Al­co­hol-fu­eled abuse does dam­age

The Morning Call - - GO GUIDE -

Dear Amy: I have been mar­ried for over 20 years. My wife and I have had our share of is­sues. I have made my share of mis­takes. Over the last 18 months we have been go­ing to mar­riage coun­sel­ing and have ad­dressed some of those is­sues.

Over the last 12 months, she has got­ten ver­bally abu­sive when she has too much to drink. At these times, she says things that are filled with pure rage and have a sting­ing ef­fect for a long pe­riod of time.

To make mat­ters worse, when I ap­proach her about it, she re­mem­bers none of it, and I am forced to re­live all of it as I at­tempt to de­scribe what she said, and the ef­fect it has had on me.

I have made it very clear that I think she has an al­co­hol abuse prob­lem, and her re­sponse is to say that she is sorry, and she will watch her quan­tity of drink­ing to make sure it does not hap­pen again. Yet, it hap­pens re­peat­edly.

I suf­fer from low self-es­teem as it is, and her com­ments truly hurt more than I can say. I have told her nu­mer­ous times that if she keeps it up, she is go­ing to lose me, and yet I stay, as a re­sult of the vi­cious cy­cle of my low self-es­teem.

How do I find the courage to tell her enough is enough and to fi­nally stand up for my­self?

— Ver­bally Bat­tered and Bruised

Dear Bat­tered: You and your wife are cur­rently see­ing a mar­riage coun­selor. Even though it is very painful for you to do so, it is vital that you bring up this al­co­hol-fu­eled abuse with the coun­selor. Your wife’s drink­ing and abu­sive be­hav­ior is a ma­jor fac­tor in the vi­a­bil­ity of your mar­riage.

She will want to di­min­ish it, but you have the right and re­spon­si­bil­ity to present your own truth.

You might want to cre­ate an au­dio (or video) record­ing of one of your wife’s tirades. She might be in­spired to con­front her drink­ing if she is also con­fronted with her be­hav­ior when she is drunk, and its im­pact on you.

How­ever, re­gard­less of whether your wife ac­knowl­edges or con­fronts her drink­ing, you need to take care of your­self.

Self-es­teem and courage don’t al­ways strike like light­ning, trans­form­ing your life in a flash. These qual­i­ties are the re­sult of a process of ex­pe­ri­ences over­laid with self-re­flec­tion and propped up by kind­ness and sup­port.

At­tend­ing Al-Anon meet­ings could help you to con­front and cope with your own vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties, and re­ceive sup­port from peo­ple who are work­ing their own so­lu­tions. Check al-anon.org for a lo­cal meet­ing.

Copyright 2019 by Amy Dick­in­son Dis­trib­uted by Tri­bune Con­tent Agency

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