Protect Yourself During the Mood Swings of an Alcoholic


The changes are drastic at times when an alcoholic swings from the emotion of love to rage and anger. It can happen so unexpectedly that we find ourselves walking on eggshells. We spend hours trying to ponder why they are acting the way that they are and often let them blame us for their sudden mood swings.

If you are dealing with an narcotic addict on-top of the drinking problem, then you really have your hands full. A friends alcoholic wife is driving him crazy because she mixes the drinking with drugs. When drugs are involved it intensifies the mood swings of the alcoholic tremendously.

These tips will help you protect yourself during the many behavioral mood swings of an alcoholic:

It’s Not Your Fault

armor protectionFirst things first, whatever it is that caused them to get set off in anger, you did not cause them to do that. Alcoholics have a way of keeping the people around them anxious and angry. Although they do not realize it themselves, but they are just keeping the focus off of their bad behavior and trying to place the blame on you. This is a good article: Understanding An Alcoholics Behavior.

Set Boundaries
Whenever they swing from a loving, nice mood to a raging alcoholic, protect your emotions by setting boundaries. If they have a tendency to call you names, ask them to not do that anymore. If they continue to belittle you, respond by saying things like: “I’m sorry you feel that way” or “that’s your opinion.” Another good comeback is: “I don’t care to discuss that right now.” The best boundary you can set for yourself is to not respond by arguing with an alcoholic.

Be warned though, as you begin to have more and more self-control around them, they may intensify the badgering even more. Just hold your ground and do not let them cause you to lose your self-control. Make up your mind that no matter what, you will not argue and fight with them.

Unacceptable Behavior is Not Acceptable
angry shadowYou do not have to accept unacceptable behavioral mood swings that are damaging to your emotional, mental or spiritual well-being. You have a choice in every given situation to either be a doormat or get yourself away from the alcoholic. Just go into a different room, leave the house, or do whatever. Just don’t be accepting of bad behavior.

If you must get firm with them do it in a loving manner. Ask them kindly to stop behaving that way. Try to reassure them of your love for them prior to telling them to quit being such a jerk; don’t use those words though. Say what you mean, but don’t say it mean. This article will help you: Reinforcing Boundaries With An Alcoholic

Stay Out of Harm’s Way
Start trying to recognize the situations where these sudden behavioral switches happen. For instance, I used to go out to a restaurant late in the evenings when my spouse would get off of work. It was always “happy hour” and often ended as the fighting hour. I had to learn that the outcome of those times was very unpredictable. So, here’s what I did, I quit going out with my spouse for the late night happy hour special after she got off work. This protected me from putting myself in harm’s way. As a result of my choices, there was and still is a lot more serenity in my life.

Just realize something though, as you begin to interact less with the alcoholic, your company will be replaced. I’m not saying that if you are married they will divorce you, but I am saying that they will find a drinking buddy or a party to attend. In these circumstances do the things that you like to do and enjoy the peace and quiet.

You Do Not Have to Speak to Them on The Phone
You have a right to not discuss things with the alcoholic over the phone when they are having a behavioral mood swing that is filled with getting mad about something. If you decide to get off of the phone, politely tell them that you will be hanging up and say; “goodbye” (this is being kind to an alcoholic). Chances are that they will call repeatedly, you do not have to answer the phone while they are in a rage. Just let them stew and you find something fun to do while they are going ballistic calling you over and over again.

Here’s another thing, you do not have to listen to their ugly messages either. Just delete those suckers. Trust me, this will give you a whole lot less to obsess over.

Learning how to protect yourself from the crazy mood swings that an alcoholic has takes practice and time. Eventually your emotional well-being will no longer be on the roller coaster ride, but instead you will be on a solid and steady course of being self-controlled.

Try to do the best that you can at changing the way you respond to their sudden changes from love to anger. Be kind to yourself when you lose control of your reactions and remember to just start over. Dealing with an active alcoholic is not an easy thing to do. So, go easy on yourself. If this helps at all please understand this, it is possible to love an alcoholic unconditionally without being a doormat.
Written By: JC


23 comments to Protect Yourself During the Mood Swings of an Alcoholic

  • […] Host : So if you a have a raging  alcoholic, parent, then if somebody yells at work, it impacts you a hell of a lot more. (Learn how to protect yourself during the mood swings that an alcoholic has.) […]

  • melissa

    hi im dealing with a recovering alcoholic its my fiancé its been at most a few weeks sence his last drink and his mood swings have left me dizzy hes very disrespectful and I don’t know how to handle his outbursts without fighting with him how do I not fight with him but still not allow him to disrespect me I have no transportation at the moment so I cant even go out to get away…just want to know how I can still stand up for myself without it leading to a fight :(

  • Debbi

    Melissa:
    Don’t know if this will help but as I was divorcing my ex A I too was trapped in the house during the separation. I was recovering from surgery and still managing to pay the bills while he sat in the house, going to work but not contributing to the bills he was creating. So to get away I stayed in another room, read and used an MP3 player with earplugs so I literally could not hear him. He actually would stand outside my door on the phone saying awful things about me to others or call s*x phone chat lines outside my door or close by. Then other occasions he would plead for 2 minutes of my time.
    I do not have a “thick skin” so those mood swings & disrespect you mentioned bothered me terribly just like you. I literally would put my fingers in my ears (ok I know you’re laughing at me). But I did this when I would have to go downstairs or in his vicinity and I would sing & hum. I made up lyrics (about him of course) to songs I liked and hummed them to myself. Everytime I would do this, the very next time he would start copying me & start whistling in front of me (he wasn’t so bright–couldn’t come up with his own ideas!) And I took alot of walks and rode my bike to get away from the house.
    Another thing I did was always try to make a game out of it so I would not take it personally. I knew when he would be going out with escorts & the like so on those nights I did my best to forget what he was doing and I enjoyed the quiet & would count the hours he was gone & keep track of it and every time he would go out I would hope he would “beat his record”! He finally did once and then many times after by not coming home at all. Try somehow to make a game out of it & keep score as to how many times you hold your tongue & don’t speak back. Remember “The One Who Holds Their Tongue Is the The One Who Holds the Power” Don’t pay “lip service” to someone who shows no respect for you.
    Once I recovered and back driving then it became easier. I found that standing up for myself like you mentioned always ended in a fight because he would say something awful & then the fight was on. Please try to work somehow at getting yourself some transportation and a job to help get you out of the house–being away from him helped stop those fights. I learned from this site to first stop & wait 3 seconds before responding & if it doesn’t need a response–don’t answer, walk away & if you must say something — just say “sorry you feel that way” and get away quickly before he hurts you with his words. Old Poem with new twist:
    Sticks & Stones May Break the Bones
    And Words are Aimed with an angry art
    But Deadly SILENCE Breaks the Heart!

    Stay silent to get your power back!

  • Linda

    I have a question ,How long do the mood swings last. My A has been Clean for a year. So he says. Most of the time he seems angry at me. But in front of people acts like the duding husband. How do they do that. All week before going to work he wants to argue, then sends a text I love you.

  • sc

    Underneath the A problem, are the childhood problems. They are troubled souls.

  • Linda

    Sc, That is true, Need to put an end to this crazy crap. Counseling showed him what he needs to deal with.

  • J

    I’ve just been through another cycle with my ah b/f. I’ve been feeling very depressed lately compounded by my sons violent suicide attempt just two weeks ago. I thought because of the circumstances that the ah b/f might have some compassion for me and be able to offer some emotional support. I have c-ptsd from my sisters death by suicide when I was 14. He knows all this about me. I do have a therapist and support worker just to reassure everyone.
    I only see him lately once a week where I drive to meet up with him. My last meeting I was very depressed and not able to engage with him all that much, certainly not physically. I know that inside his need for gratification and feeling wanted were not met. And he does look to me to ‘fill him up’. He managed to stay relatively present until I texted him in the night and told him I felt really bad. He had said I could do this if I couldn’t sleep. He interpreted this as ‘I had done something really bad and feel guilty’. This is his trip with me. He is extremely controlling, paranoid and jealous. Often interrogating me about anything he thinks he is sniffing out regarding me being unfaithful. And i’m totally not that kind of person. But it only takes one tiny thing to set him off. So in a desperate reach out in the night feeling deathly depressed I set off a dreadful day of incessant horrible accusing texts. Totally deluded, untrue bullshit. He was able to construe his own paranoid reality of all my texts. My texts of reassurance to him, my appreciation for his support etc. All turned to poison and thrown at me. Reading this article has given me some insight into this aspect of the ah madness and disease.
    I did eventually set a boundary with him. Now of course he is sweet as pie……however I am not feeling like connecting with him and pondering what I need to say to let him know how I feel ‘responsibly’. The longer I simply don’t respond will set him off again into more accusations of me cheating etc….
    It feels like a full time job just trying to manage my co-depedency, learn healthy boundaries etc…J

  • Debbi

    J:
    I found setting boundaries very difficult too until I stopped contact. This allowed me to “get my head back on straight”. I needed some space. The last straw with me that did it was after returning from a doctor’s visit with devastating news on my health and needing support from my exAH–his response “I can’t deal with this now, let’s go get my new cell phone. I want to get it tonight”. It just blew me away–I was facing a death sentence & this was how he reacted. I knew then this man was not working with a full deck & I needed to get to work immediately to save my own life and get far away from this person who was no longer the sweet man I married. Maybe you have hit that final stage of seeing it in your b/f. Take good care of yourself right now–that is your priority, especially what you are going through.. .He seems to have no compassion left. I will be thinking of you & your son.

  • linda

    Debbie’
    They have know compassion for us. Only interested in there needs. Can’t give justification of are feeling. I know their is a third party here. Lies n denies. That is there game.

  • Pez

    OMG great sermon by Joel Olsteen this morning on enabling people! If there is a repeat please watch it!!

  • J

    Thanks everyone, I appreciate your commments.
    I asked him to give me space to recover from his ‘crap’ texts and that I would contact him when I am ready. Since then he is continuing to text me with nice texts. I remember this from my mother, this game of verbal abuse and then reel you back in pretending to care, only to gather some of your trust and then use that against you in their next rampage.
    However I am also identifying that I need to address my co-dependency because my life is becoming what he says, what he doesn’t say, what he does, what he doesn’t do and that is where I am losing out.
    I’m aiming to get to an Al-Anon meet up tonight for some sanity.
    I keep reading the various posts in this site because I am so much in denial, so split between my body and head. My body actually is more accurate, it tells me how I really feel. My head can trick me and say ‘it’s not that bad’, ‘perhaps he isn’t that badly affected by the disease’ etc etc……
    This man I fell in love with has been drinking since he was 13. He is now 52. When I met him he was drinking around the clock, 1 x 18 box large 440ml cans per day @ approx $25 nzd. Every frigging day off to the wholesalers. He has fathered 9 children to 5 different women. All of which he has been denied access to. The last two the women was deported by her father to get away from him. Of course he has his own stories around these issues, blaming of course everything outside of him. Which I believed!

    He said to me at the beginning stages of our relationship ‘just tell me to stop drinking and I will’. So when I finally was triggered enough (with the help of my therapist trying to wake me up) I asked him to stop. That is when the problems escalated. The lying, sneaking, blaming external cirmcumstances, various manipulations, dangerous behaviour…the list goes on.
    Where I have done well is that I managed to get him out of my house and not living with me. I thought I would never be able to get him out. Alot of his stuff is still on my property which he shows no desire to shift. I’ve had trespass order out on him. He’s repeatedly stalked me. Even shone a torch into my house whilst I was asleep seeing if I was ‘cheating’ on him.
    Anyway, I am focusing on his behaviour again which I have no control over.

    I am very clear in my body that I would not live with this man again as I am actually scared of how it makes me feel being around him. And at present I am not wanting to connect with him. I have 1 1/2 hours physical distance between where he is squatting and where I have moved to. So that helps a lot. I turn my phone onto silent because I have become quite traumatised by the sound of incoming texts because of his recent rampage and my stress levels becoming high. These little things give me a sense of control.

  • my bf has a seious alcohol problem combined with gambling i adittin multiple concutions he is a real ass some times im 24 weeks pregnant it hs been very hard im going throusgh alll my insicuritys he says he uderstands anf hugs me then 2 hour later he is getting mad a t me and calling me names for asking a question then he apologises oh i love you i sick of it to be honest i want to punch hi in the face

  • another thing is it happens even if he is not drinking he says he is goingto stop the most he gose is a vouple of weeks then starts saying i dont let him do anything blame me and fights with me to get his drinks gets sick the next day his face is all puffy and the cycle repeats itself sometimes he is not even drinking and he has bad mood swings and gets frostrated i understand he has a sad past but many people i know do to and they are not a walking ball of stress nothing he says makes sence drunk or sober i just dissaponted i got pregnant for such an idiot im so mad right now one moment im the love of hislife next moment he feels trapped when i met him he was worse so he is progressing but im having a hard time these have been the worse 6 months of my life when its supose be the best.

  • Pez

    OMG Mari, you gave me a good laugh saying you wanted to punch him in the face! LOL They do make us want to do that don’t they. Mari, this is emotional manipulation to keep you off balance and unsure of yourself and the situation. One minute he feels one way the next another. Charicteristic of an abuser! This is not good for the baby this kind if stress. Is there anyone you can live with for awhile? to get your head on straight? I’m glad you are recognizing this is not “right” behavior! You first step to freedom. If you are on facebook go to Narc-ology’s page. They have a lot of wisdom concerning this kind of behavior. I heard the exact same thing from my XAB!!!

  • Lesley

    Hello, I have recently been with my ex since may of 2013. He started out kind and gentle and wonderful. After we moved in together he changed he became verbally abusive and extremely different. I call it dr.jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He said he was a recovering addict free from drugs and alcohol for 2.7 years. I thought great I will give this person a chance no judgements… I did and after living with him for a short time he got worse or rather his behavior got worse. He lied about communicating with women when he told me he wanted to marry me. He loved attention from other women and hide his sexual past which included both men and women. He also threw god in the mix and told me he was a believer and that today he lived the 12 steps and never lied…that in itself was a lie. He hide everything from me that fact that he was self medicating also with alcohol and then hiding that and blaming me for our crazy realtionship. Well after I saw three counselors and coda, alanon, naranon I have been told it was not me. They are in love with the disease and will use every ounce of your strength until its gone and they own you, whether it be through guilt or physical abuse which was in my case. They are skilled at manipulating people. In my case, he manipulated his therapist and now they have been sleeping together off an on since before I met him. After he pulled me off a ladder and I fell I finally left and drove 21000 miles from Chicago to California to start new. Thank god I did not marry is man or have children with me or have him bleed my funds dry, like he did his. He did however, drain my coincidence (back then) and made me aware that we are NOT responsible for making someone else happy nor are we responsible for their behavior and choice especially IF they are 43 year old males. Anyway I pray for those who are living with addicts who hide that they are still drinking or using because it will mess with their loved ones minds and soul. After reading everyone’s comments MIke said it best leave now becuase if you are reading this and you are wondering about saving yourself from mental and physical trama and abuse DO IT NOW. Have faith and think there is something better out there than the hell that they brought on us because they are selfish. Do everything you can to build yourself up. Trust me IF I can do it anyone can. I have no job and am living in the basement of my brothers house. I am seeing a therapist to build my confidence and am concentrating on buidling my life back drama free. I am safe and am thankful that I can get up and walk out of this abuse….TRUST ME it was tough but I did it because NO one should suffer becuase of someone else’s actions. We have free will and a choice use it! 2014 is upon us and it will be better if you give yourself a chance to live. Trust in yourself and most of all respect and love yourself you have one life here to live so live it without someone else’s addiction.

  • Big Roo

    She is right they are liers.

  • Lesley

    Yes everyone deserves the right to live without being lied to or abused to especially when we love someone who will never love us back. Then they wonder why there lives are never good that’s because they mistreat their family and people they live with..

  • Pez

    Good for you Lesley!! I am proud of you for catching on quickly and getting out and far away!!! You are absolutely right. It’s not fair to love someone so much who can never love you back. And, it’s obsered that we would also have to continually pay the price for there actions. Yes, get out before you suffer mental, emotional, or physical abuse.

  • donna durham

    i am married to a past phy. Abuser and now as he has for 14 yrs verbaly abusive always uses leaving for control, he uses it to controll try to silence me he was raised watching his father beat his mother and his mother abuse him also, both of his parents phy and verbally abused them from very smal childern i need to leave he and his socalled best friend have both gained up mow with verball and phy abuse i have involved the police in the past, and now i will take controll and quitely involve them again all of your comments have helped so much pray for me and i will keep all of you in my heart and prayers donna

  • My b/f is a hard core alcoholic has been for over 15yrs everything everyone is saying sounds like him. Its a scary disease and he wnt get help.

  • dawn dawning

    My wife of 4 years is an alcoholic and very abusive verbally.
    She is the most wonderful person and wife when sober and in between binges. This last episode of drinking and verbal abuse is the last straw and in my opinion, am flogging a dead horse with trying to understand and a attempting to live with.
    The episodes of drinking and verbal abuse have shorter and shorter time intervals of harmony and it is time for me to attempt to return to a normal life.
    Why waste ones life and hopefully a satisfying life, to one who wants only unhappiness and drags their partner into the drudgery of unhappiness.
    When your partner (no longer lover) states she will stab you in your sleep or if she had a gun shoot you it is time to vacate the premises.
    My advice to all in an abusive relationship….f…. them and get on your horse and ride…life is too short!

  • t

    My sister is an alcoholic. She can be so sweet when sober but her verbal abuse has made me hate her. She’s been incredibly cruel and I don’t care to ever speak to her again. I hate what alcohol has done to her.

  • Olivia

    @DawnDawning I am sorry for what you are going through and it is the right move to leave. Trust me. She will not get better unless she wants to and it does not seem like she wants to. Do not put yourself through that abuse. I have seen my own father go through it for too long, and no one she be constantly talked down to. Btw, my mother also tells my dad that she will stab him in his sleep or shoot him so that must be a favorite saying of alcoholics. Also,”Get your sh*t together!”.. Ha, ironic huh?

    So, anyway everyone, as I wrote above, my mother is a long time alcoholic. She has drank my entire life and I am 19 years old now. I have two younger sisters that need me, so I haven’t left yet because my dad works and I have to care for them. She is extremely abusive, both physically and verbally. I have had to call the police on her before because she was physically attacking my sisters and I, or my father. She can become very violent(biting and slapping and pulling hair). I never believe a word she said. She tried to wreck my self esteem so I am surprised that I became a very confident and kind young woman. I do not let her hurt me anymore beside the pain of not having a caring and loving mother who believes in me. My father has found an apartment and we are finally leaving her. Finally. My nervous system is completely wrecked, I shake like an abused dog whenever she yells. Hopefully, we will find peace. I know that I will always deal with this. But you have no idea how great and freeing it feels to finally get out of this situation. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone!

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