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 Husband's Driving is Dangerous

Posted by Patricia_Marie
Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 26 February 2015
Dear Patricia Marie,
My husband's driving is becoming increasingly alarming. We are both in our mid-60s and retired, and frequently travel to visit our son and his family some 50 miles away.

Trips with him at the wheel feel erratic and dangerous, with him ignoring speed limits and road signs, and crossing lanes with scant regard for other road users. After a car journey, I feel a nervous wreck. I also worry when he is out driving on his own as he is often fiddling with the radio or adjusting his satellite navigation device. Any attempt to pass comment or discuss this simply meets with hostility, however I approach it.

What can I do?

Patricia Marie says.....

Enraged drivers are so out-of-control that they endanger the life and health of their passengers, fellow motorists and pedestrians. Therefore, with your safety and those of others at issue, your husbands erratic driving is an extremely serious problem.

You need to sit down with him - not when you are in the car - and ask him directly about his unacceptable behaviour behind the wheel. Talking about his anger and loss of control, could well prove an outlet for your husbands feelings, rather than him suppressing them until they explode on the road.

How does he handle other difficulties in his life? People who display road rage often have many issues and if addressed could improve their aggression. It's unmanaged stress and emotions that cause bad driving. Could your husband be angry at you, and consciously or not, be using his driving to make a statement? Whatever the reason, there is no excuse for his dangerous driving, and he needs to find new ways to manage his anger. I would recommend that he pay a visit to his G.P. who can refer him for some anger management.

However, if he gets defensive, dismisses your fears or blames other road users for his attitude, I would make alternative travel arrangements. Just because your husband won't put your safety first, it doesn't mean you can't.

Hypothetical Sticky Situation

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 19 February 2015
Dear Patricia Marie,
I have recently come out of a 4 year relationship because my ex told me he would want an abortion if I were to ever become pregnant. Not that he would force one on me of course, but that would be what he would prefer. This crushed me, not because I'm against abortion (because I'm not, it's a personal choice in my opinion but an emotional one I couldn't go through with).

My ex and I split up because of that, and I've been with someone new for the past three months. The new gentleman in my life also told me he'd prefer an abortion. While the new boyfriend reassures me that his feelings aren't personal against me, he feels he simply isn't mature enough to entertain the thought of wanting a child. I have no intention of ever becoming pregnant before marriage, however I do want some reassurance that no matter what happens, the man I love would be there for me.

I am not ready to have a family right now, nor am I planning to. But I find it incredibly difficult at my age (28) to consider that a man who is truly emotionally mature and responsible and in love can also not even entertain the fact of not wanting an abortion. I truly believe that I could never handle the emotional reprucutions of an abortion, and cannot quite come to terms with the fact that the men I seem to fall in love with don't see a pregnancy as something they would have an emotional connection with.

My question to you is, should I stay with my current boyfriend and just trust that he doesn't mean this personally, or leave him and seek out a man who is on the same page as me in regards to this sensitive topic?

Patricia Marie says.....

You are making decisions on assumptions, and by doing so not only are you putting intense pressure on yourself, but are then unable to fully enjoy your relationship. If you were to get pregnant, the fear of your partner wanting you to have an abortion and abandoning you is so overwhelming you are almost wanting to risk ending it for something that may never happen. I'm wondering if these insecurities are connected to deeply buried feelings, igniting past fears of loss and separation.

Even if you were to meet someone who initially gave you assurances, the reality is people and situations change and we can leave ourselves open to disappointment if things can't always be as we had initially hoped. You are wanting guarantees, something life cannot give us - no matter what the circumstances. Not sure the men you say you fall in love with aren't able to connect emotionally to a pregnancy, but suspect it's more likely they are neither ready nor wanting to be fathers just yet.

I believe you could benefit from some counselling which would help explore your fears and anxiety, enabling you to deal with things in a more positive way, so you can enjoy your relationship in the here and now and be in a better place to deal with whatever the future brings.

The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy have a directory where you can find a therapist in your area www.bacp.co.uk

Valentine's Day loneliness

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 05 February 2015
Dear Patricia Marie,

I dread this time of year with Valentines Day fast approaching, it just reinforces my loneliness, and disappointment that I am facing yet another year of being single. I am almost giving up on the gentlemen species. The type of men I seem to meet are not worthy of me and have no future prospects. I have even lowered my standards due to lack of response. I seem to attract the useless, uncaring, selfish, non-committal man.

About me. I am 30, my friends tell me I'm very attractive, interesting and reliable. I hold a good position at work, where I am valued and appreciated. Why can't this extend to my personal life? I want to be wined and dined, have flowers sent to me and to receive a card on Valentine's Day.

Please help me.

Thank you.

Patricia Marie says.....

You say most of the men you meet aren't living up to your expectations, and that your considering giving up trying to find a partner. Yet also believe by accepting less out of life allows you more chance of success. Lowering standards displays low self-esteem, which is why you are attracting the unfavourable type not worthy of you. These negative beliefs can arise from bad experiences, or not being valued or understood. In order to love someone you must be able to love and respect yourself.

Being your true self is allowing colleagues to show you unconditional respect and acceptance, which gives you confidence within the work environment. This can be extended to your personal life if you can begin to see yourself in a positive light.

Instead of dreading this years Valentine's Day, make it special by promising yourself this is the year to address your chances of finding a suitable partner. Perhaps you could join a reputable dating site, or embark on some new hobbies or interests, which will enhance your social life and help improve your sense of self-worth.

This Valentine's Day, do remember whilst you may be without a partner, there are plenty of Valentine's Days in a lifetime, and many possible people whom you could fall in love with. Don't make the day about loneliness, make it about love, and instead of just admiring what's on offer, go ahead and treat yourself to a gift that you would like to receive and very much deserve.

Check out the mind website ( www.mind.org.uk ) where you will find useful tips on increasing self-esteem.

I can't sleep

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 29 January 2015
Dear Patricia Marie,

Every night for the past 2 months I have struggled to get to sleep. When I eventually do I wake up feeling like I haven't rested at all. This started when I began my new job and I just can't seem to switch off. Is there anything you can suggest I try as it is naturally effecting my mood..

Thank you.

Patricia Marie says.....

You say you have been unable to sleep since you started your new job, so what is happening in your place of work that is preventing you from sleeping? Any concerns must be resolved as lack of sleep effects our emotional state, and if prolonged can have serious consequences on our health.

Writing a list in the evening is a good way to organise your thoughts, clearing your mind of any distractions.You would still be dealing with matters, but putting them aside until the morning when you are rested.

The most important thing to achieving a good night's sleep is working out a bedtime routine that works for you and sticking to it. A bedtime ritual teaches the brain to become familiar with sleep times and wake times. It programmes the brain and internal body clock to get used to a routine.

Winding down is a critical stage in preparing for bed. This could be in the way of a warm bath, followed by a milky drink, then settling down with a good book. Avoid watching television or anything that stimulates the mind.

Ensure you fall asleep in a quite, dark room, which is not overheated. If you do wake up and struggle to get back to sleep, get up. If anything is playing on your mind, write it down, so it becomes removed from your thoughts, or read for a bit to clear your mind of clutter. Then once calmer, get back into bed. If you have to repeat this pattern many times during the night, don't worry, you should soon decrease the times you get up, until your waking stops altogether.

In addition to this, you could try some yoga classes, where you will be taught light yoga stretches and how to breath correctly - promoting relaxation.

You may also benefit from hypnotherapy which helps treat psychological problems that causes sleep disturbance. Hypnosis puts you in a deeply relaxed state allowing one's body and mind to become rejuvenated.

Contact the British Society of Clinical Hypnosis (BSCH) for a qualified therapist in your area. www.bsch.org.uk/
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Devastated by death of Coronation Street Deirdre Barlow

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 22 January 2015
Dear Patricia Marie,

I feel rather silly writing this, but I am a loyal Coronation Street fan, and am devastated by the very sad and sudden death of Anne Kirkbride, who played the character Deirdre Barlow for many years. I am the same age as she was and have grown up watching her in the soap. Many of her story lines seemed to parallel events in my own life.

I find it hard to believe that she isnt going to be on the programme anymore and don't even know if I can bear to watch it again. It just won't be the same without her.

Since the news of her death I have been unable to focus and feel extremely tearful most of the time.
How on earth can I move on from this situation?

Patricia Marie says.....

You are most certainly not alone in mourning the very sad unexpected death of 'national icon' Anne Kirkbride, who died aged just 60 on Monday. Playing Deirdre Barlow for 43 years, she leaves a huge void in not only her family, friends and colleagues lives, but for you and all the other viewers who adored her.

Don't feel silly to be upset for the loss of someone who through the years played the story of life brilliantly, who connected with so many of us, and whose sudden loss has shocked the nation, proving hard to accept.

Deirdre showed her vulnerability by embarking on an affair with her husbands worst enemy Mike Baldwin, as well as having a fling with bad boy Jon Lindsay, which resulted in her being locked up in prison. Yet when required, she displayed great strength of character by standing up to all those who criticised her badly behaved daughter - story lines that resonated with many.

But who could possibly forget the comical banter between Deirdre, her husband Ken and eccentric mother Blanche, providing viewers with side-splitting laughter. At this time of sadness, its comforting to have such fond memories.

Of course Coronation Street will be different without Deirdre; but the programme will go on, as life must - just as her colleagues will have to find the strength to continue to work without their familiar friend beside them. And be assured the writers of Coronation street will ensure this iconic character will continue to have her presence felt in the street.

I hope you can get comfort and support from knowing others are feeling sad like you, and that as time goes on, your grief will ease. Anne's passing sends that familiar important message to us all, that we must embrace life, and cherish every moment, as it is so very precious and should never be taken for granted. One thing we can be sure of, our beloved Deirdre Barlow will never be forgotten.
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