The one consistent in my 46 years of life has been alcohol and associated violence.
My teenage years were defined by direct violence at the hands of my alcoholic father. The legacy of this was felt throughout my marriage of nearly 21 years through my inferred violence. This led to the eventual split as well as deeply affecting my ex-wife and three children.
As such, I thought I would write a TAKE on how best to survive both aspects of an alcoholics violence. Through both the eyes of the victim and the guilty party;
My mother died when I was 13. It devastated my father. Who completely lost his shit as a result.
This took the form of him embracing heavy denial through him not being able to process the loss. Heavy drinking was the result. It transformed him from a man I idolised to one who always put me at great risk.
A passive/aggressive dynamic raged where tension was the standout. I was a child in a single parent family where the parent was abusive.
The passive took the form of hope. Where he showed signs of being the father he was in the past. The mistake I made was investing trust in this for it might have lasted for a few days, or at times, long periods but was always exposed as a facade. One bad day, one drink, he was back heavily into his escapism with his heavy drinking. The worst part was the betrayal. An emotion that kills you as a teen for its shows how little you mean and destroys your self-esteem.
The wisdom I impart to any in this type of situation is never ever believe anything an alcoholic says or promises. In doing so, never be direct, always make them feel like you believe them, but deep in your heart do not.
The need to humour them leads into the aggressive aspect where an alcoholic can change in a blink from a happy drunk to a violent drunk. One never should tempt this side by being anything other than neutral, or even subservient in all your communications.
If there is violence, you need to really respect this. The point is it is not hard to hurt someone very badly or even kill them. A violent drunk is unpredictable due to not having complete control over their actions and reflexes. I remember very vividly trying to put my father to bed in a drunken stupor and him crushing two of my ribs when he lurched out with his size 16 boot.
An episode that saw him say ‘sorry’ in the aftermath when he sobered up.
‘Sorry’ is key in any relationship with a drunk. Always accept it at face value but attach no credibility to it. Alcoholics are profoundly selfish and this term defines them. The will liberally roll out sorry but never address it by seeking out ways to change their destructive behaviours. Only when they do, accept it, and show more trust in them.
ideally, do your best to get out. The sad reality is some are trapped in this situation. I write this for those who are trapped to try to help them cope and get through. If another parent is on the scene the associated reality is little faith can be invested in them. They can be trapped in the love they feel along with the battered nature they have endured which can make them so unwilling, and thus, unable to get out.
Do your best to look after them, or any other siblings, but, always have your own back.
The Abusive Parent;
I was never directly violent in my marriage with my ex-wife, or any of my three children.
The violence I imposed was worse for it was inferred due to never adequately dealing with my fathers’ abuse. It was very like the waves against the shoreline in a seaside setting. Ever subtle, that is rarely noticed, but having a profound effect over time.
My ex-wife ended the marriage because of this. In retrospect, I am in awe of her strength to look after herself and our three kids. She loved me and was deeply in love with me, but after giving me ample opportunity to address this and me never doing so, I had to go.
I was a heavy drinker that embraced denial over issues that I could never face. This became a trust issue with my ex-wife for it never allowed her into my inner sanctum. Our marriage always relied on unconditional honesty and this didn’t fit in with this so she kicked me to the curb.
This killed me, but the salt in the wounds was the effect on my children. I imprinted escapism on their impressionable minds. A hypocrisy that destroyed me for I always taught my children to face any issues they encountered and deal with them. Only to defy this through my own inability to deal with my own issues which were made worse by hiding in the bottle and at times drowning in it.
The bottom line is to never get in a relationship with an individual that has experienced abuse with alcohol unless they have dealt adequately with it. The great times which can be plentiful will always be put into context by the killer punchline.
If, you are in a relationship where violence is a regular occurrence the wisdom I will bestow is from the thoughts of a friend I helped to get out of a violent union;
‘ You better make the first hit a really good one, for it is the last time you will ever see my face again...’
Never make any excuses, or embrace any vicarious reasoning to stay. It will never end well and often it will end in a devastating way. If you want some confronting facts over violence: