Are you fed up? Are you tired of feeling yanked around, manipulated, afraid to complain about behavior, feeling out of control, tired of trying everything you know to get your partner to change, etc.? Maybe it’s time to look at your co-addiction!
I’ve had numerous clients over the years who come in fed up with their partner’s behavior. They cry, strategize, get angry, manipulate, cut-off, control, give up, then come back and do all of those things over and over again. There is one common denominator, however, and that is the co-addict! They will continue to try to change their partner until they finally recognize their own addiction. They will continue doing the same things over and over again and waiting for different results until they recognize and work on their own addictive behaviors. Unfortunately, the primary way that a codependent (or co-addict) finally changes their behavior is when they hit rock-bottom. If you are addicted to your partner and their bottom drops out, the bottom drops out in your life, too.
What is your bottom? I encourage you to ask yourself what is the bottom for you? When you find yourself driving your spouse to work for 6 months because of a DUI? When they’ve lost their job due to addiction? The 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th affair? When the kids begin showing signs of being affected by the addiction? When you have to file bankruptcy? When you end up in the hospital? When they end up in jail? When you are asking a complete stranger to tell you the truth because your spouse won’t? What?
If you are in a relationship with an addictive person, you have no idea what their bottom is. For most addictions, the bottom is far lower than we would expect, largely because people have enabled them for so long that they’ve never had to hit bottom. It really isn’t important to know what their bottom is, but it IS important to know what your bottom is. If you don’t have a rock-solid, non-negotiable ‘this is it’ bottom line, you will be surprised at what you will find yourself doing to keep the relationship afloat – and your life will be out of your control.
I had some experience with this once. I learned some things about a person in my life that meant I was going to have to take action. I didn’t want to take action. I liked the person, I didn’t want them to have to suffer the consequences, I felt guilty being the one enforcing the consequences, and, more importantly, I knew it would change things between us. As I was pondering my next step, I found my brain was trying to twist the information so that it wasn’t so bad, so that the consequences wouldn’t have to happen, so that I could maintain the same relationship with the person. I was horrified when I recognized that my brain was trying to filter this new information into the equation and make it okay, so that I could maintain status quo. That was not okay!
If your life feels unmanageable, I encourage you to look at your own addictive behavior, not your partners. You have no control over your partner’s behavior, you only have control over yours! The bottom line? When we realize our co-addiction and decide what our bottom line is for ourselves, we begin to take back control of our lives.