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Question
Posted by: Freddie | 2010/07/26

Alcohol abuse

My partners farther is an alcoholic and 10 years ago she had a serious car accident in which she suffered a frontal brain injury.
On social occasions she will drink excessively, her personality will change and she will become verbally abusive with me.

This has resulted in us having quite bad arguments and fights. (Non physical)
This weekend at a social engagement with friends she again became verbally abusive accusing me of sleeping with other woman (which she does quite often)

When we arrived home the tirade continued. I lost my temper and for the first time grabbed her by the neck an threatened her if she did not shut up.

I am not a violent person and am deeply ashamed of what I have done, to make things worse she has told her mother and sister of the incident.
Their advice is the usual " If he can do it once he will do it again and next time it will be worse" 

I don’ t really know where to go from here, I don’ t wont to end the relationship as I feel she can be saved but I don’ t want to end up in the same situation as a what happened this week end

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Alcohol interacts unhelpfully with anyone's personality and behaviour. The effect would be more so in anyone with a ny degree of significant brain damage. It is o course unfortunate that you became physical violent, even to a minorr degree, but apparently it was in response to provocative verbal violence, a form of abuse that is too often overlooked. This relationship is becoming abusive, due to what BOTH of you are doing, and it would be wrong to place the sole blame on you for responding eventually to verbal abuse.
It sounds likely that you would in no way be physically unpleasant to her if she stopped drinking and stopped the verbal abuse.
If the relationship is to be repaired, you BOTH need to be involved in relationship / couples counselling.
And it would be short-sighted and foolish for her mother and sister to overlook both her provocation and her problem drinking, which needs to be tackled, for her sake.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Anon | 2010/07/26

You in a difficult situation Freddie. Obviously her parents and sister will take her side no matter what as that is what family tend to do. They do not realise what you have to put up with even after all of them leave and they do not see it. I know because my GF used to also get drunk and one stupid thing said/ incident can cause havoc for an entire night. We can be having so much fun and then she might get drunk and obviously become blurry, she will then think she seen a girl smile at me, and then start a fight. But one where she is in tears and screaming so loud that everyone would think I am to blame and feel sorry for her. In the past, I used to shout back because I could not take being called a liar. Later I rather just walked away (quietly) and told her to meet me in the car when she is done. Even thou we then fought in the car, it was never nice knowing we are fighting for what? I would never smile or try be nice to a girl other than my GF. BUt when she got drunk. some get happy, some get horny, mine got very emotional!! It used to be scary as sometimes she used to try jump out of the moving car.. I did once grab hey and swore bad at her and pushed her and yes, I felt bad. But the truth be told, as much as we gentlemen, our buttons can be pushed. It is not an excuse to lift your hand at any girl but one cannot determine when enough will be enough for another. Even after today (2 years) I rather opt to leave a social early before she gets drunk. Its my compromise to continue to try love her for the way she is. Yes, I have been pushed, and hit by her, even in the face but never hard enough to leave a blue eye. So no person who ever think she is the guilty one even if they see me push her once and she tells. The truth is, many assume a girl is the dangerous one but some do not know what happens behind closed doors and what we have to put up with. The best advice I can offer you is go speak to her sister and mother without her knowledge and tell them what is happening in your life and how you feel. If they love her, they will tell her to get seek help.

Reply to Anon
Posted by: anon | 2010/07/26

Freddie yours is a tough situation, but it can get sorted if you both want it. You need to ensure that you never physically harm her again even if she gets into the same state again, we should never try justify physically harming a women, even if we believe it is due to a situation as you have described.
Speaking as a guy who stopped drinking about 17 years ago because of the way I used to react when drinking, your wife needs to make a decision as to whether she wants to continue drinking or save her marriage because there won''t be a middle ground, whether it is now or in a few years from now, drinking will split your relationship. She must decide on what''s more important, unfortunately you have no say in that because if she doesn''t want to stop she won''t. We have to first admit to ourselves we have a problem and then make a decision to do something about it, and these are 2 seperate things. For a while I knew I had a problem but chose not to do anything. Once those decisions are made it is not an easy road but it can be done. There is also no middle ground cutting back and all these things don''t work, it''s all or nothing. When we stop, it must be completely with no exceptions. I found the first 18 months tough but after a few years it was no issue to me. Today I go out with my friends to pubs etc and the thought of having a drink doesn''t cross my mind because I accepted I have a problem and did something about it and I will not allow myself to get into that situation again.
Those around a person with a drinking problem also need to understand that for that person it is a problem, so support is important, I lost a good few friends when I stopped because to them I was not with it anymore and not much fun anymore, but a number of my friends (my true friends) understood and respected my decision.
Getting your wife to understand the above won''t be easy, she can''t do it alone, and these decisions must come from her.

I wish you and your wife all the best and hope you guys make the right decisions

Reply to anon
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010/07/26

Alcohol interacts unhelpfully with anyone's personality and behaviour. The effect would be more so in anyone with a ny degree of significant brain damage. It is o course unfortunate that you became physical violent, even to a minorr degree, but apparently it was in response to provocative verbal violence, a form of abuse that is too often overlooked. This relationship is becoming abusive, due to what BOTH of you are doing, and it would be wrong to place the sole blame on you for responding eventually to verbal abuse.
It sounds likely that you would in no way be physically unpleasant to her if she stopped drinking and stopped the verbal abuse.
If the relationship is to be repaired, you BOTH need to be involved in relationship / couples counselling.
And it would be short-sighted and foolish for her mother and sister to overlook both her provocation and her problem drinking, which needs to be tackled, for her sake.

Reply to cybershrink

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