Drugs, Alcohol and Abuse

national domestic violence hotline

Drugs, Alcohol and Abuse

drugs-alcohol-abuseBeing in an abusive relationship is already a difficult and dangerous situation. Alcohol and/or drug abuse only make matters worse. When a partner is under the influence, the risk of all types of abuse (physical, verbal, emotional, financial, and sexual) increases, leading to a very troubling situation.

Blaming the Booze

“It wasn’t me, it was the beer talking!”
“I would never do that if I was sober.”
“I’m not really that person. That’s who I am when I’m high.”

An abusive partner who is also using alcohol or drugs might make statements like these. They may blame drugs or alcohol instead of accepting responsibility for their behavior or actions. It can be all too easy to just accept what they say and move on without addressing the real underlying issue of abuse. We often hear from survivors who say, “If I could just get them to go to rehab, everything would get better.” But because drugs and alcohol aren’t the root issues of abuse (abuse is about power and control), achieving sobriety doesn’t necessarily end the abuse. There are plenty of people who use drugs and alcohol and don’t become abusive. Drugs and alcohol can affect a person’s judgment and behavior, but using them doesn’t excuse violence or abuse.

In this article about domestic violence myths, Claudia Garcia-Rojas, co-director of the Chicago Taskforce on Violence Against Girls & Young Women, explains: “In partner abuse situations, drugs and/or alcohol certainly play a role but they are not the root cause of the violence. Assuming so perpetuates the idea that partner abuse is caused by a single issue, when in fact, there are multiple factors that contribute to the dynamics of why a partner chooses to be either emotionally, physically, financially, and/or psychologically abusive, though it is very common that an abuser will use alcohol/drugs as an excuse for why they are abusive. While these problems overlap, they are independent of one another.”

The Cycle of (Substance) Abuse

When one partner has a drinking or drug problem, a vicious cycle can occur. The issues created by their habit — like financial stress, neglect of responsibilities, or legal problems — may lead to fighting with their partner, and then to take the stress off, they may drink or use more drugs. While this cycle continues, abusive behaviors might get worse. Additionally, the stress of the abuse might cause victims to turn to drugs or alcohol as coping mechanisms.

Treatment is available to help with drug addiction and abusive behavior, including counseling, self-help meetings and support groups. However, an abusive partner who is using drugs must decide for themselves to seek help for both their abusive behavior and their substance abuse.

If you or someone you know is in a relationship with a person who is abusive while using drugs and/or alcohol, we are here for you. Call us anytime at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or chat with us 24/7/365 via “Chat Online Now.”

Additional resources:

Comment section

31 replies
  1. Thank you for this info. I was in an abusive relationship with an alcoholic for 7 years(physical, sexual, emotional). He blamed alcohol, then made me feel bad for him by playing the victim/but I’m an alcoholic feel bad for me role. It took a very long time for me to leave because of this. I have been free for a year and it’s taken this long to accept he is not just an alcoholic, but an abuser. Of course he denies being abusive and still manipulates others into enabling him. I’m just very thankful I got out and that resources like this exist, although I didn’t think he was an abuser therefore I didn’t think I was a victim until after I left and got help.

  2. Megan,

    Thanks so much for commenting. It’s so hopeful to hear you have been able to be free of that abuse, and you definitely deserve to not be in an unsafe situation like that. Finding closure and healing from such terrible abuse can be a process, so if you ever need to reach out for support, we are here. You can reach us 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233, or 7am-2am CST online through our chat service at http://www.thehotline.org.


    Hotline Advocate CC

  3. I had been in a very abusive relationship with 3 children. he did not want divorce but asked me to take the children with me and leave him the house and the business. not only that, I caught him with his mistress in the bedroom, and he filed order of protection against me so he could have privacy with his mistress in the house. not content, him and his male friend hid my eldest son from me during order of protection, i called the school but I was told my son was absent, I called house but man said my son was at school, I called school again, school told me my son had been absent for 2 days, I went crazy crying what my hubby did to my son, did he kill him already, where could I locate my son? I called police only to find out that my son was in the house with fever, and police even blamed me for not being grateful that my son was taken cared of. How can I be grateful when the man lied and hid my son from me, it’s a mental, emotional torture they did me! too much to handle, hubby got his wishes left him house money and business with mistress. I’m back to my native Philippines with children, hubby did not support more than 5 years. I suffer dying, with children, hubby denied to answer phone for years, told me Philippines is where me and children belong! miraculously hubby sent little money for 6 months now, children are bigger now and he asked me to give children, I said no problem but I want everything done in court. he disagree, he doesnt want court,he only wants me to sign divorce.

  4. Hello Mary,

    Thank you for reaching out to our blog community. For your husband to kick you out is very painful and his behavior was very emotional abusive. Regardless of what your ex might say or try to make you think, his abusive behavior is not your fault. It is normal to want to go through the courts in order to protect your rights and your children. From what you have shared, it sounds like you have had to overcome a great deal to try to create a healthy environment for you and your children. I want to let you know about the legal resource Womenslaw.org. They have information to help you explore your legal options for custody and divorce. If your children are US citizens, the US Embassy in the Philippines may be able to assist you in finding resources. Contacting a local resource in the area you were living in the United States may help you learn the local laws that would apply to the divorce. Currently we are unable to offer our phone or chat service to individuals out of the United States however the resource 211.org can help you locate the resources in the United States. There may be resources in the Philippines for survivors of domestic abuse as well.

    Take care,

    Hotline Advocate LC

  5. I’m not sure if this is the right place to post this or not. I’ve never really got onto a site like this or looked/asked for help before. My mom is in an abusive relationship and both of them abuse alcohol, even before they got together. When they first got together it wasn’t as noticeable but the further along it got the worse the drinking got and the arguing. Then the bruises started showing up and she was having to explain why things in the house were broken. Saying she was just bumping into things. But with how close we used to be I knew she was lying. The fighting only get worse and he breaks things of hers around their house because he knows it’s all she has left. Him and I have even gotten into a physical altercation before and even though he approached me and started the confrontation, she took his side and told me I was in the wrong. A few months ago they got into it so bad that he did end up getting arrested for domestic violence. She of course said he was gonna get help and it would never happen again. She even tried to hide it from me and tried to have our family hide it from me. Well tonight I got a text from my mom that was very out of the ordinary so I called to talk to talk to her and I could hear him in the background breaking things, yet again. So I called the cops. When I talked to my mom she said they were all just talking that I should go help her move out tomorrow. But I know she will just go back and it kills me that I have no way to help her or make her see that this is only going to get worse. I don’t want to walk away from her knowing she needs help but I cant sit back and watch her go through this knowing she isn’t doing anything to stop it herself. I’m just really, stuck.

  6. Hello, Casie:

    Yes, you are in the right place. Here at the National Domestic Violence Hotline, we provide support to anyone affected by domestic violence. It sounds like you are understandably frustrated and feeling stuck right now due the dangerous and terrifying situation that your mother is currently in. While alcohol abuse certainly is not helping matters, it is not the cause of the domestic violence your mother is experiencing. Domestic violence is caused the abuser’s need to get and keep power and control over his partner.

    Based on what you’ve shared, your mother is experiencing multiple forms of abuse, including but not limited to physical violence and use of intimidation (destruction of property). Your mother is asking for your help and support right now. She is so fortunate to have a concerned daughter like you. Presently, she is seeking to leave this abusive relationship. Having a safety plan can be useful, because abuse can escalate when victims try to leave. Please see our Leaving a Relationship Safety Planning webpage at https://www.thehotline.org/help/path-to-safety/#tab-id-5 for precautions your mom can consider taking. This can seem like confusing time right now, because you sense that she will reenter the abusive relationship. The average abused woman leaves 7-8 times before the leave becomes permanent.

    I can imagine that it is difficult to witness your mother going through abuse. People stay in abusive relationships for many reasons, including love and believing that their partner will stop abusing them. From what is known about domestic violence, generally the abuse does not stop and only gets worse as you’ve expressed. It would be helpful for you to continue supporting your mom regardless of what she decides to do. The abuse is not her fault.

    For ideas on ways to support your mom, I encourage you to visit our Help for Friends and Family webpage at https://www.thehotline.org/help/help-for-friends-and-family/. We would be happy to discuss other ways that you can support your mom through this difficult time. You can reach us by phone 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 or through our online chat service at http://www.thehotline.org from 7am-2am (CST) every day. We hope to hear from you soon.

    Take care,

    Hotline Advocate ND

  7. My best friend was recently killed by her abusive boyfriend. I just want people to know that you can leave and usually things escalate. My best friend was 24 and a mother to two young children (ages 2 and 3) she was violently taken from us on March 24, 2015. Of course as her best friend I had tried numerous times to “rescue” her but it truly has to be your choice to leave. You are strong enough!

  8. This post has been modified to remove any personal information per our community guidelines.

  9. Sherqia,

    I’m so sorry for your tragic loss. There are no words for our sorrow for you and for the rest of her friends and family. Thank you for sharing your story and reminding us all that leaving an abusive relationship really can be a life or death decision.

    Best wishes,
    Advocate MT

  10. This is my first time posting on a website like this. Perhaps, I should have posted a long time ago but I guess there is always the final straw that makes you try to seek help.

    I believe my father is a functioning alcoholic. Growing up, he didn’t drink every day but he did binge drink almost every weekend with friends or family. While drunk, we never felt like he was a danger to himself or us. In a way, we enabled his drinking by making sure he got home safely and didn’t drive. Even though we never felt threatened while he was drunk, it was scary to see him in that state. As the years have passed he has reduced his amount of binge drinking quite a bit. He still drinks, but now it is more occasionally and doesn’t get drunk to the extent that he used too. We have always known that he has a problem but always reasoned that everyone has some sort of character flaw. He has always been supportive of us and because of this we would think, “Let him have fun and distress. It is not healthy but he is an adult and it is his choice.”

    My mother does not drink, use drugs, or smoke. I would consider both of my parents to have exhibited emotionally and verbally abusive behavior towards each other and their children throughout the years. They have never been physically abusive towards each other or towards us. My siblings and I have been very understanding of it all and have accepted and loved them regardless. We acknowledge that growing up in this type of home has absolutely negatively impacted us, but we pray and try to be resilient for them. Our parents have never talked about their upbringing or personal lives very much. They both grew up in very large and poor families in rural villages and have no formal education. Furthermore, we don’t believe that our parents have fully developed the skill of self-reflection and meditation because sometimes that can be very painful process because it forces you to confront and cope with deep-rooted issues. All of these factors have made my siblings and I very protective of our parent’s spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being. I guess you could say that in some ways the roles have been reversed in our household with the children trying to be protect the parents.

    Recently, my grandmother (maternal) passed away and we had to travel to attend burial services. It is customary in our country for liquor, food, and live music to be present during the vigil and burial. The vigil lasts all night before the actual burial takes place. My father drank during the vigil but didn’t over do it. The next morning the burial took place. He was drinking again and decided not to enter the graveyard or see my grandmother in the coffin to say his last goodbyes. My siblings and I are all full-time students. As a family, we had decided that our trip would be fairly short because we all had commitments. We wanted my dad to sober up and get some rest before driving back home the next day. When we approached my dad and suggested he eat and get some rest he resisted. My siblings and I decided that we would just leave whenever our parents felt ready. However, my mom kept insisting that he get some food and rest because he would have to drive us back to the city where we would rest and than head back home. I was going to drive all of us to get food but my father began to say that if we wanted to leave so soon it would have to be at that very moment. He began to ask us for the car keys. Naturally, we were not going to allow him to drive while drunk. He kept saying that he wasn’t that drunk. He was clearly very agitated and everything about his tone of voice and body language was aggressive. As we continued to deny him the car keys he became increasingly upset. We suggested that he let us drive all of us to a place to get food but he kept resisting. We all started to feel intimidated, scared, and threatened by his behavior. As you can imagine, during the entire argument we were trying to reason with him but nothing worked. In that moment our uncle came and suggested that one of our other relatives drive us back to the city. Everyone seemed to agree on that and so we waited while he went to go find someone. Then my dad began asking for the keys again and insisted that we leave. He was still being very aggressive so my mom told him she had given the keys to our uncle (she hadn’t) and we began to walk away from him to wait somewhere else. He came towards us and began to ask for his wallet, which he had given to my mom earlier so he wouldn’t lose it.

    **At this point I am very very upset. Although drinking is customary during burials it is not customary to get completely drunk. I felt that my mom was not able to properly grieve the death of her mother because she had to watch over my dad and his drinking during the entire trip. She had to make sure he didn’t over do it and got enough sleep and food. I felt that my dad was being completely disrespectful by not controlling himself and that this wasn’t fair for my mother or for us. **

    He stood in front of my mother as she searched in her purse and in that moment he repeated again “give me my wallet” and shoved my mom. She didn’t fall to the ground or move a great amount but a shove is a shove. The fury inside me took over as soon as I saw that. I grabbed my father by the neck and pushed him against a railing repeatedly while screaming at him to never in his life touch my mother again. I felt like in that moment, as I was physically attacking my father, I was releasing 22 years of resentment. I felt an incredible amount of anger and pain. I saw genuine shock and hurt in my father’s eyes. I let him go and told him that if he wanted to leave he would be leaving by himself and gave him his wallet and keys.

    My father left the keys to the car with a family member and got a ride to the city with another relative. I knew I had deeply hurt my father and felt that he would take a bus somewhere and never come home or want to see us again.

    We all met up in the city and had a conversation. My dad was still drunk but was able to express his hurt (something he never does). I apologized; we all hugged, and prayed. Now we are trying to recover from what I consider a traumatic event. Once we got home, I told my father we would have to have a serious conversation about what happened. He kept saying that everything was okay and that it wasn’t necessary. I gave us a few days before approaching him. He is in his own way grieving the loss of my grandmother and on top of that dealing with the shock of having a daughter physically attack him. I too am grieving and trying to cope with everything and that is way I am posting on this thread. I talked to him last night with my mother. We used a remote control to take turns talking. I asked him to share what his perspective and memory was of the event and then I asked my mom to do the same. I then shared my perspective on everything. I tried to use productive words and avoided placing blame on anyone. I admitted that my reaction was not acceptable but encouraged him to try to step in my shoes. Again, I played the role of the family mediator and therapist. But I am need of some words of advice myself. I am praying a lot, reading about coping mechanisms and trying to move forward and have faith that our relationship will be remedied. My father and I have always had a special connection. We are both internal and don’t verbally express emotions. I have always been the listening ear for the members of my family and don’t feel comfortably turning to them with my own emotional problems because I don’t want to burden them. I want to support them and be strong for them so we can all get through this, grow from this as people, and become more united. Writing this has already been therapeutic and I feel some relief. I understand this will be a process and I am open to all words of wisdom and tips to help me get through this.

  11. Hello Patty,

    Thank you for sharing your story and being part of our online community. I’m glad that you found writing out that trauamtic experience to be theraputic and that you have been exploring different coping mechanisms. That sounds like it was a very upsetting event. Funerals are already dificult and it seems like your Father’s behavior was disrespectful, frightening, and that it brought up years of hurt and anger. Physical violence is really scary and takes time to process. Violence is never a healthy way to deal with conflict. I can hear how much energy and compassion you have invested into facilitting communication in your family with the goal of collective healing.

    Dynaimcs of abuse can be really confusing. From what we know, abuse is about power and control. Whereas both people in a relationship can treat each other in unhealthy ways, abuse is one sided. I encourage you to reach out to us directly. Our advocates can talk with you about your situation, strategies for healing and can connect you to local resources. If you would like to reach out to an advocate we are here 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 and on chat from 7am to 2am CST.

    Take care,
    Hotline Advocate RG

  12. Hi, my husband is an abuser every time he got drunk. In the first month of our marriage, he got drunk and destroyed our apartment by breaking stuffs and pushing me on the floor. I was so scared that I was hiding in the bathroom for the rest of the night. After that, he always said sorry and regret about what he did, promised to quit drinking. But everything just repeats when he started to drink again. He always called me names, hurt me, breaking stuffs and offended me, then he blame alcohol as usual. Last night, he got so drunk, kept calling me names, being rude and kept throw stuffs on the floor. I think I had enough, I told him I’ll leave him. He got crazy, took my saving money, threatened to destroy my passport, ssc, etc. Then he threw the laptop in my head…my head is swollen and hurt now. I have a conditional green card, he’s the one sponsored me, he said if I leave him I’ll get deported so I have to stay with him!!! I just had enough of that. I have no family here, I don’t know where to look for help. He’s my husband and I love him, but when he got drunk he’s a different person. I really don’t know what to do…I’m from Asia, where woman isn’t respected as man. Everyone I’ve ever talked about this issue always told me I should try to stay in the marriage. Even my mom said that, that’s so upset. I really need some help or advice, please. Thank you so much for reading.

  13. Hi Lucy,

    This certainly sounds like a difficult situation, and you are very brave to reach out for help. Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol is never an excuse for abusive behavior, and your husband is choosing to hurt you, physically and emotionally, even when he is drinking. He also has no right to take your money or threaten to destroy your passport or have you deported. I’m sorry to hear that your support networks are also encouraging you to stay with him. Unfortunately, many people in nearly every society and culture do not understand the dynamics of abusive relationships. There are a lot of misconceptions and false information that is circulated surrounding domestic violence, but no one deserves to be in an unsafe and emotionally abusive marriage. There are resources out there specifically geared towards people who are experiencing domestic violence as immigrants. We can help you find resources and more information in order for you to be able to find the support you need to make the best decision for yourself.

    Please call us 24/7 at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or chat online at http://www.thehotline.org 7am-2am CST. We would be happy to discuss your concerns and offer some resources that might help your situation.

    Stay safe,

    Hotline Advocate CC

  14. My I knew boyfriend drank when we first met. I found out he smoked weed a month or so later. He told me he would quit when we met, all because he was in love with me. Stupid me, I believed him. Of course, he never did quit and that has caused many arguments. He also always ditches me for hi pot smoking drinking buddies, leaving me alone 95% of the time.
    Our first year together, he seemed like a dream come true: He would make me breakfast in bed, told me how beautiful I was. He was very affectionate,caring and attentive. I would cook and he made a point to do the dishes. He treated me like a queen.
    Too make a long story short. prince charming turned into a toad. We now live together and have a house together. He stopped being affectionate, wanted me to “serve” him, he called me a c*nt and a Sl*t, ugly, stupid. I kept trying to get the “old loving” him back, trying to show him I am not those things – I blamed myself and kept trying to get the love back. It never happened. I wasted so many years. He still drinks, he neglects me to always be with his drinking buddies in the garage drinking and smoking weed at least 95% o his free time. He doesn’t do anything around the house, doesn’t fix anything. When I ask for him to do his share of the chores, he says it’s all my fault why things are not getting done, that they are easy and I should do it, how hard is it to take out the trash – when all he does is drink and smoke weed in the garage. When I tell him to stop drinking so much and stop smoking weed and spend more quality time with me, he says he drinks, smokes weed and doesn’t spend time with me because it’s all my fault, I yell at him (even though he always did these things). We get into a lot of fights about his drinking, not spending time with me, not doing chores or fixing things (we both work full time)
    Well, today was a real eye opener and I hope I have the guts and the courage to finally leave him for good, which brings me to this website. I hope I finally realized he is dangerous and this is the real him. Prince charming will probably never return.
    He spent Friday night hanging out with his buddies in the garage as usual, while I was in the house taking care of business (paying bills, cooking dinner, taking care of the cats) and getting annoyed – I do everything while all he does drink,and smoke weed, or do what benefits him (like fix his bike).
    He came in around 9pm drunk and smelling of weed. I was so angry, I said I was calling the police.
    He attacked me like never before – I feared for my life. He threw me to the floor, I hit my head slightly, he clenched my head with his hand (which later I worried I needed to go to the ER, my temple is swollen and I felt slightly dizzy, my head and face still slightly hurts), he yelled in my ear (my ear is ringing) and then threw me against the wall and choked me twice, he grabbed my cell phone and said he was going to break it to pieces.
    The neighbor across the steet I think saw the whole thing, It happened right in front of an open front door. I made my way to the door to leave and run for my life and saw my neighbor looking out the window. I don’t know for sure if he saw, but I told him he saw everything. I think that calmed him down.
    I told him we are done, this is it, you physically assaulted me. you have a week to get your things. He was outside sleeping in his van, but he just came in and told me to f-off when I told him to leave and he has a week to get out.
    I am not sure what to do now. We both have our names on the house (we are engaged – yah (sarcastic). I make more than him, they wouldn’t give him a loan but they would me. However, do I really want this house? Maybe I should get something smaller I can more easily afford and put savings away.
    I sometimes wonder if I deserved him attacking me for threatening to call the police on him (but, they say there is never a reason to lay a hand on a woman).
    Anyhow, that along with all the neglect and everything else, I see no reason to continue.
    I went for a drive around town a little after that and I felt free. I realized how much happiness he was zapping from me. I used to go out and do things and feel alive. With him , I feel dead and drained of energy.
    I have a feeling he won’t just go. Now what? Am I safe with him in the house? I already feel scared. He has no respect for me nor is he taking me seriously.
    I think my saving grace was that a neighbor saw – there are witnesses, I think that is the only reason why he is sort of normal now (not attacking me).

    Well, that’s my story and I am not sure what to do about the house we both share and “live” in.

  15. Also, the way he grabbed my temple and pushed in, I do think he would have killed me or maybe the thought crossed his mind and he got hold of himself and stopped.

  16. Mary,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story with our blog community. What you went through is very scary, and you’re exactly right that there is never an excuse for abuse–emotional, physical, or otherwise. It sounds like you have been doing a lot of thinking and have a lot to consider as you weigh your options; our advocates would be more than happy to speak with you to safety plan around staying as safe as possible in your home, discuss logistics and options for leaving the relationship if that is what you’d like to do, find resources near where you are that may be able to provide the support you deserve while you go through this, or even just to talk and listen. We are here 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 or available on chat from 7 AM – 2 AM CST every day at — please do feel free to get in touch with us whenever you can.

    Thank you again for your time and for sharing your story with us.

    Take care,
    Hotline Advocate AC

  17. I have a question? I’m not in a relationship but I recently moved back in my fathers house when me and my sons dad split. Couple months later my brother moved in and he’s a abusive drunk. He was suppose to be getting sober but he sneaks and get drunk. I fear for my life when he’s drunk. My father and him fight constantly and get physical to the point I run and hide and lock the door. I try my best to hide this from my son but sometimes it’s inevitable. I’m very scared to will go too far anytime! I don’t know what to do. I have no other family and no where else to go. I lost my job due to taking care of my mother before she passed from cancer and its soooo hard to find another job with no childcare. I feel lost and stuck. No where to turn and I don’t want this to be my sons life.

  18. Anonymous,

    It sounds like you are experiencing such a traumatic and scary situation, so I am happy that you decided to reach out to us. It takes a lot of courage to be able to ask for help.

    Unfortunately, on this website, we mostly deal with dating abuse and domestic violence between intimate partners, so I can’t really say much about what you should do concerning the violence between your father and your brother. I can say, that it was very smart of you to make a plan to go hide in a safe place with your son when things do become physical between them. Your safety in these situations is always the most important thing.

    Concerning your own individual needs at this point, it could be beneficial since you said you did just leave an abusive relationship, for you to talk to a local DV center in your area. They may be able to help you with financial assistance, transitional housing, counseling, and sometimes even childcare. So that may be an option for you if you are wanting to leave the unhealthy environment that you’re in now. I can’t say for sure b/c it depends on availability of services, but I definitely encourage you to chat with us more so that we can better assess and figure out what you need the most at this time.

    If you would like to speak with us, we are always here 24/7 by phone 1-800-799-7233 or online chat from 7am-2amCT at https://www.thehotline.org/. Thanks again for reaching out and I hope that you continue to try to stay safe and strong!

    Best wishes,
    Advocate KB

  19. It took me 14 years to get the courage to leave my abusing, drug-using husband. The night I saw the fear in my 13 year old son’s face is the night God gave me the courage to make decision. I had feared for our lives for years. Even after the Judge made him move out, I still feared for our lives — even more so. We are now divorced, but he is still trying to control us. I’ve told my attorney that he will not stop until he kills me. If we go before a Judge . . . .my ex is so manipulative that he can make the Judge believe that he is God’s gift to creation, and that he is just the victim. When will he ever be stopped from abusing us?

  20. Teresa,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with our blog community. It sounds like it took tremendous strength and courage to get you and your son out of a dangerous situation and to a safer place, and we are grateful for your resolve and to hold space for your experience here.

    It sounds like you are already working with an attorney, and I’m so sorry to hear that your ex-husband is using the legal system against you and finding ways to continue to manipulate and control you through the legal system. You and your son have the right to live a life free of abuse and harassment, and you deserve to feel safe. There is never an excuse for your ex-husband to make the choice behave this way whether drugs are part of the equation or not.

    Our advocates are here for you 24/7 and would be more than happy to talk with you about safety planning strategies and resources and options to help supplement the support you have through your attorney. Our advocates can be reached from 7AM – 2AM CST by chat at http://www.thehotline.org and 24/7 by phone at 1-800-799-7233.

    Thank you again for sharing with us here. Take care.

    Hotline Advocate AC

  21. Tony,

    Although we removed your comment due to violations of our community guidelines, we want to respond to what you shared.

    The physical, mental, and emotional abuse you survived was terrifying and traumatic, and it never should have happened. No one has the right to treat you like that and we are truly sorry that someone you cared about and trusted chose to hurt you like that. We understand how incredibly difficult it can be to reach out for help and talk about what you’ve been through, and how heartbreakingly disappointing it can be to find out that, because of your abuser’s manipulation and deceit, no legal action would be taken. You deserve all of the support and resources available and we truly regret that wasn’t your experience.

    We do want to be clear that we don’t condone violence of any kind. We believe that being safe is an inherent human right and that no one has the right to hurt anyone else, no matter the circumstances. If you’d like to discuss your experiences, talk about resources for healing like self-care and counseling, we’re here for you 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week at 800-799-7233 or you chat with us every day from 7a-2a CST.

    Take care,

    Hotline Advocate AS

  22. I have been in a relationship for about 4 months now. At first everything seemed good. He was an amazing man (still is) and we shared many things in common before we actually decided to try the relationship thing. He is 10 years older then me. He has shown signs of being abusive on a few different occasions but it’s only when he is under the influence of heavy drugs. He gets paranoid and starts to accuse me of all types if things. He is also verbally abusive when it comes to speaking on my character and the things he has created in his mind that I am supposedly doing. I have been called b*&^% and whore or whatever he comes up with. I have been choked, head butted multiple times, socked in my jaw and face, and he has even thrown a lit cigarette at me while I was laying in bed. Every situation but one has been made out to be my fault. Just this Morning I was head butted and made to bleed from my nose for raising my voice due to being irritated with the way he has been acting towards me. Yes this is another incident where he is under the influence. Any and everything sets him off. He claims he doesn’t have a drug addiction and I do believe him because it is not something he does every day. I have witnessed him go on a binge though. I don’t know what his issue is but it is starting to affect me. When we first met he told me that he only does the drug to keep him up because he works long hours and from my understanding he wasn’t doing it because he was traveling and not working at the time. I have never been in such a severe situation. I was abused in my very first relationship but compared to what I am going through now that situation has nothing on this current one. I am at the point where I don’t know what to do. We live together, he knows all my personal info and he is just a monster when he is under the influence. Sometimes I don’t know what to expect and it keeps me from speaking my mind or even standing up for myself because no matter what he will hit if he feels the need too. If he doesn’t hit me he will threaten me and a threat comes right before the actual act. He has also told me that he will stop the drug use but that seems to be a lost file right now because whenever he does do it there is always some sort of justification for it. I have tried it with him thinking that if we where on the same page the abuse would lessen. Not true it only made our sex life better. I have not been the type to experience with drugs in my life so this was a first for me. He knows this but will act as if I have been doing this for awhile and will accuse me of getting high on my own time. I try to go over and beyond to make sure he has what he needs but nothing is ever enough. The moment he doesn’t get his way everything else is null in void and all hell is beginning to break loose.

  23. Hi Anonymous,

    Thank you for reaching out and being brave enough to share what you are going through. It sounds like a really terrifying and unsafe relationship for you to be in. No matter what you have done, you absolutely do not deserve any kind of abuse, ever. Drug use is never an excuse for abusive behavior; there is no excuse for what he has been doing to you.

    I am really concerned about your safety, especially since you mentioned that he has choked you in the past and he is using heavy drugs. Those are two indicators things may escalate and become much more dangerous for you or even lethal. Leaving can be an especially dangerous time if you think you may plan to do that in the future, and it’s so important to think about your safety and reach out to the appropriate resources for support if that’s something you are wanting to do. Please reach out to us for further support if you need it, and we can talk more about the situation and ways to keep yourself safe. We are always here 24/7 by phone at 1-800-799-7233 Or 7am-2am CT through our chat in the right corner at https://www.thehotline.org/.

    Hotline Advocate CC

  24. Hi Sandi,

    We are so glad that you’re part of our online community. It takes courage to talk about your experiences and we’re so glad you know that we’re here for you. It sounds like you’re in a painful and difficult situation. In times of crisis, especially long term, having self-care strategies is so important when it comes to taking care of yourself. You deserve to be safe physically, emotionally and mentally.

    Since people are not the same, different strategies work for different people and much of the process is discovering what works for you. We have a post on emotional safety planning, here, that you might find helpful. We also talk a lot about self-care and you find more information about that on this page, The Importance of Self-Care. If you’d like to talk about these posts or brainstorm ideas with an advocate, feel free to reach out 24/7 by phone at 800-799-7233 or by online chat every day from 7a-2s CST.

    We’re here when you need us!

    Hotline Advocate AS

  25. To anyone,
    I don’t know what to do. I’ll preface this by saying I feel safe with my parents and one of my brothers. I have another one and he lives elsewhere. I have a brother (the one who doesn’t live with us anymore) who has substance abuse issues. He has been drinking since he was 16. On the outside, he has seemed normal (graduated high school, went to college) and is living in a house. To summarize: the drugs/alcohol got worse in college and my parents pulled him out of the school he was in, as he wasn’t focused on his studies. He’s stolen pills from my disabled brother and myself. My disabled brother (the eldest) has Muscular Dystrophy. He’s had issues since he was 5, and unfortunately, I have too. I’ve had pain in my legs since I was 5, and my parents did their due diligence and took me to the doctors. The doctors said it was growing pains (keep in mind: I was born anoxic due to the umbilical cord and had multiple blood transfusions at 6 days old). Needless to say, I was hurting, but I forced myself to get straight A’s, participate in MULTIPLE extra-curriculars when I was a child (dancing and gymnastics for 13 years, basketball, CCD, modeling, etc). I got straight A’s in junior high and high school (with a B in math, sometimes). I got older, pain got worse. I’ve had bladder devices inserted into me, I’ve had ulcers, I’ve had very many tests (EKG’s, EEG’s, MRI’s, Cat Scans, you name it). I have fibromyalgia and gastroparesis. I bring this up, because it pertains to the family dynamic. My brother, the one in question, the middle child. He has always acted as if I’m inferior to him, since I’m younger than he. He also acts superior to our older brother (the one with MD) and it’s disgusting. Last night, we both wanted to use the microwave and he asked me, not in a regular tone, but as if he was furious that I was going to use the microwave when HE wanted to use it (this is a common occurence: if he has to do something and someone else has to do the same thing, he argues, fights and screams until he gets what he wants). He was also at my parents house, he has his own house (which is a crapshow in and of itself). He said “I REALLY need to use it, can’t you wait?!” I told him I would be quick, and he says “I’M MAKING MONEY AT 7. I HAVE AN APPOINTMENT. I’M MORE IMPORTANT THAN WHATEVER YOU HAVE TO DO!” (he’s yelling now). I walked away, I said “fine! screw it! you do whatever YOU have to do! Like always!” and he screamed “SHUT UP!” and I’m tired of him screaming at me. I’m 4′ 11″ and he’s 6′ 11″ (keep in mind, every time he and I were asked to do chores and he had to do something, his friends were more important, whatever errand he had to do was always more important, and yes, he’s like this with our other brother too). So, I yelled back (which I shouldn’t have because he never backs down from an argument and I feel like I should know better, as he will manipulate and scream to get his way). “I have things to do, too!” And he yelled at me again, and I walked about a foot away and he ran at me and threw me to the ground. I yelled for my dad, my other brother came running down the stairs. The brother in question (the abuser) keeps trying to lounge at me, and then yells “YOU SEE WHAT YOU DID!?” He called me names and says I always get my way. Keep in mind, the house he has? My parents gave him $15,000 for the down payment, and my parents helped me (and ended up paying for) my $17,000 because when I transferred schools my new school screwed me over with credits (they said they had a change in the curriculum and that I was subject to any changes). Whenever my brother doesn’t get his way, he says “you always favor (me) over me (my brother!) you never help me out!” My brother comes over our house and begs for money. When we say no, he says “BUT YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND. YOU HELPING ME HELPS YOU! I’LL BE ABLE TO TAKE CARE OF YOU!” And when he asks my brother, he says “we are all we have when mom and dad are gone,” and when he asks me, it’s “mom and dad give you money! it’s not even your’s!” I’ve been working since I was 16. I’m 26 now with a full time job and I’m saving up for a condo. I’m also in line to get a new job where I’ll be making double what I pay.
    I know I’m erratic with this, but I need to vent. My brother has pushed my mom down. My brother has gotten into a few fist fights with my disabled brother (my disabled brother can walk, which is rare for MD, but he’s in pain). He’s kicked my brother to the ground, and last night was the second time he’s hurt me. The first time was a few years ago when we were arguing and he pushed me into the wall (when we were standing). Last night, he LUNGED at me, and I fell to the ground and hit a part of the wall, leading to the upstairs. Whenever he comes over, my family is immediately worried, anxious, angry, and every other bad emotion because we don’t know if he’s going to demand money (or pills). And when my parents ask about his finances, my brother screams “I’m a GROWN man! I don’t need to explain ANYTHING to you!” He’s always saying how he’ll pay my family back, he’s always lying. He’s been called a pathological liar by his old therapist. I’m scared. I’m scared to be in my house knowing he can come back. After last night, both of my parents told him (my mom wasn’t home, but she sent him a message to his email because unsurprisingly, he doesn’t have a phone), he wasn’t welcomed back. He ALWAYS does. He always waits a few days, or a few weeks if the situation was particularly bad and he acts like nothing has happened. It’s awkward. It’s terrifying. We have threatened a restraining order, but it never happens. I also am an addict (I became addicted to my own meds, I was addicted for about 3 – 3 1/2 years, but I have almost 2 years now). I got help because I see how strained the relationship is between my brother and my family and I knew I didn’t want that. No way. Not for me. I love my family way too much to let that happen. My eldest brother will die from his disease and I know that weighs heavily on my parents. My other brother, well I don’t know what’s going to happen to him, but there’s no way I’m going to let my own problems mess with my family. No way! I get up at 4:30 for work every morning and I go to meetings every night (and have been for almost 2 years). I’m tired of my brother demeaning me, belittling me. He one time asked me why I smoke cigarettes (he’s been smoking for 15 years) and I said “..because I do?” He says “you don’t make enough money, you’re still living at home!” I said, “yes, I know that.” He cut me off and said “No. YOU DON’T! You always act as if you know! You don’t know anything! When I was your age, I had my own place!” And when he was my age he was drinking and partying every night, and then coming home to my parents house drunk as hell, puking and arguing and fighting with my dad. He lived in a party house with 5 guys. I’m tired of him belittling me and acting as if I know nothing. I’m tired of him bullying my parents. I’m tired of him bullying my brother and I. I’m tired of him demanding we help him at any time, no matter what, saying “we are a family! That’s what families do! Help each other!” We are not a bank! I can’t tell you how many times he’s called us at all hours of the night, DEMANDING that someone pick him up! Whether his car broke down, or he ran out of money or gas. He’s always on the verge of snapping, always! My father was even scared of him yesterday, as my father put it, my brother gave my dad “a look no man should get in his own house.” He’s right– my dad, that is. You don’t put your hands on a woman! Your sister, or your mother! I’ve been praying for him, for his anger to calm down. I’ve been making excuses, and talking to my brother (the eldest one) saying “he’s just stressed about (this) and (that)” saying that “he’s crying because he feels bad!” No. I think my brother is right. He doesn’t cry because he feels bad, he cries because he’s been caught. I can’t believe I”m saying this, but my brother is turning into a monster. I’m not a little girl anymore and I’ve been paying attention to the family dynamics since I was a little girl. My parents have said I’ve always been observant, and I have seen what my brother (the one in question) has done. I’m limping on my right foot, my neck hurts, my left hand hurts. I’m tired. I’m scared for my parents (my dad felt pains in his chest, again!!!!) My parents are in their 60’s! They CANNOT take this stress!!!! I love my brother, but I don’t like him! (If that makes sense). I’ve seen him cry and my problem is that I can feel other people’s pain so strongly, I get upset with the person crying, but with the fact that I’ve seen him get worse, his anger, his CONTORTED face, I am truly scared. This is how serious crimes can happen. I know my parents are scared too, because my brother could really hurt one of us, or someone else now, and I know my parents are going to feel ashamed. THEY SHOULDN’T! It’s not their fault! My other brother and I are normal! We don’t go manipulating people into shame, belittling our loved ones, screaming and yelling when we don’t get what we want. We were NOT brought up in a dysfunctional home, we wanted and needed for NOTHING! I just don’t want my parents ever thinking it’s their fault. I love my parents too much to see them hurt like this. Please, please help me!!

  26. Dear Anonymous 2,

    It sounds like it is a really serious and difficult situation your family is in with your brother. It’s NEVER ok for anyone to hurt you like that, no matter who they are in relation to you. I can see how his behavior and his violence is making you feel incredibly unsafe in your parents’ home. It sounds like your parents have been trying to keep you safe by not letting your brother come to your home and have even thought about a restraining order. As an adult, you also have the right to file for a restraining order yourself. It depends on your state, but most will allow you to file for a restraining order against someone you are not in an intimate partner relationship with. You can read more about police reports and restraining orders on our website here as well: https://www.thehotline.org/2014/09/quick-look-police-reports-and-protective-orders/. Another good option may be to reach out to a local domestic violence organization; many will have legal advocates that can help you with this process and talk to you about the laws in your state and the process for obtaining a restraining order in your area. If you contact us directly either by phone at 1-800-799-7233 or by chatting with us, we can help you locate one in your area.

    Even if you decide against a restraining order or are unable to obtain one, there may be steps you and your family can take to safety-plan against any potential threats from your brother. Changing locks, installing a security system, or motion-sensitive lighting are some ideas for keeping you safe in your home. Letting your neighbors know what has been going on as well so that you can reach out to them for help if things do escalate and they are aware that he might be dangerous is another option that may work for your family.

    It’s really scary what you are going through and it sounds very stressful as well. You absolutely do not deserve this kind of treatment from him. It’s important to also think about your self-care during this time and remember that you deserve to be kind to yourself. It sounds like you are busy and have a lot going on with work, but carving out a little time in your day to do an activity that you enjoy and helps you to relax can help with coping during this stressful time. Long-term support from a professional counselor can help with processing the emotional turmoil you have been through. I’m so glad you reached out to comment and share your story; we value your contributions to our online community.

    Take care,

    Hotline Advocate CC

  27. I left my alcoholic and abusive husband like a month ago. He destroyed many things in our place, yelled at me almost every night and choked me several times when I was sleeping or reading a book. He discriminated for being mexican. He wasn’t like that at all but when I moved to the US and after the wedding, things got bad. I always cared for him and loved him. Nobody would believe that he was abusive if I told them. He is a very social, intelligent and attractive person, people liked him instantly. Also, I didn’t have like visible physical marks in my face. It was so hard for me and I tried several times to be in peace with him but all I can say is that it reached a point where I was very scared and unsafe. I knew he could kill me because he almost did. I looked for help this year and I found it. I survived thanks to friends here, this hotline and my own decision to not suffer anymore. I want to say that it is hard but it’s better to be on your own than being with somebody who humiliates you and hurts you. I was super scared when I left but it is better. I know how you feel. I was in the same situation. It is not easy but once you are out, believe me, it is for the best. Saving money and having a job helped me too. If you saw me you wouldn’t think I went through this but I did. I am in my late 20s and I really want to enjoy life and work on my dreams, please be strong and do what is best for you. No matter what your safety is what is more important and you are a great person. You deserve love and respect. Thank you.

  28. Hi Lily,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story with our online community. It can be so powerful to hear from survivors who’ve left an abusive relationship and are safe. It sounds like you survived a terrifying and dangerous relationship and we’re so happy to hear that you’re focusing on the safety you deserve. Your husband had no right to hurt you in any way. It can be so discouraging to reach out for help and have people not believe you. We’re so glad to be part of your support system and that we could be there when you needed us. Please feel free to reach out anytime, if you want to talk or find out about local resources. All conversations are confidential and anonymous. Our chat services (on our website) are available every day from 7a-2a CST and our phone hotline (800-799-7233) is 24/7.

    Take care!

    Hotline Advocate AS

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