When someone lives with an alcoholic there are many highs and lows that go with it. Spouses and children are affected indirectly when they are living with an alcoholic. The effects can vary from being withdrawn to being enablers of the alcoholic parent or spouse. Spouses are also affected differently than the children are.
When it comes to the affects of how a spouse can be affected when living with an alcoholic they can be very withdrawn and provide very little reaction when cornered. They may have lived with an abusive alcoholic and learned to be quiet and stay clear of any supposed infractions. They may also believe that they deserve what they get because they are unable to help their spouse overcome their affliction. Women who have an alcoholic husband may also be enablers because they inadvertently support their husband by making excuses for his behavior. Men, on the other hand, who have alcoholic wives usually, do not become enablers. They are more likely to separate or divorce their spouse, which often causes the wives to seek the help they need to get over their illness.
Children of who are living with an alcoholic can share some of the characteristics that a spouse has. For instance, they may be timid because they have learned that their alcoholic parent has a hair-trigger with mood swings; and if the parent has an abusive tendency, it is often better to avoid triggering the mood swing in the first place. They may choose to stay in denial to avoid any confrontation with the alcoholic parent. Children can also be enablers in the same way that a spouse can in that they can provide excuses on the whereabouts of their alcoholic parent; often lying to cover up for the fact that their parent has a drinking problem.
The love that spouses and children have for their spouse or parent who is an alcoholic often overshadows the right way of getting help. They may also feel that there is not a problem and will go out of their way to avoid admitting that a problem exists. Those who are living with an alcoholic often feel insecure and possibly fearful for their well-being if abuse also exists in the household. Their insecurities can lead to self-doubt and their need to please everyone in their path to avoid any negative recriminations.