Whether you live with an alcoholic addictive person, or just someone who acts like one, with dry drunk, stinkin thinkin bully behavior, detachment is the key. To detach means to disconnect, get unstuck from, stay away from, avoid, ignore and tune out behavior which is sick and crazy. Detachment is the opposite of co-dependence and enabling behavior. Here is a guide to detachment from sick behavior, crazy behavior, bullying alcoholic addictive behavior.
Don’t accept excuses for bullying alcoholic addictive behavior: Set clear boundaries about what you will believe, trust and accept in behavior. Did the alcoholic bully break a promise? Call him on it. Don’t sit there feeling hurt; say something. ‘Hey, it’s our anniversary. What happened to our date?’. ‘You said you would fix this door Saturday. What happened?’ When promises get broken repeatedly, don’t hesitate to say, ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’. or ‘You said that last time’. It won’t magically make him keep promises; in fact he may get angry and break more promises to spite you. The issue is that you are setting boundaries and not buying into crazy behavior.
Try to stay calm: It isn’t necessary to show anger. If you feel anger, that’s okay. If you stay calm, you will feel better about yourself, though. Responding in anger can be a co-dependent behavior. You have allowed the alcoholic bully to ‘get your goat’ and rile you. I don’t like the way I feel when I allow crazy behavior to determine the way I act. I like to be proactive, not reactive.
Don’t make excuses for bullying addictive behavior: Some of us don’t even make the alcoholic addictive bully think up his own excuses. We’ve got one ready for him. You don’t have to cover for, make up for, defend or lie for alcoholic behavior. He got drunk and didn’t call him mother like he promised. Don’t make up excuses. When she calls, hand the phone to him and let him talk his way out of it. No need to get angry and no need to get involved.
Don’t respond to his every demand, command, request for help: For years, whenever someone needed my help, I’ve bent over backwards. All that got me was a sore back and people depending on me to think for them. I’ve gotten very good at forgetting where things are and not jumping to do for others what they can and should do for themselves. Here’s a motto I like: ‘Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part’.
Don’t expect a grateful response to your detachment. Don’t expect that he will turn over a new leaf and quit acting like a jerk because you tried something new. In fact, he’ll probably act worse because you dared to call him on a broken promise. But don’t just sit there hurting, biting your tongue and hoping he’ll notice. He won’t.
Do what you need to do to take care of yourself. Call a friend. Go to lunch. Take the kids to a hotel for the weekend. Don’t let the fear of spending money and him getting angry stop you. He found money for the booze, lottery tickets, etc. He’ll manage. I always say, when I have to use this, ‘well, if the atmosphere was more peaceful and happy, I might not seek more pleasant places.’
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