Obsessing over boyfriend's family


Obsessing over boyfriend's family


your avatar   Kay, 22-year-old woman

Growing up I had a tough childhood. My parents had me at a very young age. Let's just say my mom ran after men and my dad drank and partied while I was dumped from house to house. My mother and her family destroyed my self-esteem by constantly putting me down as a kid.

A couple of years later I met my boyfriend. I love him but his family treated me so badly. His sister made fun of my body and called me fat, so I ended up losing weight and developed a bad relationship with food. I literally want to kill his whole family. I think about how I'm going to do it every day. I need serious help because these thoughts are becoming obsessive.

Why am I obsessing over my boyfriend's family? Why do I want to kill these people and see them hurt? Sometimes I think I'm possessed by evil.


    Bob Rich, Ph.D.

Kay my dear,

No, you are not evil. Because of your childhood, you are experiencing the effects of multiple traumas. This can have many ways of showing itself. A frequent one is anger. "The world is unfair and cruel, and I want to hit back."

When your boyfriend's sister made fun of you, when they all treated you as if you were inferior, this gave you something to focus all that anger on. They are a convenient target, but if you could kill them, the anger would not go away, because the cause is further back.

You should do three things. The first and most important is to deal with the effects of what happened to you when you were a little girl. Those events happened, and nothing will make them go away, but you can "process" them, so that they no longer hurt in the present. They become memories with no anger or pain associated with them. If you can afford a psychologist, find one who does "exposure therapy." My preferred technique for that is through hypnosis. There are other effective ones, including EMDR. Another form of very effective exposure therapy is Traumatic Incident Reduction. You can find a practitioner in your area at www.tir.org . I can thoroughly recommend the technique.

If you cannot afford a therapist, you may be able to do the healing for yourself. I did, when I was about your age. I have written my life story as fiction, but included all the things that happened to me. Part of it is doing exposure therapy for myself. The title of the book is Ascending Spiral, and you can buy an electronic copy for a few dollars. You will probably find that when you have removed the poison from your memories, your anger will go, and you'll be able to shrug off disdain from people, including your boyfriend's relations.

Second, you sound very disapproving of your parents. Good. Use them as role models on how NOT to live. Whatever they did, deliberately do the opposite. Design the person you would like to be. Write it out as if it was a film script. Make it so detailed that a Hollywood star could step into the role. Then, of course, you will be the actress. Every moment, act as if you were this person you designed. That is what Ascending Spiral is for me. The hero of the book dealt with my many life events better than I did at the time, so I have learned to be a better person. At first, this will feel false and artificial, but habits become second nature through practice. After awhile, it will be natural to behave this way. This will give you self-respect, and then other people will react to the new you. The difference can be enormous.

The third and hardest thing is to work toward forgiveness within your heart. You do NOT have to accept bad behavior from others. They are responsible for what they did, and the way your parents treated you was inexcusable. But you can reject the behavior, and still forgive the person. Resentment, anger, a wish for vengeance, is a hot coal you pick up to throw at someone. It is your hand that gets burned.

How do we work toward forgiveness? By following the Native American saying (I don't know which nation): "Do not judge me until you have walked in my moccasins for 100 days." Your boyfriend's sister, his other relations, your parents, all the other people who have hurt you, all have individual stories and hurts of their own, and have chosen poor ways of dealing with them. Since until now you have chosen a poor way of reacting, you can see that they don't have to be perfect either. By forgiving them, you become a better person - and probably even lead others to becoming the best people they can be.

You can choose to stay hating and angry, and burn yourself up with all the negative emotion, or you can choose to be the opposite of your parents, design the person you would like to be, and then live that, with peace in your heart. You have that power.

You are welcome to email me so I can continue to guide you on your journey.

Your new grandfather,


This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.For more information visit: http://anxietyanddepression-help.com


Think before you speak. It will save you from a lot of regrets.
"I have too many flaws to be perfect. But I have too many blessings to be ungrateful."
Author Unknown
No matter how cruel we can be to each other, we can be equally kind.