As an only child, Joe feels obligated to his seventy-two year old mother. His father died years ago and his mother’s only sibling recently died. His mother is emotionally needy and her health is ailing.
Joe’s wife Amy has issues with his mother. She never felt accepted by Joe’s mother, sensing she was jealous of Amy. In fact, Amy and Joe’s mother hardly speak at this point.
This is not an uncommon situation in couples counseling. Joe feels torn between the two most important women in his life. His mother seems to resent Amy, and Amy is tired of being mistreated.
Amy and Joe considered talking to his mother about this situation, but previous conversations typically went nowhere. Joe’s mother was rarely open to feedback.
It’s important for Joe to remember that his primary relationship is with his wife Amy. Our work is to help Joe and Amy collaborate on the most effective ways to deal with Joe’s needy mother, so Joe and Amy feel like a team.