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Abusive Relationships/soap opera I need out of


I hope this question is in your area... I'm lost and confused and I really, really need help. I don't know if this is a simple case of an emotionally abusive relationship or not.

I'm in a failing relationship with a depressed alcoholic. I want out, he knows I want out and he's giving me the space to leave. He says that he's a loser with nothing to offer and he doesn't understand why I'm still with him. So why aren't I leaving?

I don't know how to leave him. I probably have co-dependency issues. We have nothing anymore. He physically disgusts me so there's no attraction anymore, at least on my end. He's drinking so often now that it's hard to have anymore real, meaningful conversations. But every now and then he's sober, and he's my best friend.

He's depressed. He's threatened suicide often throughout our relationship. I once called the police on him because of a suicide threat. He said that that made him respect me more - that the event made him realize I did care about him. However, if I ever called the police on him again, he'd make sure they went out with him.

He's made a lot of bad decisions and many of them are coming back to haunt him, but he's also in a really bad spot not from his doing. He has zero money, is going to get kicked out of his apartment soon, can't afford food, won't be able to feed his cat soon, can't afford anymore of his medicine (anti-depressants and pain pills for a chronic injury)... so he's weaning himself off those medicines, exacerbating any already existing issues. However, it honestly is not entirely his fault. He has money owed to him from a past employer who is completely, unreasonably ignoring him (he wants to find pro-bono legal help, but doesn't have the emotional energy, because...)

His mother is dying. She was diagnosed with cancer a few months ago and while she's doing unexpectedly really well, she probably won't survive this. He does not get along with her and wants her to die, but maybe only so this waiting game is over. He doesn't like her, but this is still taking a huge toll on him.

I'm not being narcissistic when I say that I'm pretty much his only support network. There are no other close friends and he's not close enough to get support from his family. Because there's no money, therapy isn't an option. AA was a fight I had to give up to save my own sanity. But I don't know what to do. I personally, for my sanity, need out of this because I'm not strong enough to support all of this. But neither is he. I don't want to leave him only for him to collapse under everything, but if I stay, I'm going to collapse, too.

And yes, he is definitely emotionally abusive. Because I'm the only one close to him, I get to be the one he takes out all of his stress on. In nearly every conversation, I have to bite my tongue to stop from saying something that'll cause him to blow up. If he doesn't do that, he'll tell me that he wishes a tree would fall on him so he doesn't have to be the one to kill himself. Or he'll just scream at me about how shitty the world is to him. I want out. But I don't know how to handle the guilt of being one more ruined thing in his collapsing life. Honestly, I think the best thing that could ever happen is for him to be arrested and thrown in prison (which could because of former DUI's). I need advice... Please.

Hi Victoria, I am so sorry to hear about this situation.  I have been thinking about how to answer your question, understanding that there is a lot of compassion here and a good amount of co-dependency.  The solution truly is to leave the situation.  You leaving, like all the other people in his life who have left, is the natural consequence of the choices he is making in his life.  He is depressed because he is drinking, he drinks to avoid whatever the pain is in his life. He does have other choices that are more healthy, he just chooses not to do those things.   He has no relationships simply because he can't seem to manage them well...whatever the reason.  You have hung in there with him, however he is destroying the relationship he has with you as well.

You can't have a relationship with an alcoholic.  They are already having a relationship with the alcohol and they are cognitively impaired all the time.  You can't win at this because it isn't your problem.  The authority to solve it is not in your hands.  

He knows what to do, you have given him the information many times I'm sure.  If he doesn't take advantage of the resources that are available to him, that is his choice.  Others, such as yourself, can't live in the same world he chooses to live in.  There is no shame in that.  Is there a possibility that he will harm himself, ..... Yes.  However, you can't take that on as your responsibility.  The choice to live or die is in his hands.  His threats could be real, they could be a is hard for someone to tell.  You did the right thing and I would suggest you do it again if he begins talking about suicide in your presence.  But I will say again, keeping him stable is not your responsibility.  There is only one person that was ever called to give His life for another and that person is not you.  You have obviously done all you can so walk away knowing that.

I wish you all the best as you make your decision.  If I can be of any further assistance, please feel free to contact me again.

Abusive Relationships

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Kriss Mitchell, M.Ed, CRC, CNHP


I can answer questions regarding emotional and physical abuse in dating and marriage situations, however I am unable to give legal advice. Having had firsthand experience in an abusive relationship, I understand the feelings, the questions and the doubts we have as we try to make decisions about how to improve our situations. I am also able to address spiritual concerns regarding staying in or leaving these types of situations.


Having been a victim of emotional abuse for many years and having family members who were in violent abuse situations, I have personal experience on many levels. I have since gone on to become a professional counselor and work with abused women.

American Mental Health Counselors Assn., American Association of Christian Counselors, International Association of Prayer Counselors

I currently maintain a blog at I also have links and currently written articles on my website at You can also follow me on TWITTER @livingwellcc, or on facebook at Living Well Counseling and Consulting. My writings have appeared in The Good News Northwest and the North Idaho Business Journal

Licensed Professional Counselor, Board Certified Professional Christian Counselor, Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, Certified Natural Health Professional

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Board Certified Christian Counselor

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