As you move through your addiction and maintain sobriety, you have likely noticed the complicated and multifaceted nature of your recovery. Your addiction likely has negatively impacted your health, job, finances, reputation, self-esteem, and mental health. Also, you may have compromised, damaged or destroyed friend and family relationships along the way.
As the addiction grows, some relationships become out of balance, where one partner becomes dominant and over-protective. At first glance this might be perceived as a positive quality. However, it can come across to your partner as being possessive, overly helpful, shielding and stifling of independence. Rather than being a relationship of equals, one partner becomes dominant and parental over the other one. To correct this, begin to foster independence in your partner. Pull back on controlling and demanding behaviors. Allow your partner to try new things on their own, even if it means struggling with uncertainty, doubt and potential failure. Communicate encouragement and unconditional positive affirmations.
The Wish to Fix
Even though you are communicating unconditional love, keep in mind that failure is inevitable. Loving someone does not mean you won’t let them fail, falter or fall. Some people are very much intimidated by this process. You may be tempted to lie, minimize, or cover-up for someone else’s inadequacies. You may try too hard to prevent or fix problems, or if you can’t do that, you might pull back completely, as if you don’t care what happens. Finding some middle ground can be difficult. Stay involved, be available, and ensure your partner of your concern and connection.
It is so great to be in a relationship that is mutually respectful and where both parties interact in a reciprocal manner. When that happens, each person can contribute to the other person and to the relationship. The relationship has greatest strength and greatest comfort when partners have equal or very close to equal worth, value, and power. Keep in mind that the power differential in a relationship is the responsibility of both people. Both people need to be assertive and not passive. And equally important, each person must be assertive yet not controlling, overly helpful or enabling. Fostering and encouraging independence in your loved ones will be a gift that will improve the quality of your relationship and strengthen your recovery.
Recovery is a journey. Enjoy the ride!