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Anger Management Institute

Someone Else’s Anger

Question: I’ll try to make this relatively long story short…My boyfriend (31)drinks…a LOT. He gets angry toward me (35) about RIDICULOUS things when he drinks. Finally I told him yesterday morning that until he does SOMETHING, ANYTHING to get control of his drinking and his anger, we are roomates, that’s it. He said he thought about it all day and he will do it. I told him…buy a book, get online, go to therapy, I don’t care, anything, I just need to see you trying! Again, he said he will. So here is my question…What now? I don’t know if I should ask him if he did anything yet for fear of pushing too hard, let him do it on his own time or what? Example: Last night he asked what I wanted for dinner. It ws easy last night because I was totally not hungry so I said nothing, you go ahead and have something yourself, which he did. But when dinner rolls around tonight, do I make dinner for both of us? eat by myself? When he needs to borrow my truck to haul something for work, do I tell him no? I want him to understand what it will be like if he loses me, but what I’m afraid of is that BEFORE he starts to get help, he will get angry and leave! I think he will get it fairly quickly once he starts reading, talking to people etc. but until then, what do I do? How do I act? It hurts me so much because I love him so much and I want to stay with him!

Answer: The number one problem is that your partner is drinking. If he doesn’t stop drinking and get help for his abuse or addiction of alcohol – then, expecting him to change will be a lost cause.

You must first take care of yourself. Don’t expect that changing your behavior towards him will motivate him. Since his anger is out of control – you need to move out to protect yourself from further abuse and angry outbursts. This move will wake him up to the fact that you are serious about expecting him to change – enough to break off the relationship. Women tend to cave-in and take a wait-and-see attitude. This will not work with a drinker. You must be firm and set boundaries. “until you are regularly going to AA; controlling your anger and working through issues with me in a calm manner – I will not consider rebuilding the relationship.” I suggest that you do not move back in with him until he has changed and wants to marry you. He needs to demonstrate his whole-hearted commitment to change and to you.

Purchase the book: What’s Good About Anger? so you can learn how to be more assertive. God bless!

© copyright 2005 by Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC. Lynette is a Marriage and Family Counselor with CounselCare Connection and National Certified Counselor. She is the co-author of What’s Good About Anger? and a speaker for community, women’s and church organizations.

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