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Alicia_MSW
Alicia_MSW, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 530
Experience:  Specializing in mental health counseling
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dealing with estranged girlfriend-currently not a couple.she

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dealing with estranged girlfriend-currently not a couple.she is 122 days sober,also addicted to pain killers(norco).She moved here to VT to be with me as we planned our future together,went to CA to visit family,got arrested(narcotics),joined AA and broke up with me.We still talk a few times a week.Pretty much all she owns is here (in VT). She has a bit of a troubled past:four marriages;forced oral copulation@14 years old on a blind date;propositioned by her OWN FATHER twice(that I know of);has been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy and fibromyalgia(hence the pain killers)living with very needy Mother.How do I best communicate with her in a positive way that shows love and support,but does not seem to push an agenda?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Alicia_MSW replied 2 years ago.
Hello,

I'm Alicia. Thanks for your question, I'm happy to help you today.

It certainly sounds like she has a full plate right now, and has had lot of traumatic experiences in the past. The way you phrased your question tells me that you are a very caring and compassionate person, and you are basically trying to figure out how you can best help and support her without seeming like you want to re-engage in the relationship on a romantic basis (if I am incorrect in this assumption, please feel free to let me know.)

I would suggest that you try to take a compassionate attitude when you speak to her, but try not to engage in "rescuing" behaviors. It's tempting to want to help in every way possible when you're dealing with someone who has had so much trouble, of course, and support is important, but it can be a fine line between support and "rescuing." I'm not saying this is the case with you, but it is something to be aware of. You might want to read this for more information:
http://proactivechange.com/responsibledivorce/advice/rescue.htm

That being said, it sounds that you are already doing many of the things that you can possibly do to be supportive. You can let her know that you are there for her if she needs help, or needs to talk, or just needs a shoulder to cry on. You say you've shown her unconditional love, and it sounds like she doesn't have anyone else in her life who is showing her this kind of concern. So part of showing your concern and support and being a good communicator is being a good listener. If she feels anxious or stressed, it can help to try to calm her down and reassure her that she's not alone. When you talk, try to show her that she's the only thing you're thinking about right now - in other words, just focus on her, (let her talk without interrupting, for example) - and from time to time, you might want to validate her, too. Point out the positive things she's doing, affirm her positive traits, etc.

You might find this information useful, as there are a lot of good tips that can help in a situation like this:
http://www.helpguide.org/mental/effective_communication_skills.htm

I hope that helps, and I wish you luck. It sounds like you're already on the right track, but if you find yourself starting to feel like you're "pushing an agenda" - just take a step back and re-evaluate the situation. You might suggest that she think about seeing a counselor in addition to going to AA, if she's not already, just so she has some extra social support.

Please let me know if you have any additional questions.
Alicia_MSW, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 530
Experience: Specializing in mental health counseling
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