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Are all alcoholics abusive to others?

Old 02-11-2011, 01:44 AM
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Are all alcoholics abusive to others?

It seems so, from my experience with all the ones I know and it seems to be the prevailing theme on these threads.
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Old 02-11-2011, 02:11 AM
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What I mean is, rarely have I met any nice, or completely honest alcoholics. The ones I have met that are 'nice' tend to be passive aggressive and dishonest.
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Old 02-11-2011, 02:24 AM
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I'm an alcoholic and I'm not abusive to anyone, except perhaps myself. I don't yell at or hit my wife nor am I mentally abusive to her or anyone else in my life. Alcoholism and its effects are relative to the person.
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Old 02-11-2011, 03:23 AM
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Invisigoth's reply is interesting. Us F&F of alcoholics see something as abusive which alcoholics don't--which is that they are "checked out" emotionally often, even the nicest of alcholics. My ex was very nice, but!

I suppose seeing that "checked out" or whatever somebody would like to define what happens to thinking and feeling patterns that changes while intoxicated--seeing that behavior as abusive to the relationship, may be sometimes only the view from the sober side.
So, in reply to the original question--my ex was not abusive in most definitions of what abuse is. He was very nice, generous, and thoughtful at times, just like anybody else.

But he protected his addictions, and if I stepped on those, there was trouble. As long as I left his addictions to him and didn't discuss them, or even pretend they existed, he was very happy with me.

I felt emotionally cheated. I felt the relationship was emotionally cheated out of a "present" half of that equation. Intoxicated daily, he simply wasn't present--he was far and away in his alcohol. I found that "abusive" to the relationship.

Compared to many stories, he was far less abusive than many. Oh, I forgot--does combating a big ego, and manipulation count as abuse? It sure felt like it.
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Old 02-11-2011, 03:41 AM
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Originally Posted by invisigoth View Post
I'm an alcoholic and I'm not abusive to anyone, except perhaps myself. I don't yell at or hit my wife nor am I mentally abusive to her or anyone else in my life. Alcoholism and its effects are relative to the person.
You dont say whether you are an active alcoholic.

There are many different types of abuse in my opinion from the subtle to the obvious. Sure, yelling at, hitting or mental abuse is pretty obvious but abuse takes on many forms.

Isolation, irrational jealousy, subtle presence of physical violence, discounting, minimizing, and trivializing, criticizing, withholding and blaming are all forms of abuse, as is overt abuse, covert (or controlling) abuse, unpredictability, disproportional (exaggerated) reactions, dehumanization and objectification, abuse of information, impossible situations (setting up to fail), control by proxy, ambient abuse (gaslighting). (All courtesy of Wikipedia)

I cant speak for all alcoholics but my active AH is definitely abusive to me in a number of ways. He has been verbally abusive and a number of other things on my list above. My AH falls asleep every evening, very early and I am left sat with my own company and I feel extremely lonely. He is not hitting me, mentally abusing me, but he is neglecting his wife and his marriage. Abuse is quite a strong word for this type of behavior, I grant you but the roller coaster ride of emotions he puts me through has definitely left me feeling mentally abused.

I think the more subtle abuse, is sometimes more damaging. Just my opinion.
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Old 02-11-2011, 03:45 AM
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which is that they are "checked out" emotionally often, even the nicest of alcoholics
Brokenheartfool - What I was trying to say but you said it so much better!
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Old 02-11-2011, 04:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Eight Ball View Post
You dont say whether you are an active alcoholic.

There are many different types of abuse in my opinion from the subtle to the obvious. Sure, yelling at, hitting or mental abuse is pretty obvious but abuse takes on many forms.

Isolation, irrational jealousy, subtle presence of physical violence, discounting, minimizing, and trivializing, criticizing, withholding and blaming are all forms of abuse, as is overt abuse, covert (or controlling) abuse, unpredictability, disproportional (exaggerated) reactions, dehumanization and objectification, abuse of information, impossible situations (setting up to fail), control by proxy, ambient abuse (gaslighting). (All courtesy of Wikipedia)

I cant speak for all alcoholics but my active AH is definitely abusive to me in a number of ways. He has been verbally abusive and a number of other things on my list above. My AH falls asleep every evening, very early and I am left sat with my own company and I feel extremely lonely. He is not hitting me, mentally abusing me, but he is neglecting his wife and his marriage. Abuse is quite a strong word for this type of behavior, I grant you but the roller coaster ride of emotions he puts me through has definitely left me feeling mentally abused.

I think the more subtle abuse, is sometimes more damaging. Just my opinion.
I am an active alcoholic, though I haven't had a drink in 10 days. I grew up in a crazy house with my alcoholic mother and I am well versed in the many forms that alcoholic abusiveness can manifest itself, physical,mental or other.
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Old 02-11-2011, 05:10 AM
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Frankly, there are lots of alcoholics that are not in any way abusive. However the F&F section here at SR.com might be the single worst place to post this question. Almost by definition, the people posting and participating here at F&F of alcoholics are here because they have had problems with their alcoholics other than their drinking. Because of this the responses to such a question will be skewed. JMHO.
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Old 02-11-2011, 05:25 AM
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No, not all alcholics are abusive nor are all abusive people drinkers/alcoholics.

Tx
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Old 02-11-2011, 05:36 AM
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I think abuse is probably more common among people with addictions than in the general population, but I worked for nine years in the DV field and tallulah is right--not all alcoholics are abusive and not all abusers are addicts. The most sadistic abuser I ever encountered in my career didn't touch a drop of booze nor drugs, and the worst psychiatric disorder ever diagnosed (according to him) was OCD.

I think alcohol magnifies abusive tendencies, and even those who would not be overtly abusive sober can become so under the influence.

But active alcoholism will make ANYONE poor relationship material. For a number of reasons, including dishonesty (not necessarily stealing or cheating but simply being dishonest to protect the addiction), manipulative (ditto), "emotionally checked out" (good way of putting it!), unreliable, etc.
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Old 02-11-2011, 05:43 AM
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I know plenty of nice active alcoholics. I also know plenty of nasty ones. You can be a 'nice' alcoholic and still be "checked out" as Brokenhearted fool said. Hey, I can be checked out even without alcohol as a result of growing up in abuse and learning to disassociate. I'm sure my kids don't like it when I'm emotionally disconnected. And yeah, abuse takes many forms as Eightball said. When married to an active alcoholic, even a 'nice' one you're only ever going to be the third wheel in the equation because the primary relationship is with the bottle and this relationship is guarded and protected above anything and anyone. My father was a 'nice' one. But, as we know, alcoholism progresses and his did. When it did, I did not feel safe around him and I was not safe around him. His alcoholism almost killed him, several times. This does have an affect on family and friends. My mother was and still is addicted to the freeze dried stuff and is very violent.

It seems that denial can run very deep with alcoholism and with us ACoA's (adult children of alcoholics). My denial ran so deep, at my first meeting, when it was my time to share, I said that my father's alcoholism hadn't affected my life! Now I look back, laugh and wonder "what was I thinking?" My denial has run so deep that after 20 years of abstinance, hating alcohol and it affects on the people around me, being almost vigilante regarding alcohol use/abuse and having a healthy lifestyle, I didn't notice my own drinking creeping up on me. Actually I did notice, but I justified my drinking and put it down to a 'phase' because I've been going through a hard time as I did previously, 20 years earlier when I drank alcoholically. I also decided it was my time to 'party' occasionally and have a drink because I didn't have to worry about my alcoholic partner/s anymore. I'm a 'nice' person. I've always put my children first. I've always been the responsible one, the sober one. I don't drink around my kids as I needed to be the 'sober' example for them. I thought I'd be the last person in my family to have a problem with drinking. However, I'd distracted myself with alcoholic partners during those twenty years and now that I'm 'clean' of my addiction to alcoholic partners, my dormant addiction has crept in again. I don't even want to admit it to myself. But, I'm finding once in a while, when I don't have my kids, I tell myself I'm going to have one or two and then I keep drinking; binge drinking. And my tolerance for spirits is very high unfortunately. If I don't get a grip on this, I know what the consequences will be on my family, even if I remain 'nice'. I'll be physically there but emotionally consumed with the cravings/compulsions and the remorse. I'm already starting to feel it. And I'm all too aware it progresses. And I hate that I'm feeling like this because I wasn't supposed to be like my parents. None of us want to be like that if we've grown up in a crazy, chaotic environment. I Hope this wasn't too deep...I'm just in that type of mood tonight!
By the way, congratulations on your 10 days Invisi!
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Old 02-11-2011, 05:46 AM
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Old 02-11-2011, 05:51 AM
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Floss--I hear ya. My own alcoholism didn't take off until I was "safe" from dealing with other people's drinking, and my kids were safely with their dad. It does creep up on you. If you find you are continuing to struggle, think about checking out AA. I'm finding my experience living with alcoholism helpful in recognizing some of the thought processes in myself that go along with my own alcoholism. I'm understanding them, and myself, a lot better than I ever did before.
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Old 02-11-2011, 05:58 AM
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Thanks Lexie. I was attending Al-Anon and found myself dragging my feet. I went to an AA meeting and felt like I related. I've been there about 4 times but haven't been to a meeting since before Christmas. I got scared but now I'm feeling the need to go back. I'm going to one tomorrow night...and I'm looking forward to it.

Yeah, it's strange how it creeps up hey? Mine waited until I was 'safe' too. And that sucks because it caught me off guard.
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Old 02-11-2011, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by LexieCat View Post
For a number of reasons, including dishonesty (not necessarily stealing or cheating but simply being dishonest to protect the addiction), manipulative (ditto), "emotionally checked out" (good way of putting it!), unreliable, etc.
This sums it up for my xah. He was not verbally or physically abusive.
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Old 02-11-2011, 07:58 AM
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I've have/had several alcoholics in my immediate and extended family. Only two of them were/are verbally, mentally, or physically abusive: my step grandfather and my stepson.
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Old 02-11-2011, 09:59 AM
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Eightball-you are sooo right. I always felt more abused by what was not said to me rather than what was said to me. My ex was very secluded and didnt talk to me much unless it was something that effected him. I felt very lonely alot of the time because he was off in his own world. You are basically alone in the relationship.
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Old 02-11-2011, 10:15 AM
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I'm starting to think there's a difference between "abuse" and "abusive," more than just the noun/verb versus adjective difference.

My thoughts:


Abuse is verbal, emotional, or physical usually, and has full intent to harm someone, although it may be subconscious. Not all alcoholics "dole this out" to their partners, or family. If the alcoholic does utilize abuse, it will absolutely remain after the alcohol is gone (and sometimes even get worse!) unless the abuser acknowledges this as well, and also seeks help. They are two separate entities.
Abusers from this category do also utilize many of the forms of "abusive behavior" in the next paragraph(s) as well.

Someone who is abusive (but not an "Abuser"), meanwhile, doesn't necessarily have a conscious or subconscious decision to hurt, they could do it by accident through their other choices. I believe that all alcoholics/addicts are abusive to some extent, otherwise their families/partners/children wouldn't have all these coping mechanisms to deal with things. Spending all the family money to feed the addiction is abusive, because it means more stress to try and figure out how to feed the family. Spending all the individual's time drinking is abusive, because it leaves the family feeling neglected. Drinking to the point of passing out, peeing in closets, etc, is abusive, because it means there's no help with the day to day requirements of life for those not drinking, and in many cases it actually means there's extra work taking care of a grown adult who acts like a child. I could go on.
This said, this "abusiveness" tends to diminish somewhat once the alcohol is removed from the equation, and as long as the alcoholic/addict is actively working a good program I believe it can eventually go away at least almost completely. The abusive behavior and the alcohol are related, and in many cases the love of alcohol and/or fear of admitting there's a problem and/or the side effects of the alcohol caused the abusive behavior.


Does that make any sense?



EDIT: Found this link. It's geared more towards kids, but I think it helps clarify some things, and breaks things out really well.
What is Abuse?

Last edited by StarCat; 02-11-2011 at 10:23 AM. Reason: Added link
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Old 02-11-2011, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by invisigoth View Post
I'm an alcoholic and I'm not abusive to anyone, except perhaps myself. I don't yell at or hit my wife nor am I mentally abusive to her or anyone else in my life. Alcoholism and its effects are relative to the person.

This is what I told myself over and over invisigoth.
I am only hurting myself. Who cares? I dont.
I was silent, completely silent.
I had no abusive problems either, but i was just a body taking up space.
If you are not there emotionally you are not doing the whole job of being a spouse or a mother or whatever it is.

Wonderful news on your ten days invisigoth!
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Old 02-11-2011, 10:44 AM
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I certainly don't know the answer to this question, however I am thinking that quite possibly is my stbxah case the alcohol is a "fix" for his abuse, at least temporarily, until he has had to much...when he is the phase between drinking and getting a buzz and the full on alcohol dementia coma. I have read many times that sometimes the alcoholism is a symptom of an underlying personality/mental disorder....which in my case I believe to be true. My stbxah is verbally, mentally, and has occassionally been physically abusive....but it does not always include the alcohol. When he drinks he escapes the madness in his head, which is why he drinks. That said, I think that some people just are abusers/abusive and some of them drink/some of them don't. I don't believe that being an alcoholic makes you become abusive. But....those are just my thoughts, and I only really know the situation I was in.
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