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Drinking to excess every 8 months or so, leading to violence.

Casey_90
Community Member

Good morning

My husband and I have been together for approximately nine years. He was raised in an abusive environment where his parents would often leave him home by himself at the age of seven to look after his four younger brothers and sisters, whilst they went out binging all weekend. He would witness them abusing each other quite often. His brothers and sisters don't really remember it, but he clearly does. Now to lead this into present day. He is a fantastic husband and father, he is so selfless and loyal and loves me endlessly. 90% of the time he is fantastic, however, he has a flaw, as we all do, though this is somewhat larger. If there is a family event, probably once a year, him and his mother will stay up all night drinking, they both have the tendency to pick fights when they are in a state, they will fight with one another. Then my husband will come home and try to pick a fight with me, something so simple, like I didn't say hello or whatever. I absolutely try to not engage, I say nothing, I walk away, I say enough, please just go to bed and it just makes him angrier. On two occasions, he's hit a wall, one where he broke his hand. He has never hit me or threatened to hit me, I also don't feel scared, just annoyed that he doesn't have the ability to just end the night and go to bed. The next day he is sorry for himself, he will cry, we will talk it through. He has done it in front of his family, whereby it resulted in him and his mum sitting down and opening up about how his childhood has affected him, which helped, a lot. I have organised counselling, he does not like this side of him and willingly went to counselling. However, yesterday it happened again, he was going so well for 8 months and bam, it happened again. Upon speaking with him today, it was the same, sad, sorry. Honestly I am falling out of love with him, I spoke to him about this today, like I'm at the point where, when he does this, I lose so much respect and my love is waining. I strive for the idea of the old couple holding hands, but it is hard. I understand he is dealing with unresolved issues from the past and there will be slip ups, but quite frankly, I'm worried for my kids and how they will view relationships. I make absolutely every effort to shield them from this behaviour, I will calmly walk them to our room and they will still be happy, just watching their tablet or whatever. But quite frankly, this is not acceptable. What do I do?

8 Replies 8

Sophie_M
Moderator
Moderator
Hey Casey, 

Thank you for sharing what's going on with your husband here with us. We can hear it must be really hard to deal with, and makes you worry for your kids and for your relationship, and feel unsure about your future together. We can hear your love and care for your partner and your children, and it sounds like you've made some really good steps in organising counselling, but we can understand how hard it is to go through this again when you had thought it was in the past. 

We know you mentioned you don't feel scared and that he hasn't ever hit you, or threatened to hurt you, but we do want to let you know that if you would like to get information on abuse and respectful relationships, you can reach out to 1800RESPECT, and they'd be happy to support you. They're on 1300 737 732, and they also have online chat as well as some great information online.

If you want to reach out to our counsellors to talk this through, we’re on 1300 22 4636, and you can reach us online here. Another option is reaching out to Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277 for a bit of support and advice around relationships.

Hopefully, we'll hear from the community once they spot this post, but in the meantime we just wanted to thank you for being open about this and sharing with the community. You never know who is reading this and feeling less alone. Thank you, Casey. 

Kind regards, 

Sophie M

Croix
Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Casey_90~

I'd like to join Sophie_M in welcoming you here to the Forum. I'm glad you have already met her as she gives excellent advice.

It is a very worrying thing to have the one you are closes to and love suddenly bursting out into any form of violence, and naturally if not exactly frightened of what he may do, you are understandably very concerned over the effect on your kids.

Parent's behaviors can have a huge effect, as you can see from the result in your husband. In all probability they have influenced these drinking bouts wiht his mother, then picking fights, angry and violent, upon returning home. This is not the person you married so maybe it feels like your love is for a different person - the one you first met, not this stranger.

I guess you have already gone a long way in getting him to counseling, which as he is ashamed and wants to improve, may well help greatly. That being said childhood abuse can take more specialized assistance, a psychiatrist for instance.

I thing it is worth remembering that your husband is not drinking alone, but with his mum, so at least half the problem lies with her. Do you think there is any action either of you might take to stop these emotional alcoholic get-togethers?

Can I suggest - if you have not done so already - you see your doctor with two things in mind? The first being to discuss the most effective treatments for your husband. The second to gain support for yourself. You are going through a most stressful time.

In the same way do you have any personal support? Is there someone, maybe in your family or a friend, you can talk frankly with and feel cared for and understood? Trying to cope with this on your own can be extra hard.

I hope you come back and talk with us some more

Croix

geoff
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Casey, I'm sorry for how your marriage is paning out, because being a good husband 90% of the time is good, if the remaining 10% is not what you are having to cope with and can tolerate, unfortunately, this doesn't appear to be happening.

You can tell an alcoholic so many times that you don't like what they are doing and how they are behaving because of their drinking, but it only falls on deaf ears or they may promise that it's going to get better, which may only last a day or two.

The only way for them to stop is by them finally making that decision themselves, but if his mother is an encouragement and they enjoy an alcohol fuelled argument, then this may extend to when he gets home.

This situation must be very awkward for you and the kids and know that you need to make a decision.

All my best.

Geoff. x

Thanks Sophie

I will look into it

Cheers

Casey_90
Community Member
Yes 100% she very much makes things worse, we always seem to fight after they have been together. Again last night we had his side over for a BBQ and his mum brought some drinks and I knew they would be staying up. He feels obliged to stay up with her, I know he feels he needs to step into his fathers role. His dad used to sit up and talk with her before he passed, I think he feels he is helping her. I walked out at about 3.30am and was like "hey, come on mate, its late you got to take the kids to school tomorrow as I have to work." He came in and said he had limited his drinking, he was just up wit her, so I went and said to his mum, "come on, you got work to at 6 am and your son has to take the kids to school, please just go to bed." I feel like the mother, then he feels controlled by me or that I am nagging him and/or belittling him. It is very frustrating. Everything is a drama the next day. 'I am not hungover, and I am not drunk', 'well why are you fighting with me then?', 'because you are speaking to me in your nagging voice'. Right well I think we should wait until you have taken the kids to school before having this 'discussion'. honestly its exhausting, at this point I feel we are probably better off without each other, maybe we are at the point that we have been so jaded from the fights of the past, that we are over analysing facial expressions, tones and triggers......

Croix
Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Casey_90~

I guess being mostly a great loving partner and father does not really make up for the other rest, particularly with anger, uncertainty and where your kid's perceptions of relationships and their safety is concerned.

Certainly he may have a strong bond his mother, and unfortunately she is not concerned for you or the kids, or really even for her son. One thing I did not see you say was that he had a drinking problem on other occasions. Maybe that's a plus.

I'm not surprised that you have to try to take charge. Given also as you said he will pick a fight on these occasions it sounds a terrible experience.

I don't know what you think, I'd imagine somebody with his background having to choose between his mother -for whom he feels some responsibility - and you and the family - is maybe something he is not going to find possible.

Obviously the arguments themselves are hugely destructive and I'd imagine you have reached your limit -or close to it. They can't really continue for a whole raft of reasons. It's exhausting and driving you away, probably promotes his feelings of guilt, is a horrible thing for kids ot witness and much more.

Can you think of any way they can be avoided? Would it have less effect if these bouts were expected, not on days where you have to interact the next day,? Perhaps some other family member might take over what he has been doing with his mum or at least be with them as a steadying influence?

Maybe all this is unrealistic, for you and the kids to get the good 90%, and the other 10% happen elsewhere. What do you think?

As he does go to counseling are you aware if this concentrates on his relationship and behaviour with his mother and the aftermath and its effects on you and the family?

It may in fact be that a specialist psychiatrist dealing with childhood abuse and its effects in adulthood may be an option, then such may sadly be well beyond financial reach. As I think I mentioned before, if you have a sensible GP with whom you get on advice could be useful.

It would be a heart-breaking thing to be driven out of the relationship, for all of you, but would be very understandable if you decided you would be "better off without each other"

Please do not think I'm suggesting this course of action - or any other. For one thing if children are involved the relationship does not end with separation and the emotional toll is huge.

So do you see any pathways that might help, if not entirely at least a bit?

Croix

Casey_90
Community Member
We sort of had a defining moment, if you could say on his last break back from work..so a week ago. As mentioned, his Mum was over and it happened again where he got mad. I did not speak or give him any grounds, I simply said we will discuss this when the kids are not around and he insists that it needs to be resolved then and there. I left to take the kids to school and simply said he needed to cool off. I spoke with the kids on the way to school who were fine and said to them this behaviour is not acceptable for them to see and asked them their thoughts. He was not yelling or anything, so they were not to phased, but my daughter said, 'he just needs to take deep breaths and hug himself' which rung in my ears. When I got back I sat down and I said, this has to stop. I asked him not to speak and I said, when our son throws a tantrum or when our daughter refuses to put her toys away and gets mad, we look for calming strategies to teach them to control their anger. How as parents, will they listen to us, if you yourself cannot calm. how can you tell our daughter to 'breathe' when you cannot do it yourself. 'What strategies can I use in that situation to calm you, because talking to you when you are angry, every word is just used, twisted and spat back like venom, so I say nothing, so my words don't get twisted, then you get mad because I am 'shutting you out'. 'But baby, I speak, words are thrown back, I say nothing, I'm shutting you out'. 'What strategy will help you, how can I help you'. He was very quiet and just broke down. 'I never looked at it like that', 'There is nothing you can do, this is not on you, this is on me, and this is something I must change, or I will lose you, and that is something I will not allow, I never really looked at it in your point, you are 100% right, I have to address this'. He then called his doctor and spoke with him, something he has never down without counsel. He was so upset, something I am not all that used to seeing, we just hugged after he spoke to his doctor. He has another appointment on his return, we have also discussed strategies. It was a very good break after that, we really just focused on being together more as a family and going fishing etc with the kids. He has matured a lot lately, there are so many positive signs, I don't think ending the relationship is the best strategy. I really feel we are the old couple on the bench, we just need to navigate through this correctly.

Croix
Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Casey_90~

I guess your calm words struck just the right chord and I'm delighted at the response.

While I would be most surprised if his reaction was not genuinely meant it may take practice for him to master himself as is needed. So strategies may be an important thing to work out.

Apart from a hug (always wonderful) do you have any thoughts?

The fact he values you so much is great.

Please let us know how you get on, we do care

Croix