Among alcoholics one of the many irritating personality traits is anger. Dealing with an angry drunk is challenging. Coping with this disorder when they’ve been drinking is difficult. Even sober, the negative emotion seems to be dominating in the character of a regular alcohol drinker.
Not all people who suffer from being addicted to alcohol are mean. My step father was the most passive, easy going drunk that I have ever met. He routinely would sleep more than argue. So, not all alcoholics are candidates for having the disorder actively working in their life. It is a common thread among the disease of alcoholism though.
Ways of Dealing With an Angry Alcoholic
Unfortunately for me, my situation involved dealing with a very angry, verbally and physically abusive alcoholic. As her disease progressed and she became more addicted to many substances, the symptoms of anger increased. Even something as little a small and insignificant as a burnt-out light bulb on the front porch could set her into a rage.
I had to learn how to protect myself from the surprise outbursts of anger. Here are a few methods for dealing with an alcoholic’s behavior that worked for me.
How to Cope With an Alcoholic’s Anger
1) Learn how to not take things personal. This begins by accepting that the person that you care about and love is going to get ticked off at the littlest things. It’s not your fault! A person who drinks regularly will use the emotion to cause the focus to be on someone else or something in life rather than on themselves. Anything that they can do to not be confronted or analyzed they will attempt. Getting mad often helps to keep the focus off of their drinking problem.
2) Make a decision to be patient and kind.A gentle answer and a smile will oftentimes defuse the outburst. Even if they get madder because you seem to be unaffected by their personality disorder at the time, continue to respond with meekness.
3) Remember that you have the right to choose your own battles. It is not necessary to offer a solution to the alcoholic’s situational dilemma. In actual fact, it’s OK to choose to not join in with them at all. Just politely tell them that you have something to take care of and go into another area of the house, office or go outside. Be ready to run though because their personality changes quickly from being mad to throwing fits of rage at times.
4) View your lives as two completely separate locations. I like to use a street as an example here. Picture yourself on one side of a street and your problem drinker on the other. You can always choose to stay on your side of the street where things are peaceful, serene, and clean. You do have the choice to not cross the street and join them in the anger and bitter things that they are living in.
5) Call a friend who understands and cares about the difficult situation that you are dealing with. This is one of the strongest suggestions that many alcoholism support group treatment programs make. If you can just get on the phone with someone, you can change your focus from being on the alcoholic’s behavior and get your mind on something else. This works every time. Even if you must call two or three people to help settle your emotions, it’s better than fighting with an alcoholic.
If you begin to apply these suggestions for coping with an alcoholic’s anger, you will find that it’s easier for you to keep your life free from the negative effects of anger and anxiety.
Although working or living with someone who is abusing some sort of substance is always going to cause you to miss the mark and eventually lose your temper. Make sure that one of the personality traits that you develop is the ability to make an amend and say that you were wrong. This way when the personality disorders that you’re dealing with get the best of you and you slip, you can clean your life up by saying that you are sorry.