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Norman M.
Norman M., Principal psychotherapist in private practice. Newspaper contributor, over 2000 satisfied clients on JA
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2568
Experience:  ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), ECP, UKCP Registered.
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I need help/suggestions to know how to convince my daughter

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I need help/suggestions to know how to convince my daughter to take her 3 kids and leave her mentally ill, verbally abusive, alcoholic, drug using, law breaking boyfriend. He is verbally abusing my daughter and he is brainwashing the children into thinking their mother is a bad mom and does not take good care of them. She wants to leave but is too afraid he will cause problems for her. He is an ex con and has a very devious mind, plus he is mentally ill. What can I do to convince her that he is full of you know what and with his history and illness and a lot of other things he will not get custody. I do not know how to convince her. She knows the kids are being harmed but she is still too scared to run.

This is so, so wrong. She needs to stand up to this man, and if she is even remotely considering continuing the relationship, it needs to be conditional – seriously so.

We humans only indulge in behaviour that brings reward of some kind. Only when that reward (whatever it might be) disappears, or the consequences of our behaviour promise to be unpleasant do we consider changing what we do. Like a child, her partner is going to have to learn to accept boundaries, and she has to give him reason to change.

He needs to know that if he does not change his ways, he is out.

Up until now, he has just been exploitative and abusive, and he has done that, and kept doing it, simply because he has been allowed to.

There is an old saying that "If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got", so if he will not change, your future with him is going to be just like your past.

Frankly she needs to think hard about whether this relationship is worth saving.

There are a couple of issues here. First of all her own emotional health.

In order for her to come out of all this in the best possible way, it’s essential that she is able to be as objective as possible, and to make any decisions she has to make from a position of strength rather than weakness. Therefore, I’m going to suggest that she would benefit from some Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

CBT is based on the fact that what we think in any given situation generates beliefs about, and reactions to that situation, and also causes the behaviour and feelings which flow from those beliefs and reactions.

These ‘automatic thoughts’ are so fast that generally, we are unaware that we have even had them. We call them ANTS (automatic negative thoughts) for short.

If the pattern of thinking we use, or our beliefs about our situation are even slightly distorted,

the resulting emotions and actions that flow from them can be extremely negative and unhelpful. The object of CBT is to identify these ‘automatic thoughts’ then to re-adjust our thoughts and beliefs so that they are entirely realistic and correspond to the realities of our lives, and that therefore, the resulting emotions, feelings and actions we have will be more useful and helpful.

Cognitive therapists do not usually interpret or seek for unconscious motivations but bring cognitions and beliefs into the current focus of attention and through guided discovery encourage clients to gently re-evaluate their thinking.

Therapy is not seen as something “done to” the client. CBT is not about trying to prove a client wrong and the therapist right, or getting into unhelpful debates. Through collaboration, questioning and re-evaluating their views, clients come to see for themselves that there are alternatives and that they can change.

Clients try things out in between therapy sessions, putting what has been learned into practice, learning how therapy translates into real life improvement.

Please visit this website for much more detailed information on CBT:

If she cannot afford to see a therapist, there are good free CBT based self-help resources here:

Also, there is a book called ”Feeling good - the new mood therapy” by Dr. David Burns. It has a hand book which gives you practical exercises to work through and further instructions on how to better use CBT. I really do recommend it.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Workbook for Dummies By Rhena Branch, Rob Willson is also pretty good.

If you she does to terminate the relationship, she needs legal advise about what hereconomic and housing prospects are after any divorce. Once she is armed with all this information, she can sit down and examine the potential results of any decision she may want to make. Please do not rush into anything until she has taken these steps.

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