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Old 05-13-2010, 04:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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emotional abuse and the alcoholic which came first (chicken or the egg)

My alcoholic boyfriend is often emotionally abusive to me. I was not raised around any abuse, I have never been in an abusive relationship before and I do not believe I have done anything to deserve the life that I am living.

I wonder however which came first? Does the abuse come out of alcoholism or does the alcoholism come from my boyfriend witnessing his own parents abusing each other and drinking?

My boyfriend seems to "know" right from wrong. He is a law school student and prides himself on his "righteous Christian" upbringing, even though truth be known his childhood was filled scenes of fighting drunken parents.

He has a bad "habit" of taking an argument to someplace threatening and scary in 2.2 seconds. This morning I laid in bed listening to his alarm clock go off every 2 minutes for an hour. I know how arguing with him about turning it off or getting up usually works out (I am the loser) so I decided to go sleep on the couch for the remainder of the early morning. After laying on the couch for a while I decided that his behavior was ridiculous and unchivalrous and I knew my own father would never have treated my mother the way I had just been treated (a rare moment of backbone for me) so I went back into the bedroom to confront him. I told him that he either needed to get up or turn his alarm off. He immediately started yelling at me...saying that since I had no job at the moment I should not be bothered by his alarm and that most people with something to do were up anyway. I told him perhaps he needed to get his laptop and briefcase and go study at the library if that is the best he could act.

Well...my standing up for myself took him to an ugly place I guess because moments later he was telling me to get my little dogs outside where they should stay until he left for the day (6 hours later) and that I needed to dry the kitchen floor on my hands and knees so he did not have to step on a wet floor (because I had mopped up dog pee)...obviously he was threatening my dogs to try and get to me. He then said if I were going to behave this way while he was in law school that I needed to make arrangements to live elsewhere...knowing I am unemployed right now and have literally no place to go. I continued to stand up for myself, I did not give in to his bullying and a few minutes later he apologized. He also said he felt like a complete failure and started crying. (This did not really effect me either because I have literally heard it all before)

I know this is emotional and verbal abuse. That's not in question here. I just wonder how many of you also live in emotionally abusive environments with alcoholics? When my boyfriend is abusive it is "usually" when he has been drinking but this is not always the case.

I have read that adult children of alcoholics often have problems with authority and being told what to do, having seen emotional abuse as a child I am not surprised he abuses me (I did not know ANY of this when we met) over time he has become progressively worse (no shock there either).

What does shock me a little I suppose is that he has always dated "strong smart women" myself included. He has no respect for his mother, I frankly have no respect for her either...she is an overly educated self righteous idiot who has allowed her children to be raised in alcoholism and abuse yet hides behind some idea of "Christianity"....to me she is just disgusting and I cannot even stand to be in her presence. I just thought my boyfriend wanted something better. He has admitted as much to me in moments of epiphany, and clearly has not selected women who even remotely resemble his mother in character....

How can a smart women deal with emotional abuse? Clearly my boyfriend is trying to exploit some tender spot he sees in me to take the focus away from dealing with his own issues and childhood trauma.

Insights into alcoholism and emotional abuse are welcome..... Also any insights into dealing with an adult child of TWO alcoholic parents who were abusive to one another?

FYI he is not going to AA...he knows he has a problem...he wants to want help at the moment and that is as far as we have gone. (he has been in out patient treatment and has tried Topamax- neither seems to help)

Just seeking some insight and suggestions from anyone else dealing with similar issues.... (moving away is not an option for financial reasons at the moment)

Thanks,
LeaA
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Old 05-13-2010, 04:12 PM   #2 (permalink)
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My AH became more abusive once he was dry. I assume it's because his brain was no longer sodden with alcohol and it could think up even more nasty things to do to us.

As far as I'm concerned there is no cure for abusers. So the only fix for you is to remove yourself from the abuse.
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Old 05-13-2010, 04:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hi LeaA,

How can a smart women deal with emotional abuse?

Very easily. It is amazing isn't it.

The thing about emotional abuse, is it comes in many forms, but it is generally covert and done over a period of time. It is meant to make you question yourself. That is how so many incredibly smart women end up dealing with it.

I am not an expert on a full fledged life with an alcoholic, nor did I grow up with alcoholic parents, but there are many others here who can offer great insight about that. What I do understand is the manipulation that goes into emotional abusive behavior.

I can tell you I consider myself fairly intelligent, I am studying Psychology and will eventually get a masters and probably a doctorate. I will be in school for the rest of my life!
But even knowing what I know, even being able to pinpoint when I was being emotional abused, there was still a part of my mind that developed a haze about it. I questioned reality....and that is often the intention.
It became unfathomable to me that someone who I felt so close to, who i trusted, who I loved, who I would have done anything for would actually do and say things that he would know would be hurtful to me. So we tend to think about the reasons why we love our A's and then it just doesn't make sense that they could be so cruel. It wears us down. That's what happens.

It is actually quite easy to get sucked in to an emotional roller coaster. The charm, the good guy is poured on very thick in the beginning....this is the man who we ultimately come to know.
We come to know the guy who has had such a difficult life, who seems so sensitive that we want to take care of him.

Emotional abuses are experts in deceit, they become experts in what tactics work to keep us coming back.
If it's a teary apology that get's you to come back after he's called you a ***** or ****, then that's what he will do. How could that not be sincere we think? And the cycle continues.

And if you stand up for yourself, he will raise the stakes in his anger, the line that he can cross to be cruel can be impossible to believe.

You said that moving away is not an option for financial reasons? Well, chances are he knows that. Emotional abusers are also experts in isolating people so that they may not have the option to leave....or rather they feel they don't have the option to leave.

Now, I don't know your entire history, and of course, this is just a general over view of emotional abusers.
There is really only one person who can stop the cycle and that is you. Do not feel that you dealing with this is a sign of your intelligence, it is something that when done correctly can make anyone question their own sanity.

You are not alone....and I would say to trust what you know is the truth. The truth is the truth and nothing can change that. Don't let anyone make you question yourself.

HUGS!
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Old 05-13-2010, 04:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
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You said that moving away is not an option for financial reasons? Well, chances are he knows that. Emotional abusers are also experts in isolating people so that they may not have the option to leave....or rather they feel they don't have the option to leave.
Absolutely. Then they tell you to leave, knowing you have no resources Abuse on top of the abuse.
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Old 05-13-2010, 04:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Mine got more emotionally abusive with time but it was a more clandestine abuse, not outright put downs or anything - something more sinister and elusive. But then my whole relationship was a lie in order to get me to support her, pay for everything and be a slave.

Now that I am out of it, mine uses our child to abuse me, my mother, sister and family in general. She was on cocaine, but when she stopped that, started on the booze more and now concentrates her time on demonising me, making it very difficult for me and my family to get access to the child, etc.

She started out charming and sounding sincere, but once the hooks were in, it all changed, and then of course, lies upon lies, denial, destablising behaviour. etc to keep me consistently off balance and questioning my own sanity.


Your relationship sounds like a more blatant form of abuse to me. As they say, this sort of thing only gets worse with time.
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Old 05-13-2010, 04:32 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Might be time to find a job, possibly in another town or state.

This situation is not going to get any better, he feels that he has the power and will continue to show you who is in charge.

I do not believe that there are any text book answers to why one is an abuser, well educated or not well educated, christian or not christian---it makes no matter, an abuser is an abuser.

All I've learned is that it is up to me to make the changes, for me. I choose not to be abused. I choose not to waste my life with an alcoholic.

That's my choice---what's yours?

Take care of you.
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Old 05-13-2010, 05:36 PM   #7 (permalink)
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hi lea-

i'm sorry that you're going thru this. that certinly is abuse. mine did similar to me and i understand what it feels like to feel trapped.

what i learned was that i could not rely on my alcoholic. i needed to start making plans that did not depend on his input at all.

i think that you get to know who people really are when the chips are down. it's easy to be loving and carismatic when things are going well. but how people behave under stress is very telling...do they become agressive? do they think of the others? are they kind to the vulnerable?

for myself, i had to get out from a shared life with him and strike out on my own, relying on myself and some help from people who loved me. in my situation, every time the chips were down, he threatened me.

it's not a nice way to live.

you do have options. for me, it was a matter of reaching out for help to those people around me who cared for me. and beginning to explain what was going on in my household.

perhaps take some steps to become finanically independent, like getting some part-time work. or perhaps take a time out and go and stay with someone. i went and stayed with my mother and took that time to begin to attend alanon and get some help from a therapist.

it's not easy, especially when we love the other person and can see them suffering. but his behavior is not ok and it is abuse. in my case, it escalated to physical violence. i saw all the red flags but was quite involved in "helping" him that i forgot to take care of myself.

have you told you family and friends what's going on?

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Old 05-13-2010, 08:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Hi Lea,

I've been there. My ex (before this past relationship that just ended) was not an alcoholic but an ACOA. At the time I was very vulnerable financially and emotionally. Just like Kittyboo said, lots of charm and charisma in the beginning, everything in the e-mails (which I recently deleted) was charming and sweet. Life behind closed doors was different...I wasn't allowed to see friends while my ex traveled, wasn't allowed to unpack my things in the house (there were boxes everywhere), very little to nothing could be on my terms. I had to buy a house and pack up/make the move while my ex was away on business, pretty much running away in the cover of darkness.

Lots of people get stuck in the web of deceit, no matter how highly intelligent we are. It isn't about intelligence, it's about expecting the best from others...at least, that's what it was for me. It was only after I got away that I could see how destructive this all was, and why I felt like I needed to pack up and RUN. Not surprisingly I went from that into a relationship with a charming and charismatic alcoholic so that I could REALLY look closely at my own relationship issues. Now I'm single and plan to take good care of myself. I hope you take good care of yourself, too...I agree with the others, even if you're packing grocery bags try to start a nestegg for yourself so you can fly the coop if that's what you decide to do!

hugs,
posie
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Old 05-14-2010, 02:46 AM   #9 (permalink)
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My AH became more abusive once he was dry. I assume it's because his brain was no longer sodden with alcohol and it could think up even more nasty things to do to us.

As far as I'm concerned there is no cure for abusers. So the only fix for you is to remove yourself from the abuse.
Same here, his emotional abuse got worse when he got dry.
Though in my case, I still believe he will grow and realize his abuse. He's dry, not yet recovered, though I doubt I'll stick around long enough to see if he ever realizes his abuse, cause truthfully, I don't think he even realizes how manipulative and emotionally abusive he is.
He acts out of hurt more than the need for power
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Old 05-14-2010, 03:46 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I spent a long time trying to figure out why. Read lots of articles, books, websites etc. All very informative.

But in the end, the most helpful work I ever did was figuring out my own "why". Why was in a relationship with someone who would treat me like that? Why did I not believe I deserved better? Why did I put up with that stuff from someone who professed to love me? Why did I not want to be on my own? Why did I make it all OK?

Because, really, it doesn't much matter to me why someone treats me badly. That's for them to figure out if and when they decide that their behavior is causing problems in their life. It's my job to look after myself.
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Old 05-14-2010, 06:06 AM   #11 (permalink)
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some thoughts, LeaA,

your man's mother has allowed her children to be raised in alcoholism and abuse yet hides behind some idea of "Christianity"
my cousin's husband was raised in an extremely strict, fundamentalist christian home. the abuse he recieved was incredible. i personally have a distaste for these types of movements, because they tend to be so black-and-white, and many families function under the "wives be subservient to your husbands" model. what those whom i know (the very conservative christians) that do NOT behave this way believe, however, is the next part: "husbands, love your wives as christ loves the church" there is tremendous mutual respect and caring.

unfortunately, for my cousin and her husband, he simply could not overcome the massive shame that he felt about himself, could not undo all the damage. after 20 years of marriage and with two teen-aged daughters, he one night stepped in front of an oncoming train.


which is chicken and which is egg? i understand your need to understand and make sense of who he is, but at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter.

How can a smart women deal with emotional abuse? Clearly my boyfriend is trying to exploit some tender spot he sees in me to take the focus away from dealing with his own issues and childhood trauma.
i think you're right on here. i think the only way to "deal" with abuse like this, is to decide that having him in your life is important enough, the bad outweighs the good, and you suck it up. there is no "training", "teaching" or "influencing" him to effect a positive outcome. perhaps if he got sober he would have a turnaround, but - and i know i'm not an expert - i think the odds are against that.

i have had three very significant people in my life who are addicts: ex-husband, significant other, and my mother. pretty much never were they abusive on the scale that you mentioned. their "abuse" was much more covert, subtle, more about just being selfish and passively angry, or manipulative. i've never been ordered to do something by the man in my life, nor have i even had someone put their hands on me. so i think this is a HUGE warning sign to you.

can you speak about the no-job situation, and what you might be trying to do to change that?
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Old 05-15-2010, 05:14 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Lea, I could have written your post myself as it is dead on exactly how my 1st marriage was. I am a recovering alcholic but went into that disaster sober. OMG.....it was just like yours - completely abusive. My ex wasn't a "alcoholic" even though I think he was. When he drank (which in the beginning was frequent and excessive) he would always become jealous, arrogant and just nasty.

I was intelligent, attractive, etc. and things completely took a turn for the worse when I was laid off. I was receiving unemployment and everyday he made my life miserable. He said I was worthless, nobody liked me and that I was nothing without him. I became so upset and depressed that I started boozing to cope. I should have sought counseling and left his a$$ then but I had never been treated so badly before. I was shocked I guess and beyond depressed. He tried to alienate me from all friends/family .....by making up lies so he could control me.

Yeah, he was a control freak. When I worked and brought in good money (he made bucco bucks btw).....I was the one to cook, clean and everything.

I would serve him dinner in front of his beloved sports center and then clean up after. He would come in from work, not walk the dog (that was his agreed upon time) and sit and change whatever I was watching to his programming. He didn't give a crap about me.

Eventually he began to have some violent outbursts (never hit me but came close to it) One day he through the laundry basket with folded clothes down and almost hit me from the balcony because he didn't have clean underwear. That was also my job to inspect his clothes and to know what he needed.

The whole situation was FUBAR and I retreated in a dark world of depression. I just didn't care.

What saved me? DIVORCE. The minute we were over......I rose up and took charge of my life and started all over without that abusive person in my life.

So you also know....he came from two alcoholic parents who boozed daily. His father was a nasty drunk (God...he was awful) and his mom was a depressed, crying drunk. They lived together like separate people but to him that was marriage. He controlled her and she was like the old man's slave. Sad the whole thing. Not sure if there is a connection but he, his father and his brother all have massive anger and always need to be the controller and never are wrong about anything.

Suggestion - Dump this clown before you go down a painful road. He will treat you worse and worse as time goes on and if he has a drinking problem to boot then you should be running for the hills.

There is not happy ending to this story in my opinion except for you to see now what he is and to get out before you are knee deep into it.

Huggs
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Old 05-15-2010, 05:17 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Oh to also add.....After 9 years it was to the point where I was hearing every day.....You don't like it, you know where the door is. Constant threats of kicking me out even though the moron knew I was on the title to the home owned together for 8 years. Thankfully, I got an attorney and got what was fair in my divorce.
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:58 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I completely understand . My husband attacks me with verbal abuse as well and it seems to only be when he drinking too. When he's sober he's amazing. Its when he starts drinking that is the problem.
I've had the same experiences I stay at home with my 2 year old and when he drinks he says things like I work and you don't bla bla bla and I should do this or do that. I'm not right by staying but I've had this denial that I can "fix" it . This denial continues and I am working on myself so I can't say that his mother was bad for being caught up in the abuse/alcoholism. Being abused isn't a choice its a mental defect by force. A bully on the playground is no different than one in the home. Abuse causes people to suffer emotionally and mentally and in some cases physically not that a person can't or won't leave but the cycle is what keeps them there. As someone who is familiar with psychology Iwould think you would know this .
Which us why you me and most every partner in abuse cases stay. Can my alcoholic husband change? I don't know he must first change his drinking and change himself . Can your boyfriend? That's up to him.
My ah also grew up in a family where abuse was present and his mother is Christian and was /is in denial and despite what she did or did not do....that was the past and this is now. If you cannot forgive forget and move on about his mother abduction what she did or didn't do then how can you expect him too (after all if you dig into it. I'm sure his problems are not only with his father but mother as well) he needs therapy to surrender himself to life and moce on.
Abuse is a cycle not just the one your on with him but one where he was abused and he abuses so will your children if any result as a victim.
To move forward you must tell him it is not acceptable with your actions not words ie leaving (I will be following my own advice as well) he needs to face himself and what he's doimg. He won't if you stay with him as you arevso much easier to assault with hate than himself .
Good luck
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Old 11-02-2012, 02:16 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Emotional abuse is not ok. It is damaging.
When my marriage broke up I received emotional abuse for a couple of years. It affected my health & I got to the stage when I received a text from him I would physically shake. I ended up going to the police to stop the bullying. It is not ok for anyone to treat you like this.
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Old 11-02-2012, 02:27 AM   #16 (permalink)
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So to answer what came first abuse or alcoholism?
Abuse came first does it mean that when they stop drinking they won't stop abusing? No ...I truly believe that some not all abusers can in certain situations get help and stop abusing but in instances with addiction they must first get sober.
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Old 11-02-2012, 02:37 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I personally think addiction came first.
I think a lot of emotional abuse is merely shifting guilt into blame.
It makes it easier for the addict then to blame someone else for their everything.
If they overcome addiction they may have more acceptance & therefore the abuse stops as they start to control their own lives.
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Old 11-02-2012, 03:26 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I personally think addiction came first.
I think a lot of emotional abuse is merely shifting guilt into blame.
It makes it easier for the addict then to blame someone else for their everything.
If they overcome addiction they may have more acceptance & therefore the abuse stops as they start to control their own lives.
I think your right too. I think for some addiction did come first for thosevwho when sober are just ***** dory and it stops but there are some who abuse came first ....they either don't wabt to change their abusive ways or they need help to do so. So I guess when ypur think about it every situation isn't the same but when addictions involved what needs to be done is
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Old 11-02-2012, 04:45 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Lea,

I am ACOA (adult child of an alcoholic) and witnessed alcoholic insanity and abuse at the hands of my father and codie mother that are beyond horrific.

Insanity becomes "normal" and we never learned how to have healthy relationships as they were not patterned for us. Out of 6 siblings all of us struggled with relationships, married addicts or became one.

The good news is that several of us got counseling and pursued recovery for ourselves and got better and have broken the generational passing of the torch of dysfunction for the next generation and hopefully their children will not experience what we did as kids.

Fortunately you are an adult and you have choices and are pursuing information on addiction and relationships with addicts.

I can not offer you much hope with what you have told us. Untreated alcoholism (he is not pursuing authentic recovery) is not pretty and it is progressive. His ACOA issues will not go away without professional counseling and processing his "automatic" reverting back to what he witnessed and experienced as a child and is hard wired into his personality.

He CAN change. BUT... only if he wants to and with a LOT of very, very hard work in counseling and true recovery. It is unlikely that he will pursue this path especially if he is under a lot of stress with school etc, etc, etc.

But... you can pursue your own recovery and get involved in alanon and make your own plan A and plan B. Alcoholism is the ultimate in uncertainty... have a plan of escape in the back of your mind... you will most likely want to pursue it at some point.
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Life with an active alcoholic is like going down in an elevator to h*** together with both having the ability to push the button and choose what floor they wish to get off on. Don't wait until your shoes are on fire like I did!
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Old 11-02-2012, 06:13 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I really think it's on a case by case basis. And besides, thinking about this gives me a headache.
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