If an alcoholic can keep you angry and anxious they are winning the battle. When a good friend in the alanon program explained to me that the two weapons that alcoholics use to keep the focus off of them selves are anger and anxiety, many things came to light. If you can get a hold of the truths I am about to share with you, things will change for the good in your life.
If the problem drinker can push your buttons and get you mad, then you are the one perceived as having the problem. The easiest way to start learning what those buttons are in your life is by starting to journal everyday. Keep it totally private and protect your journal. This is an amazing way to begin to recognize how the addict in your life is setting your temper off. Once you start seeing the methods that they are using to get you angry, you will be able to exert self control.
How to Shield Yourself From the Weapons that Alcoholics Use
1) Stop defending yourself when they say something about you that is not true. When they use words like always, never, and every time, these are absolute statements that cannot possibly be true. When they throw those types of words at you, just respond by saying; “that’s not true.” There is no need to express anything more on the subject. We must learn how to zip our lisp and save our breath. When you can get to the point of not reacting to all of the untruthful things they say, you will find living with an angry alcoholic will be a tad easier. Once you begin to defend yourself they just keep heaping the hot coals of anger on even more. Learn to put the fire out by not responding. Just to know in your own heart that what they are saying is not true is enough.
2) Refuse to get mad when the try to push your buttons with anger and anxiety. This is why you must start journaling; it will help you control your own temper. When we are constantly reacting when they push our buttons, then the anger continues in both of you like gas being poured on a blazing fire. As you begin to say things like; “I’m sorry you feel that way,” then they have nothing to get mad about. This will eliminate a lot of anxiety in you because you will begin to have more self-control rather than being out of control. Relationship issues with alcoholics are many. Learning how to handle this one will help you greatly.
You can find a few weapons and shields of your own by going to support meetings. People in programs such as Al-anon know how to respond to the alcoholic’s anger and anxiety in positive ways so that less guilt is heaped on either person, the alcoholic or the family or friend. Just remember that they really do not want to be the way that they are. Try to love them with an undying love and do your best to not get angry. If your mess up, apologize to the alcoholic for loosing your temper and start over again. Arguing, getting angry and staying anxious is not going to make anything better.
What will work is not fighting with an alcoholic. If you think about it you’ve probably been having arguments for a long time, try something different for a change.