Why is my Significant Other Angry When they Drink?

Why is my Significant Other Angry When they Drink?

If you’ve ever gone out drinking with friends before, you know all too well that people’s personalities can change with alcohol. You might have one friend giggling uncontrollably, another one fighting with her boyfriend and another one being loud and craving attention. Why do they get angry when they drink?

There’s no question that alcohol can change our personalities. But why exactly does this happen? And why are the changes so drastically different among people? 

Like most things, science can explain some of the reasons why our behavior changes on alcohol. Just like it can explain the reasons why some people need alcohol recovery in Denver and some don’t. But even with the available research, it’s much more complex than this. 

The Four Types of Drunks, According to Science 

According to a study in Addiction Research & Theory, there are four types of drunks: the Mary Poppins, the Ernest Hemingway, the Nutty Professor and Mr. Hyde. 

The first and largest group is the Ernest Hemingways. They can drink lots of alcohol without any major changes to their personality, much like Ernest Hemingway himself. The Mary Poppins drinkers are “practically perfect in every way” and get sweeter and happier with alcohol. 

The Nutty Professors are natural introverts who become more social and confident when they drink. Lastly, there are the Mr. Hydes who become more hostile when they consume alcohol. Turning into a Mary Poppins or a Nutty Professor may not be a big deal, but transforming from a Dr. Jekyll to a Mr. Hyde is. 

Why Do Some People Get Angry When They Drink? 

Why some people turn hostile when they drink is complicated. The prefrontal cortex – the part of the brain responsible for planning and cognitive behavior – turns off when we drink alcohol. This reduction in brain activity can lead to a decrease in self-awareness and a heightened bias toward cues in the environment, leading to more aggression.

Additionally, social context and personality both play a role. Humans are social creatures, so the environments we’re in influences our behavior. When we drink, it becomes harder to read social cues and facial expressions, causing us to be more defensive and hostile. We also have a harder time controlling our internal thoughts and feelings. 

On its own, however, alcohol does not just make people mean. 

My Significant Other is a Mean Drunk. How Can I Deal? 

Reading about mean drunks is one thing, but living with one is another. If your significant other turns mean when they drink, this can make your home life tumultuous. You don’t know when your partner will start drinking and the effect the alcohol will have on them. And if it does turn out to be “one of those times,” you’ll have to find ways to navigate the chaos. 

Coping with an angry drunk is never easy, but it’s especially complicated when it’s your significant other. You can’t exactly remove yourself from the situation every time this person drinks. You can try (and we do recommend staying away), but it’s not a long term solution. 

slamming fist through wall

While each situation is unique, here are some tips to help you deal with a mean drunk: 

  • Have an honest conversation. Wait until your significant other is sober. Then talk to them about their drinking and the way it makes you feel. Bring up specific examples so that you can be clear about your concerns. 
  • Drink less often yourself. If alcohol is a big part of your lives as a couple, it’s probably time to stop. It’s bringing out the worst in your significant other, and continuing to drink together only gives them more opportunities to act out. Make a commitment to enjoy sober activities together
  • Assess their emotions. It’s very likely there are hostile feelings within your partner and this is why they are acting out when they drink. Check in with your partner and find out if there are areas in their lives they’re unhappy with. 
  • Explain your concerns. Let your loved one know that you’re worried about them and their safety. Picking fights with others can lead to a physical altercation. Drinking and driving should not be tolerated, however. 
  • Consider an intervention. If your significant other drinks all the time, they may have an alcohol use disorder. The underlying anger could be coming from the addiction itself. If others in your circle have the same concerns, it may be time to suggest outpatient rehab in Denver

Why Can’t I Just Ignore the Drinking? 

If you just started dating someone and they’re an aggressive drunk, it’s probably best to walk away. You don’t need to start off a relationship with this issue. But if your significant other is your spouse or the parent of your children, you can’t just walk away. 

It may seem easier to ignore the behavior, especially if they’re nice when they’re not drinking. However, this is rarely the best solution. Ignoring the behavior can cause the drinking problem to get worse, leading to substance abuse, addiction and violent behavior. 

No one has to reach the ultimate rock bottom to get help. There are different levels of outpatient treatment in Denver, making it easy to choose a program that meets your individual needs. Your partner can work on their underlying struggles, develop healthier coping mechanisms and stop the cycle of abuse. Speaking up and addressing the behavior is good for everyone in the family unit. 

Getting Help for a Drinking Problem 

Your partner may be kind most of the time except when they drink. However, we do want to point out that hitting or assaulting someone is never okay. If your significant other is ever violent toward you, call 911 and ask for the police. This behavior should not be tolerated. If you’re injured, ask for an ambulance as well. Hospitals can point you in the direction of resources for abused partners. 

Even if your significant other hasn’t been physically violent toward you, a mean drunk’s behavior can get worse over time. To prevent further problems from happening, talk to your loved one about their behavior. Suggest going to couples counseling to address underlying problems in the relationship. If you struggle with drinking as well, now is a good time to recognize your problems and how to stop. An outpatient alcohol rehab in Denver may be good for the both of you. 

Continuum Recovery Center of Colorado Works with Couples 

Continuum Recovery Center of Colorado offers holistic substance abuse treatment that heals the mind, body and spirit. We offer family therapy to strengthen the family unit and help everyone recognize their role in the healing process. If your significant other has an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, contact us today to learn more about our convenient, affordable rehab facilities in Denver