- Dr. Love in the Media
Do I Have the Authority to Stop Her?
May 24, 2011 Ask Dr. Love Advice Column
My girlfriend drinks alcohol even if I am preventing her. Do I have the authority to stop her?
Signed: over protective
You asked if you have the authority to stop your girlfriend's drinking. The fact that you signed your question to me: "over-protective" says a lot! You are telling me that you, yourself, know that your trying to stop your girlfriend from drinking alcohol is over-protective. You wouldn't have signed your letter this way if you hadn't known that you're out of line.
You didn't say that she abuses alcohol, so I assume that she simply drinks. Even if she did abuse alcohol you still don't have the authority or right to control another person's actions.
She is separate person. She has to answer to herself.
What you can do is put your thoughts and feelings into words. If you are worried about her, if you feel protective of her, you can say all these things, but, for goodness sake, stop trying to control her.
By the way, if she has an oppositional aspect to her personality, she will actually drink more in response to your attempts to control her.
I recommend that you focus back on yourself. It's time to study yourself and understand why you feel the need to control your girl. I can only guess that you were raised by parents that acted in controllingExamples of controlling behavior include within an intimate relationship include: one partner isolating the other from his/her friends or family; not letting ythe partner go out of the house, to the...(Click for full definition.) ways toward you, which has trained you to do the same in your relationships.
Get in touch with how you felt when you were controlled. I bet you were angry as anything. What did you do with your anger? Did you rebel? Or were your parents so controlling that you never had the chance to rebel? Did you simply dream of rebelling?
Here's the kicker. It's very common for us to unconsciously project our own unfinished business into our life partners and children. We arrange to get those close to us to "carry" and purge our bad feelings.
Is it possible that you are inducing your girlfriend to feel the way you did growing up? Are you arranging to get her to rebel the way you never could?
Study all the possibilities and angles. Ultimately, you need to do your best to keep your issuesIssues, in the words of the Serenity Prayer, are things you can change, either by making different personal choices and/or by finding ways to work with your partner more effectively. on your emotional side of the fence by owning your own feelings about your history.
I've given you a lot to chew. Focus on you rather than on controlling her actions.
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