Q: If a husband says very critical and mean things to his wife when drinking but not when sober, do these hurtful comments reflect how he really feels about his wife? Could it be subconscious feelings coming out or a total personality change not based in reality?

A: I believe that he means what he says whenever he says it, but that, of course, the alcohol makes him feel different ways at different times.

If he’s an alcoholic, he is probably filled with self-hate while he is drunk. He probably feels like he has to drink even though he realizes he can’t stop himself alone. And he stupidly refuses to get the help he needs to overcome his urges. All of this self-hate builds in him and he takes it out on the person closest to him.

Everything I said in the last paragraph would matter to him.

But the ONLY part that should matter to you is the last sentence when I say “he takes it out on the person closest to him.”

Do you see yourself as someone who deserves to be there when he takes it out on you? If not, why are you there?

It’s your job to protect yourself, even from someone you love. It seems he does these things regularly, and I bet you can easily tell when it’s likely to start – by recognizing the smells, the slurs, or the stumbles.

Get away from him at least temporarily at all such times. And if he does it too often you do have to ask yourself why you stay with him at all.

There is plenty of good help for him in this world now.

If he refuses to use it, that’s horrible for him but it doesn’t have to be horrible for you.

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