My alcoholic boyfriend is abusive


My alcoholic boyfriend is abusive


your avatar   Castro (21 year-old woman)

My boyfriend is an alcoholic and so am I. I just recently started taking Antabuse, so now I can't drink, but he still does. He turns into a complete jerk and is starting to get violent with me. He has pushed me, tried to burn my hair and even spit on me once. I love him to death but I can't stand him when he drinks because he gets crazy and angry at me for no reason. I know I should leave him but it's really hard. I don't know what to do.


What can I do?


    Bob Rich, Ph.D.

Dear Castro,

You really are torn in two, aren't you? It's horrible when the man you love is violent and abusive. I think you feel committed to him, want to help, but at the same time refuse to be his punching bag.

My dear, I don't know where you live, but in most places, physical violence against another person is a CRIME. It is assault, and when it happens within the home against the offender's partner, it is still a crime. If he spat on some stranger in the street, he could expect to go to jail. Why should it be different in the home?

Being under the influence of alcohol is NO EXCUSE either in fact or in the law. There is interesting research showing that men who have blamed alcohol for their violence will continue to be violent even if they give up the drink. And in any case, he is responsible for putting himself into a state in which he feels as if he had no control.

You have every right to protect your physical safety and emotional well-being (in many ways, emotional abuse is far worse than a physical attack). At the same time, you love this guy, and don't want to send him to jail. You want the best for him. Ok. how to do the best for him? If he were to join you in fighting his addiction, things might turn out all right. But alcoholics usually need extremely strong motivation to start on the road to sobriety. While you are there supporting him, he is not going to make the move. Not only are you supporting him, but in a twisted way he is obviously blaming you for his troubles, and takes out his frustrations on you.

You are torn in two: stay with him, or go. If you stay, he will only continue to get worse, and he won't have the motivation to do the hard work of recovery.

Castro, there are other men out there, and many are kind, decent people who would not dream of inflicting abuse on a person they love. No one needs to be treated like you have been. Also, if you haven't already done so, I suggest you check out AA and AlAnon.

Bob Rich

This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.For more information visit:


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