Alcoholics Personality Traits-Coping with anger disorders

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.

22 comments to Alcoholics Personality Traits-Coping with anger disorders

  • cassdo

    What are those things social workers should never say to an angry alcoholic in order to avoid challenging behavior?

  • paul

    hi……..i need help dealing with a woman that is amazing in almost eveyway…….except when she drinks…..sometimes a silly unimportant thing triggers anger that takes days to fade…

  • Caitlyn

    Hope this isn’t too late a reply for you. I’ve only just discovered this website recently as I was searching for answers for my alcoholic ‘amazing man’. Seems these alcoholics are amazing when they are sober, but not so when intoxicated. A real shame for sure.

    Anyway, back to your quest, when your amazing woman is in a bad angry mood for days, disassociate from their negativity; diffuse the anger by staying upbeat yourself and appearing unaffected, and be your happy self around her, completely ignoring her foul mood. You may just help to lift her anger off herself and your shared space. Maybe some soothing words or a hug or shoulder rub will help to lift the mood away. This is what I do. It works for me; for us.

  • Experience

    It seems as though nobody here has really dealt with an angry alcoholic. It you did, you would know that you can’t simply go into another room, or “across the street “. They seek you out to belittle and humiliate. They need a target.
    …and keeping a happy mood or attitude to diffuse the anger is the dumbest response I have ever heard. Lucky you that you have never been in the situation of dealing with an angry alcoholic, but you are being careless with giving advise.
    The only answer is to get out. Until the angry alcoholic gets into a support program to stop drinking, that house is not safe.

  • Caitlyn

    There are different degrees of an angry alcoholic. The kind you speak of is the kind you definately want to run away from for good. No one should put up with a violent angry alcoholic. Unreasonable on every level, drunk or sober. A safe house for yourself and other members inside that house under attack is the only situation possible.
    Sorry to hear yours is so bad, or was so bad because you walked, or rather, ran away from it. There is plenty to be gained from this site; it just needs to be tweaked for each browser’s individual experience and circumstance.
    Hope you are getting the assistance it sounds like you need. Others here may be able to offer advice for the red hot angry alcoholic.

  • Jackie Ray

    Asking a person to deal with an alcoholic with meekness seems to be asking the impossible. After years of lies, manipulation, abuse(not physical), and continual problems, the anger and resentment I feel is very real. My daughter has created so much turmoil and pain in my family that it is my greatest challenge to deal with her without displaying anger. Even sober, she displays the characteristics of what I have read is a “dry drunk.”

  • JC

    Jackie, I understand exactly what you are feeling here. It’s not an easy task in any case. Here are a few articles that may give you some techniques to apply in this situation with your daughter:

    How To Cope With An Angry Alcoholic
    Alcoholics Blaming
    Does The Alcoholic Make You Feel Worthless
    Abused By An Alcoholic

    As you know, we can’t control the alcoholic’s mood swings and fits of rage. We can control our own attitudes in order to find a place where we have more peace and serenity in our lives.

  • Bal

    How about considering that these angry alcoholics dont deserve tolerance? Why should people tip toe around them so they can rage? Just dump them and move on….Abuse is unacceptable and finding techniques to make it tolerable is silly….

  • JC

    Thanks Bal, many do deserve it and eventually will get sober. AA is filled with grateful alcoholics who were once filled with anger and now are filled with God.

  • Sherri

    I am tired of apologizing to the alcoholic and ragoholic in my life for their misinterpretations, twisting of my words, and making mountains out of molehills. They constantly make my life miserable with their constant complaining, whining, gossiping, griping, and thenfly off the handle when I take one step sideways. It is exhausting. And just patting them of the shoulder and waiting for their foul mood to lift is more than I want to even endure any more.
    It is time they both grew up and became adults, sought help and their behaviors not be tolerated by family any more. That’s why they still act like they do… bc they have gotten away with it for so long.

  • Bill

    Sherri, sorry to hear you are having a hard time. JC says, “we have two choices, change our attitude or change our address.” The alcoholics are not going to change; we are the ones who have to make the changes.

    Take care of yourself today. Find things to do that you love to do Sherri and do them. If you have Al-anon meetings in your area, go to a few meetings.

    I know that you are lonely and frustrated. That’s what alcoholism does to us, it makes us irritated when we don’t know how to handle things.

    Have you take the audio course from this website yet? If not I’d highly recommend that you take it.

    Sherri, what is it that is happening that is frustrating you so much?

    Did you read the links found here:

  • Gail

    The person in my life that is a recovering alcoholic has lied to me about everything and I don’t get it. Some things are just plain stupid so I don’t understand why he lies about them. This person never keeps his word, rarely does what he says he is going to do when he says he is going to do it, I’m always being disappointed. When I confront this person, they lash out at me and get angry when I am the one being offended by this person’s poor behavior. It drives me nuts.

    This person is the most amazing person with an amazing heart and so many great qualities yet when there is any time I need to share my feelings about this behavior I get profanity thrown at me and a response that just isn’t called for given the situation.

    I don’t like to be lied to. I also don’t like to be disrespected. How do I stand up for myself to the alcoholic, confront and make happy? Help…. I’m at a total loss and this all breaks my heart every time! Thank you.

  • li nda

    I have the same thing. Just don’t understand. Trying to talk about anything is a argument. Its like they totally hate me.

  • Julie

    Hi, all. My now ex-husband abusive alcoholic reminded me of my two year old granddaughter throwing a temper tantrum or fit. And he was in his mid-sixties when I finally pulled the plug. Please read the book “The Baby King Must Die” written by Robert W. Fuller. It really opened my eyes to the alcoholic’s brain chemistry after bathing his brain in toxic substances for years. It’s a great book. You are dealing with someone whose brain has probably been physically damaged by alcohol/drugs. And it only gets worse if they continue to consume large amounts of alcohol or use drugs, or both. Before the mental institutions and asylums were closed in this country, they housed many belligerent alcoholics and drug addicts. Now most of them are out in society, torturing their families or living in the streets. I truly do not know what the answer is when treatment programs appear to only work for a small percentage of the alcoholic/drug addict population. We have a serious problem in this country. God Bless You.

  • I have a thirty nine year old daughter who has been an alcoholic since her early twenties. Her father and I have done everything you can name to try and help her turn this around – doctors, meds, rehab, therapy,
    AA,and on and on. She has been strapped to a bed in ICU with withdrawals, two public intoxication arrests,
    physically ill with life threatening issues, in and out of jail, and now -in prison for the third DWI. This is a young woman who had it all – looks, personality, opportunities, supportive family, bright future. However, alcoholism robbed her of a life and her family of a beautiful daughter. She is now thirty nine and the past eighteen years of her life have been wasted. There are no good solutions for this disease. I could write the book from a parent’s point of view. Try as we might, there is no match for the power of addiction. We have been in a long battle to try and save her.
    Unfortunately, there are no new breakthroughs on how to deal with this disease. It continues to take its toll on many, many families with no solution in sight. It alters the brain to the point that it makes it almost impossible for the addicted person to make good decisions and do what he/she must do, over the long haul, to recover. As bad a prison is, it may turn out to be