If you’ve been wondering why your husband or boyfriend picks fights with you when he drinks, it’s important to know that fights that emerge because of alcohol use are more scientific and neurologic than you might think. Alcohol affects your mood; it increases aggression and influences your neurological balance. These may be the main contributors to the fights you have with your drunk partner.
It’s 11 o’clock on a Saturday, and you are heartbroken and frustrated. Yet another useless fight encouraged by your partner’s drinking. Conflicts that emerge because of alcohol are the worst! At every social gathering, you ask yourself, why does my husband/boyfriend pick fights with me when he drinks?
I know that understanding the factors contributing to the fighting won’t make it go away or improve it. Luckily understanding that your partner does not necessarily turn into a monster on purpose after one too many bourbons. It will help you handle the situation correctly.
The Effect Of Alcohol On Your Husband’s Mood
Alcohol affects our inhibitions; this can cause your partner to say things he will regret. Drinkaware states that the interference that alcohol has on our brain reduces our ability to think straight.
Alcohol can have an alarming amount of interference with our brain!
Remember all those times you felt like you were fighting with a child? That’s because your partner could not think straight. The only thing more frustrating than fighting with your drunk partner is fighting with a stubborn intoxicated partner!
Trust me; I know the feeling. During drunk fights with my partner, I always ask myself why! Why does this useless fight happen?
Kristin Wilson explains it well. Your partner’s mood changes because of alcohol are the result of increased dopamine. If you have too much dopamine, your stress, anxiety, and fear responses are blocked. The result is your dopamine overload partner doing exactly what he wants and not taking you into consideration. Just in case you are wondering, dopamine is a neurotransmitter that regulates our emotions.
Instead of fighting with a wall, rather take what he says with a pinch of salt.
Are there topics that only emerge when your husband/boyfriend had a few drinks? Maybe it’s the truth coming out.
Related Reading: My Husband Pushed Me During An Argument, What Should I Do?
The Truth Behind His Drunk Fights
We have all heard this before “the truth comes out when one is intoxicated.” Is this true?
This is not entirely true. However, Gary L. Malone highlights a neurological and phycological relapse causes a hostile response with higher blood alcohol levels. To simplify these medical terms, the drunker your husband/boyfriend becomes the less he cares about what he is saying. This will contribute to him picking fights with you and not caring about its effect on your emotions and phycological well-being.
So many times, in my life, I have heard:” it’s not what you say; it’s how you say it.” Especially when it comes to conflict due to alcohol and even more so if you are sober and your significant other is not. It may feel like he is waking sleeping dogs by bringing up past conflict, but what makes it worse is how he says it.
I think it is safe to say the truth does not come out when one is drunk. A person just loses all their tact. This results in the sober party getting upset, with good reason, and in the end, the couple is in conflict.
The problem may be more than just speaking the truth untactfully. Some men get aggressive when drinking a bit too much.
Why Alcohol Makes Him Aggressive
Not all men get aggressive. Some become more emotional. However, this may only be true for some men out there.
If you are one of the unlucky ones who has a partner with an aggressive nature, hopefully, you will now know why alcohol makes his aggression worse. It does not justify his aggression, but these reasons can help you understand why he becomes aggressive.
Budy T investigated the risk factors that will increase alcohol-related aggression. One of the factors that made me giggle is the fact that being male is a risk factor for intoxicated aggression. Other factors include having a sensation-seeking personality, having friends/family who become aggressive when intoxicated, and lacking empathy.
If you have a partner who picks fights with you when he is intoxicated and becomes aggressive. It is wise to remember it’s not your fault, and with the correct approach to these scenarios, you can save yourself loads of heartache.
Knowing how to approach these scenarios can better your relationship.
Related Reading: Why Being Sober Makes You a Better Parent (11 Reasons)
How To Deal With Fights Started By Drunk Husbands/Boyfriends
Although you want to deal with the conflict the same night it started, it is wise not to do so. I know that the result will be you going to bed upset and angry, but rather safe than sorry as the intoxicated person is not currently in their right state of mind.
Annemarie Houlis states that it is wise to wait until all parties involved are sober. It is better to remove yourself from the situation altogether. If the problem is critical, meaning you sometimes get scared of your significant other, it may be advised to seek him some help.
It’s essential to recognize the fact that you are not in the wrong. Nothing about the situation is your fault. Elizabeth Hartney states that it is wise to discuss with your partner and suggest that he only drinks four or five drinks per occasion. Set an ultimatum also make sure he sticks to the ultimatum. Support him, but do not pressure him. This will only make the situation worse.
Related Reading: Why Is My Father is Depressed & How Can I Help?
How To Address What Happened
Although it can be tempting to carry on after a fight like this and pretend that “everything is ok” (and we get it, you’re already emotionally drained), it’s better to process and heal from events like this, and here are a few tips to help with healing.
Explain How It Made You Feel
Try talking to your partner about how the fights make you feel. Be sure to focus the topic on you and your emotions and not on him. This way, we reduce the chances of your partner acting defensively, thus further progressing the conversation.
In addition, try to use “I statements” that focus on your emotions. For example, “I noticed when you drink you do….and I feel…”. These statements will help shift the conversation in a way that does not sound accusatory.
Speak To Him When You Have Level Emotions
We all know that emotions can sometimes get the best of us, especially if we are dealing with an emotionally charged incident that keeps on recurring. However, as hard as it may seem, try to defuse your emotions before speaking to your partner.
Go for a drive or a walk, listen to music, or do whatever you need to do in order to bring your emotions down to a steady level. Speaking to your partner in a charged state can only make issues worse and will probably not give you the results you were hoping for.
Address One Issue At A Time
Although during a fight, it may feel very easy to fall down the rabbit hole of re-hashing old conflicts or side issues, doing so may hinder your chances of finding a solution for your problem. Try to keep diversions to a minimum and address the conversation to find a solution rather than to vent.
Refrain From Addressing The Topic While He Is Intoxicated
This point goes without saying, but it is vital to refrain from speaking to your partner about your concerns while he is intoxicated. Not only will the gravity of the situation not be fully comprehended by your partner, but you will almost certainly be left feeling even more frustrated and irritable as a result.
Murphy’s law, last night while I was writing this article, my intoxicated boyfriend picked a fight with me!
Not about anything important, about supermarket stock. With all my research still fresh in my thoughts, I tried not to argue back and just took everything he said with a pinch of salt. Believe me. It worked like a charm.
Try to remember this article amid your next intoxicated fight with your partner.
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After earning his Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto, Stuart gained experience working with families in community mental health settings and in the child protection sector. Since becoming a father himself, Stuart now works in private practice offering psychotherapy services. FatherResource is an opportunity for Stuart to share what he learns on his journey as a father with a larger audience.