I never understood what the warning signs were of being in an abusive relationship. Being use to the alcoholic treating me poorly was a way of life. I’ll never forget the day when a friend who was a professional family counselor told me that I was in a horribly bad relationship. He directly told me that I was being abused mentally, spiritually and physically. His honesty led me to stop sharing with him from my heart. I was in such denial that I couldn’t think of the alcoholic that I loved so much as being an abusive person. I was so far off in fantasy land that it would take three other people and God speaking before I would listen and get help.
I’d never taken the time to understand what it meant to be in an abusive relationship. What was he referring to I wondered? It wasn’t until I got my hands on some cassette tapes from Joyce Meyer Ministries that I began to understand that the alcoholic was treating me horribly. The series was called Beauty For Ashes.
It had become a way of life for me to endure being called awful names, yelled at and sometimes even physically hit. As I studied the tapes intensely, I realized that no one should be treating me this way. As I listened to every teaching, I began to see all of the warning signs that I was in an abusive relationship with an alcoholic that I dearly loved. God was opening my eyes and the blinders of denial were being stripped away from my sight. I began to see the relationship for what it really was… abusive.
What are some of the warning signs of an abusive person (taken from video above)?
- Controlling personality-The may not allow you to have money. They mighty try to control your time. The might try to keep you from having friends or interacting with people.
- Jealousy or possessiveness-The person doesn’t trust you when you have done nothing to make them suspicious. They check your phone messages and your emails without permission; this is not a good sign.
- Being critical of you-They may disapprove of the way you dress, how you cleaned the house or what you cooked for dinner. It could be little petty things all of the time, just constant criticism day in and day out.
- Blame shifting-They blame people for everything. They rarely admit fault. They have a way of making everything your fault.
- Hypersensitivity-People who are abusive have a tendency to have very low self-esteem. They try to make themselves feel better by putting other people down or over reacting to minuscule things.
Is someone calling you every name in the book whenever they feel like it? Do you get ridiculed for everything that you do? Does it seem as though one moment the alcoholic in your life loves you and then without notice you are hated with every ounce of energy they have within them? Have you been pushed, spit on, grabbed forcefully or hit by the alcoholic in your life? These are all warning signs for you to open up your eyes to.
WHAT IS HAPPENING TO YOU IS NOT OK!
Yes, some of the MILDER THINGS are just normal behaviors that we strive to live with when we are involved in potentially bad relationships with active drinkers.
At this point in the article, you really need to just pause and think about how you are being treated by the alcoholic. If you understand that you are being treated horribly bad, then you are probably in a very abusive relationship.
Here’s what I want you to do. Get the phone book and look for support groups in your area that are designed to help family and friends of Alcoholics. Al-anon is a great place to start getting help for the situation that you are involved in. Being treated horribly bad by an alcoholic is no light matter. No one deserves to be some one else’s punching bag, not emotionally, spiritually or physically. Take care of yourself and seek out help. DO THIS NOW!
Filomena , have you been in a similar situation in life? Just curious to know what your story is.
Mine’s a cheater as well. And no, they don’t feel guilty about it. That goes along with losing their souls to the bottle (and the narcissism). I stopped intimacy with him over a year ago when I found out. And no, this wasn’t the first time he cheated. It was making me sick as well, both physically and emotionally. If you can safely stop it with him without putting yourself in physical danger, then you should. You will be amazed at how your self respect will come flooding back just from doing that, by not letting yourself be used and thrown away. And you’re right, that it the WORST betrayal there is. Guard your heart. Xo back!
Mel, It could be the lack of love in childhood that makes it so difficult to sort things out. My experience
in childhood is so full of lies and denial. I do not talk about this much because my friends think I have
made up a story. I buried somethings so deeply and until about 4 years ago when my Dad finally told me
that the issues with my mother are because she was not my birth mother. There again a long story.
I have sought to learn what is the truth and who and what is the lie. I am now 73. I know I am living
with a lying alcoholic. It is not my fault mother was so difficult nor do I blame her. I know
dad is going to be 100 this year and mom is 92 with alzheimers. I have chosen to continue there
care because they did choose to raise me.
The alcoholic in my life has made acceptance of his life something I may need to do change. That
change, if it ever happens, will come when I get the early major issues as a child resolved. One
step at a time. At this age I may let things be with him. I can see through him like thin paper and
he does not realize it. Facing the truth and finding the truth is now my focal point.
K, Thank you for your sharing! Your story gave me a lot of hope. At times, I wish my AH would leave this earth quicker (at other times, not) but the irony is that his family of self folks who “like to drink”, has genetic longevity as well. When I first realized I was so negatively affected by my AH, it made me feel as jumpy as a cat on a hot stove. Thank God and Alanon for teaching me that if I can come down out of the tree and learn to change the things I can change, in myself, I will have a better life no matter what the outcome of my marriage is. My childhood was dysfunctional enough that every single boy I ever dated, as well as many of my friends, were alcoholic or addict or both. I could never understand why I was so attracted to these folks, as my family’s issues were secrets not divulged to us. I realize that, before I can safely navigate a new life for myself, I need to learn how to be my own best friend and a different pattern of behaviors that will not lead me down the same unhealthy choices as in the past. There is no need to hurry unless physical abuse begins or the emotional abuse escalates into a non-habitable situation. As it is now, my growth and evolution is already making my life and home happier, my spouse easier to live with. If he chooses to help himself, all the better. If not, I can make my own choices, whenever I’m ready. I think of myself as a tree, putting down deep roots and growing slowly to my highest and fullest being.
Thank you Paula. Today I have to say my body is feeling the effects of all the stress that’s been non stop instead of normally having a small break in between. I’m really not feeling well at all. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers.
Will do Mel, Power to you sister
I have been with my spouse for 23 years. I grew up with an alcoholic father and because of this I think I convinced myself my situation wasn’t as bad as my mothers. We are currently splitting up because he is tired of my comments about his drinking and thinks we don’t get along. At first I was devastated(we just bought a new home)but then I asked myself…… why???? Its surely not because I have a great life with the man; yes there are glimpses of happiness and when he is sober will bend over backwards(typical behavior)Then I asked myself is it the man and relationship your going to miss or the idea of “a” relationship. I get criticized about everything, from the way I wash the dishes, driving, how I fold the laundry. Its ridiculous. BTW I am great at all of them! It does take yourself awhile to begin to notice how detrimental this can be to your self esteem but once you let yourself start to really look at the situation you become empowered and realize you don’t deserve this treatment, you deserve intimacy, you deserve to be admired and appreciated for all you do. (God only knows most of us are busy trying to keep everything afloat). I am nervous about my new situation but at the same time excited to start a new chapter in my life. I applaud all of you for sharing and am so happy I have found this site. It has helped me a great deal over the past couple of months. Take care everyone!!!
Well said, Bridget!
More power to you Bridget!
I found your post very inspirational, and will likely read it over again. I’m trying to hang in there with my AH long enough to build a good launching pad for my new life, but all the time aware that I may need or be forced into changes before I am ready for them. Thanks again and I’m rooting for you.
Thanks ladies, some days are better than others. I am trying to train myself to be positive. Been in such a negative, chaotic environment for so long its tough some days. It really helps to know I am inspiring someone.
Hang in there Bridget. things will get easier, focus on the really good parts, getting your life back and rediscovering your self esteem. It sounds by the things that you say that you naturally return to health, just be patient. Take comfort in routine and nature, and try to find a balance between time that you spend alone and time being social. You will get there. Pamper yourself.
Go to your church or community, and talk to folks who have been here.
There is no guilt. U did NOTHING wrong.
No one deserves shit ty treatment.
You are loved, and who cares what the alcoholic thinks..
Oops, that’s right, they don’t think.hold your head up while u walk away.
I just need to talk, sometimes
it helps. Mother is passing. She is in her final stages and it is very difficult to watch. Amazingly she tried talking to me and who my birth mother was. I cannot imagine how difficult her life has been trying to deal with it all. I was able to tell her that I
loved her and thank her for raising me. Dad is turning 100 in a few weeks and of course I am influenced by the positive and then the trauma of the negative. My oh My, the efforts to hide the truth. It is so difficult for me to accept it all. Now I am trying again to find the truth and be honest with my self and not accept the fabrications that were developed to protect me. In their minds the truth would hurt me more.
I realize I have developed into an adult based on these lies and have lost my self. Thanks for listening and letting me discuss this with my self. No wonder I am attracted to lying alcoholics. I knew nothing else and thought this behavior was normal.
K, My heart is with you today, and I’m asking God to send his angels to comfort you. I can certainly understand how difficult it will be for you to reconcile your feelings with the truth you’ve only recently discovered, on top of losing your mom. I agree that it’s nearly automatic to be attracted to folks with the same types of vices that those in our family had. It has affected our entire lives. Nearly every one of my friends and lovers have had addictions. I’m Finally beginning to get some non-addicted friends, through my church and the Alanon programs, both of which are helping me to uncover, discover and recover my best self. Though my mom turned out to be an alcoholic and addict, she was also a very loving mother, and I cherished her. I always felt that she loved me deeply, and that carried me through some difficult times. We had some issues, but we also had wonderful sharing and amazing experiences together. She passed in 2012, and I still miss her a lot. In order to regain my inner peace, I found I needed to forgive her some grudges I had held on to. I was born in 1960 and would’ve been an “illegitimate child”, but a good man married my mom and adopted me. Folks used to judge such circumstances pretty harshly, and I only found out many years later, when someone spilled the beans. Can you imagine how difficult it was for our parents and the entire family, to make those large adjustments in their lives, while hiding the truth of the matter? I think our parents believed they were making the wisest choice for us, in keeping those difficulties from us. Reflecting on it, I am just grateful to all the people in my family, blood and not, that raised me and took care of me. I’m especially grateful to my father, who Chose to adopt me and love me as if I were his own. None of us are perfect, but I know which people loved me with intention and I love them back, unconditionally. God bless you and your entire family today.
K I feel for you, talking helps for sure. Friends do tire of listening to our problems and it’s hard for them to understand why we stay. I have been struggling with my recent divorce and am just taking it day by day. Some days I feel empowered others lonely and sad. As much as my AH stressed me out I still miss him. I have been with him over half my life. I know I need to stay away and focus on me. I wish there were some magic answers to help all of us. The lonely feelings in the relationship are far worse then being alone, I believe. Some days it’s easier said that done though. My prayers are with you! One day at a time Sweet Jesus.
Somethings you can’t really involve friends and family in. I am so grateful that this resource is available.
I agree Paula it’s ashamed that they will go to all their family and friends though and drag your name through the mud. That is what’s happening to me now. Hes getting all the advice of leave her when they have no clue what I’ve been through! I don’t talk bad about him to my family just out of respect that he had never had for me. Crazy how that works. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it.
K, I’m so glad you’re spending quality time with your mom and dad now. It’s never too late to do that! No matter what, even if there is some difficulty involved, you’ll always be so glad you did that! Sending prayers for you all today.
I can so relate to many of the stories on this thread. I have been married for over 40 years. I have been told how to do things ” properly” starting while driving home from our honeymoon. I once asked if his way was the only way, and he said ‘No’ but it’s the right way. I believe him to be a Narcissist first and then later became an alcoholic. My kids are all grown and we live and work in a very small town. I have felt I could not share our “secret” with anyone. I wear a mask with most of my friends. He does not admit to being an alcoholic and much of my married life I honestly didn’t know what was wrong with him, or if I was crazy. Of course there’s all the walking on egg-shells when he’s in a “mood’, which has become the more regular state of being. Then there’s the Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde thing going on too. I have developed a very low self esteem and question most decisions I make, making me very indecisive. I chose to be a stay at home Mom, and then later cared for sick Mom, Stepfather and Dad. I don’t know how I would make a living for myself if I were to leave. Staying is hard. I don’t know who I am. I did go to an Alanon meeting. Not sure what is really supposed to help there. I went to one out of town and there was someone I knew there…then I wonder if he will tell anyone I was there. I know that sounds goofy, but it’s all part of trying to keep my ‘mask’ in place. The thing is, it’s not my mask, it’s his.
Something strange happened recently. My husband took my son in law to go pick up their car that a friend was fixing. Of course my AH had been drinking. When they got back everything seemed fine, but later my son in law told me that something had happened that he just couldn’t let go. He tol me that three times my AH told him that he ( the was a bad driver and if he was ever in an accident with ou daughter or grandchild that he would take a gun and shoot him in the head. My son in law said all three times he put his hand up like a pistol. Now this man is verbally rude to me, but not physical. I was shocked to hear this. The next morning I told him he needed to make amends to our son in law. He said he was just kidding ( he never told my what he said) . Later my son in law said that my AH had apologized and said he was out of line. He has never made this kind of “threat” or promise before. I have wondered if they remember the ugly things they say the next day. When is the person real , when they’re drunk or sober, back to the Jeckle and Hyde question,
Hi Jay Jay,
It sounds to me like your AH thought in his drunkenness that he was somehow protecting the little ones. It is good that he apologized, but men threaten when they protect, they don’t have to be violent people, they just think they are being heros. I wouldn’t worry too much about it, unless something like it happens again or more frequently. Drunk people say dumb things.
Thank you Paula, that makes sense.
Hello, I have been separated from my husband for 15 years with no contact. I loved my husband but was struggling during our marriage with my own issues and saw that he may have had some mental health issues and left because I was overwhelmed. Was not confident I could make him happy and was going to be a lousy wife. Two years ago I decided to give him a call. I had heard from my family members that they would see him and he said he was in AA doing the 12 steps. He had asked for me and gave his number to my uncle. I at the time was still not ready to deal with him or talk to him. I decided to contact him two years ago and low and behold he was erratic to say the least. I am in the church, became a born again Christian 10 years ago and wanted to talk to him about God. He at first seemed interested but then I noticed he was unstable. He would tell me he was going to see me and would never follow up. He would be mean and call me fat and ugly and that I was unsttractive. That he did not find me attractive. I was dating someone for two years who treated me very well and he put him down. Called him names. Told me that I was alone and that something must be wrong with me because I am alone at 52. My ex married someone else but the relationship had ran its course. But it was very hurtful to hear these things. I called him out of the goodness of my heart to see how he was and maybe meet up for lunch and catch up and it has been a roller coaster ride to say the least. He emotionally and mentally abuses me. He was diagnosed with a mental health problem and does not want to take the medication. He sometimes will call me when he is drinking. He gets into bar fights and has been banned from many bars in his area. This has been going on for two years. He has threatened to sue me for the things I wrote him on text for emotional abuse. But I have written these things in retaliation for all the things he has done to me. I try to talk to him about a divorce. He just hangs up on me. Then he will call me back a week or two weeks later like nothing happened. He is always losing his jobs. He acts like a tough guy and gets into fights. Its crazy.
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I have yet to hear about the “Trauma Bond” Ladies this is why we seem not to let go. We have been through some MAJOR issues with them that only we and the abuser knows it our private hell.
Think of this, You and I have never met and yet one day we are in the same building (Like a courthouse) and it collapses and you and I have to survive together for two days til we are rescued.
We will stay in touch the rest of our lives because we went through this TRAUMA together there is this BOND. Nobody knows what we went through but us. See the connection?
Also on another note, I’m not in the financial dependancy most woman find themselves in. I have enough money in the bank to buy another house for cash. I am a huge saver but for some reason we lived only on his money and I mentally was stuck. One day I said “Wait a minute! I have money I dont need his!” Spending my money would give me the freedom I needed and whats the purpose of saving it and being so miserable? I’m sure it had to do with the trauma bond. I’m sitting with a vehicle in the driveway with a full tank of gas and just sitting here. (Figuratively)
I’m working my way out of this pit. He is gone out of the house. The divorce is waiting to be signed by the judge. He gave me everything because deep down he knows his alcoholism has been so bad on me. He threatens to kill himself but not to be callus I have come to the conclusion if thats his fate I cant be God and stop it. Let go and let God worry about the alcoholic in your life. You cant save him. I find to that he plays games of manipulation and I disarm him by knowing what I want and what I dont want. I listen to me not him. Anyways best of luck to us all. I’m doing something “normal” everyday to get back to me. I find things to make me laugh, I look ways to make new friends. I’m looking after ME.