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DrFee
DrFee, Psychologist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 437
Experience:  20+ years of counseling experience, Wife & Mother
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Hello, I am a stay at home mum of 3 (4 yrs, 2/12 and 9mnths). My husband is an acloholic but is in denial. He isnt allowed to drink and smoke in front of the kids and finds excuses to go outside to do this. We fight about this almost everyday and unwittingly, in front of the kids. He says it is because of work- it is a high stress job-he works 12 or maybe even 15 hrs at a time. I do understand but I think he is deliberately avoiding me. I dont drive and and have no support/ friends/ parents to help with the children, he sometimes does night shifts as well. Money is tight and I really do want to go back to work. My 4 year old has become very moody and often lashes out on my second child. My husband blames me for this that often leads to name calling- again in front of the kids. We have different ideas on discipline as well. The last time we went out together was over six months ago. We have stopped sharing our room over the last year as the little one sleeps with me. I feel suffocated. please help.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dear Debra replied 2 years ago.
One thing is always lead by example around your children and that is the right thing not letting him drink or smoke around your the children. But one thing also is not name calling because the children and are hearing what they think is how to treat someone and this could be causing your four year old to lash out. I want you to talk with your four year old to see you what the issue might be. Your four year old might feel like they need to do their own thing. A way to solve this problem is to involve the four year old in small decisions this would help the child feel like they had their own special.thing with their own mother. I believe your relationship with your husband can be saved. You both have to recollect and find what is the main problem in this relationship. You also need something for yourself. There are online jobs where you could be able to bring a little money into the house. You mentioned money was tight. Your husband frustration seems to be coming from work. Working long hours is hard. Then when he comes home he needs that down time to relax. But he needs to understand that you have been home all day with the kids and you need some adult conversation. You want to be able to talk about your day as well. I would set that time aside for each other to begin to recollect this relationship with.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
ways to effectively communicate with husband, pointers on how to have a constructive argument. how i can address his drinking problem.
Expert:  DrFee replied 2 years ago.

Hello! Please remember that my responses are informational only, we are not establishing a therapeutic relationship.

It sounds like you are in a difficult spot and that your husband is not hearing/seeing the seriousness of it. I will give you some tips for communication, however, these will be difficult with an alcoholic. I'll address that part after discussing the communication.


Communication Tips

1. Use a lot of Empathy and Validation:



Empathy is where name the feelings you see that her feeling, validation is where you
give support to him for those feelings: "I know you are working very long hours and it's exhausting," or "It was frustrating for you when you
had that conflict with your boss," or "It sounds like when you come home you need some time to unwind" Validation:
"I can understand how your job is stressful." or "I can see
why you might want/need to wind down each day."

Empathy builds connection and trust --the greater your trust, the more likely he is to
be honest with you--except that this is more difficult with an alcoholic Empathy and validation do NOT mean that you support a particularly behavior, nor does it mean you would feel the same way or engage in the same behavior. It simply means that you can look beyond your own feelings and understand what is behind his feelings.

2.Use "I feel __________, when you _________"
statements.
Some examples:

"I feel abandoned and lonely after while when you are outside smoking/drinking. I'd like to talk to you at some point after you get home." Or another variation, "I worry that you are not
interested in trying to work out our relationship when you _____(insert
behavior)." OR "I feel neglected because we have not gone out together in 6 months."



The "I" part of the statement puts the responsibility on you (and hence
is less likely to make him feel defensive), but the "when you" part
identifies the behavior that is confusing, hurting you, concerning you, etc. Again, though, if he's an alcoholic, he might be more defensive to start out with --making this more challenging.



It's much more likely to get an honest answer than a "why" question (Why
do you drink so much?) which makes people naturally defensive.



3. Use Open Ended Questions: They tend to start with
What, When, How, and Tell me: "What is going through your mind right
now?" or "Please tell me what your current thoughts are about our
relationship." Or "How can I be supportive of you given how much stress you are under?"



Avoid closed ended questions: "Don't you think you ought to do the dishes?" "Don't you think you drink too much?" "Shouldn't we be going out more often?"
Open ended questions invite conversation, closed ended ones tend to shut it
down.


So here's some Don'ts for you constructive arguments:

1. Don't engage in name calling (even if he does)

2. Don't ask closed questions (such as "Why" "Do you" or "Don't you"

3. Focus on the current situation ONLY do not bring up ANYTHING about the past, even if it seems pertinent

4. Stay calm --if emotions get too high say, "I need to calm down. Let me walk away and we can continue this in a few minutes." Or if he gets too emotional,"Let's take a time out. We can continue when we're both more calm."

Drinking ---You could try addressing it at some point when you are not fighting, using the methods I've discussed above. "I am concerned about how much you are drinking. You seem so stressed and are using drinking to cope." However, it might be best if you enter couples' counseling. All of these skills take some practice and it's so much better to have some help than to try to do it all on your own.

If you think that he needs to go into rehab, we could talk about how to stage an "Intervention," which is a technique designed to convince people to go to rehab.

Please follow up as needed.----



DrFee, Psychologist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 437
Experience: 20+ years of counseling experience, Wife & Mother
DrFee and 3 other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

brilliant, just the kind of guidance I needed to help the situation. I also think that we may need counselling but it may take a lot of convincing. do you have any pointers on how we could address damage done with the kids - with the fighting and name calling? Thank you.

Expert:  DrFee replied 2 years ago.

You are welcome. As far as the kids go, the best thing you can do is to stop it ---the fighting and the name calling. If you stop now, and pursue the healthier ways of relating, then I think the damage is minimal. They are so young that you have years left to model something better.

But --I'd do it now --even if you have start with just you refusing to fight in front of them. "I'll fight with you about this later --outside, when they are asleep," or something like that.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Ok will try to keep arguments to a miminum when the kids are around. I understand that an intervention could be staged to convince my husband to go for rehab. How would I go about accomplishing this? Many thanks.

Expert:  DrFee replied 2 years ago.
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