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Relationships with an addictive partner often have a pattern that both partners create together. The non-addict has an enormous number of expectations with so many ideas of how life is supposed to be lived. The addict is often buried in Silence and slinks around to get their needs met through the back door.

Too demanding + Silent maneuvering = No Trust or
Controlling + Lying, avoiding the truth = No Trust

You can see how these work in tandem to create massive problems. While it is easy to point the finger at the addict, it is more of a struggle for the non-addict to recognize their part in things because they are filled with self righteous anger. The truth is both people have to change to make a relationship work over the long haul (or both people have to stay stuck with less anger & deceit).

This pattern is why so many marriages crash in recovery. Both people have to be willing to look at themselves & change. It is so much easier to blame everything on the addict.

I’ve listened to a lot of addicts struggle to be authentic and say “I didn’t tell you because I knew you’d be mad”. They swallow the disagreement or the more genuine response to make the other person happy. This strategy only works for the short haul.

Over time the lack of truth erodes the infrastructure. Most addicts have a hard time telling themselves the truth, much less anybody else. Often the burden of their own self hatred makes it impossible for them to believe anybody else really could love them. So they work hard to please others by deflecting the truth.

When the non-addict gets angry about all the lies they’ve discovered, then the addict crawls into their internal pile of shame & says “of course, this is what I deserve”. You can see the relentless pattern of misery that is created. Now the non-addict is more entitled to know what’s right for both of them and respect continues to erode.

The addict is often resentful & feels disrespected because they feel invisible (even though they have had a part in swallowing their own beliefs). The non-addict has lost their respect because of the lying & secrets they have stumbled upon. The future of the relationship depends on whether the respect can be restored to both parties in the process of recovery.

Relationships die because of a lack of respect. Codependent relationships (relationships where people are fused together or are too mushy) by their very nature, lack respect for the differences.

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About the Rhoda Mills Sommer

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