Dear Abby: Recently a guy I’ve known for more than a year decided it would be best for us to part ways. Before Christmas, I had asked what he would like for Christmas. His response was, “I don’t want anything for Christmas – I want you.”
A couple of weeks later, he told me the pictures, nightstand, candy dishes and candleholders he had in my apartment were gifts from him because he loved me. Tonight, he packed everything up and left! I don’t know exactly why, but I think it has more to do with his own issues than about me.
Abby, I feel I have been manipulated and used. Ironically, this man I thought was a friend is a psychotherapist. While we were together, he would discuss confidential information about some of his clients with me. I think I should report him, but on the other hand, I’m asking myself whether I’m only looking for revenge.
Should I leave it alone, or report him to the American Psychological Association? Or am I overreacting to losing him? I still feel really mixed up.
– Vengeful in Minnesota
Dear Vengeful: Psychotherapists are not gods, and like other human beings, they can have their flaws. I understand why you would be hurt and disappointed. However, rather than look for revenge, you should consider yourself lucky you didn’t invest more time in this flake.
As to whether you should report his breach of professional ethics to the APA, I think that for the sake of the patients/clients whose trust he has betrayed, you should do exactly that – but after your anger is no longer raging.
Trouble looking ahead
Dear Abby: I’m wondering if I have an issue or if what concerns me is fairly normal. I am 31 years old and have three daughters, two stepsons, an ex-wife and one current wife.
I have been asked most of my adult life, as I’m sure most people have, “Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years?” For some reason, I can’t figure out how to answer this question. There are many variables at play, and many lives would be affected by my pursuing what I want in five to 10 years. I can’t say I’m going to be “here doing this in five years” because I have no idea what might change.
Do I need professional help? It upsets my wife when she wants to talk about the future and I can’t give her an answer.
– Confused About the Future
Dear Confused: Some people use the question of “where will you be ...” as a method of setting goals. What your wife may really be asking is, “Are you satisfied with things as they are now, and if not, what changes do you intend to make?” If that’s the case, it might be illuminating to ask her what changes she would LIKE you to make.