Living with an addict is a tall order and can cause great emotional distress. As time passes and you see that nothing changes, you feel anger and frustration. The addict does nothing to recover, or his attempts fail again and again. You feel disappointed, cheated, tired of broken promises and false hopes. Your attempts to help him aren’t successful, as it is not easy to help an addict, but you may still feel guilty and helpless for not being able to change the situation. You may even end up depressed. At such a stage, going for an addiction treatment center is the best option to save the addicted person and your relationship.
In some cases, the addict may be aggressive or mistreat his partner. If this is your case, you may also blame yourself for the abuse and feel ashamed. It happens because people often tend to think that if someone mistreats them, it’s because they’re not able to prevent it and they feel weak, or they may even think they deserve it. They feel that they’re worth very little as a person. However, the truth is that any person at any time can be mistreated by another, and there’s no more responsible for that mistreatment than the one who carries it out.
The relationship with an addict can undermine your self-esteem and cause you to end up having psychological problems of depression or anxiety. The lower your self-esteem, the more you will get involved in this codependent relationship that perpetuates the situation. If it’s happening to you, you should leave the relationship immediately, as it’s a destructive relationship, or convince your partner to join an addiction treatment center.
In such relationships, it’s often the case that the addict’s partner tries to control the addict as a way of helping him. You control the money, the alcohol that enters the house, you want to know where your partner is at all times, and you distrust. All of it makes the addict angry and frustrated, and he criticizes you for being too controlling, for not trusting him, and blames you for your relationship going bad. It’s common that sometimes this need for control spreads to other people in your life because the stressful and uncertain situation in which you find yourself makes any ambiguity in your life affect you especially, and you need to control everything to increase your feeling of security and control over a life that seems to be out of control because of drug and alcohol addiction.
In the end, the relationship can end up breaking down, especially when you realize that it has become too destructive and is hurting you. But all the damage caused, your low self-esteem, your sense of failure or guilt can continue with you and your way of relating to others. Therefore, you may need the help of a psychologist to recover, and if you have spent your childhood with an alcoholic parent, you may have learned a way of relating to others that predisposes you to relationships of codependency.
Even if the relationship isn’t particularly destructive and you want to stay with your partner, you may need help managing the effect the relationship has on you. You may need to learn to be assertive, to know how to get your emotional needs taken into account, and identify your emotions correctly so as to manage anger and the need for control that you may be feeling.