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Dr. Michael
Dr. Michael, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2177
Experience:  Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
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I have a 2 year old child with a man who is a problem drinker. We are not married, but we

Resolved Question:

I have a 2 year old child with a man who is a problem drinker. We are not married, but we do live together. He is a great dad, but a horrible partner to me when he drinks. He is in denial that he has a problem, and can be verbally abusive to me if I call him on his drinking.

My parents called Child Protective Services on us because of his drinking. Of course he stopped because he had to, but I was laid off from my job, and we moved to another state. He promised me up and down that he would remain free of alcohol, but his drinking has gotten progressively worse, and I don't know what to do. I no longer have the safety net of my parents, and his family enables him. It seems like Massachusetts only provides services to women who are physically abused. I do not have a car and feel completely isolated. What can I do?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 5 years ago.
Hello. I believe I can be of help to you with this issue.

You may have to cut a deal with your parents or get your relatives to advance you the funds to take a bus back home to live with them for a month or two, until you can get a new job, get back into school/vocational training if necessary, and prepare to care for yourself and your son, as a single parent. I'm quite certain this is NOT what you want to do and you probably believe your parents would not help you. They might, however, if you had a very clear plan in place for getting back on your feet financially and leaving this alcoholic partner----they would probably prefer you do this, more than anything else, and would probably support it. I'm speculating of course, because I don't know enough details about your situation.

However, I am clear about the suggestion that you send a clear message to your partner that he simply cannot be part of your life if he doesn't buy into the idea that he has a drinking problem. You need to tell him that his behavioral history shows he must accept the notion that he needs to live an alcohol free life going foward. He doesn't believe either of these things of course, and this is why you are having these problem with him.

Please stop threatening and just leave. If this man is to change, it will ONLY occur if he faces a monumental, emotional crisis e.g., you actually proceed to leave him with the intent of doing so, for good, unless he can show a 6 month period of abstinence. You will ONLY THEN consider getting back with him. You may not wish to get back together with him at all, after you have been apart for awhile----I certainly, can't fortell this outcome.

What do you think?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hi Dr. Michael,

Thank you so much for the advice. You are absolutely right. Of course I knew this all along, but sometimes you need to hear it from an outside party in order for the reality to sink in.

Ironically enough, I felt the need to ask him to leave our apartment on Sunday. He drank a 12-pack plus both Friday and Saturday, and started drinking at 6 AM on Sunday. I got so angry when I saw the heaps of bottles piling up in the kitchen, and I couldn't help myself from saying something to him about it. Not in a nasty way, but I did say I couldn't understand how he did not see a problem with the numbers of beers he drank.

He of course proceeded to manipulate the situation so that I'm the one at fault for our unhappiness. Please know that I make it a point not to fight in front of our son, so I end up listening to his bs and not reacting until Dylan is out of earshot. This can be very difficult at times, but I do it for the sake of our son.

Once Dylan went down for a nap, I asked him to leave, and he complied. Thankfully I did not hear from him until 7 AM the next morning. During that time I made plans to go back to NJ by the end of this week.

So thank you for giving me perspective on my situation, and giving me the confidence to put change in motion.

Happy New Year!

Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 5 years ago.
Happy New Year to you as well. His level of drinking and his automatic externalization of blame for conflicts, and denial that he has a problem, suggests he has a very long road to go toward recovery, and being someone who could carry on a reasonable relationship with anyone. So I do strongly support your returning to NJ by week's end. I hope this information was helpful to you----glad it confirmed what you already 'knew' in your gut about this situation. I would therefore, applaud the 'rational and objective' thinking you applied to make this decision. Please hit the green Accept button at the bottom of the screen if you would, so I may receive credit for answering your question. Thanks.
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 5 years ago.
My customer roster shows that this question has been 'timed out'. If you would like to provide a response to my last post, please feel free to do so. Alternatively, please hit the green Accept button at the bottom of this screen so I may receive credit for answering this question. Thanks.
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