorn. But in short, the answer to your question is very simple. You open your mouth and form those exact words to him.

And if you’re having trouble saying it, you explore within yourself what the emotional block is: Do you feel guilty? Doubtful that you really mean it? Angry enough that you want to string him along? Sad that you’re basically telling him it’s over? There’s some psychological hurdle there, and figuring out what it is will make it easier for you to break things off, once and for all.

Put the kids first

Q: When my wife and I got divorced, the court granted shared physical and legal custody of our kids. The problem is that my ex scares me. How can I maintain a custody relationship with someone I find toxic and perhaps even dangerous? Two independent licensed counselors have told me there is a great possibility she has borderline personality disorder. The thought that I have to deal with this woman for the next 10-15 years is overwhelming. What can I do so I don’t go crazy myself?

In terms of setting priorities, you must devote yourself to your children’s safety at all costs. If indeed your ex has BPD (characterized by emotional instability and alternating attempts at closeness and severe anger), you simply can’t let her engage you in her volatility.

I can’t emphasize enough that you need some counseling. It will help relieve your stress, develop strategies and put a safety net in place if she takes a turn for the worst (I know – hard to imagine). Your children need you more than ever, in terms of a safe, loving and stable presence, and getting help yourself can help you help them.

Andrea Bonior, a clinical psychologist, is the author of “The Friendship Fix.” www.drandreabonior.com.
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