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Hi Dr. Saltzman,


I'm writing in regards to my brother's girlfriend Crystal who is also the mother to their 1 yr old child. They have been together for 4 years and in this time my family and my brother have seen strange signs from her always knowing that something is not quite right. and recently there was a big drama that made me go looking online for answers. 


knowing some of her characteristics: compulsive lying, always playing the victim, never truly apologizing, and even if she does apologizes continues the bad behavior just becomes more secretive about it. it has never seemed to any of us that she gives my brother anything in the relationship. he is the kind compassionate loving and forgiving boyfriend who really truly looks at the best in people and cant imagine that she's capable of all the stuff she's done and does.


ok, she is not a diagnosed psychopath, but i believe if she were to be "tested", that she would be. the most important factor is that she pretends to be whatever she thinks you want her to be. in the beginning of the relationship she even told my brother "i'm not sure i really know what love is, so i'm not sure if i can ever really love you"  and i think it was the most honest thing she's ever said.


the problem is, my brother wont leave her even now that he sees the cracks in her facade. he admits that he knows something is not right with her. but he loves his son so much that he is willing to stay in this terrible relationship that he gets nothing out of it emotionally or anything. she's almost like his child in many ways. co-dependant and life sucking in every way!


ok, im taking up way too much of your time... my point is this:


if my brother wont leave her, what are the chances of getting her help and therapy? because as of now she just goes crazy if anyone blames her for anything. she cant hold a job or friends, and even her sister hates her for cheating with her husband!  no matter what lies or bad things she does, she plays the victim and everyone else is out to get her. half the time she's a "good christian" even though she knows nothing about the bible or the ten commandments. the other half the time she wants to party and flirt and cheat. and she doesn't understand when people tell her things she does are not right. i dont think she will willingly go to any kind of counseling or therapy because she doesn't think anything is wrong with her. she says what she does is nobody's business but her own.


my family is just sick about this because there's a baby involved and my brother has pretty much said that if it weren't for the baby, he would not be with her. i think he's had enough but now he's stuck. i suggested getting full custody, but he's scared to fight for that in case he would lose and lose contact with his son. he said "my son is the only thing i care about, i have to do what is best for him and thats having both his parents".


i told her recently that i will never believe anything that comes out of her mouth again because 99% of everything is a lie. she went crazy because i said that and left my brother and took the baby.  she told him that none of us are allowed to speak to her again or her son because she doesn't want people who hate their mother around her son.


this is the most frustrating thing that has ever happened to my family. and my brother blames me for making everything worse. i feel terrible for saying anything now knowing that she uses her son as a bargaining tool. and having no remorse for any of her actions. only remorse for getting caught and not having peoples respect. but i'm the bad person because i call her out on the things she does.


i want nothing to do with her, but i want my brother to know what he's dealing with and the best way to proceed in this relationship. i'm sad and disgusted by the whole situation.


if you have time, please just any advice you can offer would be great! i would so appreciate it. i have often said she is beyond help. but do you really believe thats true? and what possible effects can this be on her son? is it biological and genetic like ive read? i'm very worried.


i love my brother and my nephew with all my heart. but i can honestly say i have not one ounce of love for her. at this point i hate her terribly for the way she has treated my brother. and right now she says shes only coming home to my brother if I apologize to her and basically act like nothing happened. she wants and needs control and now she knows with the baby she has control of my brother and our family! im also angry at my brother for his choice in her and having the whole family pay for his choices and her mistakes.


my brother is a wonderful person who wants to help people and make the world a better place. he is special and more loving and kind than almost anyone you will meet. i believe she plays on his kindness.. knowing he's probably the only good person around who will put up with the way she is.

 Please help!

Michelle C.

 Corpus Christi, TX

ask dr-robert

Hello, Michelle--

I don't know your brother of course, but judging from your letter he is not just loving and kind but also foolish and perhaps a bit thick. He fathered a child (without being married, by the way, which is a big mistake almost always) with a woman who cannot be trusted, and now he feels bound to her and trapped in this relationship.

ask dr-robert

If Crystal is as you say she is, she will not seek therapy, and probably would not benefit from it even if somehow she were to agree to it. Your brother is the one who needs counseling, and I suggest you speak with him about getting it.

As for you, I recommend that you stop sitting in judgment of Crystal, and begin to work on your own problems. Anyone who hates, as you say you do, is herself in serious trouble. Hatred (as well as its little sister, resentment) is absolute poison to the heart and soul of a human being. Each day you spend with hatred in your heart is a day of illness and loss of possibility for experiencing your own life while you still have it. If you cannot simply hear my words and drop your hatred, I suggest that you stay out of this completely, just keeping your feelings and judgments to yourself until you are able to heal them. If you cannot do this on your own, you should seek therapy yourself, and right away.

Be well.



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