What to do when your boyfriend or girlfriend turns abusive

Nemo asks: My boyfriend drinks a lot, and he gets all angry at me after that, and now he has blocked me. He doesn’t give anyone a second chance. I literally wasn’t at any fault this time now. I wanna talk to him, I wanna get back together with him, and I am ready to apologize – but how do I when he’s not ready to listen?

Hi Nemo –

So I get questions like this a lot, especially recently.  Now I’m going to turn it around onto you. 

Imagine I wrote you, and said “I have a human who gets drunk and beats me with his belt.  I can’t trust him, and sometimes it’s so bad I’m unable to walk.  Last night, he kicked me out of his home and shut the gate.  I’m trying to get back in, because I love him so much and don’t want to go find a neighbor to take care of me.  What can I do?

Wouldn’t your response be, “Find that neighbor!  Get away from this guy, he’s awful!”

So if so, why are you being kinder to me than to yourself?

Nemo, this guy drinks too much, and is then abusive.  Now he’s even blocking you and not speaking to you.

Why in the world go back to him?

I completely understand if you love him, or even are in love with him.  But – and listen very closely to this – You Can Find Someone Else To Love!  There are other people out there who are kind and would appreciate and value you. 

What your boyfriend needs is

some help in stopping drinking, or at least cutting it down.  And the best way to get that to happen is for him to lose enough of what he wants in life that he starts to see the good in reducing or eliminating alcohol.  In treatment programs, this is called “Hitting Bottom.”  And they’ll tell you, everyone has a different “bottom.”  For some it’s getting embarrassed by something they did when drunk.  For others it’s getting a ticket for driving while intoxicated, or actually hurting someone.  But very often, someone’s “bottom” is when they lose friends or loved ones who just can’t take it anymore. 

If you’re having trouble doing this, there’s a great group called Al-Anon; it’s an offshoot of Alcoholics Anonymous, for people with alcoholics in their life.  It does wonders at helping people like you give healthy boundaries to people like him.

I’m not saying I hope you and he are done forever.  I just want his behavior to be done forever.  And in the meantime, if that happens because he improves himself and you two get back as a couple, that’s all great.  But if he doesn’t, I sure want you to start finding what you need in other people.

You deserve it.

All my best,


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