There are times in all relationships when intimacy declines and you start to wonder whether the relationship is a healthy one or not.
One of you may have diverted your energies elsewhere, making you unavailable fully to your partner. Some people connect in at work, sport, a hobby or focus more on the children leaving a partner feeling alone and less connected. Of course some have affairs. But more often than not one or both partners become distracted internally, dealing with whatever emotional pain and triggers have been occurring.
This diversion inwards makes less energy available outwards and again a partner may feel left out in the cold. They can feel that their partner’s warmth, their focus, and their energy are not with them anymore. Sometimes if this is temporary it can be sustained in the relationship as is. If the distracted partner comes back to focus with the other, all is well.
Sometimes however this disconnection can continue for a long time. It can be completely unintentional and not due to a lack of love. If one or both partners are dealing with emotional pain, they are simply not available to fully connect with the other. They may truly want to, but feel unable to.
If the partners can talk about what is going on honestly. If they can support each other in their efforts for growth, they may find a way through. But both must be willing to talk openly, honestly and to do the work to heal their inner hurts.
No matter how much you love the other, you cannot heal their wounds for them. They have to go within, feel and heal. They have to make the time to look at the way they are living their life and choose to make changes so they can be happier, healthier and more available to mutually nurture and nourish the partner and the relationship.
Each has to choose to make the relationship a priority, to create time together doing fun things. If they don’t it can become stale, boring, not stimulating and they might drift apart.
No matter how hard you try to please the other or to take care of the other, if they are not looking after themselves it won’t work.
They have to step up, take action and do the work to heal their hurts, change their thinking and behaviour patterns, so that they can be more positive, more available for themselves and the other. They have to do the work. You can’t do it for them.
If you stay too long in the above scenario you will become deflated, depressed and despairing. It is outside of your control to make it work. You can’t force it, pretend it, fluff it up so you feel better. You need to face facts and see whether or not your emotional needs, your intimacy needs, your physical needs, etc. are being met within the relationship.
If they are not you need to consider leaving for the sake of your own health. You can’t wait forever. You will get angry. You will get resentful. You will get manipulative and forceful trying to get your partner to take action. But if they aren’t ready, they’re simply not ready, and no amount of pushing, cajoling, crying, etc. will change that.
You can’t roll a boulder uphill easily. That is what you are doing if you are trying to get someone to change who simply doesn’t want to or know how to.
Even if they’re depressed and unhappy, they won’t change till they feel capable and you can’t make that happen. You can love them, encourage them, provide books or other resources, but then you need to accept what is. Step back and wait. Give the person a chance to decide what they are and are not willing to do.
Sadly they may choose not to take action. That is their right. Your choice is whether to accept that or not. Your choice is to decide how long you are willing to wait before you start focussing elsewhere too.
The healthiest thing to do is to focus on making your life happier. Spend time with friends, do activities or hobbies you enjoy. This takes the pressure off of the relationship so you both can breathe.
If the partner becomes more available you can connect back in deeply. If they don’t you will feel more held and fulfilled in your life outside of the relationship and you can let that expand. The choice is yours.
Face facts and decide what to do. Don’t pretend all is okay if it is not. Don’t blame the other. Just see it from their side. They need to focus elsewhere. This is not a rejection of you or a judgement of you. It is just a phase of life taking them in a different direction. The question becomes will your roads meet again or travel further apart.
Surrender and trust that no matter what happens life will lead you both forth to experience what you need to, in order to keep healing, evolving and opening your hearts. You will both be taken care of as you move along your journeys, together or apart.
If you do part, give thanks for all you have shared, learned and grown during the relationship. Give thanks for the good and challenging times through which you gained more clarity on what is important to you, and what you will not accept or compromise on.
Give thanks for the love, the joy, the passion which may have long gone cold. Give thanks for the acceptance and connection which would have nourished you in the beginning. Let go of judgements, condemnations or harshness. Just let go with love and trust you will be led forth into that which you need next in your life.
When the time is right you will meet another and the cycles of love and growth will continue. We go through many of these cycles each lifetime. Sometimes the cycle occurs with the same partner, when relationships cool then warm up again, and sometimes it occurs with new partners.
Trust that what is meant to be will be, and all is truly okay, even if it feels painful to acknowledge the truth of the current situation. Take a deep breath and smile, knowing all is okay deep within and anything that needs to shift and release will.
Flow with the waves of emotion and let them dissipate. You will have grief over letting go of something you thought would last forever. It’s only natural. Be kind to yourself each day and don’t think too far ahead. Relax and let go knowing all will be okay in the end. Blessed BE.
If you found this blog useful you may wish to consider purchasing a copy of Jodi-Anne’s book ‘Advice from a higher Source’ which contains 85 more answers to questions about life. The paperback book or ebook can be purchased online at – http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/JMS2011. (Once you have clicked into view the description of the book, go to the top of the page and choose the flag symbol for your country, this will show you the price in your currency and enable you to purchase it in that currency)
This post contains information I prepared as a course handout on addiction several years ago. I share it in the hope that it assists someone to gain clarity and insight into how best to help themselves or a loved one suffering from addiction. Love, Jodi-Anne.
Addiction types and why used
There are many types of addictions. They vary greatly from substances relied on to help us get through the day (coffee, tea, sugar, fat) to those stronger drugs used to escape our feelings and reality (alcohol, smoking, cannabis, LSD, coacaine, heroin, etc). There are also addictions that are action based (work-a-holism, shopping, gambling, lying, stealing, sexual addiction). There are many types of addiction. Some society condones – study, working, shopping. Some society fears and shames those involved – illicit drugs and alcoholism.
All of these addictions are used as a way to cope, to attempt to feel better, to enjoy life, however the high is only temporary, requiring the addict to use again / to repeat the activity over again. Sometimes at higher doses or risk. Until ultimately there is a crash – a near death experience – over dose, car crash, blood poisoning; a terrifying experience – waking up in an unknown place or with an injury or person you don’t remember connecting with. It may be a loss of a job, home or family when they can take it no more. Some tragedy has to happen for the addict who is truly afflicted and caught in the co-dependent cycle to wake up and want to change. Without that crash the addict may not be ready to make the effort to heal. No-one will be able to force them to. Healing is an inner process that must unfold at a rate the addict can handle. It must be done in a supportive environment where the addict feels safe, accepted and encouraged. Any guilt, shame, pressure or judgement will just drive them further into addiction.
An addict may seem to improve temporarily but if you watch closely you may notice that they have simply swapped one source of addiction for another – changed substances or fixes. To really heal you have to go within, deal with the source of the unrest, of the need to medicate, numb out, find a high. You need to heal the pain, release the shame, guilt, feelings of loss, abandonment, not being good enough, not being loved and accepted as you were by your parents and any others through your life that have caused you trauma or a low sense of self-esteem and self-acceptance. You have to learn to love and honour yourself and treat yourself well – to become your own happy, loving parent.
Addiction sources and healing process
Some addicts do come from what appear to be happy homes, but somehow they developed an angst that needed to be filled by an addiction of some sort. Perhaps they felt stifled as a child, given too much attention, felt a need to achieve or be perfect. They may have felt trapped in a box of expectations and felt they couldn’t live up to it, so they gave up.
They may indeed have had a happy home (this is extremely rare due to the way the conditioning process works – the psychology of child development and the most common child rearing practices and disciplines). But let’s say they did have a happy home. They were totally loved, accepted, held regularly, fed when they were hungry, comforted, had all their needs met. They weren’t yelled at, disciplined through harshness but through kindness. They escaped unharmed from their early years. Then they went to school! For many people school is a nightmare – from bullying, to challenges with subject material that they can’t grasp or feeling they don’t fit in, or can’t do what others can – sport, academic, dance – whatever it may be. Some very rare individuals may escape school unscathed. Then comes relationships and work where further potential loss, hurt, betrayal, feeling not good enough, rejected, etc can come.
Somewhere along the line life provided a knockout blow that the person couldn’t cope with and they turned to an addiction to cope, to numb the pain, to feel free of their inner pain. They may be able to cope when the specific events occurred but they are cumulative all adding together until one day the foundation crumbles and addiction commences.
Even those who start young experimenting with drugs and alcohol do so because they are unhappy in some way. This is not to say their parents did anything wrong. They probably did the best they could. But their child has grown vulnerable to addiction due to some experience. The way society operates today encourages this. We are all so busy rushing around that we don’t get to love and cherish our children as we should. Working parents, divorces, step-parent issues, poverty, stress, use of TV and computer games as ways to escape and entertain children. All diminish the quality time connecting – talking, sharing, encouraging / accepting, honouring, loving each other, sitting quietly together or in nature playing non-competitive games or art or dance or many other ways that we can interact in positive relationship building and affirming ways that let our children know they are loved, accepted, okay. They are safe. The world is a good place that will provide their needs. They can follow their hearts and achieve their dreams. Few children get such a positive foundation to life, a foundation of self-acceptance and self-esteem to live from.
Most get fear and self-judgement, a need to impress or achieve or hide to keep safe. These are the underlying sources of addiction and it is these issues that need to be healed so the addict stops self-medicating or moving from one form of addiction to another. When they heal they find inner peace, love and eventually even joy and happiness. It can be done. It takes a lot of effort and willingness to face your past, feel and release the emotions buried within, face the fears and risk showing who you really are, risking rejection and ridicule to follow your heart, speak your truth, even if it is very different to other people. You become your authentic self, the person you were born to be, that has been hiding behind addiction and a raft of defense mechanisms acting as a protective mask. Keeping the vulnerable true self hidden away safely inside.
Addiction is very challenging to overcome as using is so quick and easy compared to the healing work. This is why for most people it takes some kind of disaster – trauma and crisis – to get them ready to make the effort, to face their demons and break free. Without that it is just too easy to keep escaping. But when you’ve truly lost something you love, then that shock, that pain may be enough to tip the scales. That is why you should not ‘enable’ an addict. Don’t clean up after them, bail them out, lie or make excuses for them. Don’t try to protect them by rescuing. They need to face the consequences of their actions if they are to heal and take responsibility. Yes, it is hard to watch them suffer but if they create the mess they need to deal with it. You can simply be there to support them emotionally as they pick themselves back up, offering love, forgiveness, acceptance – this is what they need.
Rescuing and the drama triangle
Some ‘do-gooders’ think they are helping but they actually have their own form of addiction called ‘rescuing’. They get to escape the dissatisfaction they have in their own life – be that with themselves, their relationships, their job, their family, etc – by focussing on whoever they are rescuing. They feel good about themselves, righteous even, and this is their fix. But their love and support is not real, it is conditional. They will be there for the addict for a length of time, appearing so saintly and wonderful, but eventually when they get frustrated enough, they will snap, moving from ‘rescuer’ to ‘persecutor’ telling the addict off, judging them as a hopeless case. The rescuer didn’t get what they wanted – to feel like they saved the addict and the addict owed them, was grateful to them. That doesn’t happen so they move into the persecution role, which does not help the addict at all.
The other role that gets played is that of ‘victim’. When the rescuer knows the addict is lying to them, using, stealing or in some other way being irresponsible the rescuer may accept this for a while, until they again move into the persecutor role. Upon which the addict becomes victim to their tyranny of judgement and imposed shame, blame and guilt.
This is the drama triangle and each person moves through the roles of victim, persecutor, rescuer until someone steps into the centre of the triangle, speaks the truth and stops the game. This triangle happens all the time in life – at work, in families, with friends. It is a pattern that repeats until people become aware of it and no longer allow the game to proceed. Choosing instead to feel, to heal, to speak your truth. This is one of the first steps in healing.
So the seeds of addiction are planted from a very young age, especially if there is a family history of addiction that is repeated generation after generation. This may partly be a genetic predisposition, but it is also simply learnt behaviour. If you grow up in an active addiction filled home – you learn that is the way life is lived. You simply see that as normal as you know no other way. This is how it repeats. Also you will tend to subconsciously play out the pattern attempting to heal the issues with your parents. So many ‘Adult Children of Alcoholics’ marry an alcoholic. They either become an alcoholic themselves or they marry one or work with one. They attract it into their lives so they face their pain and heal.
Again this happens naturally enough – if they were raised in an alcoholic home that is what feels normal to them, so they accept partners behaving that way too. They may believe deep inside that they don’t deserve better, that this is how relationships are. Their beliefs affect their actions and their experiences in life. It is these beliefs that need to be changed to break the pattern and cycle of addiction and pain. Getting to the point where you do believe that you are okay, lovable, acceptable, that you deserve to be treated well, that you are a good person, and that good things can happen to you. These and many other positive subconscious (deep) beliefs form the foundation of health and recovery. “I cope easily with my life”. “I love and accept all that occurs”. “I forgive those that hurt me and let go of the past”. “I live in the now and focus day by day”. “I’m doing okay”. “I’m proud of how far I’ve come”. “I know I will make it”.
The use of affirmations can be very powerful. This can be done for free wherever you are. Have them written up where you will see them and read them regularly. Say them out loud. Write them and notice what negative comments occur within you. Repeat this – writing the affirmation and then listening for the internal reaction, writing that, then the affirmation again. Do it about 20 times in a sitting. This will give you insight into what your resistance to healing is, to what negative beliefs you have that need changing. This is a powerful process to do. You can use affirmations many times throughout the day when you feel yourself tempted to use your addictive substance or behaviour.
You can also use ‘Thought Field Therapy (TFT)’ or ‘Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)’ – energetic tapping processes that helps to relieve the build-up of energy encouraging you to use. With TFT there is a sequence to use for addictive urge. There are also tapping sequences for releasing the underlying emotions and problems leading to the urge. This helps to release the pent up energy and emotion. It is similar to acupuncture but without needles, just tapping on the meridian points. There are many different treatments that can be used. Some cost, some don’t.
Affirmations is a good place to start as it is free and it works. At first you may feel stupid saying to yourself “I love and accept myself” over and over. You know you don’t believe it. But repeating it regularly plants the seed in your subconscious and it slowly sprouts and grows, till one day you find you do actually believe it. The strength of affirmations is increased if you say them while looking at yourself in the mirror. You stare into your own eyes while saying “I love and accept myself” or “I choose health and happiness now” or whatever affirmation you use.
The process can be sped up by using techniques like ‘Psych-K’ or ‘The Lifeline Technique’ which reprogram the desired belief into your subconscious mind. It literally replaces the old one so that your dominant, underlying thought is the new one. These techniques are part of the new energy psychology tools that have evolved from split brain research. They help to get both sides of the brain communicating which makes subconscious belief change possible – quickly and easily.
There are many different ways to health, for some they will start with swapping from a less desirable addiction to one less dangerous – so the heroin user may become a sugar junkie or a gym junkie and push themself that way. Notice that word ‘pushing’ – that is a key challenge. Most people do not spend enough time ‘being’ – time spent being still, meditating, listening to their thoughts and feelings, dealing with whatever arises within them in the silence. It can feel uncomfortable, unnatural, a waste of time at first, but this is all just resistance to actually being with yourself and feeling everything that you feel inside. Persevere with it and you will find relief.
Whether you choose to meditate, sit in nature, use guided visualisation CDs, or do exercise then rest. Whatever method you use to help your body relax, de-stress and find peace is an important part of the healing process. Some embrace reiki, energetic healing, chakra balancing, massage or other body-work, which helps soothe your body and release the buried emotions and trauma from your cells. It all takes times and you move forward step by step, day by day, removing layer by layer the buried emotions, trauma and debris accumulated within your body. Be kind to yourself.
Surround yourself with others committed to healing so that you can encourage and support each other. This is why 12 step groups work. They provide a safe, accepting environment and community to be a part of. Clearly hanging out with active Addicts is not going to be helpful, so sometimes you do need to change friendship circles, disassociate from family members or others who encourage addictive behaviour. This can be very saddening and challenging, especially as some people will try to make you feel bad for doing so. They don’t want to face their own stuff and you choosing to do so reminds them that they should. Rather than feel that, they may choose to lash out at you. Don’t fall for the ploy. Be strong. Be loving and kind to yourself as much as you can. It is your life and you can choose to live it however you wish.
Remember there is a lot of support out there – from 12 step groups, counsellors and other therapists, to call lines and much more. If you truly want to heal and break free you can. Here are some good places to start if you want to find out more.