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Altercation With My Step Son

by Rick

My wife and I cannot agree on whether to return cell phones to my daughters. My wife (their step-mother with whom they do not live) has put together a contract that they must sign in order to get them back. My daughters balk at the notion and claim they are good students and do not need to be micromanaged in their cell phone use.

My wife storms off claiming that they are disrespectful and I am complacent. She leaves with her son to go have coffee. When she comes back we argue some more and she ignores everything I say and continues to call me a fool and a spineless excuse for a husband and father. I tell her she needs to leave.

Her son (21 year old who lives with us) comes out and starts yelling at me. Then he comes at me with his fists raised. I come unglued, wrestle him to the ground and sit on his chest, holding his wrists so that he can no longer punch me. My wife screams hysterically and calls the police. I get up.

The police arrive and interview everyone and my wife and step son go to a hotel. Two days later I move in with a neighbor and cannot return until I complete an anger management course. She also demands that my daughter complete one. And then we will need marriage counseling. She claims I hit him with my fists but I am a wrestler (high school team captain) and footballer.

I don't punch, I tackle and pin. That's what I have always done. You don't punch people in wrestling or football. I am a creature of habit just like everyone else.

Response from Dr. DeFoore

Hello Rick, and thanks for telling your story here. Your situation is very challenging, as you well know. Step families and loyalties to and from children on both sides is complex and difficult to manage and overcome. I will try to help.

One thing to be aware of is that the only way your marriage can survive and thrive is if you and your wife both make your marriage your top priority, over and above your relationships with your children. I know that may be difficult or even impossible at this point, but that is the only formula that I know of that actually works in these types of situations.

Re. an anger management course, take a look at this page on anger management courses and see if there is anything there that will help you. That page describes online programs, phone counseling with me, and in person programs.

Take good care of yourself, Rick. This is a stressful time for you, and you need to be sure you're attending to your own needs on a mental, physical and emotional level.

My very best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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