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Anger Management with Alcohol

by Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

From the UK: After seeing a girl for 5 months we have recently decided to become ‘exclusive’ and put the boyfriend/girlfriend label on our relationship.

However, since doing that I have found myself getting jealous of her dealings with other males and getting angry at her when I am under the influence of alcohol. I am not a violent or angry man and only direct my anger towards her and no one else when I am drinking. It has been 7 separate occasions within the 5 weeks we have been seeing each other.

I have never been angry or abusive like this and when alcohol isn’t involved we are a fantastic couple and the relationship is progressing extremely well. There are times when I get angry towards her but don’t have any recollection due to the sheer amount of alcohol I consumed. However, there are other times when I am consciously aware what I am doing but can’t seem to stop despite her regularly being in tears.

The reason of my anger varies but jealously with her dealings with other males has been a consistent. I also believe that sexual frustration is evident but we do lead a very active sex life. If I think there is a chance that there won’t be intercourse that night believe that this is another reason for my verbal abuse. I have never become physical with her but I am told my dealings with her have caused her great mental anguish to the point where we are now on a ‘break’ so she can determine if she wants to continue in this relationship and I obviously need time to get some help.

I have decided to stop drinking alcohol for the foreseeable future and desperately want to seek professional help. This is a girl who I am really fond of and basically I don’t want to lose her from my life. I believe sustaining from drinking will limit issues but I want to know the root of my problems towards her.

Is there any medical professional in whom I should seek out? Any advice would be tremendously appreciated to get a handle on these problems and resume the relationship with a girl who greatly enriches my life.

Alcohol is a disinhibitor. When someone has drunk too much, the usual boundaries that make us civilized human beings can be eroded. In a way, it gives a person “permission” to say and do things that he may want to say and do but that the civilized self won’t permit.

I’m concerned for you on two levels: First, your drinking is clearly out of control. I’m glad you’ve decided to stop. It may be more difficult than you think. There are treatment programs and therapists who specialize in helping people stay quit. You’ve already seen what alcohol can cost you. I hope you will do whatever you need to do to be in recovery.

Secondly: You seem to have unresolved issues around jealously and trust that come out when you’ve been drinking. If those issues aren’t dealt with, they will eat away at your relationship — with or without the alcohol. I suspect that something happened in a prior relationship that is now impacting this one. Do your girlfriend and yourself the much needed favor of getting to the root of this problem. It threatens to destroy a promising partnership.

Trust the wise person inside of you. The behaviors that are of concern are your system’s way of telling you that you need to take care of some personal business before you are fit to make a permanent commitment.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Kind regards

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