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Lori Gephart
Lori Gephart, Licensed Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 259
Experience:  Licensed Psychologist and Hypnotherapist 20 years of experience helping clients of all ages.
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My daughter is 25 and has reached out saying that her boyfriend

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My daughter is 25 and has reached out saying that her boyfriend has been verbally abusive for the last year...he self medicates with drugs and alcohol and it worsens when he drinks..I am heartsick over this... What would be a good first step? I feel like she has a disconnect between how she hopes he would be and the reality of how he really is... I do not want to cause her to choose between him or me bc right now he holds the power over her!
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Lori Gephart replied 6 years ago.

Thank you for contacting JustAnswer.


I am sorry to hear about the problems your daughter is experiencing. It is extremely difficult to be in an abusive relationship, particularly because things are never all bad or all good. You are correct that abuse is often about control. Your daughter's boyfriend may at times act in ways that are not abusive, making it difficult for her to tell when he may revert to abusive behavior. You are also correct that you cannot make her decisions for her, as much as you might want to tell her to get far, far away from this man. What you can give her though is unconditional love and support. You can also encourage her to go to individual therapy as well in order to get some professional help in making sense of her choices, build up her self esteem, help her to set boundaries, and perhaps address any patterns of behavior that may be occurring across your relationships. She might also benefit from Alanon meetings that are for family and friends of those with addiction problems. You can certainly remind her that no one deserves to be abused. You both may find the following website helpful:


Remember that she will have to make her own decisions about the relationship. Unless you believe that she is in imminent danger, you can simply be there for her. In the meantime, be sure to take care of yourself through healthy eating, exercise, rest and reaching out to supportive people in your life. I hope this is helpful.

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