trauma drama/drinking in a relationship

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by RLrose, Dec 30, 2015.

  1. RLrose

    RLrose Member

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    My girlfriend is a bad drunk. She doesn't drink very often but when she does she can be a b*tch. She has trauma drama (bad childhood experiences). I told her I don't want to be with her if she is drinking because she turns into a very different person. She says I am too hard on her because I am different when I am drinking too but she loves everything about me and likes to see me have fun. (When I drink I am very happy and bounce around the bar, chatting to anyone). When she drinks, she gets carried away and will get wasted and turns into a nasty person- saying mean things and I swear the look in her eyes is different. She doesn't get why its such a big deal because it doesn't happen all the time. I however think once a mont is plenty. Even once every couple months, because I have this fear it will get worse as time goes on.

    Aside from the drinking, she is very successful work wise and loves to work out and take care of herself. She is incredibly loving and wants to buy a house and settle down and have kids.

    I know her ex girlfriend and her ex has said how awful she is when she drinks and does drugs. They were together for 4 years, when the girl broke up with my gf. She had had enough with the verbal abuse. Our relationship isn't like theirs though- but who knows maybe it could be as bad as time goes on..

    Has anyone dated or married a bad drunk. or someone with "Trauma Drama".
     
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  2. Bluenote

    Bluenote Well-Known Member

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    I had a terrible childhood. (I was physically and sexually abused from a young age, until I left home). I am not a jerk. I do not abuse my wife, even when I am really drunk. I don't get drunk often and I don't use drugs.

    It sucks that people have awful things happen to them when they are children. It double sucks that recovery (i.e. therapy) can be hard, long and expensive.

    That being said, having a bad childhood does not give you a blank check to treat other people poorly. That is just perpetuating the cycle of abuse. In fact, a lot of people who are abusive, were themselves abused. (Though only a minority of people who were abused go on to be abusers).

    Your gf has a lot of unaddressed pain inside her. She deals with it by bottling it up. When she can't hold it back, she lets it out - on you. She did this to her ex and it got bad enough that the ex left. So yes, your gf is likely to escalate her behavior. Lashing out once a month will turn into weekly, will turn into when she isn't drunk. Stress will make this worse. The stress of a house, kids, etc... will likely bring out the worst in her. If her behavior escalates to physical violence or control, please get help from a domestic violence organization or women's shelter.

    She will not quit this behavior until she gets some help. She has to learn other ways to cope, besides a cycle of bottling it up / lashing out. She has to find constructive ways to deal with what she is feeling (therapy, journaling, exercise, support groups, etc...) It will be a long and painful journey for her.

    Her abuser probably projected their bad feelings onto her. She is doing the same things to you. She likely can't cope with her feelings of shame and anger, so she scapegoats you.

    Please do not have children with this woman. Then the kids will grow up feeling just like you do - wondering when your gf will lash out. You have some sense of identity and can say "my gf is wrong when she yells at me that I am x,y,z terrible thing." But children don't have that, they are still forming their identity. So they are faced with "mommy just got mad at me and called me an ungrateful little whore. I must be a really bad, dirty kid."

    All you can do is set boundaries for yourself. If your gf refuses to stop abusing you, you either choose to stay - or chose to go. If your gf refuses to get help, you either choose to stay - or choose to go. If you choose to stay and have kids with her while she is abusive - in my mind you are complicit in the kids being abused.

    You are in a difficult position. I am sorry that things are so confusing and painful. Please take care of yourself.
     
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  3. lorienczhiu

    lorienczhiu Well-Known Member

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    Bluenote said all the other things. I just wanna say this:

    Nope nope nope. Her equating her mean, abusive drunkenness with your happy chatty drunkenness is BS, and even if they were somehow equivalent, relationships are not tit for tat. You are allowed to object to her behavior or have dealbreakers she would not have, and she is not allowed to hold her permissiveness (that you're nice? wtf, that's not her being a good girlfriend, that's you having an unobjectionable behavior) over your head when you try to express your needs.

    This is a classic defense of someone who knows they are doing something f*cked up but are not interested in changing. See: "You should be fine with me sleeping with other people - I don't care if you do!" See: "I know you're friends with your ex, why does it bother you when my ex texts me naked pics?" See: "When you get mad you throw pillows across the room. It's not fair that you want to leave me because I threw plates - we both have anger issues?

    Someone who does not here that you feel uncomfortable and unsafe with something they do, who is more interested in continuing to abuse alcohol with a side effect of abusing you - that's not a good partner for you.
     
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  4. RLrose

    RLrose Member

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    Thank you so much for your responses. Yes it is hard because 90% of the time its great. We have a nice life together. And honestly, I have messed up plenty, and she has forgiven me and I do have a lot I need to work on, but but there is just a side of her I just can't understand. Even if it comes out rarely, it just makes me worry about when it will come out. She doesn't get physical, she just says mean things which I am secure with myself to not take it personal and I just calmy say "stop don't be like this". She used to see a therapist, but this behavior never really went away. I know therapy helped her but she stopped going because she felt things were better and she didn't need it anymore.

    I told her last week that I didn't think we could do this anymore-long term reasons, that I felt uncomfortable and scared about being with her long term because of these behaviors that come out once a month or once every couple months. I am ready to settle down and have a family so it made me really look at everything and worry about this. If this relationship was a few years ago I wouldn't have been so worried, but now that I think long term I am concerned about these behaviors.

    I had requested we go to therapy and try to change, but last night I said nevermind I think we just need to be done. I told her I don't trust having kids with her and going through life with her. She says that I am having commitment issues and don't want to dive into fixing us and how I feel is mainly a fear of what could happen yet won't happen. My fear is that this kind of behavior gets worse as we grow older. She works out, has supportive friends, a successful job, and owns a home, wants children...but i just have a fear of having kids with her when I see something can set her off into a bad place, while drinking.What will happen in 10, 15 years?
     
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  5. Bluenote

    Bluenote Well-Known Member

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    You raised some really good issues.

    Here is the way that I see it. First off, her being successful at work, owning a home and wanting to have children doesn't somehow cancel out her verbally abusive behavior and drinking.

    People can be both very successful and really awful behind closed doors. Sometimes, the things that makes someone abusive, can also be used to get what they want in the material world. Like the ability to manipulate people (however subtly), a willingness to take advantage of others, belief that 'might makes right' and so on. How many times do you hear about someone being really awful behind closed doors, yet they seemed so wonderful to the outside world (Bill Cosby, Jerry Sandusky, etc...). Obviously, I am not saying your gf is a sex offender, but those are just extreme examples.

    Owning her own home falls into that same category. It is a somewhat selfish achievement - I mean, she gets a lot out of having a house. And there are plenty of home owners who do really awful things, including hurt their partners or children.

    As for the last bit - wanting children and being able to treat them well is not the same thing. She probably doesn't want a lot of what happened to her / is happening to her. I don't think that very many people want repressed anger, feelings of shame and confusion, out of the blue rages, etc...

    Her having been in therapy is tough. She may have just hit a plateau in her treatment. But she also may have hit a really painful part. Therapy can really suck - and plenty of people quit because they can't stand it. They can't take the emotional suffering, or they can't deal with 'falling apart,' however temporarily.

    Clearly, if she still is drinking and having angry outbursts, then she hasn't dealt with all her issues. And if she isn't taking ownership of her behavior (I am an asshole to you when I am drunk, I am so sorry hun, I will never get wasted again) she is trying to manipulate you. Like Lorienczhiu says above about her trying to equate your happy drunk with her mean drunk - that is dishonest.

    I can't tell you if you should try couples therapy with her or not. I don't have a crystal ball. If she were willing to take ownership of her problem and really work on healing - therapy could help. But if she isn't - if she is unable or unwilling to face the really painful stuff, then couples therapy won't do any good. I can't tell you which she is going to do. It is hard to give someone a 'you have to get into therapy to deal with your childhood trauma' ultimatum. It is a lot of pain for people to go through and they likely will just resent being forced into treatment.

    I wish that I had easy answers for you. But I do think that it is very reasonable for you to want to protect yourself. I don't think that it is crazy, or over reacting for you to say "I don't want to be with a mean drunk, I don't want to have kids with a mean drunk." I am sure that it is not easy to walk away now. But it will only get harder as more time goes on, if you have kids with her, etc...

    Please take good care of yourself.
     
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  6. lorienczhiu

    lorienczhiu Well-Known Member

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    She could be right - you could be afraid that this will not work. But you don't owe anyone, even someone you love, time and effort and fixing and patience that you don't have; you being afraid it won't work and not having the energy to devote to that fear is enough of a reason to call it quits. You not wanting to be treated this way anymore - even if it only happens occasionally - is reason enough. You having doubts is reason enough.

    I hope that she works on this, for herself, and you can hope that she addresses her trauma and coping behaviors in a way that allow her to be great and loving 99.9% of the time, so that she can have the life she wants. But it's not your responsibility to stick around while she does that, or push her to do it, or take the risk that it won't work.
     
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  7. RLrose

    RLrose Member

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    Thank you guys for your responses! So helpful. I ended things and told her I love her and I love me so we need to move on. It isn't easy, but I know it is necessary. You guys have been so incredibly helpful, you have no idea! Deep down I guess I knew what I should do, but sometimes it takes a push from others. I am grateful for the help and support you all have given me Thanks!!! xoxo.
     
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  8. Eloise

    Eloise Well-Known Member

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    You did the right thing. When alcohol changes a person's personality, their true inner self comes out. If someone is mean and cruel, it won't be long before they act that way without the alcohol. You don't want that stress.
     
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  9. TheScandinavian

    TheScandinavian Well-Known Member

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    Have you tried suggesting her the idea of visiting a Psychologist? As the saying goes-people reveal their true selves when they're drunk so beyond the successful image she presents she's clearly unhappy. I really think that it's a good idea to suggest :) Sometimes we need professional help and there's nothing wrong in asking for it.

    I guess, as for you, you should decide what your limits are-how much more of her behavior can you take? If I were you, I wouldn't be able to hold on for a long time because I'd know that I cannot stop her from drinking every once in a while. I'm not telling you that you should break up with her but words do hurt and often cut deep bruises on our soul that can hardly if ever fade.
    Hope that was helpful :)
     
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  10. RLrose

    RLrose Member

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    She was seeing a therapist and learned a lot. But she stopped going and she doesn't think she needs to go. When I tell her she should go because I think everyone should see a therapist (Everyone has something they should talk about) she responds with "I don't need to, I am a work in progress and always will be and right now I feel good about who I am."
     
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  11. aussie_gabby

    aussie_gabby Well-Known Member

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    So you've completely ended it now? If you have that's absolutely the best thing you can do. Bad drunk or not, you should never take someone who treats you like that. A good friend of mine once told me "being drunk is never an excuse to do or say things". He was a big believer in taking responsibility of things that you do and say when you are drunk. That really stuck with me and i hope it does with you because this girl obviously doesn't take any responsibility for her actions.

    I think you are best to cut all communication with her for a bit. I'm sure you have deep feelings for her and maybe still think it's one bad thing compared to all the other good things. But time away from someone really gives you some clarity of just how bad she treated you. You say your relationship isn't like the one she had with her ex girlfriend but maybe it is and you just can't see it. If it isn't then it certainly will be the longer you would of stayed with her.

    Stay strong in knowing that breaking up with her was the right thing. There are so many people here to give you help and support :)
     
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  12. RLrose

    RLrose Member

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    Thank you. Yes I have ended it. We still communicate but not very much, as I am trying to set boundaries. It is difficult to completely cut her out of my life because I care about her but I am trying not to talk to her. I am taking steps to make sure I put myself first...
     
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