Domestic Abuse and Alcohol Abuse
Who Is Abandoning Whom?

Dr. King


by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.

Domestic abuse counseling is fertile ground to reveal and sort out marital misconceptions within oneself and between each other. In cases of alcohol abuse, couples frequently show up in domestic abuse treatment with false beliefs about one another. And these beliefs are often the trigger for their domestic disputes, or the rough spots that prevent long-term relationship repair.

In domestic abuse couples treatment, we have the opportunity to sort out what is true and what is not. The process is transformational for the individuals and for their relationship.

Alcohol, Domestic Abuse and Abandonment

I’m reminded of a moving moment in which a gentleman (and former substance abuser) held a gripping grudge against his wife for abandoning him. She picked herself up and left the marital home with their minor children.

The mother of this young family reached a breaking point with her abusive husband’s alcohol abuse. She said, that’s it; no more…and she left her drunken battering spouse and their marriage.

In a moment of therapeutic insight, the gentleman declared, “She didn’t abandon me; I was abandoning her.” That declaration emerged out of months of inner work on personal accountability and responsibility within the relationship.

His recognition of the underlying impact of his alcohol abuse on his wife and on their relationship opened a door for an inner shift that became a blessing for their marriage. He recognized how he was stepping out of the relationship through alcohol use. And here’s the therapeutic insight: leaving his wife behind…abandoning her.

Alcohol Abuse and Domestic Violence

It is common knowledge that alcohol reduces one’s inhibitions. If resentments and anger lurk in the background, you can expect them to emerge when drinking. Even worse, if one is also addicted to control within the relationship...alcohol can heighten the violence associated with their seeking it.

When this is the case, one is not only looking at a “sloppy drunk” or “mentally altered person,” they are dealing with domestic violence that has the potential to spiral out of control. It is really scary for the spouse of an alcoholic and domestic abuser.

Who Is Abandoning Whom When Alcohol and Abuse Are in Play

The insights that led to the core transformations for this couple rested on the respective empathy cultivated for one another over the course of the intervention.

If you are in an abusive relationship compounded by the abuse of alcohol (or drugs), seek to salvage your marriage with domestic abuse counseling in the context of relationship therapy.

For more information about healing an abusive relationship, visit and claim your Free Instant Access to Survivor Success eInsights. Psychologist Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps people nationwide recognize, end and heal from domestic abuse. © Jeanne King, Ph.D. — Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention

Dr. Jeanne King is a licensed psychologist and domestic abuse consultant. Feel free to contact us if you need help with physical and/or emotional pain, stress-related illnesses, or relationship abuse issues at home or in court. Contact Us to reach Dr. King.