The relationship between domestic violence and alcohol is very complicated. While you are likely to assume that alcohol is the primary cause of your partner's violent tenancies, this is not always the case. In many cases, alcohol doesn't make your partner violent. In fact, he or she may be getting drunk:
As An Excuse to Get Violent
Some abusive partners consciously decide to get drunk so that they can come back and get violent with you. If your partner falls in this category, then he or she may even pretend that he or she doesn't remember what happened while he or she was under the influence of alcohol. In essence, he or she is using alcoholism as a justification for his or her actions.
To Elicit Sympathy
Your partner may also drink so that you can feel more sympathetic to his or her situation, instead of getting angry. Maybe he or she has other problems in his or her life (such as financial problems). In such cases, you may even find yourself ignoring your partner's violence and comforting him or her on his or her "predicament." Unfortunately, your attempts to be understanding the "problem" only perpetuates it further.
To Manipulate You
It may also be possible that your spouse is using alcohol to manipulate you. He or she knows that you aren't likely to argue with his or her direction when he or she is drunk. You are likely to dismiss any counterarguments to bad decisions on the basis that "your spouse is drunk and doesn't know what he or she is doing." For example, he or she may get drunk so that he or she can force you to have sex (marital rape) without arguing about it.
Of course, there are also genuine cases where alcohol is the main problem, or at the very least, part of the problem. According to the Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, some research has shown that alcohol makes people with low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin react violently to situations that they may otherwise handle nonviolently.
Whichever category your spouse falls in, alcoholism doesn't give him or her the right to abuse you. Even though you may feel the urge to stay and help your partner overcome his or her violence tendencies, you may just be putting yourself (and your children) in harm's way.
Extricate yourself from the situation in the best way possible by contacting a lawyer like Jeffrey D. Larson, Attorney at Law with domestic violence experience. Such an attorney will know how you can defend yourself and your children, and even protect your legal rights in the process.
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