Ask Gwen : Parents object to an Emotionally Abusive Boyfriend


My 22 year old daughter is planning to move to B.C. with a boyfriend who is controlling and verbally abusive. He has alienated her from her friends and we certainly don’t like him. We are very afraid for her but she won’t hear our concerns. 


Gwen’s Answer: Worrying about our children’s choices as they grow up can be an active past time. Sometimes, much relief can be felt when we have them within our reach to speak with, guide and provide support. In this case, your child is now an Adult and will face obstacles that you may foresee as heartbreaking and feel compulsory to address in her defense.

Do you have contact with her friends?, do they feel the same way about this man? Perhaps if you can talk with one of her close friends you will get a sense if she feels your daughter is making a mistake. If so, ask if the friend has expressed these concerns to your daughter.

Knowing and trusting your parenting skills is also a great comfort. Trust that you put your child into the hands of her own competent mind and let go of the need to arrange or dictate what you may not approve of in her life. You have the right to be a concerned parent but acting out against her isn’t going to stop her from leaving or pursuing this relationship.

You could open the lines of communication and ask her why she wants to leave. It may not be the man in her life she is chasing but merely adventure and a new scene away from home. He may just be a lift off point for her, someone to soften the blow of change. It’s always easier to move to a new place if there is a familiar face

Other than that, you have done all  you can. You have expressed your concerns and she  may just have to learn the hard way. Tell her you love her and will be there for her anytime she needs to talk.


Gwen  Randall Young

Registered Psychologist




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