Loving An Addict With Emotional Detachment
Living with an addict is emotionally taxing. There are no two ways about it.
If you have had an addict in your life for any period of time you will no doubt have felt a whole range of emotions – anger, disappointment, guilt, embarrassment, shame, anxiety, disgust, resentment along with a host of other feelings and emotions.
We blame our addict for the fact we have to endure these feelings and believe that the only thing that will help, is them changing.
We give them power over our emotional balance and we become victims.
For the sake of maintaining your sanity, restoring self esteem and reducing the amount of stress your loved one’s addiction is allowed to bring into your life it is important for you to actively protect your emotional health.
Practicing detachment is an important tool that ensures you donít become a helpless victim overcome by the negative consequences triggered by the addiction of your loved one.
First of all though, know that it is not wrong to be upset by your addicts behavior and actions. Iím not asking you to pretend you are not affected by their activities but I am encouraging you to choose to when and how to react and to express yourself in a way that honors you first and foremost and restores your control over what†YOU experience.
Detaching From Your Addict
Detachment does not mean being unkind or ignoring and isolating your addict. It is about setting boundaries and engaging with them in a way that honors YOU and YOUR recovery.
Detachment does not mean you no longer care, but it does mean you remove yourself from engaging emotionally with destructive behavior and blindly following your addictís negative emotional cues.
Detachment means unwrapping yourself emotionally from the damaging aspects of your involvement with your addict.
Detachment means regaining the control over your emotions and taking responsibility for how you respond instead of giving that power to your addict.
Ways to practice detachment
- Donít save your addict from the situations they find themselves in
- Let them experience embarrassment, shame, guilt and mistakes
- Donít feel guilty or bad for the circumstances your addict is in
- Donít engage in emotionally charged conversations with your addict
- Choose to walk away with respect rather than react to negative situations
Without emotional outbursts, accusations and FBI scale interrogations your addict wonít have anyone to look towards or blame for his actions. You wonít be giving them any fuel for the fire that their addiction feeds off.
And it loves to feed off drama.
Perhaps you are saying to yourself ďIf I donít make it clear that what they are doing is wrong, wonít they just continue?Ē Letís be honest, whether you choose to detach or remain engaged, your addict will only stop when they are ready. Not because of how you react.
So why not conduct yourself from a place of integrity and in turn determine the level of emotional stress you experience?
Practicing detachment is for you. Not your addict. Itís for the sake of your mental and emotional health. Not for making your addicts life easier.
Initially it will take a fair bit of effort on your part to not get caught up in the emotional games that addiction loves to play but if you keep practicing detachment, it will become easier and in turn, so will your journey †towards recovery.
Have you got questions about what is and is not detachment? Post in the comments below to get support.
Photo credit:†© 2010†Valentina Monti