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

    Experience:
    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: http://alcoholicsfriend.com/2009/09/alcoholics-personality-traits-coping-with-anger-disorders/comment-page-1/#comment-42120

  • 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

    Gail
    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 the only thing that can save her. Sad story.

  • me

    Well, we are in the midst of one of those bad spells. Husband and step-daughter living
    with us and she is in her fourties. Lies, denial, on and on. It is hard to balance your
    life with positive emotions when it is two against one. Tough days and nights. Just tough!!!!

  • Pez

    Jackie Ray, I am sooooo sorry for you and your husband dealing with this addiction/disease with your daughter. I can’t imagine having to watch this for years! My heart goes out to you both. Seeing my situation he was just a boyfriend I could totally and completely walk away, no children to complicate matters. I feel fortunate seeing your situation. It was hard enough watching my XAB decline, make bad decisions, and totally morph into a person I no longer knew. I have complete empathy for your pain. I can’t imagine if this would have been my child or a close family realation. I hope you have faith to help you and great friends and family to support you!<3

  • sandra

    I AM DONE..I BECAME A COMPLETE RAG THANX TO THE LAST 6 YEARS OF CO-LIVING WITH DECLINING BEAUTIFUL SOUL. HE WAS MY BEST FRIEND. AND I WAS HIS. ..NOW I DO NOT KNOW WHO I AM LEAVING..YOUR ADVICES ARE WELL MEANT – BUT THOSE CAN RARELY WORK OUT. ONLY WAY IS TO RUN OUT AND HIDE WELL UNTIL THE RAGED ONE PASSES OUT IN BED AFTER FEW HOURS OF SHOUTING AND BREAKING. THE ONLY THING I REGRET IS THAT I DID NOT LEFT EARLIER SO I COULD SPARE OUR 5YEAR OLD SON FROM HORRORS AND SERIOUS EMOTIONAL SCARS.I BELIEVED IN HIM. I DID NOT DREAM THAT HE COULD COMPROMISE HIMSELF SO MUCH FOR THE BOTTLE. I WAS PATIENT, KIND, SAD, NERVOUS,RAGED, REFUGE, I TRIED EVERYTHING..NOW WHEN HE FEELS THAT I AM LEAVING FOR SURE, HE IS FURIOUS. AND I AM NOT SURE IF HE WILL NOT HURT ME SERIOUSLY IN HIS ALC.RAGE.READING YOUR COMMENTS HELPED ME AT LEAST TO GET A GRIP AND RECALL MY SANITY..I STARTED TO BELIEVE I WAS GUILTY AND INSANE HERE..WELL, I DID BECAME INSANE. HUH..STILL AM.I SHALL KEEP MY LAST STRENGTH TO RE-BUILD MYSELF AND OUR SON.FEAR. FEAR AND WEAK CHARACTER FALL EASILY INTO THE TRAP OF FALSE STRENGTH THIS DEMONIC WATER PROVIDE.IT GIVES..THEN IT TAKES WHOLE SOUL..I FEEL LIKE MY FRIEND DIED. I FEEL BAD FOR NOT BEING ABLE TO HELP HIM. PULL HIM OUT FROM HELL. FOR BECOMING WEAK MYSELF AND LETTING MY TEMPER LOOSE..MY WISDOM AND COLD HEAD..IT IS HARD…SO HARD. I HOPE HIS SOUL WILL FORGIVE ME..HE SLEEPS NOW. AFTER HARD NIGHT..SO..SOOO EVIL..ALCOHOL..

  • linda

    To anyone that has any input? Do dry drunks act the same way? One time nice the next acts like he hates us.
    Sherri I see the same from this a. Very confusing’s. Can go in a tantrums at any time.

  • Gail

    Hi,

    I have read all of your comments and feel such empathy for you all. I have been dealing with a recovering alcoholic for several years now. I have been lied to more times than I have hair on my head. His behavior is totally unacceptable. I have heard every excuse in the book for why he didn’t keep his word, lied, etc. I know it is a behavior that just goes with the territory because I have heard and seen him lie to others in the same way. Eventually those people learn who he is about and they walk away but for those of us that are in love with the alcoholic we stay, we hope, we pray, we endure while hoping things will change. Unfortunately even when the recovering alcoholic is no longer around alcohol, the alcoholic behavior and coping mechanisms remain.

    Many do not have the coping skills needed to handle relationships. When I have called this person on his abusive behavior or inappropriate actions I am suddenly called “toxic” and he accuses me of playing “victim”. I hear a bunch of verbiage that is used commonly in AA meetings. He will not take responsibility for his own actions and instead blames others. This is all part of what goes along with the disease. Fortunately I am not married to this man. I have so much empathy for those that are and have children because no child should be a witness to this kind of anger and rages and abuse that can come from people in this place.

    Personally I have had to walk away from this person romantically. I cannot go through my life not being able to trust him, I don’t believe a word that comes from his mouth now about anything. He is abusive and turns everything against me, twists my words, calls me names when he is the one that has shown terribly abusive behavior. He has been a master manipulator and I cannot live with a person like this.

    My advice to someone who has suffered over and over and over again: You deserve happiness. Get out now while you can still find happiness and a healthy relationship. Don’t think you have the power to change them, you don’t. Just know that you are worthy of a good relationship with someone who loves you and will treat you kindly.

    =) Make yourself a priority and love yourself!

  • linda

    Gail
    Thanks for your input; I’ve been married to my a for 33 years. Out of those years I have left 3 times .first when are sons were young. The a went to rehab. When back fell for his words. Stay clean . Then I found dope in the house.lyied to my face when I asked him. This last time he got abusive left for a year. Again I fell for the words. I have learned I cannot communicate with him when I get away again. He is gaslighting me’twisting my words.projects his crap on me. Talked to my counselor he said everything he says is what the a is guilty off. I can’t have a adult conversation with my a
    Confusing

  • Sandra

    I truly feel your pain and understand your fear,chill out.actually I’ve been your 5yr old little boy,my mom left to late,please git him out safe,it like telling him to drink bleach.i am now 47 and consider my self seviver.it still provokes my primal fears,as I try to sleep(night terrors for real)suicidal thoughts everyday since I was twelve .and needed to be in big truck with day(daddy’s pride and you,he stole my soul.)5yr old boys need to be protected form that abuse,he’s helpless and he knows it.it hurts more than mommy will ever know. 47/5yr old
    Tony

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