The Drinker Can Be Humiliating

The drinker can be humiliating

Families of alcoholics will often agree that the drinker can be humiliating. Their actions are not logical, and they aren’t thinking, they just act. This is really hard for partners and extended family to cope with, children feel embarrassed and uncomfortable. 

What’s the definition of “Humiliation”?

to make someone feel ashamed or lose respect for himself or herself

To give some examples:

Feelings of embarrassment, mortification, shame, disgrace, dishonour, loss of pride, loss of face.

It’s totally understandable that some families will feel this way. Most of us worry about what others think of us, so when a family member is acting out in a way that is embarrassing we want the ground to swallow us up. 

What causes your humiliation?

Is it because you’re more concerned about what others think? Maybe it’s because they haven’t met your expectations or behaving how you want them to?

It’s natural to automatically feel embarrassed when someone you love does something inappropriate or socially unacceptable. How much of what’s going on is about you?

You need to understand what’s your reason to feel humiliated as it’ll be different to someone else. If you feel they’ve disappointed you, are your expectations of them too high (bearing in mind they aren’t the person they use to be before drinking).

If it’s worrying about what others think, you may want to understand why that’s important to you. Have your parents made that a thing in your life?

Someone else’s actions aren’t a reflection of you. 

The drinker can be humiliating


One of the biggest struggles for families of alcoholics is acceptance. Letting go of expectations of them being and doing what you want of them. 

Their priority isn’t yours, their coping mechanism is alcohol. The thought of you taking that away, or wanting them to stop is very scary. 

Drinkers vary in terms of how they act, it depends on lots of things, particularly the level of their drinking and their personality. If someone is a generally calm and gentle person, the likelihood of them getting aggressive is unlikely. 

Alcohol alters the brain chemistry, it impacts on the person’s actions. So at times they can do things they may think are fun, funny, and interesting. However, the people around them don’t think that, often leaving family members feeling humiliated. 

The more you know, the easier it will be

When you know yourself well, you’re better able to understand and help others. If you haven’t been a drinker, it’s going to be VERY difficult for you to know exactly what their going through. 

So my suggestion is:

  • To understand how the drinker humiliates you
  • Then look at why that matters so much to you (this will connect to your values and beliefs)
  • Start to separate the person from the addiction (they are deep in there – they aren’t their addiction)
  • Learn more about alcohol misuse, when you know more, you’ll hopefully have even more compassion
  • Remember they aren’t doing it on purpose (It’s not about you)

Next Steps

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Get in Touch

If you’d like to chat then do get in touch, I’m happy to gift you some time. Click here or email or call (07732) 403305. 

Remember you aren’t alone and you can always join my Change Your Mind Facebook group, where other families of alcoholics support each other with challenges they experience from the past or present.  You may have lived with an alcoholic in your past, but it’s still impacting you in the present. 

I also run a podcast with my sister, click here to find out more. 


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