Several ABD’s have told me over the last few days about issues with parents, spouses, boyfriends or girlfriends, and even friends.
The boyfriend of one of my clients has made it clear that he thinks it’s taking far too long for her to finish her dissertation. And the process drags on because she hesitates to work late at her office or to work on week-ends because she doesn’t want to irritate or even anger him. Another of my clients broke up with her boyfriend because he said she wasn’t giving the relationship the attention it needed.
One young woman has told me how she lost friends when she was getting her master’s degree—they said she didn’t spend enough time with them. Now she’s resistant to throwing herself into writing her dissertation. She doesn’t want to give even more friends a reason to desert her.
Most parents of ABD’s are incredibly supportive, but some parents want to give advice that isn’t welcomed—the unwelcome advice can be barbed or worse.
I’ve heard stories of parents undercutting their offspring’s decisions in various areas, such as choice of topic.
When one year drags into another, the parents of some ABD’s have compared their adult child’s lack of progress to the quick attainment of a PhD by someone they know.
I’ve even heard a couple of stories about truly intolerable behavior from parents who had never completed dissertations themselves. They had had to settle for remaining an ABD.
No ABD should put up with emotional abuse, whether it’s from a boyfriend, spouse, or parent.
But if your dissertation process is affecting your relationships with people who are important to you, people you love, you do have choices.
Has your dissertation process affected your relationships with others? I hope you’ll contact me and tell me your experience. I’m sure many people could profit from what you have done to maintain relationships and what you’ve done to take care of yourself.
Until next time,
Nancy Whichard, Ph.D., PCC
Your International Dissertation Coach and Academic Career Coach