15 surprising reasons why your boyfriend is verbally abusive when he’s drunk

If you find yourself in a relationship with someone who drinks a lot, it’s important to know some of the potential side effects.

Alcohol is a depressant that can have an effect on moods and attitudes, which can lead to aggression.

But it’s not just the immediate effects of drinking that can lead to abusive behavior. There are still more reasons that you need to know about.

This article discusses 15 reasons why your boyfriend may be verbally abusive when he’s drunk.

1) He may have been verbally abused as a child

One of the biggest similarities between alcohol-related verbal abuse and domestic violence is that the perpetrator is often a male.

Many men who aggress during drunk and drug-induced states are actually victims of verbal abuse as children.

They can have unresolved feelings about it and become aggressive when they’re drunk.

The abuser often behaves like a child in an attempt to control the situation, demanding that things be done his way and making constant criticism of both his partner, as well as others around him.

Key point:

The best thing you can do is try to understand your partner’s childhood. Be supportive, especially if you feel his difficult past is still affecting him.

2) He has an untreated mental illness like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or anxiety disorder

Here is the truth:

Mental illness can cause your boyfriend to be abusive. Your boyfriend may be bipolar, schizophrenic, or have an anxiety disorder.

All of these conditions can, in time, lead to a vicious cycle where alcohol is used as a crutch, and then verbal abuse starts to occur.

If you are concerned that your boyfriend has bipolar disorder or schizophrenia then you need to take steps to seek professional help for him.

Don’t be afraid to do so. It’s far more damaging to him not to seek help if he is in need of it.

3) He could be self-medicating after a past trauma

One of the most common reasons why men abuse alcohol or drugs is that they use them to self-medicate themselves.

In other words, they are trying to deal with past trauma.

This behavior can often lead to verbal abuse as he seeks to control his partner’s responses towards him.

Veterans and those who have suffered childhood traumas often drink heavily or take drugs as a means of coping with this dark past.

Just put yourself in his shoes!

You may feel that he is too aggressive, but it’s important to make an effort to understand why he reacts the way he does.

4) He struggles with anger management

There is a big difference between being angry and being abusive.

Your boyfriend may have difficulty managing his anger. This doesn’t mean he is always aggressive, but it can explain why he becomes verbally abusive when he drinks.

And this makes you want to give up on love and walk away.

But I want to suggest a solution. You have all the tools you need to do this right now, right where you are.

I learnt about this from the renowned shaman Rudá Iandê. He taught me to see through the lies we tell ourselves about love and become truly empowered.

As Rudá explains in this mind-blowing free video, love is not what many of us think it is. In fact, many of us are actually self-sabotaging our love lives without realizing it!

We need to face the facts about your boyfriend being verbally abusive when he’s drunk:

Far too often we chase an idealized image of someone and build up expectations that are guaranteed to be let down.

Far too often we fall into codependent roles of savior and victim to try to “fix” our partner, only to end up in a miserable, bitter routine.

Far too often, we are on shaky ground with our own selves and this carries over into toxic relationships that become hell on earth.

Rudá’s teachings showed me a whole new perspective.

While watching, I felt like someone understood my struggles to find love for the first time – and finally offered an actual, practical solution to verbal abuse.

If you’re done with unsatisfying dating, empty hookups, frustrating relationships, and having your hopes dashed over and over, then this is a message you need to hear.

Click here to watch the free video.

5) He may be a narcissist

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I hate to say it, but men who suffer from narcissism often have issues with alcohol.

And this can lead to verbal abuse.

A narcissist is someone who is completely self-centered and only thinks about himself. Narcissists are extremely sensitive and are likely to be irritated by small things.

If something goes wrong or if you annoy him, he will feel extremely angry and prone to violent verbal outbursts.

The good news is that you can learn to deal with a narcissistic boyfriend by developing healthy boundaries and not reacting to his verbal abuse.

But keep in mind:

If this relationship doesn’t worth fighting for, it’s better to give him up for now.

6) He’s usually afraid to show real emotions

A guy who is verbally abusive when he’s drunk is the same guy who is afraid to show his emotions.

In fact, he might not even be aware of how he feels. This makes him unable to confront his problems at the root core and resolve them.

And this makes him verbally abusive whenever he does get emotional. He drinks as much as possible so that he can feel something, anything.

He might have some underlying issues that he needs to work out.

In short:

Try to understand hịm. He might be afraid of emotions and incapable of relating to you in a healthy manner. Consider therapy for him, if he is willing to take action on his problems.

7) He’s insecure about his masculinity

Many men who are verbally abusive when they’re drunk or high struggle with the idea that they are “man enough.”

Deep down, they might be insecure and feel weak.

They might display this in vicious verbal outbursts, especially if they feel you didn’t do something perfectly.

For example, you don’t show him enough adoration or you don’t compromise on your own ideas.

Don’t get me wrong.

I’m not suggesting that it’s your fault. But it’s important to be understanding and to try to find a way to help him work through his issues.

If you can, the relationship will go much deeper and the verbal abuse will stop.

8) He just wants attention and you’re not giving it to him when he’s sober

Another reason if your boyfriend is verbally abusive when he’s drunk is that he is frustrated and wants to be seen and heard.

He might want you to stop what you’re doing, take his hand, and follow him. Because he feels like you aren’t giving him what he needs.

But when he gets drunk, his need for attention is too great for him to handle it any other way. He snaps and verbally abuses you on the spot.


Most men (and some women) who abuse alcohol or drugs also have narcissistic tendencies.

So they just want to be seen as powerful and important and they will use other people to get the attention they crave.

If you can manage to help him feel loved and important in a sober, healthy manner, then he won’t need to resort to verbal abuse.

9) He has a history of abusing women

Some men who drink a lot or take drugs are violent and see you as an inferior person.

This is not okay.

They might struggle with their hyper-masculinity, which is why they feel the need to control you and treat you like this.

So perhaps your boyfriend may have been verbally abusive with his past girlfriends or he might have abused them physically.

If this is the case, consider your relationship and what you can do to help him change his abusive behaviors.

It might be time to leave him, especially if he hasn’t recognized and acknowledged what he did to his previous partners.

10) His self-esteem could have been bruised by an ex-girlfriend or a family member

Teenage relationships are often plagued by breakups, drama, and violence.

Many young men experience a lot of hurt from the betrayal and humiliation they face when they try to start dating.

This can lead to them becoming insecure and defensive over some aspects of their life. They may feel that they need to control you in order to protect themselves.

And this can lead to verbally abusive behavior.

So be aware of this and try to find ways to help him heal from his pain by being patient and understanding.

He’s probably hurting and feels powerless in the situation. So please stop taking the verbal abuse personally. That will help him heal faster.

Or you can consider leaving the relationship.

11) He has entitlement issues and feels that no one should tell him what to do

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In some cases, men have a lot of unresolved issues with their fathers and they don’t want to hear why they can’t do something.

They think it’s “unhealthy” or “TOO controlling” for you to caution them. So they become verbally abusive when you confront them about something.

They feel that they are entitled to have their own way and if you try to tell them something, then that means you’re “not as important” as them.

In truth:

They are hurt and are trying to lash out at you, even though you didn’t do anything wrong.

Try to help him heal from his pain and get along with his dad. Sometimes this healing process can take years, so be patient with him.

He will probably start feeling better once he understands himself better.

12) He’s not happy with his job or career path

Especially in this modern society, many men who are unhappy with their jobs or careers can take it out on their significant others.

They may be stressed from working too many hours, dealing with difficult clients, or simply battling with a boss they have to deal with.

So they start taking it out on you by verbally abusing you and talking down to you when they’re drunk.

Most men do not realize that their work lives are affecting their love lives.

So you can help them discover this and understand the link between work and love. This will allow them to be happier at work and with you in the long run.

And remember:

You can help a man in recovery by not giving him what he wants when he’s drunk.

He is not thinking very clearly when he drinks, so you should try to be patient and tolerant when he’s in this state.

13) He needs validation from others, often from your friends or family members as well as you

Some men feel a lot of pressure to prove themselves to others. They may have a lot of anxiety about this and they try to get validation by verbally abusing you.

Take this example:

He may want you to pay more attention to him than your friends. So he gets jealous and tries to verbally hurt you with mean words when he’s drunk.

Or he might get jealous of your family members because they have more money or they seem successful.

So he starts trying to control how much time you spend with them.

Yet it’s normal for most of us to spend time with both our family and friends. It doesn’t mean that we’re not dedicated enough to him or that we love him less than them.

You can help him heal by helping him learn how to get his self-esteem back.

This will improve his relationships with others and he will start seeing his behavior in a more realistic light.

14) He feels threatened by you

One of the reasons causing your boyfriend to verbally abuse you is insecurity.

He feels threatened by you and he can’t stand it. He feels that he is being judged or disrespected by you, so he starts picking on you verbally.

If this is happening to you, then know that he could be mentally threatened by your success and the fact that he’s in a relationship with a strong woman like you.

He may feel that he doesn’t have good enough qualities to deserve a great partner like you. So he tries to get her attention by picking on her verbally.

You could help him heal by not worrying about what other people think of you. This will allow him to start seeing that there is nothing wrong with you.

Be honest with him so he can see how wonderful he is on his own two feet.

15) It’s a way for him to stay in control when he feels powerless

Many extra-dominant men don’t feel that they are in control of their own lives.

So they take control by verbally abusing others. But this is not a healthy way to be in control because he’s taking it out on you and hurting you instead.

How can we deal with this?

  • By helping him find a way to be in control of his life. Being in a controlling relationship can be temporarily helpful for him, but not healthy long-term.
  • You could suggest some ways where he can take control of his life by setting goals, coming up with plans, and acting on them.

These steps will give him more confidence and help him feel better about himself so he doesn’t need to verbally abuse.

And remember that he also has to respect your boundaries and be honest with you.

Final thoughts

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this article. But if you’re serious about helping your man overcome verbal abuse, then you need to understand these 15 reasons why men verbally abuse their partners.

Since they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they can be really mean and hurtful with the things that they say to us.

But by understanding what’s causing him to verbally abuse us, we can learn how to respond better and help him stop this behavior.

You can also share this post with your friends, family members, or anyone else you think will benefit from the advice.

Picture of Thảo Anh Nguyễn

Thảo Anh Nguyễn

It is the little daily things that make life worth living and I know how to put you in the right perspective. I write about the intersection of life and love: how spirituality has changed my relationships, what I do to cultivate love in my life, and why I believe that all relationships are spiritual. Meet all your needs for your relationship and pieces of life advice with my articles.

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