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Ask Dr. SchwartzAsk Dr. Schwartz:
Psychotherapy and Mental Health questions

Am I Being Used?

Tue, Sep 8th 2009

My boyfriend of 4 years had himself in legal trouble a couple of years ago and due to his record he has been unemployed ever since. Initially, I decided to take him into my house thinking that I can provide some help and insights, about resume-writing and job searching. I knew it was going to be hard but I never imagined how much. We are both immigrants - he from 20 years agoand I from 10 years ago. His family is also in the States for the last 20 years. I feel that I am doing all the work to get him out of his mess- felony DUI. I have ruined my car to drive him to appointments for counseling, probation and job interviews sometimes. I heve been payng the mortgage myself for over 3 years and I have maxed-out my credit cards. My salary is not big enough to cover everything. Next month I will go bankrupt.

I believe that drinking was deeply incorporated in his famyly life, as it is in our culture in general. I could not say this to his parents but I asked them to go to an AA meeting, hoping that a counselor there will explain to them their parental mistakes. Also, I was in the middle of my studies to get a job as a scientist and this process was greatly interrupted by his legal trouble and by the fact that my efforts are not respected by him or his family. None of them has a higher degree, as I do. So I am stuck in a huge financial crisis in a low payng job, huge expenses, and no financial support whatsoever from his family. His father decided to stop working immediately after reaching retirement age since he had difficulties interacting with others due to his foreign origins and possibly other cultural issues. So, he is not able to help. His mom is still working, but she pays for almost everything and also has a transplanted kidney. At the same time his sister married a very influential businessman in our country and she is doing great. 100,000 dollars would be a very affordable amount for her to loan when the family is in distress. The problem is that this possible help from her was once or asked for by my boyfriend and the outcome was that she said - "What ? Money? O, you are crazy! My parents are OK."

My boyfriend supported his parents greatly while he was still working. So, on top of everything I deal with motivating him to keep searching for work. He loses faith often.

I am driving enormous amounts to my now two low paying jobs, to his parents who don't show much initiative, studying with no moral support and eventually sleeping about 4 hours a day, worrying and being really angry at this entirely unreasonable family. I am begining to think that despite of all of my efforts I will end up miserably alone, broke and mentally not so well. I have talked with my boyfriend about these things but he just lets them go and just says that he doesn't expect help from his sister. I feel that his mother can change a lot of things only by asking her daughter for help but she hates her son in law and is unlikely to do so. I suggested it once and the reaction was close to, "No way." Also, I get this vibe that when they leave the U.S. in the next year or so they will drag their son with them under some pretext and forever. Then, he will have some freadoms he doesn' t have here.

I have realised by now that his mother has some very manipulative ways. In the middle of this she and her husband had the nerve to fly to our country for a month and go to Las Vegas on a cheap vacation. My boyfriend and I, we go fishing for 13 dollars per license.

Is there any way to deal with this situation? Do you think I should try to save my 4 year-old relationship and its huge emotional, intelectual and financial investment? I am tired and aggravated and I don't know if I want to see these people anymore. Shall I talk to his mother? If she really doesn't give a damn about our raltionship, as I suspect, she may use my insecurity against me to achieve permanent separation. This is why I also think that hiding my health state is crucial at this point. I have serious health issues that need to be examined additionally. Do I give up with this relationship and try to repair myself? I have second thoughts and bitterness about his family styles that wouldn't have become transparent had we not been put in this situation.

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Disclaimer

  • Dr. Schwartz responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
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