My husband's mom is an alcoholic and she's really done a number on him. It took him years just to be able to admit that she's manipulative and that he learned a lot of unhealthy coping mechanisms, like reacting with anger when he's worried about something. Anger is the root of fear. I've learned to be gentle with him, but I don't coddle him. For a long time, I wouldn't bring up any tough topics, for fear of upsetting him, but I finally flat out told him that I was sick of walking on eggshells because he couldn't use his words in a non-angry way. He's never raised his voice AT me; we just couldn't talk about anything major without him freaking out. Everything was catastrophic. Therapy has helped immensely. He's such a sweet, gentle person. His mom just fucked him up.