Agony Aunt

Patricia Marie, MBACP qualified counsellor is a member of The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, practising in Harley Street, Essex and Scotland. She has many years experience of dealing with domestic violence, relationship problems, bereavement, depression, addictions, post traumatic stress and many other emotional issues. If you have a dilemma, please email Patricia.Marie@lady.co.uk

My heart is broken. How can I trust another man?

Posted by Patricia_Marie
Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 02 April 2015
Dear Patricia Marie,
I am 60, and have recently split from my boyfriend of 3 years. We had a fabulous relationship, or so I thought, until I found out he had been cheating on me with two other women. He hasn't denied it, and says he doesn't know what he wants anymore, and is moving miles away to start a new life on his own. Whether this is true or not makes no difference, he doesn't want to be with me.

What makes it so upsetting, is I believed him when he said he loved me. I am extremely intelligent and never had any reason to doubt he was anything but faithful. Our sex life was fantastic, and we had so much in common. To say I feel empty is an understatement, as I know I will never meet anyone like him again. In fact, I don't think I could ever trust another man again. My heart is broken, and I don't know what to do.

Patricia Marie says.....

There is nothing worse than a broken heart, and it's not surprising your scared of falling in love again after such a painful experience. You loved your boyfriend, therefore the intimacy you shared was particularly meaningful to you. For him, the attention of three women more than likely made him feel powerful and desirable.

Yet the reality is he is nothing more than a Casanova who is not to be trusted, and simply doesn't deserve you. When we fall in love we can never be certain that person won't hurt us, because the very act of falling in love makes us vulnerable.

The alternative is to be alone - which I feel in your case would be such a waste, as you are clearly a person who demonstrates warmth and passion, which others could benefit from. Don't let your ex's untrustworthiness jeopardise your future happiness.

It is a natural instinct if you have been hurt to put barriers around you and not allow yourself to trust, but if you do that, you could miss out on the joy of spending a lifetime with someone lovely and worthy of you. Ensure you surround yourself with friends that you can trust and depend on to get you through this bad time, and hopefully in time your heart will begin to heal.

For a comfort therapeutic read, I recommend: 'I Can Mend Your Broken Heart' by Paul McKenna.

This is my problem

Posted by Patricia_Marie
Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 26 March 2015
Dear Patricia Marie,

My younger sister died last year in a tragic car accident aged just 18. I am 21. At first my friends were extremely caring and supportive. But now everyone seems to have forgotten about me and the impact this has had on me. I feel I have no one to talk to and that life is just not worth living if my sister is not here. I have contemplated suicide many times. I just don't know how to get out of this very dark place.

I cannot talk to my parents as they are still grieving for the loss of their child, and don't seem to understand or have time to deal with my grief. My grandmother always reads The Lady, and read an article this week saying they have an agony aunt, which we hadn't realised. I went online and when I saw your photograph I thought how warm and approachable you looked, so I thought I would write in. I hope you can help me as I don't know where to go for help.

Thank you,

Patricia Marie says.....

I am so very sorry for your painful loss. It's always sad to lose a loved one, but far more difficult to make sense of when a young person dies in such tragic circumstances. Sometimes we can feel no one understands because we don't open up. I urge you to try to talk to your parents or another family member. You may not be doing so because you don't want to upset them, and they may not be talking to you for the same reason. Even if the tears flow, it's better to share your feelings and comfort each other, and to remember the happy times as well as the sad ones. Your friends probably don't realise how you feel. Tell them how much you miss your sister and that sometimes you want to talk about her.

Contemplating suicide is a serious cry for help and I believe you urgently need some professional help. Contacting your GP who can refer you for some counselling, and at the same time offer you a health check should be a priority. For additional support contact Cruse, and also Papyrus, an excellent organisation especially for young people feeling suicidal. There will always be difficult times, and although you can't see it just now, there is so much to live for. Please trust and believe you will be happy again, and able to experience the joy life can bring, like falling in love one day, and maybe having children of your own. Go and get the help you need and deserve so you can start living the life your sister can't.

Contact Cruse Bereavement Counselling 0844 477 9400 www.cruse.org.uk
Contact Papyrus 0800 068 4141 www.papyrus-uk.org

My Son Won't Settle Down

Posted by Patricia_Marie
Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 19 March 2015
Dear Patricia Marie,

My 30 year old daughter has been happily married for 10 years now, while my 25 year old son is still drifting from one relationship to another. He introduces his girlfriends to us as the love of his life, and a few months later it's all over. My husband and I have enjoyed wedded bliss for almost 35 years. It is extremely upsetting that while one of my children seems to have followed our example, the other has not. I am becoming increasingly concerned by my son's erratic behaviour.

Patricia Marie says.....

Having blissfully happy parents can sometimes be an unexpected disadvantage. Your son could be approaching every relationship with totally unrealistic expectations. If he measures every one of his new relationships up against what he experiences at home, he's soon going to feel disappointed. It may be that you're applying unfair demands.

Your son could be introducing every new girlfriend as 'The One', because he feels that's what you want to hear - and it seems to me that he is desperately trying to seek your approval.

He is still young enough to be playing the field, and maybe you should let him do so, free from the weight of your expectations. Whilst it's a comfort for you to know your daughter is happily married, you cannot compare your son's situation to hers, as this could jeopardise your relationship with him. Your son has his own unique personality, that if you were to embrace, could enrich your relationship with him. Trust that he is an adult, able to make his own choices regarding his relationships, and believe based on his many experiences, that when he is ready, your son will hopefully be able to make a good decision that is right for him - not one that is expected of him.

Should I Attend The Christening?

Posted by Patricia_Marie
Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 12 March 2015
Dear Patricia Marie,

My son left his ex-wife and two children and is now living with someone else. They have a new baby. My son has told me in no uncertain terms not to tell his ex-wife that he has had another child, but I have been invited to the christening of his daughter by his ex-wife and I feel that she should know - and that the children will be related.

She too has a new partner, and I feel sure she would be accepting of this news. Thankfully we have a good relationship, which I work hard to maintain as I would not want anything to jeopardise me seeing my grandchildren, but if I kept this secret from her, and she found out, she would be very upset.

My son said it is up to him to tell her. I can't envisage enjoying the christening, as I am the mother of the man who left them, so would it be right for me to accept the invitation?

Patricia Marie says.....

It is your son's responsibility to tell his ex-wife that he has another child. It will come out at some stage and the more he delays it, the more difficult it will be. The children should know about the new baby - and perhaps hopefully get to enjoy a relationship with their new sibling. If it's kept a secret and they find out one day, that could be quite traumatic; they could be upset or angry with their father, and if it were to remain undisclosed for too long, they may never forgive him.

When he tells his children, to avoid them feeling rejected in any way, he must reassure them how much he loves them and that he will see them just as often. Whilst this is not an easy situation, it can be made tolerable if dealt with in a civilised manner.

Explain to your son that if you have to keep it a secret, it could damage your relationship with his ex-wife and your grandchildren when she finds out. If he absolutely refuses then when his ex-wife does discover the truth, insist you were put in an awkward situation and that you had asked your son to tell her himself or to let you do it instead.

You are very worthy of the invitation, so go along, hold your head high, and enjoy your granddaughter's very special christening celebration.
Tags: agon, agony aunt

My Mother Needs Help

Posted by Patricia_Marie
Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 27 February 2015
My mother is an alcoholic and it's affecting us all. I now live quite a distance away so only visit a couple of times a month. Mother is supposed to be caring for my dad as he is disabled. He has a carer but not at weekends now. Someone from social services has to come weekends as she forgets to give him his medication and cook for him. The family have done so much to try to help her. My brother took her to the doctors who did liver tests and said she would die soon if she did not stop drinking. She refused to go back to Alcoholics Anonymous after two sessions. My mother says she is seeking help, but it's all lies. She has anti-depressants but doesn't take them. She hides alcohol all over the house. If we throw it away she buys more. Bills are not getting paid. The grandchildren don't want to visit her as she is always intoxicated. I am getting married soon and would love her to be at the wedding, but I know she will be drunk. My sister has advised me not to go out of my way to help, as she tried and it made her ill. How can I get my mother to stop drinking?

Patricia Marie says.....

You ask the same question many family members of an alcohol dependent want the answer to, sadly, the reply is never simple. Alcoholism is a family disease - if one person is drinking to excess, everyone around them is affected. Alcoholics are often in denial, blaming circumstances or people around them for their addiction. They are unable to see how badly their destructive and hurtful behaviour affects those who love and want to help them.

Alcoholics Anonymous recommends ' detachment with love' - as your sister discovered, if you don't allow yourself to stand back a little it can affect your health. You have to accept you cant stop your mum from drinking, only she can choose to do this. If alcoholics are not ready for help, efforts by family and friends trying to force them to admit to the problem, usually causes more resentment, and its only when the consequences of their drinking becomes painful enough will they reach out for help.

Do remind your mother how much you love her, but you cannot help her if she is not willing to help herself, as it is destroying your life, and concerned that unless she gets professional help soon, she will cause lasting grief to all her family.

Whether she chooses to get help or not, do contact: The National Association for Children of Alcoholics, 0800 358 3456 (www.nacoa.org.uk) An excellent organisation offering tremendous support for people in your situation.


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