How To Protect Yourself When An Alcoholic’s Words Hurt

upset woman

“He ain’t right!”

It’s not proper grammar, but it’s true about your alcoholic husband.

That’s why you shouldn’t take what he says personally.

You don’t have control over what comes out of his mouth. You’re only responsible for how you react. Just let what he says roll off your shoulders.

He tries to take the focus off himself and put it on you. You can allow his words to hurt, or just realize that he has issues with alcohol. His thinking is clouded, so go about your life.

Consider the Source

Your husband suffers from an addiction and he’s “pre-occupied” with alcohol.

When he’s sober all he thinks about is when he can drink. If there’s a glass of booze in his hand, he can’t wait for the next one. That’s the nature of the disease.

He’s self-centered and will do or say anything to get what he wants. He’s not concerned about how you feel. He just wants to drink.

Stay on His Case

You’re his wife, and live in the same house. That’s why you get the brunt of his verbal abuse. If someone else would be there, they’d get the same from him.

Whoever gets in the way of his alcohol will hear about it.

Until he gets help you’ll probably continue to get in his way…big deal!

If you didn’t “nag” him about his drinking (that’s how he feels), it means you don’t care. He doesn’t see it that way, and he’ll try to push you away with his words.

Stay in his face about his alcohol abuse and don’t worry about his angry reactions.

More importantly don’t forget the most important thing, be true to yourself.

Focus on You

The staff of Free My Addict currently has some big projects in the works to put the focus back on you. We’ll be rolling it out soon. Be sure to sign up for the email list in the sidebar so you’ll be the first to know when it happens.

Until then…an Al-Anon meeting can also be helpful. There’s probably one in your area. Get input from other wives of alcoholics on how they don’t take what their husband says personally.

When he talks, simply walk away and do what you enjoy. Spend time with family and friends who speak well of you. Shop or pursue your hobby. Don’t let what he say’s stop you.

You know what they say about “sticks and stones” his words…don’t let them harm you.

If he ever gets help for his alcoholism, you may see a different side of him.

Until then, let him say what he wants, and remember…“he ain’t right.”

Have you dealt with harsh words from your alcoholic husband? Let us know how you handled it in the comments.


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Here’s What 22 Other People Thought...

  1. Marina

    I listen to his abuse for 10 years, I couldn’t take it any more, so I left, I still get the abuse, over the phone. Usually, I just hang up or nag him to get help, he wouldn’t listen, like you said he justwants the next drink. I don’t know how much longer I can take this. I just want a happy peaceful life, I don’t think I can stay involved with an alocholic, I don’t want to give up on my 35 year marriage, but I don’t think I have a choice. I am very frustrated and confused.
    Thanks for listening

    • Tom

      I understand your frustration. Despite 35 years of marriage, you still need to be happy. I suggest you stay focused on yourself, and continue to “hang up” on him if he gets verbally abusive. We’re working on something that may help you put the focus on you…instead of him. Keep watching this site. In the meantime, do what you need to for you. You deserve a good life.

    • Mary

      I so understand your feelings of a 35 yr. marriage. I, too, have 34 yrs. of marriage, but, I am living with a dry drunk, who, doesn’t drink, which is a good thing, but, the behavoir is still very strong. Verbal abuse,controlling behavior, narcissism, procrastination. Oh, if only he would go to AA, but he feels he doesn’t need it. I try to get out as much as I can, but, his controlling of how much gas is to go anywhere, my alanon meetings are too far according to him, etc. I am frustrated and confused too, but try to put myself first which I have never done, till Alanon. You are not alone.

      • Tom

        Great input Mary…Thanks. Just because he’s not drinking doesn’t mean his behaviors will change. It’s sad, but true. Part of recovery is identifying “character defects” and show a willingness to change thinking, attitudes and behaviors. Apparently he hasn’t done this.

  2. robert

    i have enjoyed myself and have learnt more please give more information thank you all

    • Tom

      Glad you enjoy our site. It would be good to join our Webinar Tuesday the 20th. See the recent article and sign up. Also, if you give me a little bit of information about your situation, I’d be happy to try and give you a little guidance and direction…I’ll at least do my best. Thanks again!

  3. veron

    I was diagnosed with depression and then suffered axiety attacks. Doctors put it down to post natal depression, and i was even put on antidepressents. After two and a half years of guilt and shame, finally I realise that I am a victim of an alcoholic husband!! We have lost our home, our car, our business because of alcohol!I have changed my thinking and stop beating myself up. He ain’t right, thank God my 2 yr old daughter has one stable responsible parent. And I’m proud to say it me, her mother!

    • Tom

      That’s great you’re being responsible…someone has to do that. Alcoholics don’t want responsibility and won’t admit that their behavior has caused so many problems. Many times they verbally abuse and blame their spouse for everything that is wrong in their life. Keep the positive attitude…and do what you need to do for yourself and your daughter. You may want to attend our Free Webinar that was promoted in yesterday’s article. You’ll get some good guidance and direction to help you deal with him…but more importantly…focus on yourself.

  4. Viki

    I’m also married and in love for 38 yrs to an alcoholi. life was good for few years; however for the past 7 life is not fun anymore. He likes to drink every day — starting as soon as he gets home. He still gets up and goes in, but I’m wondering for how long — he has started taking sick days more often than ever before.
    I thought of leaving, but believe that he should be the one to move out. He refuses, and I’m not ready to force it, at this time. I wish I could just tell him to get out. I have been to Alanon meetings for few years, but find myself too tired and depressed after work to get out.

    • Tom

      I can feel your frustration in your words, especially concerning thelast 7 years. And I also understand your feelings not to forece him to move out. What would your life be like if you started focusing just on you…and not him and his behaviors? When’s the last time you did something really nice for yourself? Doing so may help during those times you feel depressed. I hope you’ll attend our Free Webinar on Tuesday. I think you’ll get a few ideas to help cope with him…but also focus on you.

  5. yesenia

    his words were so harsh so painful that i used to cried a lot even when i was working, i couldn’t think propertly i had insomnia i couldn’t eat much…after sometime i started to realized that his word and actions didn’t hurt me that much anymore i think that killed my love for him and i believe it’s the best thing that i could happened to me

    • Tom

      It’s good you realized that his words can’t hurt you anymore. Hopefully, you’re focusing on yourself and what you need to do to be happy. It may be a good idea to attend our LIVE Webinar on Tuesday, March 20. You’ll get some good information to help put your focus back on yourself, instead of on him.

  6. Juanita

    I have been with my husband for 7 years 5 1/2 years of which we have been married. I believed that we would never be where we are now getting a divorce. We never fussed, faught, or cussed one anther he just suddenly didn’t come home and when I found him he said he wanted a divorce, and led me to believe it was all my fault. I have since learned that he had been seeing someone for a few weeks prior to asking for the divorce. I have confronted him about this, and he tells me he has no feelings left for me, and that he does not reqret cheating on me and our marriage. I believe he wants me to hate him, but I can’t and I still tell him I love him, and willing to forgive him. The words he says to me hurts, and even though he says he doesn’t care about me, he then turns around and tells me that he didn’t want to hurt me by telling about his cheating. Mean while he is steadily drinking a beer and getting a shot of whiskey.

    • Tom

      I feel your pain and understand your probably confused by that sudden news. Since he made that choice so suddenly, do you think it was because of the alcohol. If he want to follow through on this, maybe you should start to focus on yourself, and what you need to do for your own secuirty. Maybe things will work out between you…but for now, do what you need to do for you!

  7. Juanita

    Thank you for the advice, and I have already started focusing on myself. My sister is a recovering addict and alcoholic, so she is telling her expierence and thoughts she had when she was an alcoholic. She is also, the one who reccommeded alanon to me.

    I pray to God to let him get stopped and get another DUI. I am not wanting anyone to get hurt or be killed, but it might just what saves him from hisself and killing someone.

    • Tom

      I understand your feelings Juanita. He could really hurt or kill someone when he’s driving intoxicated. Maybe the best thing would be for him to be totally off the road. And if he does go to jail, it might give him time to look at his life and the destructive choices he’s made. It’s great you have the support of a sister who’s been there and understands.

  8. Amy

    My fiance has always been a drinker, but in the last 6 months it has taken over his life. We went from never fussing and living a great life to him calling me names and blaming me for everything including his increased drinking. Even before he starts to drink his whole attitude towards me is different that it use to be. I don’t understand and I miss the man I fell in love with.

    • FreeMyAddict Coach

      Amy, I wish I could say your situation is unique, but it’s very common. As the illness of alcoholism progresses it actually becomes more focused on using. The man you fell in love with is there with an illness. I urge you to take care of yourself and avoid picking up things your fiance needs to be responsible for. He needs to deal with the consequences of his drinking. It’s the only way he will ‘hit bottom’. Then, there’s a chance for recovery.

  9. Amber

    It’s so sad reading all of these stories, because I’m just another one who can relate. My husband finally agreed to rehab last week. I had a plan already in place, so the next day I got him in for an assessment. I was very dissappointed though because the person helping us discussed the costs’ involved for the rehab. As soon as he heard how much it would cost, he was done. He told them, “Thanks, but for that price, I’ll do it on my own”. I knew if he heard how much it would cost us, he would pull back. I’m so frustrated, because I feel like I’ve tried everything to be supportive and it’s so hard to not be emotionally let down. I’m pretty upbeat, but when another failed attempt happens, it’s just so hard to not get discouraged and sad. I try to focus on myself and the kids but we’re missing him. It’s like there’s a piece missing without him. I’m stuck in that position where I’m struggling moving forward without him.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      I hope he doesn’t ask what the price is if he needs needs cancer treatment or heart surgery. It’s really a matter of priority. What this tells me is he’ll use anything to be able to use. If he’s serious about doing it on his own here are some things he CAN do. In AA they talk about 90 meeting in 90 days. NO cost except for gas to get there and back. There are several workbooks he can get for only a few dollars. He can work through them on his own or use a few hours of a coach to help him. If money’s the issue and he REALLY wants help let him put his money where his mouth is and DO IT.

      I would encourage you to keep the faith. He went to the rehab before he changed his mind. Maybe he’ll go further next time. You did the right thing by being prepared.

      Now he needs to know his wellness is worth more than the money to get well.

  10. Before Al-Anon i had no understanding of the disease and was in much darkeness. Today im in Al-Anon after the separation of my alcoholic/addict husband. Im working on myself and using the tools ive learnt from Al-Anon. My husband was homeless after our separation, but that was the consequences of his own actions. It was a very difficult time, but i stuck to my guns and stopped enabling. I still have a long way to go in my own recovery but i take it one day at a time. As for my husband is in AA he now has his own apartment, a job and a car. We are still separated. But we have a child together so i see him every weekend. He looks better. It still does hurt and its not pink fluffy clouds and unicorns on this side either. Different problems but im getting there.

    Never give up on hope. People do change when they are ready.
    When there is nothing else there is always hope.

    • FreeMyAddict Team

      Laurie, you show others a path for recovery. Well done!

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