advertisement

The Challenges Behind Loving an Alcoholic Personality

July 30, 2015 Becky Doyle

Loving an alcoholic is challenging, regardless of whether or not the alcoholic is in recovery. There are certain personality traits common to alcoholics which add strain to relationships with friends, family, romantic partners, or professional connections when left untethered. What are some of these personality traits that come out when loving an alcoholic and how do they affect these relationships?

In my experience, alcoholics tend to be loners. They may have many friends and enjoy spending time with them, but when it comes to dealing with problems of any severity, alcoholics often isolate and are not very open and forthcoming with their thoughts and Loving an alcoholic can be challenging. Personality traits common to alcoholics add strain to relationships. Learn how to love an alcoholic in spite of this.feelings. Alcoholics also usually display signs of control issues which are subconsciously connected to their drinking problem. They also tend to have low self-esteem, especially while actively drinking or in early recovery from alcoholism.

Alcoholics do not have a monopoly on these personality traits. But on the same token, there is an entire 12-Step program devoted to the friends and family who love an alcoholic. So that must mean alcoholics are pretty challenging people to love.

Communication Challenges When Loving an Alcoholic

Even before I started drinking, I isolated myself from my family. It wasn't until a year or so into sobriety that I realized how much I had hurt them by being unwilling to talk to them about almost anything in my life. I even went so long without calling home during college that my mom once sent me an email with the subject line, "Just making sure you're alive."

One of the main cornerstones of any loving relationship is good communication. Without communication, there can be no connection between individuals. If the communication exists but is negative or restricted, it creates tension between the alcoholic and the other person. Establishing healthy communication habits is a major challenge for everyone, not just alcoholics. The unique challenge for alcoholics is that the condition of addiction thrives upon loneliness and isolation. For whatever reason it is a normal personality trait that is universally shared between alcoholics.

Developing Codependency When Loving an Alcoholic

The controlling personality of alcoholics (I know best) combined with low self-esteem (I am worthless) leads to codependent relationships between alcoholics and their loved ones. This happens because when controlling his or her environment, the alcoholic assumes a position of authority in their relationships. Codependent friends or family members become reliant upon this guidance and feel lost without it.

Conversely, the alcoholic relies on the affirmations of their loved ones to combat their low self-esteem. Since the only way to build self-esteem is for the alcoholic to discover their own worth, they are unable to successfully challenge these thoughts and feelings and remain dependent on others. And thus, both parties are dependent upon the other person to ensure their happiness.

These three personality traits pose challenges to having a loving, healthy relationship with an alcoholic. Learning how to navigate a relationship with an alcoholic is difficult, but these problems can be dealt with through support groups like AlAnon. Other resources are available on the main Addictions Community page of HealthyPlace.

Photo credit: javaturtle, Flickr, Creative Commons, some rights reserved. "Coffee Love"

You can find Becky on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and her website.

APA Reference
Doyle, B. (2015, July 30). The Challenges Behind Loving an Alcoholic Personality, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 16 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/debunkingaddiction/2015/07/the-personality-challenges-behind-loving-an-alcoholic



Author: Becky Doyle

Excell
says:
July, 7 2018 at 6:58 am
Yes, it feels exactly like that! Fake me throwing cookies to keep the monster happy. Excellent terminology ❤️. I do it because he begs me to come see this or that. It’s exhausting being fake nice.

It’s worth it to me not to be mean to his weird behavior. He is a good provider. He is a good friend that wants to include be in all his activities. He willingly come with me on my favorite activities. He works , cooks, grocery shops cleans, decorates and everything just as much or more than me. He is my everything. But he drinks everyday till he’s way to silly and weird. The days I work extra late he’s already to far gone to be of any sort of interesting stimulating conversation plus unfortunately he most likely won’t remember anyway. I instantly tune him out. It’s very hard to do because he’s already picked a movie or songs for us. Made dinner and cleaned up the place. I could cry seeing this sweet loving smart amazing person in a state of total intoxication. I’m not sure if I could ever give this man up. He’s my best friend. He’s my shadow. Still I get high anxiety because I don’t like the person he becomes and can be abusive to him when his actions of wanting me to do this or that or music to loudly played drives me nuts. Or his repeating same stories. It’s like I know I don’t want to set him off because he’s much worse than sarcastic comments. Nothing physical but he will stomp around and say more vulgar things and point out my flaws or flaws that he hopes I will believe! I’m not into game playing. Feel when I say my actual thoughts while he’s intoxicated he’s very critical of me. I fear us breaking up because we’re both Alfa. But alcoholics are very hard to keep happy so cookies don’t always work anyway.
He actually threatens to leave when I say things that sting him really bad. I say these things when he’s saying worse things. I always call his bluff. Although i am very scared of losing my best friend lover and my everything.
If he left me tomorrow over my small rants in response to his hard to tolerate crazy acting drinking states I would never ask to get back together.
So I’m dealing with anxiety from his daily drinking behaviors. Plus I’m not 100% sure if he loves me as much as I love him. I haven’t even going to the gym everyday like I’ve always did. Had a month of high stress at work too. I don’t want to fall into a depression worse than I am. I had a spell when my relationship was being tested by him and I. Oath doing the Alfa thing. And at work had a bad manipulation coworker and let me tell you it messed me up. I slept nonstop on my days off of work. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. But looking back it’s easy to see. I had to play nice at home and it got me nowhere and I was doing it at work and I was really being shit on by the lowest employee middle and top! I got angry. Said everything I I would normally let slide and just told myself let the chips fall where they may. My sleeping improved my relationship improved and I’m getting respect I would have never dreamed of at work. I’m still making my way out of the anxiety depression but looking back over the last few months I’ve definitely feel 70% healthier. Stress will kill you.
J. G.
says:
June, 1 2018 at 1:11 am
Thank you for the well-written article. Before marriage, I failed to see the signs of alcoholism, as I hadn't had any previous exposure to it. Now, 43 years later (the last five of which I have been active in al-anon family groups) I am well aware of its presence in our marriage and some of the effects it has on me. One you didn't mention is the inability (or unwillingness) of the alcoholic to accept responsibility for his/her actions. Maybe the reason this wasn't included is because this doesn't apply universally to all alcoholics?

I also want to mention the way co-dependency "works" in our dysfunctional relationship. Unless I am in denial about it, his control/rules-based "system of government" for our home is not the love/freedom relationship that I would like to see (in fact, yearn for), but I throw cookies to the monster inside him to keep it quiet. I would like few things more than a peaceful home. But throwing these cookies (using terms of endearment, etc.) just to keep the monster at bay, when I'm not feeling it makes me uneasy, being dishonest about my feelings.

J. G.
says:
June, 1 2018 at 1:11 am
Thank you for the well-written article. Before marriage, I failed to see the signs of alcoholism, as I hadn't had any previous exposure to it. Now, 43 years later (the last five of which I have been active in al-anon family groups) I am well aware of its presence in our marriage and some of the effects it has on me. One you didn't mention is the inability (or unwillingness) of the alcoholic to accept responsibility for his/her actions. Maybe the reason this wasn't included is because this doesn't apply universally to all alcoholics?

I also want to mention the way co-dependency "works" in our dysfunctional relationship. Unless I am in denial about it, his control/rules-based "system of government" for our home is not the love/freedom relationship that I would like to see (in fact, yearn for), but I throw cookies to the monster inside him to keep it quiet. I would like few things more than a peaceful home. But throwing these cookies (using terms of endearment, etc.) just to keep the monster at bay, when I'm not feeling it makes me uneasy, being dishonest about my feelings.

F. M.
says:
May, 28 2018 at 5:39 pm
I am struggling with my fiancé and his difficult personality traits that are definitely preventing a stable relationship between us. He is recovered over 20 years, but still exhibits , what I have been told, “Dry alcoholism”. Any advice o this matter? Communication is near impossible as his defensive personality prevents this
Moi McMoi
says:
April, 6 2017 at 7:33 am
Super awesome and concise. Esp. When wading through all the vagueness of Alanon. Which had its own magic. Thanks!
Leslie H
says:
August, 8 2015 at 5:56 am
This was an extremely helpful article and as someone who is dealing with an alcoholic in my family I can definitely relate and agree with all the points made. I want to recommend a book I recently read that really opened my eyes to a different look at addiction. It is called “Addiction is the Symptom” by Dr. Rosemary Brown (http://addiction-is-the-symptom.com/) It is hard for a non-addict to understand, and sympathize with an addict sometimes. That is why I feel it is crucial for us that deal with the addiction of a loved one, to educate ourselves to better understand what they are going through. This book offers some great insight and information that I have not found anywhere else in my studies. It gave me a way to look beyond the actual addiction itself (the symptom) and better search out and heal the emotional problems behind it. I hope you and your readers will check it out

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Becky Doyle
says:
August, 11 2015 at 3:50 pm
Leslie, thank you for the suggestion! I look forward to checking that book out - and perhaps even recommending it to a few friends and family members.
Todd @Addiction Solutions
says:
August, 2 2015 at 8:53 pm
This article very neatly explains the challenges one face with an alcoholic. If someone is going through this, my advice would be to try to turn them sobriety with your constant support. That is pretty much what is needed to achieve that(sobriety).

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Becky Doyle
says:
August, 4 2015 at 7:52 pm
Thanks for reading Todd, I'm glad you enjoyed it!
jrane
says:
July, 31 2015 at 12:04 pm
This is not my case I have met several people eho want to dominate yet reclusive not because of alchohol but other issues. They dont want to ignite or complicate liw self esteem issues.they drink beacause they feel alone. Ceasing to connect sometimes clears the mind of co dependace

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Becky Doyle
says:
August, 4 2015 at 7:54 pm
Alcoholism often occurs in Co junction with other mental health cases, yes. In those cases, this article may not apply directly. Thanks for pointing that out!

Leave a reply