Many of us who struggle with addiction and depression also struggle with unhealthy relationships. Because we are in turmoil, we are manifesting turmoil and also attracting partners who are in turmoil, and as a result, our romantic relationships are often toxic and abusive. There are many reasons we choose to stay in these relationships, with one of the most common and fundamental reasons being we’re afraid to be alone.
Some of us grew up in families separated by abuse, divorce, incarceration or death. Our younger selves grew to be familiar with the feeling of abandonment, and we know how much it hurts. As adults, we’re afraid to have to feel it again. Our fears can feel larger than life, to the point where we are driven by them. We’re so afraid to feel the pain we’ll do anything to avoid having to feel it- that can include using drugs or staying in unhealthy relationships.
Some of us consciously or subconsciously use relationships to occupy our minds and drown out the inner demons. When you’re embroiled in conflict and drama, it’s harder to hear the thoughts that torture you when you’re alone. The same goes for drugs and alcohol- they might temporarily lower the volume on the thoughts that bother us the most. When you’re obsessing about the battle with your partner, you might obsess less about the other battles in your mind.
Sometimes relationships are a happy distraction, and we self-medicate with that high rather than face the painful stuff. We become addicted to the highs of love, sex and affection. In the moment it feels so much better than everything else.
When our relationships are abusive or co-dependent, sometimes our partners threaten us as part of the emotionally abusive cycle, to weaken us psychologically and to make us stay. They amplify our fears and insecurities and chip away at our self-esteem and sense of self-worth. They convince us that no one else will ever love us, that we’re much better off with them than without them, and that if we leave we’ll always be alone. Worse, they threaten us with violence and keep us trapped by the fear they will hurt us or our loved ones. We often stay trapped in these cycles, even when the threats of violence turn real and our safety is at stake.
Addictive relationships- not only do they not take our pain away, they add to the pain and create more. We know this but stay anyway. The cycle persists. Sometimes we’re addicted to the pain. At the heart of it all is fear. Fear of the pain of loss. Fear of being abandoned, of losing the person you love, of losing love. Fear of being alone, fear you’re not strong enough to make it on your own. The fear you’ll be replaced. The fear you’re not good enough.
Facing our fears is an important part of the recovery process. It’s scary, but you don’t have to do it alone. Let Enlightened Solutions help. Call (833) 801-LIVE.