Caroline began heavily drinking after the death of her husband and mother. While her daughter was not home she would get through numerous bottles of wine a week and even faced one incident of overdose on medication.
Caroline started to attend the Resolution Clinic which helped her drinking to significantly reduce. With her drinking levels down she was able to use the sessions to explore the causes of her drinking, and plan lifestyle changes.
As sessions continued Caroline became more open about some very controlling behaviour from her daughter, including significant pressure to financially support her quite extravagant lifestyle; demanding access to Caroline’s bank accounts, and to be taken on frequent shopping trips paid for by Caroline. Caroline had significant anxiety about resisting or confronting this behaviour.
We discussed similarities between her daughter’s behaviour and other kinds of abusive relationships, and how she might characterise this behaviour if she saw it in a friend/neighbour, or if it came from a partner. We spoke about how the situation impacted on her mood, beliefs, and on her drinking behaviour, leading into discussions of some changes Caroline could make to regain control of her finances, her home, and getting her daughter to move out.
She now recognises how her daughter’s behaviour can be controlling and abusive, and feels embarrassed that she allowed this to happen to her, and also quite angry about it. Caroline is now prepared to change locks if her daughter’s behaviour escalates when challenged, and she has prepared to see her bank to discuss securing accounts. She understands that she can’t force another person to change their behaviour but instead can influence it by changing how she communicates.
Caroline has password protected her phone and iPad to stop her daughter monitoring her research. Her daughter began to notice a ‘change’ and attempted to discourage her treatment, but Caroline continued to gain confidence and is continuing to take action, e.g. avoiding paying after a recent shopping trip.
Caroline has continued to stay alcohol free almost all the time. Now that alcohol use is no longer a major concern for her, Caroline is open to counselling if she feels she wants to continue working on personal issues.