Our resident agony aunt Maggie Clayton is here to solve readers’ problems. This week, she helps a mother who is concerned about her daughter’s drinking habits.
My 26-year-old daughter Isobel has a good job as a legal secretary. Last year she and her husband divorced and she moved back to live in a flat about 20 minutes away from my home. I drop by to see her regularly and we have a good relationship.
But I have been a bit anxious about her recently because she seems a bit withdrawn and when I asked her what was wrong she said “stop fussing”.
I called round to see her unexpectedly last month and when she opened the door she looked very flustered. She said she’d fallen asleep on the couch after work. She smelled strongly of drink and said there had been a farewell lunch for a colleague.
I know this sounds terrible but a few days ago I went round when she was at work and I found two empty bottles of vodka in her bin and a half empty bottle in her fridge. I am so worried that my daughter is becoming an alcoholic.
If she is, what can I do to help her?
I can understand your anxieties about your daughter.
It may be that she is finding it difficult to deal with the break up of her marriage and has come to rely on alcohol to help her deal with loneliness. Very often people get through the trauma of the separation and divorce and it is only when it is finalised that the reality of it all sets in.
Alcohol can offer a temporary relief but dependency on it leads to all sorts of problems.
She will feel ashamed of that and not want you to know. So don’t take a heavy handed approach. Don’t accuse her or ‘label’ her as an alcoholic. Try talking to her about how she is feeling. Is there any way you can help her as she sets about re-shaping her new life?
So for her sake, be brave and try talking to her about how she feels.
It may not be easy for either of you to have this conversation, so do it gently – and sow the seeds of the idea that you are there for her without being judgemental.
My husband and I can’t agree on what to watch on TV. He loves watching films where there is a lot of action and violence and I find that a complete turn-off.
I like romantic comedies or programmes about families. Recently I was watching one about the Royal family’s attitude to Princess Diana – it was fascinating and I was engrossed in it and he just kept muttering about how “stupid” it was and “who cares what they think?”
It made me furious that he was so insensitive and now I just start talking when he is watching some crime thriller.
I hope it makes him change his attitude to me.
Sorry, but I don’t think that it will. Two wrongs don’t make a right. You are both being intolerant of each other’s taste and neither of you should be doing that.
Not everyone enjoys the same books/films/music or even choices about where to go on holiday.
But in any relationship give and take is absolutely necessary. If one person insists on getting his or her way about every choice made, it simply won’t work.
So sit down and speak to each other like two rational, grown-ups and give each other the time and space to watch, listen and read what you want. That way both of you will feel happier. Good luck.
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