Alcoholism: Why So Many Drinkers Are Bullies

Feeling pressurised into having an alcoholic drink can be awful. You try to be polite. You explain that you’re driving home and so “don’t want to risk it.” If that doesn’t work, you claim that you’re “on medication at the moment”. When these perfectly reasonable explanations fall on deaf ears, you are left with three options:

  1. Stand your ground and continue to stick to soft drinks only
  2. Walk out
  3. Let the bully win by finally bowing to pressure (agreeing to have “one for the road”)

A bully is exactly what someone who pressurises others to drink is: a browbeater, an intimidator, a tormenter:
“Oh, you’re not drinking because you’re under the thumb? You have to do what your partner tells you or you’ll be in trouble?”
“You’re not man enough to have a proper drink? Is that it?”
“You’re a snob, perhaps? Is that the reason why you won’t have a drink with me and the other girls?”

Being on the receiving end of all that can be extremely unpleasant, especially when the bully plays to the Gallery – singling you out and making you feel humiliated in front of a crowd, down the pub, at a party.

So why do some drinkers bully others?
Bullying due to alcoholism is becoming a burgeoning problem across the UK, as people continue to drink more, year on year. So far we have only talked about verbal bullying, but what about physical and emotional bullying? Is that worryingly on the rise too?

“Unfortunately, yes,” says Katrina, a 28-year-old youth hostel worker in Oxfordshire. “I was a victim of both physical and emotional abuse by my partner back in Tauranga, New Zealand. NZ is still very much a macho place. To a great extent, women are expected to play second fiddle to their partners, or else… It was why I left, to travel the world, to see if I could build a new life in the UK. Sadly, having had counselling for (my previous experience of) domestic abuse while here in Headington, I’ve learned that alcohol-fuelled cruelty towards others is a massive problem in this country too.”

It is emotional maltreatment that so many victims of bullying describe as being the worst form of harassment. Essentially, bullying is about controlling other people, situations, outcomes…

But that doesn’t mean you have to take it!
In a situation where there is alcohol available, how many of us really possess the mental strength to stick to our guns and say No when being pressurised into drinking (when we simply don’t want to)? In most instances, it’s just simply easier to comply, to ‘keep the bully happy’, isn’t it?

But a bully will only try to intimidate someone else (more than once) if they think they can get away with it, if they meet no resistance. That old maxim: “Bring me a bully and I’ll show you a coward” will always be a truism. So, your best bet is to stand firm and to always refuse to be pressurised into drinking.

If you are in a relationship with someone who abuses alcohol and bullies you as a result, you could leave the relationship permanently or take a break from the relationship and only agree to reconsider the situation if your partner agrees to seek help for their alcohol addiction

Without question, Rehab treatment is the best path to take when it comes to beating alcoholism. Rehab Treatment UK can advise you of all the options available and assist with admission (for your partner) to the most suitable Alcohol Addiction Treatment Programme.


I could not stop drinking, having tried various methods. After making contact with Rehab Treatment UK I was put at ease immediately. All my options were carefully explained and 2 days later admitted to Rehab. Without the speedy response I would probably still be drinking today, Already, the home is a happier place. Thank you Jane for starting the process for a life of sobriety.
B. Middlesex

Thank you to Rehab Treatment UK and everyone at the Clinic that was involved in my Detox. It has been hard, but the fun everyone has made it, helped to make it easier.
S. Hull