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Alcoholic partner verbally and emotionally abusive

Community Member

I’ve been with my partner for 22 years and he’s been a high functioning alcoholic for around 12 years. He has drinking binges but continues to work in a high profile job although he’s now slowed down a lot. The last few years have been hell with him saying he’s going to quit, having a few months and now only days of sobriety and then sabotaging everything with his verbal and mental abuse. We have now kids but he has 3 still very dependant on his income and living arrangements and work. The most recent fallout is particularly nasty with him sending such nasty, vile messages to me repeatedly and won’t actually talk to me. He escapes to his place where his adult kids live and drinks and blames me for everything. When he’s with me he’s pretty good and doesn’t drink. We have a fun and loving relationship usually until he goes up there and it all goes down hill. I’ll usually wake up to a nasty message that escalates over days until he apologises, says he’ll get help or go to AA but never does. We used to have a great social life and had lots of great parties but now no one visits. It’s hard to make plans because of these fights. I usually end up going places on my own. I’m trying to sell our house which has been difficult because it’s all up to me with no help from him. When we get close to a sale he’ll work really hard to win me over and I stupidly give in because I love him and want the man I fell in love with to come back. He convinces me he’ll help but never does. But when is enough enough? Any advice would be really helpful. Thanks in advance

4 Replies 4

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi and welcome to the beyond blue forums.

It sounds very upsetting and frustrating for you to at this time.

And I cannot say when enough is enough. You have said you love him. Or perhaps better put as love him not his behaviour. And the hope he will change and the cycle begins again.

The other thing is that the abuse you receive from him is not cool. I would hope you might be able to talk to someone, perhaps from womensline or related organisation about what you are going through.

I think the fact you are raising the question about when is enough means you are thinking about this yourself. And do you feel you have given him enough chances?

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Chica, and a warm welcome to the site.

It doesn't matter what position he holds at work, his verbal and emotional abuse caused by alcohol is not being in a healthy relationship and even though he might not drink for a day or so, can still make a person have an addiction and because he escapes to his kid's house so he can not only drink but criticise you in the way he does, once again creates an unhealthy time together.

His promises of quitting and going to AA are probably not going to happen, especially after 12 years of saying this is going to happen, then verbally abusing you and then running away to his kid's house.

Your social time has now disappeared as no one wants to listen to whatever he has to say, in a negative way.

If you want to sell your house, then how and what he has to say to try and win you over, is certainly not going to last, and if this is what you desperately want to do, then think about your situation in a few weeks time, knowing from your own experience, everything will just go back to the same old, same old, so it's in your interests to follow through with your own intentions and not be sucked in by an alcoholic, who makes false promises.

The man you once loved has shown another path to follow and although I can't say what you should do, can I suggest that the house is to be sold and begin a new life with some counselling to steer you on the path you want.

We hope to hear back from you at any time that suits you.


Community Member

Hi Chica,

I'm sorry to hear you're going through a tough time. It's so hard to think that the men we fell in love with aren't the same people anymore. My husband has anger issues and anxiety which, like an alcoholic, come and go. He can be calm and nice and then something will happen and you can see the anger building. Then the tension comes, the yelling, anger outbursts and abusive behaviours. But once that anger or situation has passed, it's all forgotten (by him that is, my child and I are still left to remember it). I've tried to talk about it, but I'm met with a wall and he doesn't have a problem and the anger outbursts he does have are because someone has caused them.

I recently read that there has to be a crisis or massive event in order to stimulate change (if there is ever going to be any). In your case, it would most likely be you leaving because he probably doesn't think you actually will.

Like you, I've been asking myself when is enough enough and at what point have you given them enough chances to change. It's such a tough one because as empaths, where conditioned to feel guilt and responsibility, even if we're not actually responsible. It's a struggle and only you can know when you've reached your limit.

As mentioned above, the fact you are asking means you are thinking it. So you're already in the cycle of leaving - something else I only read last night.

All the best with your decision x


Community Member


I can well imagine how difficult this time must be for you. I agree that I cannot tell you when enough is enough.

I can tell you that unless or until he chooses to seek help he will continue to be abusive & unstable. While his behaviour is understandable given what appears to be his mental & physical condition - it is not acceptable.