Ask an expert: 'My boyfriend is hurting me and I can’t tell anyone'
Each week, adult and specialist adolescent psychotherapist Belinda Kelly answers your queries
Q: I am writing to you as I don’t know what to do. My partner’s drinking is getting worse.
After work each evening he comes home and drinks at least four beers. He goes to his local on a Friday night to see his friends. On Sundays, he goes back to the pub to watch football and spends the whole day there. It’s really affecting our relationship and when he’s drunk, he gets aggressive.
Last Friday night, he held me up against a wall but the next day, he refused to admit it. A month ago, he grabbed me by the hair then let go suddenly as I think he got a fright. I thought that after the birth of our daughter, he would stay home more and drink less but he hasn’t changed one bit. I’ve tried telling him how upset he makes me when he drinks but he won’t listen.
All my family and close friends are in another country. I don’t tell them anything, so I feel alone. I’m hoping that when his daughter asks him why he wants to be in the pub instead of spending time with her, he’ll stop drinking.
I found your email so sad to read and my heart goes out to you. You sound helpless and stuck in denial. Because of your partner’s alcohol dependency, you have become isolated and intimidated. As he is now being physically abusive, you and your daughter are in a highly vulnerable situation.
You say that he is not willing to listen to how his drinking is impacting you; that you are waiting until your infant is old enough to verbally shame him into changing. This means that his alcohol dependency will increase. As will the level of violence directed against you — which means that you will become more isolated, more frightened and more at risk of serious injury.
The longer you wait, the more disempowered you will become. Your daughter is absorbing all of this terror and this will have a physical and emotional impact on her development. You cannot wait for him to want to change.
You are a capable loving mother who deserves so much more for her future. You need to start to make a plan to leave this situation so that you and your daughter can live a normal life.
By leaving your partner, it might force him to admit he needs to stop drinking completely. You need to let your family and friends know what’s going on so that they can be there for you. There is no shame in asking for their help. I am sure they are worried about you being so far away.
Contact womensaid.ie on 1800 341900 and arrange to see a counsellor so that you can get the practical and emotional support you deserve.