10 Ways To Protect Yourself With An Alcoholic Parent Or Spouse

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10 Ways To Protect Yourself With An Alcoholic Parent Or Spouse

Dealing with an alcoholic parent or an alcoholic spouse is difficult.

Fortunately, there are ways to cope without losing your peace and sense of self-worth.

RELATED: Your Love Isn't Enough To Get An Alcoholic To Stop Drinking

Here are 10 ways to protect yourself when dealing with an alcoholic spouse or parent.

1. Make sure there are boundaries.

Maybe you still want the alcoholic spouse or parent to be involved in your life and the lives of your children, but you're not comfortable with putting your kids in potentially harmful situations.

Set boundaries with your loved one and discuss them openly. For example, you can tell them that if they're acting in a drunken and out of control manner, you'll leave or ask them to leave.

Make sure they understand that you're not there to fill the role of handling their problems, but to ensure that you and your loved ones are safe.

If you ever feel like you or your family's safety is jeopardized, you're allowed to protect your family at all costs. If this means no visits, then so be it.

Don't interact with your alcoholic loved one when they're drunk and make any family get-togethers completely alcohol-free. If you're aware that they drink after a certain time of day, avoid contact with them altogether.

2. Understand the tension that alcohol will cause.

The more someone tends to drink is usually in direct proportion to how many problems exist within a family.

Once children of alcoholic parents get older, they can become extremely sensitive to alcohol overall. Any little thing can trigger that, whether it means seeing their parent drinking or even seeing other members of the family going overboard.

Always make sure that you can get out of a situation if you're not comfortable and need space.

It can be hard to accept the family situation in this way, but it's impossible to think that you'll change their behavior.

3. Talk to your alcoholic parent or spouse with realistic expectations.

At some point, you'll realize that you're not going to stop your alcoholic loved one from drinking. And even if you've heard many times that they'll quit, it's up to them at the end of the day to kick the habit.

Don't allow yourself to be too hopeful when it comes to promises made, or else you'll just keep on feeling let down.

What you can do is talk to them while they're sober about how their behavior makes you feel and affects you. If they're unable to understand where you're coming from, give them examples of particular incidents that may have occurred.

4. Stop taking responsibility.

As much as you feel like you want to take care of your alcoholic spouse or parent and help them stop drinking, your actions can cause even more hurt for you later on.

While you think you're helping them by pouring their stuff down the drain, this can make them even angrier and, often, things only get worse.

Understand that their behavior is not your fault. You're not the reason for their drinking problem, and therefore, nothing you do can solve this for them.

5. Accept how you feel.

You're going to experience many different emotions. It's important to remember that you accept all of it for what it is.

Conflicting emotions are more common than you think, but there are ways to process your feelings so they do not affect you.

Journal your feelings in all their rawness, get it out. Write a letter that you'll never send, and just let it all out there as if the person was right in front of you.

Note: I have personally found the act of writing forgiveness letters an amazing way to help people experience their feelings and deal with them so that they don't manifest into anything harmful.

RELATED: I Loved My Wife — But I Loved Alcohol More

6. Find ways to cope.

Look for ways to cope with stress in healthy ways. Things like exercise help you let go of stress and leave you feeling lighter.

Start a dance class and shake off the problems. Join a hiking group and experience your surroundings. Do things that you enjoy on a regular basis.

It's so important to take that time for yourself to clear your head.

7. Talk to someone.

There's no reason you need to keep all this to yourself. Talk to someone you trust about what you're feeling and what you've experienced.

You'll feel better, and more importantly, you won't feel like you're facing this situation alone. This can make all the difference.

8. Create meaningful relationships.

Having a parent who has a drinking problem can result in their children finding it difficult to have meaningful relationships as adults.

Constantly needing to feel reassured as a result of how your parent may have treated you can have dire consequences on relationships.

You may also look for the things you feel you never got from the relationship and end up attracting the wrong type of person into your life, which will only cause you more harm.

9. Reach out to a support group.

You can be assured that you're not the only person who is experiencing this. Joining a support group can be really helpful on your journey to healing.

It’s a great way to share your feelings, connect with others who have experienced similar things, and get the support you need while you also give others the support they need.

10. Consider therapy.

Being a child of an alcoholic parent can lead you to feel depressed, have low self-esteem, and experience feelings of isolation, shame, and emotional distress.

Getting the right support increases your self-worth and can impact all areas of life in a tremendous way.

Those I've worked with have noticed that after healing the past and increasing self-worth, they have the confidence to go for that promotion, they look and feel healthier, and are more motivated to pick up healthy habits while dropping unsupportive ones.

They have attracted relationships that serve them, both in friendships and romantic partners. They know how to set healthy boundaries with toxic people.

Our current relationships are always a mirror of how we see and treat ourselves. We attract people into our lives based on how much we love and view ourselves.

Getting counseling online or in-person can free you from the past and help you to work through your emotions, change your mindset in how you approach your spouse or parent, and help you to build skills to cope with their behavior without it draining and consuming you.

RELATED: How I Learned To Stop Enabling My Child's Alcohol Addiction

Nicola Beer is a marriage transformation specialist and founder of the Save My Marriage Program. To book one of her free ultimate connector consultations, e-mail her or read the 7 Secrets to Saving Your Marriage, get your Free Report, visit her website.

This article was originally published at Reprinted with permission from the author.