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    • #165917

      This question is one that’s been playing on my mind a lot. I’m happy to say that I’ve been doing well in recovery/sobriety for a while now, but I also recently left an emotionally and psychologically abusive relationship that was becoming more violent and unsafe. As well as general gaslighting and belittling, there had been several incidents where I had felt physically threatened. Police eventually involved.

      What bothers me is that I was struggling with alcohol abuse during this time, and not only could I simply not seem to kick it, but me drinking alcohol was often the trigger for their rages. They were unsupportive when I tried to explain that I usually drunk to self-soothe and cope with emotions, so I ended up feeling lonely in the relationship and became secretive about drinking, which only added fuel to fire. Although I’m ashamed to admit that it placed a strain on the relationship, I was never an angry/violent drunk. I didn’t feel like I deserved a lot of their treatment (detail removed by moderator) There was sexual coercion involved, as well as sex without full consent when I was intoxicated. I find it interesting that sobriety and peace has come so easily now we’re separated.

      But I have guilt and self-doubt – was I, like they claimed, an abuser because I had an alcohol problem? Was I the cause of the rages, as well as my own drunkenness? Was it my fault? Would the relationship have been saved if I’d simply been able to reach sobriety sooner? You hear a lot about domestic abusers who use drink and drugs, but not so much about their victims who may be dependent on substances to cope.

      When I talk to friends and counsellors, they say their behaviour was still abusive and inexcusable – they could have chosen to respond differently or support me with my problems – but I still have these feelings of guilt and remorse. Despite how they may well have found other things to become angry and violent over, even if I had been sober.

      I never wanted to control or hurt anyone by drinking, only myself. Then I’d get hurt more by the person I thought I loved the most. Although I feel excited to embark on my new independent sober life, I feel so depressed and confused. I was a ‘victim’, but I also feel like a terrible, shameful person.

      I guess my anxiety is ‘was it even domestic abuse?’ if I somehow played a role with my alcohol abuse?

      I truly don’t want to repeat these patterns in future relationships. Sigh.

    • #165918

      I just wanted to say that you shouldn’t blame yourself for their actions. You were strong enough to acknowledge that you used alcohol to self soothe and cope. I did too.
      It was their choice to use this to mentally abuse you with. A convenient excuse for their behaviour and that is not acceptable. Well done for surviving. A normal, loving partner would have offered support and compassion to help you through. But then, if you had a partner like that you most likely wouldn’t have had an alcohol issue to start with. I know my alcohol issues got worse in my experience living with an abuser. Don’t blame yourself in any way for their actions, at the end of the day they chose to do what they did. The fault lies with them.

      • #165945

        Again, as in my previous reply, thank you so much for your reassuring words. It’s such a relief to think of it as a vulnerability and coping mechanism, not as me just being an evil, flawed monster, as he made out.

    • #165919

      No, you’re not an abuser because of alcohol. You probably used alcohol as a self defence mechanism. I still use it to self harm and you’re absolutely not alone.

      You weren’t and couldn’t possibly be responsible for his rages. You describe rape. Again you’re not alone. You can’t consent to sex when intoxicated.

      We all have our vulnerabilities and perpetrators are hunters.

      Nobody chooses to become an addict. Life is so much more complicated. Well done for giving up the grog. We’ve all done stupid things when we’ve been drunk. We have to forgive ourselves again and again.

      It’s a very normal response to respond to trauma with Fear, Obligation and Guilt.

      You had a vulnerability and you were targeted by an abuser. It’s really not your fault.

      • #165944

        Thank you so much for this reply, I’ve been feeling so agonised and guilty by these thoughts. I think in my gut I always knew there was something wrong in the way he dealt with my alcohol misuse, possibly related to his own childhood trauma with parents, but at the end of it I felt like he’d trapped me (consciously or subconsciously) in that alcoholic identity and that awful cycle. And I recognise now that I wasn’t ever responsible for healing his childhood trauma, resentment and anger issues – only he was. Now I can focus on my own healing and moving my life forward. I can’t wait to find me again.

    • #165931

      @maddog beat me to it. If anything, the alcoholism makes you more vulnerable. Forgive yourself xX.

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